Antoinette M. Watkins writes under the pen name Johanna Sparrow. She’s been writing for over 20 years and has published a variety of works that include children’s books, novellas, and self-help books on the topics of relationships, personal growth, and conflict resolution.
To get in touch with Ms. Sparrow
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JohannaSparrow
NP: Your birth name is elegant – Antoinette. What did you have in mind when you selected Johanna Sparrow as a pen name? Is there a relationship between our concept of self or the name we wish to project and the name we write under?
Sparrow: To be honest the name was given to me in a dream. Much depends on why the name is chosen in the first place. Yes, one’s name can be connected to unspeakable hurt; but for me the name allows for a deeper connection to a part of oneself that hasn’t been hurt or traumatized, while simultaneously understanding the nature of such balance.
NP: What were some of the experiences in your life that inspired you to help others? How did you go about tackling the issues that confronted you? And, is writing about them helpful?
Sparrow: Some of the experiences in my life that inspired me to help others had much to do with how horrible I felt I was treated in my family. I vowed to help others who suffer hurt and pain in their everyday life. I tackled tough issues in my life by not taking things out on others and by accepting that fact that I can only change myself. Writing can definitely be one form of self-help.
NP: You write about HBCCR “Heart Bruised Conscious Connection Renewal.” How would you explain or describe it, and how the system works and affects our lives and relationships?
Sparrow: Our hearts and minds are greatly influenced by our experiences. Negative experiences can damage our psyche and leave us trapped in a cycle of pain, depression, self-loathing, and confusion. The ability to overcome those experiences depends on your level of spirituality more than anything else.
Knowing your purpose depends on how much you understand your part in the Universal Consciousness Connection (UCC) and the realization that you are an eternal soul having a human experience.
NP: When a person is suffering from an incurable disease, or finds her or his self in virtual isolation such as old age, or permanent unemployment with no money coming in, no family or close friends and when the seeming absurdity of the struggle resonates deep within why should that person stay? Is there any juncture in your mind in which suicide is an option?
Sparrow: I am not one to ever give up, so I would have to say, suicide should never be an option. Even when one feels as if they have nothing or no one in their life, you can say that you still have life…you’re breathing. Moments in life where one sees no hope or nothing to live for or no one to love can only be felt if one is truly alive. Being able to feel such emotion or hopelessness while living should make one question ending his or her life since they are passing through a form of death with their eyes open.
NP: Within the scope of emerging technologies where the human and machine appear to overlap do you see issues evolving around what constitutes human and humane?
Sparrow: Yes, relationships are changing every day due to people not making intimate connections because of the distractions from emotionless gadgets. Issues are evolving around what we are and how we have begun to treat one another which is distant and unconcerned and that in small part is the focus of my writings and how we can interact with each other.
NP: Your works cover a wide range of human issues and obstacles we face. Is there commonality you see in issues we face today and potentially tomorrow?
Sparrow: The need to intimately communicate with each other appears to increase proportionately to the amount of time we engage in various technologies rather than directly with other people. It would seem obvious that “texting your love” is fine on one level though it does not replace the face to face human connection. “Texting your love” is not the same as physical touch and looking in the other person’s eyes or holding their hands and embracing them as another human. The question is whether we are becoming more attached to technology than the human experience we once shared.