So, I met Jamesha….wow has to be about 8 years ago. I was in college and went to a poetry gathering at a little place called Wok N Roll. I had heard a few poets that night and then Jamesha got on stage. It was like time stood still; she commands that kind of presence. I have always had much respect for art, because artists share pieces of their soul every time they touch a stage, or write, or sing…their performances always inspire me. I am inspired because that takes a special kind of bravery.
She is not only a poet, she is a novelist, an editor, she produces makeup……..her list is endless. I was really excited that she took the time out to speak with HER and I hope you enjoy as well.
What were some of your fears when you started writing novels that differed from writing poetry?
Poetry is so succinct and to the point. My biggest concern was being able to stretch it out and still make it good. I love metaphor, but, when you are writing fiction, detail is key. Another big fear was that no one would read it. Like, no one would want to hear about my characters or they would know that I was a fraud, a poet posing as a novelist.
You’ve written books and poems, what do you enjoy doing more and why?
I actually enjoy writing fiction better. You get to create people and worlds. You get to take people on a journey with you into a place that they have never been and show them the world that’s inside your head. I like poetry, but it lends itself more to social issues and emotions. You can’t truly embrace fantasy when writing poetry. Fiction is the fun girl of the writing world while poetry is its cynical goth sister.
Do you think the pressures of social media change the way girls view womanhood?
YES! Absolutely. Social media is scary. I mean, if you have any kind of insecurity about yourself, you can find a page, a post, or an image that will confirm it. I love being small, but there are always posts by plus-sized women bashing skinny girls. Instead of loving on one another and encouraging self-love, we are posting hatred for the world to see. AND… AND there’s the idea that being a woman means having a man, or having a child, being pretty, having a “bad” body. I remember when I wanted to be a woman because I wanted to change so sh*t. I wanted to be the first woman reporter shot in the line of duty. Womanhood was positive and it was time for you to leave your mark on the world. Somewhere, that got lost.
What do you think a pivotal moment in your life was? How did that moment define how you viewed yourself and your dreams?
Oh wow… I’ve had so many. Being sexually assaulted was one. Having Qadira, my oldest daughter was one. Getting married, divorced, and married to someone else was one. Going through the custody battle for Qadira was one. Having my baby girl, Phoenix, was one. I mean, I have had a very eventful life. But I think that all of these moments made me who I am. They made me fearless. Every time I got knocked down and got back up, it confirmed my strength to me. So, I figured, why not go for what I want in life, you know. I mean, life is gonna keep throwing stuff at you, you might as well be a moving target. Lol.
You have two daughters, what are two important pieces of advice you are trying to instill in them?
Just two? Lol. Ok. I tell my girls two things every time we talk. First, I tell them that I love them and that they are all kinds of awesome (and give them a reason why each time). I want them to see themselves as beautiful and deserving so that when someone tries to take that from them, they can tell them it’s not theirs to take. The result is two of the most confident young women I have ever encountered. They’re more confident that I am sometimes.
Secondly, I tell them that being pretty will get them in the door but being smart will keep them there. Appearance is important. It’s the first thing that a person sees when they meet you. And attractive people, especially women, unfortunately have an advantage that others may not. I know that may sound old-fashioned, but it’s true. But, that’s where the second part comes in. Getting in the door is great. But then your intelligence, ability, and ambition will determine whether or not you are respected in whatever endeavor you embark on.
Who or what inspires you the most?
Everyone and everything inspires me! I love watching people. I love hearing stories and seeing smiles that seem to come out of nowhere. My girls are a great inspiration to me, as well as my friends, like yourself, who make life seem so effortless. Just living and watching others navigate through life is inspiring. We all have a story. I’m realizing that I am just the transcriptionist to your stories.
Can you share a line from something that you have written that you think best defines the power of being a woman?
The starting line from one of my favorite pieces “Sister Gypsy, Sister Moon” defines it for me: We, as women, walk around crescent moons; 180 degrees, searching for completion of ourselves.
What do you think you will be doing in ten years?
Ha! In 10 years, I will be experiencing déjà vu because Phoenix will be 14, the same age that Qadira is now. I’ll be reliving the teenager experience. And Dira will be in college, so that will be an entirely different journey. In reference to my dreams, I plan to have several bestsellers under my belt, traveling the world, teaching writing and editing. I’ll be an award-winning novelist.
Please check out her website and support- www.joiminer.com