What is your writing process?
I primarily write as the narrator or observer. That way I see all and know all and can analyze the thoughts and emotions of my characters. I probably developed this style of writing as a result of listening to the oral stories told by my elders as they sat shuckin’ and jivin’ on the front porch or gossiping around the kitchen table. I started writing as a child in a little pink diary that had a lock and key. Over the years I graduated to legal pads and pencils, typewriters, word processors, PC’s and the iPad. I love to write in the early morning before the sun comes up. The spirits are busy at that time and they whisper in my ear as the refrigerator hums in the background. I love writing in silence, on any writable surface but I can also take myself away in a crowded room if a character is insistent on making an entrance. Sometimes it starts with one word, a sentence or If I’m lucky an entire paragraph. I love developing characters. Some I find on the city streets, in my classroom, in the church and in my dreams. I admit I’m not disciplined in terms of writing every day. However, when I do decide to tell a story I allow my soul to open up and I ask the Spirit to guide my thoughts and emotions to deliver a positive message. I do agree with the writer E.B. White who said “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”
Dr. Watson holds a Doctorate in Adult and Higher Education from Capella University; a Master of Arts in Adult and Higher Education from Morehead State University; and a Master of Science in General Administration from Central Michigan University. She has been invited to speak at numerous workshops and conventions throughout the United States and Canada. Most recently, she was featured on the LGBT Radio Nation Show the topic being Intergenerational Communication. Dr. Watson has also been a guest on the Rhonda Sciortino radio show Crack the Code and the Detroit Area Agency on Aging Senior Solutions Radio Show.
As an author, Dr. Watson shares her personal foster care journey having spent twelve years in the system in her memoir; If Not For Dreams: Memories of a Foster Child and is also anthologized in Growing Up in the Care of Strangers edited by Waln K. Brown and John r. Seita. She frames her discussion to educate, motivate and provide insight to the challenges faced by youth aging out of foster care. She also penned a novella, Dancing Under the Same Moon and has been featured in several other publications.
Another creative outlet is contemporary abstract art. Dr. Watson states” the creator gives us many talents. Whether it’s writing or painting I take myself out of the way and trust the creative process.” Her work has been shown at the Detroit Artist Market, National Conference of Artist Gallery, Jo’s Gallery and The Juanita Ford Gallery and the Charles H, Wright African American Museum.
Since her retirement, she has ventured into yet another genre, film making. Starting a production company, Reel Women Speak is dedicated to impacting the lives of women through visual media. Women will have the opportunity to become empowered, enhance and develop their quality of life and recalibrate their future, thereby strengthening families and transforming communities. Collective Voices: Wisdom of our Lesbian Elders is her first independent film. Dr. Watson states that “whether it’s in my writing, art or film I have a deep need to recollect traditions and generational legacy, this perhaps comes from listening to stories from my elders specifically, African American women sitting, laughing, talking on porch steps or around the kitchen table.”
Debraha Watson describes herself as a mother of two adult children, a film maker, poet, short story writer, essayist, editor and retired higher education administrator. “I can be driven or complacent. Insecure or egotistical like all living creatures I am passing through stages. I am recovering, discovering and growing.”
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