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I am a monsters kind of girl. I thrive on writing stories and poems that land readers right on the pulse of thumping heart-beats and curiosity.

However, when I decided to publish my first book of poetry, it had no monsters.

There’s nothing macabre or ghoulish about it.

But the thing is, I needed to have it that way.

Poetry was my first written love. Falling in love with who I am as a woman has been my second love and area of exploration as a writer.

I began writing poems about womanhood and honoring the feminist mystique a few years back. The impetus to start writing such was also in relation to the trials and tribulations that I had been experiencing as a woman that was consistently questioning her self-worth, intelligence, abilities, capabilities, and professional direction.

I was FLAT BROKE when I started writing the poems that are in Woman Steps: Poetry and Prose. Truth be told, I still am for the most part, but back in 2009-ish I was really on the throes of situational poverty.

I had no car and needed to take public transit everywhere in Dallas, Texas (and even though I love my native city dearly, it does not have a world-class public transit system, its design is too limiting) so I was really home bound a great deal. And when I was on the train I used that time to put on the hat and gloves of a sociologist (a field that has always fascinated me) and I honed in on women.

Where were they going?

I’d notice the ones that

were under-paid 55 year-old nursing assistants,

Teen Mothers on-the-go

impatient college students.

What was behind closed doors?

late notices, BILLS.

sexual harassment,  BITCH PLEASE’S.

self-sacrifice, BLOODY REALITIES.

loneliness, BESET.

What were their dreams?

-2 Bedroom Apartments

-Fathers for Everyone

-BA’s, MFA’s, JD’s…


So therefore, I took those stories and my own to create my first book. I had to get this poetic ode to feminism out of my system first before I could ever move on to writing about imagined monsters…

I had to get real, talk about the real, write the real, and live with the real.

The humor in all of this however, is that as much as I wanted to share this journey while writing it and even while on the brink of publishing it, right after pressing “publish” I grew really self-conscious. I began to feel a little uncomfortable with letting such laundry dry out on a clothesline. After all, I did include a mini poem titled “Mean Girl Names” in the book, talk about pimp rape, and call Evelyn Lozada from VH1 Basketball Wives a lunatic in so many words.

Was this damaging to women I thought to myself. Answering that was tough because my intentions with the book was to celebrate womanhood as a state of mind for women to embrace, not to tear down.

After about six months though, (I published the book 4/17/2013) I’ve realized that I am not to be ashamed. That my words on women pushing through in life can be read widely. I am honored now, feel ceaseless joy, and am full of even more wonder regarding the curious nature of feminism.

So while my first book had no monsters, it has presented an opportunity for me to deal with my own.

I will definitely be writing more books on self-care and womanhood while publishing stories that let those monsters that lurk in your closet be my outlet for creative imagination.

The revised version will be hitting Amazon and Other Major Book Retailers hopefully Thursday, 10/24/13 


CJ Johnson

Poet & Author