This will be quite a busy month for poet, author, editor and motivational speaker Joi Miner. She has a new book she’s promoting, a business that she’s striving to take to the next level and a spoken word event that she’s planning to host in Birmingham.
Joi’s book A Good Girl with Bad Habits 2 is now available on Amazon.
Joi is the co-founder of Poetic Advisory, LLC, through which she hosts creative events and workshops and offers editing services to writers.
On June 25 at the Desert Island Supply Co., Joi will host the Red and Black Affair, a spoken word event designed to bring together the city’s creatives and introduce them to Poetic Advisory. (You can get details and RSVP here.)
Looking at all Joi is up to these days it’s hard to believe that a few months ago she had been hospitalized and told by a doctor that she wouldn’t survive the night.
Because of her hard work, tenacity, and perseverance, Joi Miner is the See Jane Write Member of the Month for June.
You recently shared a story at Arc Stories about the month you faced a life-threatening illness. Tell us about that experience and what you learned from it.
I call it my “scared straight” experience. I was diagnosed with e.Coli in my left kidney and admitted to St. Vincent’s for 6 days. I was on morphine, blood thinner because I could barely get out of the bed, antibiotics, sodium chloride, and was told that they didn’t expect me to make it through the night. My blood pressure and fever spiked the first 3 days while they tried to get my white blood cell count under control so that they could tell what was causing the issue.
My hardheaded behind was worried about writing and editing deadlines, my children and dinner, and my husband (you would have thought they’d told him that he was the one who almost died by the way he panicked). I, on the other hand, looked at the doctor and told him that I wasn’t gonna die. I had shit to do. I mean, I knew I was sick, but not death sick, you know. Even after I was discharged, after seeing the sullen faces of my friends who came to visit, my mom calling and fussing and telling me that I better listen to the doctors and nurses, multiple x-rays checking for damage, my children and husband in tears because they were traumatized, I still didn’t get it. Even when a friend asked me at dinner a couple of weeks later how I processed being told that I wasn’t supposed to make it through the night, I replied, “I don’t think I did. Death wasn’t an option for me.”
It wasn’t until a month after I’d been discharged, when I still wasn’t at 100-percent functionality, and I sat down and reflected and blogged about the experience that it sank in what I was doing to myself and how my death would have affected my husband and children. I had to realize that 24-hour writing and editing cram sessions, always being available to everyone and putting myself and my health last had almost cost me my life. Then who would have taught (my daughter) Phoenix how to put on makeup? Who would have helped (my daughter) Dira find fishnets and a tulle skirt for 8th grade prom? Who would have been there to cheer my husband on and remind him of his awesomeness? I mean, he may have remarried eventually, but she wouldn’t have been the amazing woman that I am.
But in all seriousness, I learned that there will always be deadlines. There will always be dinner to cook. There will always be some event to attend or some fire to put out. So I needed to take care of myself so that my friends and family don’t have to try and find a decent, albeit not nearly comparable replacement. I live in the now. I love and take time to breathe and enjoy the little things. And I am slowly learning to balance myself, my life, my responsibilities, and normal stuff like rest and eating three times a day.
Wow! Well, after getting well you got to work on releasing a new book. Tell us about it.
A Good Girl with Bad Habits 2 is the second in a three-book series. I refer to it as autobiographical fiction because it’s my life’s story.
It’s about Imani Jones, a poet and newly single mother who is trying to find herself as an individual after a terrible divorce from an abusive husband. Her ex keeps giving her all kinds of trouble and she’s trying to heal, and raise and care for her daughter, Zion, at the same time. She tries to deal with her loneliness in a number of unhealthy ways until she finds a man, Vincent Garvey (based on my husband), who tries to love her the right way. But, both of their pasts come out in this book in a way that may ruin what they’re trying to build before they even get things going.
It’s a story that so many women have experienced in living color. And we don’t always make the best decisions, no matter how hard we try. Imani has to learn to love herself before she’s going to be able to be loved by anyone. But, as we all know, this can be a struggle. You find yourself feeling Imani’s pain, shaking your head at her craziness, and rooting for her and Vincent till the very last page.
I want to say that it’s my favorite book, but every book that I write is my favorite one when I finish it.
What can we expect at the Red and Black Affair set for June 25?
The Red and Black Affair is going to be the true Poetic Advisory experience. We want to introduce the City of Birmingham to what one of our shows is like. I will be hosting. There will be spoken word from some of the hottest poets in and around the area as well as Poetic Advisory partners. DJ Love Deluxe spinning some great tunes. We’ll have light refreshments. We’ll also have a Timeline Table that shows what we have done in the past and a table of products available for sale, from my books and creams, to t-shirts, to my partner Tessa’s jewelry. Attendees will also get the opportunity to network and get to know us as well as learn about our services. And everyone who registers on the Eventbrite page will get a Poetic Advisory swag bag. A little birdie told me it may have a free Joi Miner novella inside.
What’s next for Poetic Advisory?
Right now, we’re working on two productions, a quarterly spoken word event in Birmingham, and an after-school/summer program.
We’re turning my novel series “Side Piece Chronicles” into a web series. It’s being converted into a screenplay as we speak. And we hope to begin casting and filming this summer. We want to do a three-city screening for that. We’re also writing a stage play that we hope to bring to theaters Spring 2017 at the latest.
We want to make events like the one that we will have on the 25th every quarter and bring big name, influential spoken word artists to the city. The catch is that we will also allow some local talent to get to experience sharing the stage with those poets that they admire.
My partner Tessa is an educator and wants to create an after-school program in the Prattville area that blends her love for children with her creativity and love for DIY projects. We hope to have that done by 2017 as well.
What’s next for you?
Books. Books. And more books. Lol. I’m still planning to write a book a month for the remainder of the year. I will be attending some book conferences but I am also enjoying this new journey as a storyteller, so I want to delve into that more. I am also working with a friend to create a writing workshop to show people that writing a book really is possible. It will take the participant from pen and paper (or computer and word processor) to publishing and promotion. And I will be partnering with the Rape Crisis Center to facilitate workshops for survivors, advocates, and the community, teaching them to use writing, music, and maybe some visual arts as coping mechanisms.
What do you love most about being a member of See Jane Write?
See Jane Write has given me the chance to meet some amazing women, women that I can talk to and learn from and just be myself around. And, in a day and age where some women would rather tear one another down than build one another up, it’s so great to be in an environment where we truly encourage and celebrate one another. It’s refreshing and seeing that there are others who are chasing their dreams just as hard as I am really motivates me. I also love learning about blogging and how it can serve a greater purpose than being an online diary, as some believe.
Send your nominations for See Jane Write Member of the Month to email@example.com.