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.