Jodie Smith is an author in Jacksonville, Fl. While writing is often seen as a task for others, writing has always been her passion and her therapy. A book of her collected thoughts and poetry titled "The Book of Real Shit" is how Jodie decided to introduce the world to her talents and inner self. Behind the cover of the raw titled book are the real emotions that not only Jodie has experienced but that many have endured in their black experience.
I've known Jodie since high school and she has always had a commanding presence. The talent she shares in her book easily matches her spirit. In 2017, I had the pleasure of working with Jodie at Black Opal when she captured the ears and thoughts of many when she performed her cleverly titled poem Negus in Plastic from her book. Since that experience I have grown more interested in her work and seeing where her talents will take her. Allowing herself to literally be read in an open book is a gift to us all and allows us to realize that we do not experience the hardest parts of life alone. Her brave unveiling is the openness we should all strive to achieve.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was in elementary school I would enter poetry competitions and throughout the years I continued. I would always walk around with a composition book, writing my feelings and expressing my thoughts because I didn’t have the courage to do so verbally. With the pen I was always a master. While in college, I started to share my work with others and I recognized my talent by how moved I made others. I was effectively able to make people feel... and I loved that! I’ve always been a writer but I was going against the grain and going to school for numerous majors. Through God, it was confirmed that my passion was also my purpose and my profession. Writing has never been a hobby, it's either I write or I wilt. It is either I dream or I drown, so I’ve always been a writer for my sanity.
What inspired you to write the "Book Of Real Shit" ?
Depression inspired me to write "The Book of Real Shit". Often times we are sold a dream about life and we don’t know what to do when we encounter nightmares. I think going though depression allowed me to write some of my most riveting, thought provoking, and monumental pieces. Depression forced me to explore my mind, but most of all embrace my feelings. I know the things we go through are never for us, but for us to share our story so we can give hope and healing to others experiencing similarities. "The Book of Real Shit" is just that, it is the black voice, the black thought, and the black experience not only in America, but throughout the world.
What would you like the readers to take from your book?
I want readers to know that you can’t filter life, but you can feel it and that is not only normal, but also necessary. We have been told that life will be roses and that is not real. Sometimes we will plant the perfect seeds and still grow weeds. I want my readers to embrace their reality and speak their truth. I titled my book "The Book of Real Shit" because I was tired of life being sugar coated, poetry being pink, and people only offering their surface level. Get deep baby, embrace your depression, life, heartbreak and love, swim in it. We live in a generation that is afraid to be real because everyone glorifies fake. Be you and do it fiercely.
What is your favorite book besides your own?
My favorite book is "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston. I love everything about this book, reading it liberated my life.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I find comfort in writing. Writing energizes me because once I'm inspired I feel like I’m on fire and I have to write! I stay up all night writing until I get all my thoughts out. What is sleep? Sometimes, I wake up to write because God is talking to me and I want to make sure I remember the words. I pray over my work to make sure the message is clear and that alone is good energy and good vibes. So, writing could never be exhausting for me unless I wasn’t living in my truth. Right now, writing is exhilarating. I have to write or I will drown. It is not a hobby, it is my help and my home.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I don’t believe in writers block, I believe in being uninspired. Sometimes, I'm so inspired that I go on writing binges and write all day because I don’t want to lose that moment. I think it is important for me to write when my feelings are heightened, whether it is with love, lust, depression, or happiness. When I’m not inspired, I don’t write because I don’t ever want to speak anything other than truth. When you force it, it doesn’t flow, and I yearn to be water.
What does literary success look like to you? What are your goals?
Literary success to me is my work being a mandatory requirement and a must read in various school systems. I want my work to be studied not for praise, but for the purpose of teaching people how to master this human experience. In the next two years, I see myself conducting lectures at various universities to discuss real life topics such as depression, positive thinking, relationships, God, and love. Through poetry I’m able to make light of dark subjects that need to publicly presented and I hope to have the platform to do so. I’m working on my next book which is titled "Nectar and Ambrosia: The Levels of Love". I plan to keep experiencing, so I can keep writing. I don’t only want to reflect the times, but I want to reflect life as a whole. The goal is to be more Godly and my being will flow and fit perfectly in the places that I’m destined to be.
Signed copies of "The Book of Real Shit" can be purchased on Jodie's site theauthorjsmith.com The book can also be purchased at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
To learn more about Jodie Smith and have up-to-date information on her upcoming book "Nectar and Ambrosia: The Levels of Love" follow her on Instagram @theauthorjsmith and @bobbyjamesss