Calling St. Petersburg her adopted home having lived here for two decades, Joyce Nanette Johnson was born and raised in the central shore area of New Jersey where she remembers looking forward to essay question tests throughout school. “Even if I didn’t know what the test was about, all I needed were three key ideas about the subject and I’d make it happen,” Johnson said.
The night Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was slain, Johnson sat down and put pen to paper and came up with a free verse poem written from her heart. She sent a copy to the local newspaper and one to Dr. King’s wife, Coretta Scott King. Not only did the newspaper print the poem, but she received a thank you card from Mrs. King.
It was then that Johnson began to focus on developing her correspondence skills. The free verse poem was her first and last, but has continued to follow her dream of being a writer. A veteran writer with years of experience, her work is showcased between the pages of various newspapers, periodicals and magazines. Her writing can be seen in the St. Petersburg Times, Citilife Magazine, St. Pete Bulletin, Essence Magazine, and The Weekly Challenger.
Joyce Nanette Johnson is the owner of Joydee Productions, which developed and produced websites for community organizations and other public relations projects. Joyce Nanette Johnson was a finalist in 2010 and 2011 Tampabay Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists Awards. Ms. Johnson was the recipient of the 2011 Women in Communications Award presented by the Gathering of Women, Inc. St. Petersburg, FL.
BPM: What is your favorite positive saying?
My favorite positive saying or daily mantra is “Be About Your Business.” Now ladies I’m not talking about that gossipy, nosey being in other people’s business like your neighbors, family members, or gossiping about what’s going on in the church with Sister Sneaky and Brother Up to No Good. Which is a total waste of valuable time that could be invested in “self” I’m talking about our “personal business.” The business that God and the fates have destined for us to fulfill. As women we have that nurturing spirit and we should be active and have a vested interest in our homes, our children, our mates, our community and the world at large. But we need to have that purpose for which we were created to be nurtured also. We should carve a few precious moments out of our daily hectic lives for own personal dreams or destiny. My business is writing.
BPM: What drove you to sit down and actually write the book?
The media drove me to do this. As a baby-boomer I laughed at all of the commercials and media hype that said all of us were sexy, exciting, vibrant, and fun. When in reality I am not a sexy cougar that can drop it like it’s hot. I’m more like a slow simmering chili, still hot but not bubbling. Commercials show us gleefully hiking down some exotic trail when in reality I am limping down the pathway plagued by arthritis and plantar fasciitis and the glee comes with the relief of mentholated ointment. I wanted to show the reality of women aging while reflecting a humorous bent to the bumpy ride.
BPM: Does your upbringing or life experiences inspire your writing?
Yes, all of my experiences have come together in this book. In the book I talk about what I am experiencing now and then I have a “Back in the Day” section for each chapter. For example I have a chapter on Mother-Daughter relationships. I compare how the roles have been exchanged, I am now the leader and she is the follower. I have taken on the role of caregiver, supporter, and staunch ally. I then go back in the day to relate to a school shopping spree that any daughter can relate to. My experiences that I shared with my best friend as a little girl, whispering secrets and giggling to the best friends of today who area wisecracking, flawed to perfection, and who will sit quietly as I twist and turn with some dire depression and is there is say after my tirade, “Snap out of it.” The book is a comedic journey of all of the experiences throughout the different stages of my life.
BPM: Introduce as to your current work, what genre do you consider your book?
Funny, Funnier, Funniest and served with a slice of satire. The book is humorously written while taking a swipe at the hypocrisy of the media. I hope to share the fact that though we are Baby Boomers we are still laughing. I want people to laugh out loud at a passage that reminds them of their Mother or an Aunt. I want people to smile as they remember that school girl friend from long, forgotten years ago. And I want people to remember to chuckle as they laugh at themselves as they see themselves and others mirrored in the pages of the book. Aging ain’t perfect, but at the moment it’s the only game in town. Laugh, hold on tight and enjoy the ride.
BPM: What is the writer’s responsibility to the reader?
To create a believable story that entertains, enlightens and takes the reader on a personal journey along with you. To never take my readers for granted.
BPM: What would you like the readers to take away from your writing?
For the Baby Boomers I want them to see themselves in the past and now in the present and laugh out loud. I want them to celebrate their journey with a smile and an “Oh Well” and satisfied sigh. I want them to know that the advertising is hype and it’s okay to ache and not be a slick cougar, you’re okay. You did not miss the boat. For the younger ones I want them to see and experience some of the world of the Boomers. I want them to feel our spirit, our passion, and the innovation that we brought into the world. I want them to join in the laughter when they read the words and it reminds them of their mothers, aunt, and grandmothers. I want them to know that when they arrive at this stage of life it’s gonna be alight if you just keep your perspective and find the humor in the progression.
Over 50 Ain’t Always Fabulous-Reflections of a Baby Boomer
by Joyce Nanette Johnson