Are there any regrets about writing or your decisions to write anything particular on a particular topic?
    Well, I’ve never written anything that I later felt was unfair or something that I later regretted feeling strongly about.  
    I mean, I've written certain columns that some people might have felt were unfair or mean, but I've never written
    anything that wasn't ...true or nothing that was just outright mean and nasty...not something that would purposefully
    ridicule anyone for no apparent reason. But I do regret not pushing my first book sooner.  At this age now, I’m
    feeling the pangs of regret about Shades of Bright Pale.  I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for sitting on it for as
    long as I did.

Tell me, just exactly how long has it been?
    (laughs) Please! I wrote the novel, Shades of Bright Pale in 1994 and was copy written and certified in 1995.  I do
    not think anyone in the whole world will ever know how much I regret not trying to push it further...sooner.

Let me break here...Shades of White Pale is said to be renamed.
    It's Shades of Bright Pale, but yes, I felt I had to because originally, I titled it "A whiter shade of pale," but when I
    considered what type of legal issues I could face from the original artist, Keith Reid, I quickly changed the title.  
    However, the plot remains the same as described by Mr. Reid, "a wild party."

Okay, that was quick thinking. But let me stay on track and ask have you learned your lesson and will you seek
to push your work sooner?
    Oh yes.  As soon as I think it is polished, edited again and again.  I will not hesitate, but will work harder for
    publication.

Besides sitting on your work, what else have you learned?
    Well, I have certainly learned to speak up and asked for help, in addition, I’ve learned that there are a million other
    people just like me; people who work hard and have quality work, but are in the same boat.  However, my attitude is
    new and improved and I have dedicated much more time to the things I love and enjoy most.

When you’re not writing, what else do you do in your free time?
    When I’m not sorting out my scrawl, I’m behind the camera capturing moments that I feel are beautiful and most
    memorable to me.  Also, I enjoy the quiet solitude in sharing and spending time with my husband and my little Dashe.  
    By the way, people assumed that I gave her that name because she is a Dottie, but it is a given name because she is
    so fast.  I mean literally, she keeps me on the go and I must say she is a girl’s best friend.

That's cute.
    She has helped me appreciate things and laugh more.  I suffer with bouts of temporary paralysis and fatigue, but she
    makes sure that I get over it quickly and forces me to do more.  Sometimes, I think she’s saying, ‘Momma, you’re
    not old yet - get up and move!’  Honestly, I could not have asked for a better helper. Oh, and by the way, I don’t own
    her, but I’m genuinely happy to admit that she owns my husband and me.

That’s good; a faithful buddy keeping you on the go.  Any children?
    I'm still a child myself.  No but seriously, I do not have any biological children.  I tend to take to and adopt my own
    nieces and nephews and friend's children.  And once they are gone home, I have an inspiring little doggie that keeps
    me on the go and keeps me from giving in.

Have you considered it…giving up?
    Yes, I have.  I mean, I thought I did not have anything to say or people just were not interested in what I had to say.  
    But I learned that not only does everyone have a story, but through the years, before my dog, I have found that
    whatever else I had going on, I would always revert back to writing. No matter what I was doing, no matter what my
    employment status was or was not, I always picked up pen and paper. And if I did not have those tools, I always had
    a Dictaphone. Whatever it took, I used it to record my thoughts. Now, they may not have always been extraordinary
    thoughts or something so profound, but I would always find peace. When my dad was dying, I wrote about it and
    after he died, I wrote about him too. No matter what, I’m always penning and recording some idea that may have just
    popped into my mind, or perhaps continue where I left off with an ongoing project. Unless I lose my eyesight and I
    become much more demented than what I already am (laugh), I will continue to write. …I suppose until I feel as
    though I just have nothing else to say and up until the day I die.

What other books and projects are you currently working, on and what do you vision for the near future?
    Well, I’m working on a fine tuning another novel I started some time ago… you know editing and completing the
    characters.  Also, I had started a story or a series of four stories all rolled into one about life on the net and in the
    mean time, search or consider writing another column. ...I don't know.

A book about the Internet? Now that sounds interesting.
    Well, I hope so.  I mean, I want people to be aware of what goes on in chat rooms and if a parent is clueless, then I
    hope it will wake them up.

So, it’s a self-help book on the dangers in chat rooms?
    Oh no…I mean, … well, I suppose now that you put it that way, it could be.  But I just want people to know.  You
    know, too many people both young and old leisurely use those rooms and pass along personal information to a
    stranger who may have bad intentions. …I just want people to know.

Wait now. Are you saying that all of the chat rooms are bad?
    No, no not at all.  Just a way of keeping people informed.  But also, the stories have good or even great and exciting
    conclusions....and not just chat rooms, but the experience of the web.

Is any of it by way of personal experience?
    (laughs) Somewhat.  I’ve met some great people across the lines.  Oh and by the way, that’s what it is titled, Across
    the Lines.  But anyway, I came up with the idea as I sat and watched my computer screen and just made up some
    characters and before I knew it, I just kept elaborating each and every word or sentence I typed while developing
    and improving the characters.

So with all of that, it seems you are pretty busy.
    Well, I certainly hope so because I’m getting older and time seems to pass so quickly.  I want to do everything now!  
    I’ve set so many goals and there are so many things I want to do, I think I’m running out of time.  And then when I
    think of how that time and my life is spent, I get anxious.  I suppose another mental flaw.

Lets go back here… are there any regrets?  Are there anymore then you’ve already mentioned?
    Well, I regret wasting time that’s for sure.  What I know now, I certainly wish that God had bestowed that
    knowledge on me some years ago, but since I’m just going through this stage now, I have to move...now.  ...Look,
    I'm sure most or at least some people wish they could be a better, parent...or spouse, friend, listener or confidant...or
    whatever, but when are we going to change and make sure that we are better or at least try and at least make some
    attempt to progress?  Before I leave this earth, I’d like to think that I did the best I could at everything.  Even if I fail,
    I at least want to be at peace knowing that I attempted to get it right or complete things.  There is just so little time.  
    Some years ago, I met a woman in her 70’s, but I tell ya, she looked every bit of late 40’s or even early 50’s.  I asked
    her how does she look so good and keep up, and she simply stated by not giving into this life, not worrying and
    enjoying what you have, and then she just walked away.  And ever since then, I hoped that I could live by that motto,
    but I know I will not be able to, but what I will do, is enjoy all I can when I can and attempt to help people as I go.  It
    gives me such a thrill to share my blessings. ...oh and others have share theirs with me too. I'll never forget the ninety-
    year-old man who was dying and his last words were Life is so short.
    I refuse to be caught sitting doing nothing and allow missed time and opportunities to rest comfortably.  I know I
    should not worry, but I do. I'm human.  I can't help worrying about family and friends and the way of this world, but
    like I said, I will not just sit and wait.  My mother used to say "Weight broke the train down."  So, I tend to not waste
    much time...at least not any more.

Other than Keeba's Korner, what else is there?
    I have a plethora of things that I've written for myself, my family and others, but things like my compositions…or
    personal things, decorate my coffee table or are left someplace in my computer or on a piece of paper or in my
    Dictaphone.

Why?
    I don't know.  I'm working on several things at the moment, but I know I'll get around to them.  I need more time.  
    (sic) I'm not sitting on them - no not like before - but some things need a little more polish.

So the next time we talk, will Shades of Bright Pale be in theatres?
    I certainly hope so!  It does not matter if it makes it to the big screen, but I certainly hope to have it on a screen...
    someplace...anywhere.

Anything else?
    Yes, I’m writing and writing along with taking photos while working on my poster for my next screenplay.  I just ask
    that you continue praying for me.

Thank you for your time.
    Thank you, Hellen
*
Hellen Johnson with Black Denver News talks to Keeba


Thank for meeting with me today.
    Thank you, Helen

Well lets get into it.
    Ok


What prompted you to write? I mean honestly, did you know you could?
    No, and I still don't I just really enjoy doing it.  It's not a job or a heavy burden or not
    even a burden of love, it's just something I enjoy...It's peaceful and relaxing and I just like
    creating on paper.  My first brush with writing began when I was just a youngster.  We
    were poor with only one television.  My older siblings and I had to share that one TV and
    watched whatever was on.
    Most of the time, we watched educational shows like Family Feud and whether some
    [people] may not wish to acknowledge it, shows like Andy Griffin and All in the Family
    were teaching tools as well.
    Well first, let me say, my parents had a rule, and that was that before “our time” came,
    we had to commit to hours and hours of chores.  Well, if I can recall, one early, early
    Saturday morning, my dad was away working one of his many jobs and my siblings and I
    agreed that since our dad was not there to enforce the rules of chores first and playtime
    later, we would do what we wanted so we sat and watched a few cartoons.  One of the
    shows we were watching - I think it was Fat Albert.  Anyway, it mentioned something
    about entering a contest about bicycle safety and my two older sisters decided I could
    win if I just answered all the questions correctly as well as write an essay.  So, with their
    help – of course – I entered the contest and won a bicycle as well as my picture in the
    newspaper.  It was a thrill for all of us, but never did I know, that I would want to be a
    journalist of some kind.

So, in actuality, your initial desire was to be a journalist.
    Yes.  At the time and as I grew older, I dreamt of working for the newspaper, but I
    never knew how to go about it.  Yes I had siblings who could have given me some
    insight, but I suppose I did not actually speak up.  And that’s just one of my many
    problems. (giggle)

I heard that subtle laugh. Now tell me, what do you mean by ‘one of many problems’?
    Well, I do have a problem with speaking out…at the appropriate time. …I suppose that
    has been one of my drawbacks.  I hate that I didn't admit my interest in writing, but I
    don't have any problems with speaking up and out now.

Do you still regret not speaking up about certain things....name an occasion that you
missed the chance.
    Yes, I do regret speaking up - missing an opportunity to share the thoughts and ideas of
    my characters.  Had I told someone...anyone that I wanted to be a writer, there is no
    telling where I might be today.  But don’t get me wrong, I don’t truly regret it, as I’ve
    had a chance to grow and learn so many different things in different areas of writing and
    in my life.  The experiences I’ve had and endured are memorable.  But, I do regret being
    so withdrawn when a TV reporter asked me a question and because I was so nervous
    and uncomfortable, I just let out a dumbfounded, ‘I don’t know.’  The silly thing was, I
    actually did know the answer but just… well for some strange reason I did not say.
Keeba' Interview
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