Donna M. Jackson is an African-American woman, a Philadelphia native, Tuskegee University alumna, and a Registered Nurse. Writing as D. Michele Jackson, she now adds writer, published, politically active nurse to her accolades. Her sociology studies at Tuskegee University and twenty-year nursing career enabled Donna to be prepared when the opportunity of Legal Nurse Consultant availed itself as she represented herself Pro Se in court. That experience allowed Donna to draft briefs during a historical time affording her a voice advocating for health. Donna submitted argument to Congress supporting amending the Nineteenth Amendment. Mission is to encourage, educate, and empower.
BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work?
People who know me will always have a story of me singing in some off beat. I finally hit the perfect note with “JOY”. It is the story of a woman’s divorce experience that afforded her a voice for wellness.
As a defendant representing herself Pro Se, the main character finds herself presenting argument explaining why she should not become homeless post-divorce. Scheduled to be heard last by the presiding judge allowed the defendant to use her nursing assessment skills as she listened to a divorce case. Honing in on health after hearing the judge’s verdict, the defendant was able to make a nursing diagnosis. The judicial system dropped the gavel against well-being, and it becomes the defendants quest to fight not only for herself, but an ailing nation as well. The book is available on Nook and Kindle.
BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
The main character is the defendant. She takes us on a journey of the men she dated prior to marriage, and how each of the relationships offered facts for consideration in legal briefs forwarded to the Supreme Court of the state of origin, which led to the United States Supreme Court. It is the man she’s divorcing that allows a platform writing as a Legal Nurse Consultant. In hindsight, after failed relationships, the other characters enabled the defendant to form opinions on health. The once defendant, final brief is to Congress presenting argument supporting amending the Nineteenth Amendment. The experience could be considered the epitome of taking lemons and making lemon aid.
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
The story started with me writing what I thought would be a good and entertaining read. Twice, I understood God to say, “That’s not the story.” I stopped writing. When I decided to begin writing again (after divorcing), the story had written itself. Now, that’s God!
Inspiration to me is always my Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. The women who spoke into my spirit. The smirk on the man I divorced face at my most vulnerable point in life. My battered heart. The possibilities that await as a result of sharing my story. The book was written at the perfect time as history is on my side.
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
People often remember me as always wanting to be a nurse. What many don’t know, my motivation to go to nursing school was to have a career that would offer me a salary I could live off working part-time while attending law school. Later in my career I learned about Legal Nurse Consultants. The older I became, I had a peculiar interest in law. As difficult the journey has been, I find pleasure in the fact “JOY” took me to the halls of justice as a self-taught consultant practicing Constitutional Law.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven?
“Amazing Grace: A Tribute to You, The Story of Us” is the first book of a trilogy. “JOY: Jesus on You” is the second book. Both “Amazing Grace” and “JOY” were divinely inspired. “Amazing Grace” is an introduction of me written in a memoir. I would have to say it is character driven. My second book comes across as plot-driven.
“JOY” is the mark I hope to leave on society. “JOY” is an extension of “Amazing Grace” in both stories you see a woman of faith. In “Amazing Grace” the woman is trying to find her way to proper positioning before God. In “JOY” the woman is being used by God to fulfill His plan and purpose in her life. Both are stories of change offering hope and liberation.
BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
As taught as a student attending Drexel University, School of Nursing, I presented to Congress as a politically active nurse advocating for health. I wrote to the 113th Congress, submitting bipartisan opportunity to holistically reform health and promote preventative care for: women, children, men, elderly, gay, poor, and rich. Globally, women are not progressing socially and economically as men. That fact is reflected in my own profession. “Men are more likely to be found in highly-paid nursing occupations. Among men and women in the same nursing occupations, men out earn women.” Retrieved January 28, 2016: http://blogs.census.gov/2013/02/25/men-in-nursing-occupations
I advocated for health from every perspective impeding well-being.
BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey?
Currently I am staying with a friend and her family. I wrote the briefs from the homes of people in multiple states. Since divorce, my health suffered as a result of working understaffed as a nurse. Currently, my position has caused a reinjure. The home that I won fairly and was displaced from was my home office as well. I was working on a start-up business promoting health.
Prior to marriage, I was talking to my first boyfriend as he gave advice regarding my consideration of getting a second job. He advised, the answer is not getting a second job. You need to find one good job paying adequately. I divorced a man who suggested I should get a second job. My father concurred with the first advice received. The man I divorced signed papers allowing the business. I presented the document to the judge as one of my exhibits. He documented the proof submitted as “voluminous”.
I’m very humbled when it comes to my education, and my memoir explains why. My personality is one that tucks my intelligence away, and I prefer to exhibit my fun and loving characteristics when interacting with people. However, after being grossly disrespected through the divorce process, I had no problem with reaching into my pocket of knowledge, combined with endowed wisdom from God and show the dishonest rendering that God will use an unknown from the hood to address injustices.
I am grateful for my relationship with God. Without the Lord on my side, I would have crumbled and died.
BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
I had to consider how strategic I was in approaching marriage. I asked what I thought to be all the right questions. Important to me was knowing if he was a believer of the resurrection of Christ. I was honest with who I was as a person, and that included the baggage I carried; my goals, ambitions, and desires as an individual and a wife. Although at this point, I only remember my discussions of me as an individual. I think that is because I never had a realistic opportunity of being a wife with the man I divorced, and unfortunately I learned that fact after becoming married.
My time as a single woman again has broadened my views on matrimony. A more telling line of questioning would have been related to can God trust you with my heart. Are you the man God has sent to relive me of the turmoil that lies within? Do you understand the importance of relationship with God and the role it plays as a husband who can cover his wife in prayer allowing her to become the help meet God created? Are you committed to the vows? I believe had these points been addressed, the issues that were discussed prior to marriage would have proven insignificant because we would have truly been on one accord. Subtly, I had been groomed for marriage my entire life; as excited I was about becoming engaged, I marveled at finally having my opportunity to love a man wholeheartedly as I have always known the holy state of matrimony is endearing to God.
I would have to say I learned how much God is on point in all that He does.
BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
The only “research” I had to do for the book was legal related. As a result, I was truly at the mercy of some people. I reached out to many people for help. I met kind and helpful law students. I met law students with sealed lips. I met honest attorneys. I met corrupt attorneys. I reached out to people who could care less. My favorite attorney was Attorney Johnny Cochran. After learning that I may have given the benefit of doubt too freely in many instances regarding attorneys, I never forwarded my request for help to his firm. I made that decision as a result of my experiences with requesting assistance. I didn’t want to risk having his name tarnished in my memory.
BPM: What were your goals and intentions in writing this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
First and foremost, to honor Jehovah. To offer the world His Son, Jesus – The coming Messiah. To reveal Him as a loving God that loves us all the same. Then, to honor the sacrifices of my mother. I also wanted to pay tribute to talented people, prominent figures, women who paved the way, and leaders who made a difference so that I would have opportunity to do the same for others. I’m proud to say I nailed my goals.
BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
Inspired by the last ten years of my life which have been quite traumatic for me, I recall how this slippery slope began with me in a hospital with my mother waiting to go in the operating room. It was in that holding room I now understand that a promise for everlasting life was initiated and sealed with a kiss. I present as that vessel that offers what Abraham Maslow describes as fulfilling Self Actualization.
The Lipstick Movement is a vision of mine with a focus on upward mobility. Welcome to the Lipstick Blog Tour: http://thelipstickmovement.com
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?