Spring 2007 Contest--Runner Up!
WOW: Renise, congratulatory hugs to you for placing as one of our Runners Up! How do you feel?
Renise: I’m still getting over the shock of having my first flash fiction story published. I love going to the WOW! site and seeing my work alongside women whose writing I truly respect-- it’s a very humbling experience.
WOW: Thanks for the compliment. We're glad it's a positive shock. Could you tell us a little about your story and what encouraged the idea behind “Thanks for Ruining My Dinner”? Was there anything from real life that played a part in your story’s creation?
Renise: The title was inspired by my Mom who never hesitates to speak her mind. When I give her news she doesn’t agree with, especially news about a new boyfriend or other interest, she adamantly states “thanks for ruining my dinner.” I’ve yet to figure out how serious she really is about this proclamation.
WOW (laughs): Maybe after she reads this interview, she’ll give you an answer! Could you tell us a little about yourself and what fascinates you?
Renise: I am fascinated by human experiences of all sorts and find people watching to be the best way to pass time as a result. My most memorable experience observing others came when I was studying the Negritude literature movement in Paris. I was unfamiliar with the language so the only connection I had to those around me was to observe their mannerisms and try to connect on the most basic levels.
WOW: That does sound enlightening, even on those basic levels. Have you found enlightenment or inspiration from other books or authors you could recommend?
Renise: Recently, Steven Pressfield’s War of Art has had the biggest impact on me, but I’ve fallen in love with the powerful African American characters of Pearl Cleage; the life she breathes into her characters is immaculate.
WOW: Yes, I think it’s fair to say that many readers have fallen in love with her work. In fact, one of her books, What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day was an Oprah Book Club pick and it also spent nine weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. She surely meets her goals. What about you, do you have any specific long-term goals for your writing career?
Renise: My long term goal is to open a publishing house for African American writers telling the stories of people and places that would otherwise go unheard of. In the meantime I am focused on building Young Savvy, a lifestyle redesign company devoted to motivating young adults to create the life they dream of living in spite of resistance and barriers.
WOW: That’s a goal worth sweating over. Could you share other goals related to your writing? Out of the other works you’ve written, could you describe your favorite one or more in a little detail?
Renise: Unlike “Thanks For Ruining My Dinner,” I write a lot of serious stories based on my life. Although it’s very emotional, I’m currently developing a piece dedicated to my Granny who recently passed from Carcinoid Cancer. I want people to read it and recognize the value in taking a break from their daily grind when personal tragedy hits.
WOW: That’s a valuable point to make. Sharing something so personal always benefits others. You’ve already answered my next question about the areas or genres in which you prefer to write. Do you want to add anything here?
Renise: Like many writers, I started out simply writing in my journal. Removed from the pains of judgment my journal has always been a sacred space for creation, release, and meditation so that is the kind of writing that will always remain dearest to my heart.
WOW: How true. A writer’s journal is sacred. Sometimes, when I’m lacking motivation, I reread certain parts in mine. It usually helps me get moving again. Could you end on some motivating words for our audience?
Renise: Too often people get stuck thinking that they want to become a writer. If you write then you are already a writer, you just need to let the world know and continue perfecting your craft.
WOW: Well said, again. You’ve made many solid points and thoughtful comments. Thanks, Renise, for taking the time to respond to my questions and for sharing a part of yourself with our readers. Good luck to you, your writing, and your project, Young Savvy. Oh, and good luck to your mother. Since she “never hesitates to speak her mind,” I imagine you might not hesitate, either. ;-)
Well, there you have it, ladies, another success story. Go check out Young Savvy! I just checked--she has a new site!