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Interview with Peggy Butler Author of My Head is Bloody, But Unbowed
I enjoyed My Head is Bloody, But Unbowed, a collection of commentaries about the African-American experience. Butler touched on topics such as Academics vs. Athletics; Debunking Black Myths In The 21st Century; and my favorite, Have Food --African-Americans Will Travel. Part two of this chapter deals with obese black women. This work will prove to be thought-provoking as well as controversial!
DT: I found My Head is Bloody, But Unbowed, to be very insightful. Did you do extensive research? How long did it take to write? PB: My research was based exclusively on my experiences as a Black woman who has seen the best and worst of Black America, from an observatory, albeit emotional standpoint. In layman's term that means, I have examined Black America at its most courageous and its most baffling.
To reiterate, because the book is based on personal experiences, it took me an hour to develop the concept and three months to write the book, with research dominating the entire project.
DT: When did you discover that you wanted to become a writer? PB: When I was 10. In my fifth grade class, each Friday we were assigned the task of writing a short story, using only our imagination. The majority of my classmates hated this, and several asked me to write their stories for them for a 25 cents fee. And since I enjoyed writing, I gladly took on the task. Consequently, I had 12 students who became regular customers.
Thus, not only was I able to develop my writing skills, but I became quite an entrepreneur. Hey, no snickering. I mean come on, $3.00 a week was a substantial amount of money for a 10-year-old in 1971. Speaking of discoveries, I can't forget the person who listened to my childish tales about "Tony Toes" a magical mouse and who encouraged me to write; my mom, Mrs. Ollie Butler.
DT: You force African-Americans to examine themselves and sometimes the truth hurts. What has the response been to your offering? PB: : The responses have generally been positive. However, I've had more than my share of criticism from people who insist that Blacks should not reprimand each other under any circumstances. They maintain that to do so, is to issue a strike to every bigot in America. But my primary reason for writing the book was to assist Blacks in facing the truth about who we are and what we are.
Hence, in our attempt to determine our future, we must bring into focus all our assets and liabilities. Not only must we concentrate on our strengths, but our weaknesses as well. And that means coming to terms with the way we interact with each other, which is generally unpleasant and facing problems that we have chosen to ignore, such as color consciousness (light vs. dark) Black-on-Black violence and parents who have a tendency to place more emphasis on athletics than academics.
Although this is a bitter pill to swallow, we must take off the rose colored glasses and face the truth. Only then can we experience power and true freedom. To paraphrase Bill Cosby who was criticized for airing Black people's "dirty laundry" earlier in the year, we have got to start taking responsibility for ourselves. If not now, then when?
DT: How have you promoted your book? Are you a member of any writing organizations? PB: I promoted my book via my website, press releases and I have been adamant in letting people know that the book can be purchased from the following online distributors: amazon.com. barnesand noble.com, and booksamillion.com.
Regarding writing organizations: I am a member of Authorlink.com, Writing.com ( www. http://writing.com/authors/literarygem) and Black Girl International Writers (http://www.blackgirl.org/writers.html). Future plans include membership in the AALBC (African-American Literature Book Club).
DT: Do you have any upcoming signings or book discussions? PB: Not at the present moment, but with the holidays coming up, I'm sure that may change. Also, I am open to all suggestions
DT: Are you working on any projects now? PB: Yes. As a matter of fact, I am working on my next book, appropriately titled "Fit, Fabulous and Fantastic at 40." It's for all those women who are under the impression that once a woman turns 40, it's all down hill. However, that is not true. The book will contain chapters on exercise, skin care, make-up and interesting tidbits on how to overcome stress.
As a woman who can still slip into a size 3 dress with ease, I'm tired of hearing sisters 40 and over say that their life is over. Ladies, it's time to unite and show the world that 40 is only a number, and not a state of mind. How's that for a dose of reality?
DT: Any parting words for new writers? PB: Of course. Regardless of what anyone says, DON'T GIVE UP. The key to writing lies in using all your talent, targeting your audience and writing from a bold and unusual angle. Over the years my writing has evolved from unpretentious to controversial, with a dash of antagonism thrown in to elevate the lively aspect.
Moreover, I encourage all new writers to base their novels, articles, commentaries, etc, on topics that they are familiar with. The worst thing any writer can do is write about a subject they are unfamiliar with. Not only will your audience recognize the mistake, but your credibility will be shot to pieces.
Therefore, practice, give it all you've got, and just remember that you are your very own critic. Now, polish off that manuscript and give Alice Walker and Walter Mosley something to talk about.
DT: We thank you for taking this time to share with our visitors here at Blackrefer.com. God Bless