highly textured writer / poetry / public libraries / writing

Highly Textured Writer: Jonterri Gadson

high•ly tex•tured writ•er: A person whose work is to write books, poems, or stories and has curly or kinky hair.

Welcome Jonterri Gadson to Librarian Dreams.

1. What is your signature hairstyle and how do you achieve it?
I have different signature styles depending on the season. During warm months, I’m the queen of the wash-and-go. I do this by co-washing and leaving in the Herbal Essences Hello Hydration conditioner. My curls stay in put the best this way.

When it’s cold outside, I am all about an Afro puff. I spritz with a water bottle, apply Eco Styler Olive Oil Hair Gel and slick my hair up into a high puff with an elastic band. Whenever my puff gets patted down by TSA, I know I’m having a good hair day.

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2. Which books could give insight on you as a person? Why?

Great question. I saw myself in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. I related to Janie’s path to becoming an empowered woman–how relationships with others taught her so much and how she was internally driven to keep seeking what she desired. After that, I find it difficult to think of whole books, but poems keep coming to mind. Gwendolyn Brooks has the poem that begins “First fight, then fiddle.” That’s my motto and my mantra when it’s time to put my head down and get to work or when I have to put up with some BS in order to get where I’m trying to go.

their eyes

3. Have libraries had any impact on your writing?
Libraries impact my writing because reading impacts my writing. My writing is fueled by reading and libraries make a large number of books accessible all at once. One of the best things about working in academia is having access to university libraries. When I’m in a writing lull, I’ll check out 20-25 poetry collections and just read. If reading is nourishment, then libraries are all you can eat buffets. Free buffets!

Another great thing about libraries is the unique type of space that they are. I’ve written a lot in libraries. There’s an expectation of peace in a library that you can’t find in coffee shops or other public spaces.

jtreading

4. How do you manage being a writer while having a full time job and being a mom?

Nothing else in my life is as fulfilling as writing. Nothing. So managing to write while working full time and being a mom is a matter of wanting to really enjoy my life. Writing is what kicks things up from simple survival to really living and thriving for me. If I just worked and did the mom thing, I’d just be getting by, doing what’s required of me. Since I don’t want to be miserable, I write when my son’s asleep or before he wakes up or during times when I say to him that I’m writing and I do not want to be disturbed. He’s waiting right now for me to finish actually. My current full time job as a creative writing fellow offers me time to write as I only teach two classes per semester. I’m happiest when I write and can recognize how my full time job contributes to my ability to live a life that allows me to write. I’m grateful for motherhood when I write and realize the various perspectives my relationship with my child has given me. So the long answer is, I structure my life with writing at the center so I can be a sane person for my child and my employers.

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Want to know more about Jonterri Gadson? You can follow her on Twitter or read her poetry.

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