We Are Our Own #1 Priority

Pam R. Johnson Davis Author Interview

No Unpaid Passengers is a collection of poetry expressing your life’s experiences and learning to choose yourself as what matters. Why was this an important collection of poetry for you to write?

Thank you for that description, it’s very accurate! Too often, we forget that we are our own #1 priority – if we’re not taking care of ourselves, healing ourselves, and loving ourselves, it becomes almost impossible to fully show up for others in our community. And also, when we’re not prioritizing our own internal care, it can be difficult to be aware when our needs are not being met in our external relationships. If we don’t love ourselves enough, how can we ever release the people, places, and things that harm us?

This poetry collection reflects a lot of that. Much of what I write is inspired by my own healing journey, from complex family dynamics to religious trauma to racial tension – these are all things I work through with my therapist and inner circle constantly. Each poem in this book was written at a pivotal moment in my healing journey – moments of pain, joy, sorrow, grief, love, friendship, and more can all be found in these pages. It is an important collection that I can’ wait for others to hold in their hands so that they know they are not alone. Healing is possible.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

The hardest poem to write in this collection by far was “How to Build a House.” It is a poem that details decades of religious trauma, and how I’ve been trying to rebuild myself in the aftermath. The “House” that I speak of has been an ongoing work in progress, and like the poem suggests, it’s very challenging to build a whole new world for yourself when your foundation has been based in very specific, very strict religiosity. But it is possible – my House isn’t complete, but I am working on it.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Oooh – so many. The critics reviews that I’ve received so far for No Unpaid Passengers have all said similar things – this isn’t a poetry collection that is just about religious trauma or family dynamics or divorce or finding love. It’s all of those things. This book seeks to explore the fullness and complexity of the human experience. There can be joy and there can be sorrow, simultaneously. I hope people see themselves in at least one of these themes.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your poetry collection?

If you take one thing from this collection, I hope that it will be that you are not alone. When we go through grief or pain or trauma, it can feel isolating. But we are all more alike than we are different. I hope you find your community and your healing. And I’m grateful if this book can be part of it.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

No Unpaid Passengers is an exploration of what it means to truly live the decision to “choose yourself.” Told through a collection of poems, Johnson Davis explores themes such as childhood trauma, divorce, Blackness, church politics, and more in these heartfelt pieces. This body of work imagines the first three decades of the author’s life as a long train ride where she takes readers on a journey from thought to thought and memory to memory while letting the people, places, and things that have been extra baggage off at various stops along the way.

This book is “PG-13” and contains some adult language. Some of the aforementioned themes may be sensitive for certain audiences. There are also themes of joy, friendship, love, home, flowers, and butterflies. Enjoy the ride!

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on October 12, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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