We had the good fortune of connecting with Bridgitte Jackson-Buckley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bridgitte, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I would say writing chose me. Writing has always been (and continues to be) my “go to response” and first choice of practice to reflect and give voice to what’s inside. However, for a long time to be a professional full-time writer was not a career I thought I could have.
Despite the fact that I often felt prompted to write, for years I ignored the internal prompt to write and tried to be happy in other professional capacities because I doubted my writing abilities. However, the idea of writing and the urge to write professionally simply would not go away.
Finally, after years of discontent with traditional administrative work, having had some success in the blogging arena, and after making the decision to stop acquiescing to self-doubt and fear, I made the conscious choice to fully accept what had chosen me all along…writing.
I was under no impression that going forward as a full-time writer would be easy, but with nothing to lose and so much to gain, I decided it was worth a try.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In 2005, during a disturbing turn of events, my husband was hospitalized due to the onset of symptoms for a stroke. He was 33 years-old. In every way imaginable we were unprepared to deal with the long-term effects of the challenges that lie ahead. The financial distress, parental responsibility, unexamined emotional wounds, blame, resentment, fear and anger unearthed elements of our psyche that nearly destroyed us and our marriage. The loss of his ability to work propelled us into the beginning stage of what became the most prolonged and difficult period of our lives.
For the next several years, we experienced the devastating loss of our home through foreclosure, ruptured familial relationships, job loss and a steady decline of our marriage. Throughout this period there were times when I believed myself to be the victim. It wasn’t until I turned to meditation, prayer and journaling to make it through each day and began sincere self-examination, that I was ready to understand the circumstances provided an invitation for growth.
For more than one year, I sat down in a meditative state to ask questions to help me mentally and emotionally navigate the difficult and uncertain times I faced. During meditation, in addition to periods of silence after prayer, I began to ask questions to solicit clarity and guidance into my awareness. The more I posed questions during a meditative state, I began to notice answers would indeed come into my awareness. However, as soon as the meditation session was over, I forgot the guidance which came into my awareness. The only way to remember was to write it down.
It was at that time I decided to bring a journal to my meditation sessions. In the midst of this silent struggle, I turned within for at least 20 minutes a day to be able to make it through each day. I continued to meditate and write in my journal.
Meditation grew to become the most practical, accessible and effective way I found to calm myself of the anxiety-ridden thoughts. At the time, I had no idea the practice I created around journaling would become my first book almost seven years later.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I suggest visitors start the day at Dockweiler Beach. Early in the morning it’s a nice place to enjoy a cup of coffee while watching the rise and fall of the ocean waves. Then, drive about ten minutes away for a good local breakfast-to-go at The Serving Spoon in Inglewood. The chicken and waffles are my favorite!
Next, head up to Sunset Boulevard and the Sunset Strip where the winding drive will take you through a cross section of the west side of Los Angeles where you can hop on the freeway for a visit The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. You will be in awe at the vast beauty of the stunning botanical collection.
Lastly, finish off the trip at Griffith Park Observatory, a beautiful observatory that offers incredible views of Los Angeles. Enjoy! And don’t forget your mask!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost, I would like to send a big shoutout to the courageous Black women writers who came before me. Their creative perseverance and literary accomplishments have left an indelible mark on the literary world forever.
I would also like to send a shoutout to the authors of my favorite books; whose writing helped me find my way through the darkness to the “light at the end of the tunnel”. Writing is hard and honest writing is even harder. Their inspirational, encouraging and enlightening stories inspired me to do for others what was done for me.
Next, I would like to send a shoutout to my writing group – Roxanne Reaver, April Rivera & Cathy Hammons. “Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” – Rumi. It was clear from the beginning I was not meant to complete the book without them. Their presence provided an honest space to explore and write about spiritual concepts in a loving and practical way.
And lastly, a shoutout to my husband, Dennis Buckley, for encouraging me to choose faith over fear and “do my own thing.”
Image Credits: B. Butler Small Press Book Festival B. Jackson-Buckley (books) Steve Halama (heart image)