Birmingham based author, Breast Cancer Survivor and Beyoncé superfan, Javacia Harris Bowser took some time out of her busy schedule to chop it up with Reviews & Dunn.
- Reviews & Dunn – You recently published your first book Find Your Way Back. What was the inspiration behind the title?
Javacia Harris Bowser – The Beyoncé song of the same title inspired Javacia Bowser – The title. My book is about how I have used writing to get through everything life has thrown at me — including a cancer diagnosis. When I was going through cancer treatment, and as I have been navigating survivorship, I also turned to music. I even made a cancer playlist, which included the song “Find Your Way Back.” The essays in my book seek to show readers that no matter what you are facing, you have the power to write your way back to yourself. Therefore, the title Find Your Way Back seemed perfect.
- Reviews & Dunn – Growing up in the South, did you always aspire to become a writer?
Javacia Harris Bowser – I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Of course, I went through phases where I thought about other careers, and I also wanted to be a teacher — which I did for ten years — but I always went back to writing. Writing has always been my way of processing emotions and better understanding the world and myself. In addition, as I got older, I learned that writing could be used to help and inspire others, too.
- Reviews & Dunn – Which authors would you say were most influential in your journey to finding your voice?
Javacia Harris Bowser – There are so many authors who have influenced me. I was most influenced by Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, and Toni Morrison growing up. In my early 20s, I was greatly influenced by June Jordan’s poetry and essays, and Joan Morgan’s When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down. In addition, my favorite book about writing is Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. All of these women wrote words that made me feel seen, and that is what I hope my writing can do for other women as well.
- Reviews & Dunn – Was See Jane Write always the title you had in mind for your website?
Javacia Harris Bowser – See Jane Write is both a website and a community for women who write. The name is a play on the old Dick and Jane books that would include sentences like “See Jane run.” and “See Jane skip.” Sometimes people ask why I do not call the website and community. See Javacia Write but the community I am building is not just about me. I want to help all women with a story to share to see themselves as writers.
- Reviews & Dunn – You are a breast cancer survivor. My son went through chemotherapy in the early years of his life, and one of the things that helped me cope was the music of New Edition. Was there a particular artist you kept on repeat while you were going through your battle?
Javacia Harris Bowser – I listened to several different artists. My Find Your Way Back Spotify playlist features the songs I listened to the most during treatment.
- Reviews & Dunn – Though I have never formally met your husband, Mr. Edward Bowser, I consider him a big brother through our Facebook friendship. I understand you all had a legendary playlist when you jumped the broom and that it was covered in Southern Living. How did that come about?
Javacia Bowser – While people are still talking about our wedding reception 16 years later, it was not covered in Southern Living. I think you may have gotten that confused with a recognition I got back in 2016. Because of See Jane Write, I was featured on Southern Living’s list of Innovators Changing the South — alongside people like Dolly Parton and Reese Witherspoon.
- Reviews & Dunn – As an Insecure fan, were you satisfied with the finale?
Javacia Harris Bowser – I was very happy with the finale. It was nice to see Black women get the happy ending we deserve.
- Reviews & Dunn – The Obamas fly into Birmingham and ask you to meet them at the city’s best Soul Food Spot for lunch. Where would you take them?
Javacia Harris Bowser – I would take them to Yo Mama’s for sure. Chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, peach cobbler — so much deliciousness to choose from!
- Reviews & Dunn – Keith Sweat (your husband’s favorite artist) and Beyoncé (your favorite artist) perform on the same night. Both artists have given you full-on VIP access. Which shows are The Bowsers attending?
Javacia Harris Bowser – Both. We are the type of couple that does not need to do everything together. I would go see Beyoncé with my friends, and he would go see Keith Sweat with his friends.
- Reviews & Dunn -Is there anything you would like to add? In addition, where can fans find you on social media?
Javacia Harris Bowser – I would love everyone to check out my book. It is available on Amazon in paperback and eBook. In addition, check out my Facebook group, the See Jane Write Network. I am on Instagram @seejavaciawrite.