I opened Women’s History Month last week by stating my plan to present and honor several amazing women who I have had the pleasure of working with recently and who I am sure are planting historical footprints. Last week, I featured Faith Simone (www.faithsimone.com), a poet, short story writer, novelist and blogger. This week, I am happy to present Bennye Johnson, an essayist and poet. Both Faith and Bennye, as well as the women to follow in the coming weeks, are contributors to an anthology which will be released this month. It is titled, Voices from the Block: A Legacy of African-American Literature, and it features poems, short stories, essays, original works by seven talented African-American women. Without further delay…
When did you know you wanted to write?
Bennye: I knew I wanted to write when I was in the second grade. I mentioned to my second grade teacher that I wanted to write because I loved reading Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. My teacher, who was my neighbor as well, encouraged me to write short stories. I wrote short stories for her, and she praised me and encouraged me to be a writer.
What was your first written work?
Bennye: As stated earlier, the short stories I wrote for my teacher/neighbor were my first written works but Marriage, Money and Mistakes in Voices is my first published work. Like most writers, I have also kept a journal on and off since my teen years.
What is your inspiration for writing? Or, where do you get your ideas for your stories, poems, etc.
Bennye: I am inspired by life in my writings. Because I understand the power of words, I enjoy having the opportunity to pen my thoughts. This is an avenue of expression for me and hopefully encouragement or heartwarming for others.
What are you currently working on?
Bennye: I am currently working on the expanded version of Marriage, Money, and Mistakes, a creative nonfiction work that examines the mistakes (money and otherwise) we make in marriage and how to avoid them. Look for it later this year.
Great interview ladies! Little Women was my favorite book as a little girl too Bennye 🙂
I’m semi-embarrassed to say I have not read “Little Women.” I almost saw the movie version. Does that count?
Bennye, this was very interesting that your first model for writing was also one of my favorite series of books. The character, Jo March, was such a strong willed, independent example considering the period it was written.
I’m so glad your teacher supported your writing!
I also must add my admiration for the series of biographies in the elementary section of the library. They may have been red-bound with black lettering (I think I remember. . . 🙂 .) These were great since they included Harriet Tubman, Marie Curie, Florence Nightingale, Betsy Ross and others who were true heroines.
Ann, you ask great questions to draw out excellent answers. My cellphone won’t let me press like. I will come back and do this on the internet at library another time.
You’re so sweet Robin! No need to put yourself out. Just reading your supportive comments and knowing you’re connecting with other writers, authors, women is “like” enough. I’ll be by soon to visit your blog and one day I hope to spend more time in the blog-o-sphere. I’m missing so many great blog posts and comments. Blessings!