Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here is out now! You can listen to it on your streaming platform of choice here.

This song has only been out a little over 24 hours and it already has sparked some deep conversations. I'd like to talk about some of them here. Trigger Warning: Depression.

Depression is a beast. As someone who has been diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety, I know this all too well. October was a big, beautiful month for me. My album came out (Call Home is still very fresh and lives at the forefront of my recently played music queues), I did my TED Talk, the album release party was fire. So many wonderful things. Then, outside of me, more beautiful things were happening. My best friends had a baby (hi L'Oreal & Jeff!), we celebrated more birthdays than I can count (I love my Libras & Scorpios for real), and Halloween was LIT. On top of all that, fall is my favorite time of year and October really exemplifies the fall spirit.

Then November 1st came...and I woke up sad. There was no rhyme or reason to it. I had been preparing with my therapist for the potential of a "system crash" after having so many big things happen in October, and yet, when depression came knocking, I simply wasn't ready. I cried every day for a week. I felt myself withdrawing from friends & family. Work was kicking my ass, so that didn't help. Suddenly, all I wanted to do was sleep.

That is the mental state I was in when I wrote "Wish You Were Here." It was my depressed self longing for my "normal" self (which is complicated, I know). I just wanted to be here, to be present, in the fullness of joy that I know I'm capable of...but I just couldn't. When I sang, "This Christmas, all I really want is for you to love me like only you can," I was singing to myself. Depression tries to convince me that I am unlovable. And I know that isn't the truth. I know I am Love, and I know I am Loved. But in my lowest of lows, it's easy to second guess. It took me a bit to get out of that place and step back into my power. But I'm grateful for what November 1st taught me.

Maybe you've been in a similar place with your mental health. Or maybe you're experiencing loneliness. Or self-deprecation. Or seasonal depression. Or maybe you're just in the mood for a good cry. Maybe, you're in a damn good place, actually, and you just wanna vibe (WYWH is an excellent song to vibe to, if I do say so myself 😏). Wherever you find yourself when you read this, I hope you know you are Love and you are Loved. Always. And I hope you enjoy Wish You Were Here. I'm immensely proud of it.


PS - Reviews have started to roll in for #WYWH and I'm in awe!

In Due Time

I received my very first Pushcart Prize nomination and I'm crying!

What's wild is that the poem they chose was "Seeing The Real Her" which is a very emotional poem for me. It is a poem I wrote about my estranged grandmother after her death. But also it is the poem that sparked the blog post "Anyone Can Write a Poem."

You see, "Seeing The Real Her" is the poem that was rejected by an Ivy League magazine (🙄) back in January 2021. The editor gave me very harsh feedback and in so many words, suggested that I wasn't a good poet. That conversation hurt me. I didn't write for about a month. But I'm glad that when I picked up my pen again, I wrote the open letter because "Anyone Can Write a Poem" became the basis of my TEDxChicago submission. And guess what?

I was selected alongside about 12 others to give a TED Talk at TEDxChicago!!! My TED Talk is now available to watch here. It is all about poetry being everywhere and for everyone because I truly do believe there is poetry in us all. I'll work to never allow anyone to discredit that in me again.

It was wildly serendipitous that I learned of this Pushcart Prize nomination on the same day that my TED Talk was released on YouTube. God's timing is impeccable.

The next time someone tries to tell you who you are, trust yourself. And just know that a "no" might become the best "yes," in due time.


"Call Home"

My debut solo album Call Home is OUT NOW 🎉

Ahhhh! It still feels surreal to even type that sentence. But yes, it is true! Call Home can be found on all digital streaming platforms

I've been working on this collection of poems and music since late 2019. What started as a side project became the biggest labor of love. I wrote, composed, recorded, and produced this album entirely on my own. It took me almost two full years to learn everything I needed to learn and try everything I needed to try in order to make Call Home a reality. I can't tell you the number of times I threw everything out and started over. I can't tell you the number of times I went back and realized that the original version of a song/poem was actually best. I couldn't tell you all the time I spent learning how to make music as a non-instrument playing singer (yall, there's one song where I'm playing piano and singing live with a ton of construction and noise in the background and I've heard that this one is in line to be the favorite track). I couldn't tell you how many times I cried, both from frustration and from joy. I can't tell you how this entire album is 9 tracks, and totals about 20 minutes, yet somehow feels like a lifetime. I can't tell you how excited, yet terrified, yet thrilled, yet anxious, yet happy I am.

Call Home is the most perfect, imperfect gift I've given myself as a singer. It is a love story to me, and a love story to you. I can't wait for you to hear it.


Our Third Award!

Friiiiieeeends! I am so, so honored to share that we won our third award for Seasons (I'll Be Seeing You)

When I received this news, I was truly floored. The annual Readers' Favorite International Book Award Contest is highly competitive. It is one of the few contests that honors both indie authors and major publishers. Winners have ranged from celebrities like Jim Carrey to NYT Best selling authors to little Black girls from North Little Rock, AR (me). Wow!!!! I am still processing my joy, but wanted to share this press release now. See all of the winners here and the post in my category here. Sending you all love!



September 1, 2021

For immediate release:

Readers' Favorite recognizes "Seasons (I'll Be Seeing You)" by Pam R. Johnson Davis in its annual international book award contest, currently available at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08B84QS71.

The Readers' Favorite International Book Award Contest featured thousands of contestants from over a dozen countries, ranging from new independent authors to NYT best-sellers and celebrities.

Readers' Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the "Best Websites for Authors" and "Honoring Excellence" awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.

We receive thousands of entries from all over the world. Because of these large submission numbers, we are able to break down our contest into 140+ genres, and each genre is judged separately, ensuring that books only compete against books of their same genre for a fairer and more accurate competition. We receive submissions from independent authors, small publishers, and publishing giants such as Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, with contestants that range from the first-time, self-published author to New York Times bestsellers like J.A. Jance, James Rollins, and #1 best-selling author Daniel Silva, as well as celebrity authors like Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty), Henry Winkler (Happy Days), and Eriq La Salle (E.R., Coming to America).

"When the right books are picked as winners we pay attention. We will be spreading the word about Readers' Favorite." --Karen A., Editor for Penguin Random House

Readers' Favorite is proud to announce that "Seasons (I'll Be Seeing You)" by Pam R. Johnson Davis won the Silver Medal in the Poetry - Love/Romance category.

You can learn more about Pam R. Johnson Davis and "Seasons (I'll Be Seeing You)" at https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/seasons-ill-be-seeing-you where you can read reviews and the author’s biography, as well as connect with the author directly or through their website and social media pages.

Readers' Favorite LLC
Media Relations
Louisville, KY 40202

Two Poems

A Soft Place to Land

Child of Onyx:
Your tresses tower to the sky
That's what they call us
And yet the constellations call us
to keep building a ladder to heaven
because I know God is a Black woman
because I have felt Her.

Child of Coal:
Did you know coal takes millions of years to form?
We apply it
And yet who supplies it as we carry the energy of a nation
birthed through generations
from Auntie Harriet to the unnamed, unmarked grave?
Who will love us better than us?

Child of Obsidian:
Daughter. Mother. Sister. Friend.
May you find your rest, nay, demand it
as a field of lilac demands water
as the soil is softened by the rain.
May you, too, find a soft place to land.
Always. Always.

-Pam R. Johnson Davis

Native Tongues/Living Water
Our native tongues were different but 
somehow we spoke a mutual 

Me with my life-giving aura
You with eyes that see past 

flesh and bone
To seek the soul
That would give you
A taste of living 

and even with my timidness
You gave me your trust and 

even when I was uncertain
You held steady and 

even when I hesitated
You still believed

That although our native tongues were different 
We would share a mutual language

You were right

-Pam R. Johnson Davis

Sleep, Soup, Sex

Our bodies are truly amazing. I'm not sure that we as a society really take the time to appreciate the genius of the human body. Instead, we are constantly bombarded by media telling us how we can be better:

• Drink this detox tea to lose weight fast!
• Do this exercise to get your "revenge body!"
• Here's how to go from "flat" ass to "fat" ass in 4 easy steps!
• Acne? No problem! Put this acid on your face to make it alllll go away!
• Want bouncy hair? This aerosol spray will do the trick! All while eating away at our ozone layer, get yours today!

On and on and on. And while there is nothing wrong with wanting to be the best version of yourself, I don't always hear about ways we can tap into the gifts that our bodies are already giving us or trying to tell us about. Have you noticed that your body will tell you (loudly sometimes) that it's hungry? Or horny? Or tired? Or just feeling off-kilter? For example, last month I did #DressedJanuary because my body and brain were telling me that I was in a funk.

One of my fav outfits from #DressedJanuary - this purple set is so cute!

This month is starting off a little differently....with a migraine. Yup, I've had a migraine for 3 days. And there's no better time to tune into your body than when you're experiencing pain. Pain teaches us so much. It forces us to slow down. To be intentional about our actions. Pain can sometimes bring us closer to better hearing our bodies. Truthfully, our bodies are always speaking to us, but we don't always hear it in the hustle and bustle of life. I'm a person who has a history of dissociating from my body - I spent many years ignoring signals of pain or hunger or hurt because I was in denial about my trauma history. But it had permeated every part of my life - from eating disorders to body dysmorphia. It has taken me a lot of time in therapy to reconnect with my body. This is why, in a strange way, when my migraine started last Friday, as I worked through the pain, I felt another surprising sensation: gratitude.

Our bodies are speaking, always. Your body will tell you what it needs, be it sleep, soup, sex, or anything in between. Let's take time to listen.


Get Your Unapologetic Merch ♥

Friends, after toying around with the idea of launching my own merch line for a few years, I finally took the leap!

The "Unapologetic" Unisex Crewneck

Yes! The "UnapologeticallyPam" merch line here friends and I am ecstatic! You can purchase your items here or by clicking the "Shop" tab here on the blog!

Thank you all so much for your continued love & support of the important work of vulnerability, overcoming shame, and living in truth, unapologetically. I am eternally grateful! ♥



Our Second Award!

 I am so, so honored to share that Seasons (I'll Be Seeing You): A collection of poems about heartbreak, healing, and redemption has won the Gold Book Award through Literary Titan!

You can read the press release here and my author interview with them here, but I want to share some of the wonderful words that the reviewer who nominated my book for the award wrote after reading Seasons:

"Seasons: (I’ll Be Seeing You), by Pam R. Johnson Davis is an intense look at the author’s life experiences through poignant poems that are sometimes strikingly honest. While she forewarns readers about the dark places she sometimes visits with her work, there is a refreshing and uplifting side to her work as well. Readers will be taken on a beautiful ride of self-discovery through each of Davis’s poems. Her poems flow smoothly and easily off the tongue and make for lovely read alouds. Davis’s visual pauses are well-placed and serve to drive home the idea that she, and all of her readers, can overcome any obstacle.

I love poetry that pushes the limits and creates strong feelings. Davis’s work does that and more. The poems in Davis’s anthology have all the impact of the rising action and climax of a full-fledged novel. We, as readers, are afforded the opportunity to watch the poet build her way up from a truly dark place and reach again for the stars. I highly recommend Davis’s book of poetry to anyone looking for a quick relatable read or needing words of inspiration. Seasons: (I’ll Be Seeing You), by Pam R. Johnson is an emotionally charged collection of thought-provoking poetry."

Thank you so much to Literary Titan for this prestigious honor. I just keep getting my young mind blown and I'm grateful ♥



Live Well

Self-care is hard work.

Phew. I said it. And I feel relieved at the honesty. Since November, I have had the desire to re-incorporate more things that I love into my schedule. These include:

1. Date night
2. Time with friends and family
3. Reading
4. Writing
5. Yoga
6. Meditation
7. Music

For me, these are parts of my self-care. They are things I need to stay sane, to function and live well. Yet, back in November, I got into a cycle of working 12 hours days. As early as 7 a.m., I would get so busy, anxiously responding to emails and strategic planning that I would often find myself in the middle of one task, jumping to another task, remembering that I didn't complete the other task, coming back to the first task, while my mind wanders to a third task and then, BAM, it's almost 10 p.m. Not good, friends. Not good at all for my mental/physical/spiritual/emotional wellbeing.

In a heart to heart with my therapist, I decided to make some changes. I decided to begin scheduling time for self-care. Sounds simple enough. Yet, here I am almost a week later, new planner in hand, computer tabs aplenty, and I have barely scheduled anything through this week, let alone for the month.

Self-care is easier said than done.

Trying to schedule in time to go to a yoga class or put date night on the calendar or set aside an hour for a phone call with a friend. It feels exhausting. And I keep asking myself, what if I don't feel like it when the time comes? Trying to predict how future Pam will feel about her schedule is tiring. I keep signing up for yoga classes and then canceling. Or researching a new book, then hesitating to purchase it for my kindle. Then trying to plan date night, but not putting it on the calendar because what if we're both exhausted??

I know, I'm overthiking it. But fear is a helluva thing yall. When I shared my worries with my counselor, she paused thoughtfully and said:

"I bet if you try it, you'll find that it excites you more than it scares you."

I think she's right.  After that, a friend of mine asked me some basic questions to help me start organizing my life:
1. What feels important? 
2. What fills you up? 
3. What's not serving you? 

 My friends, I encourage you to do the same. Just try it. We can do it together. I am thinking hard about these questions every day as I am committed to creating a schedule that will allow me to work normal hours, and fill my life with the many other things that I love.

Let's fill our lives with the things we love most and see if our wellbeing continues to grow.


Anybody Can Write a Poem: An Open Letter 💗

Dear Writer,

Keep going.

Toni Morrison once said, "I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it." So simple. Yet so deep. She wrote what she wanted to read, but maybe didn't see on bookshelves. And by doing so, she wrote the story of many Black women. She added beautifully to the tapestry that is womanhood and Blackness and social justice and literature. But her starting point was simple - writing what she wanted to read.

I have so many friends who reach out to me to share their words, their poetry. And every. single. piece. has been deeply beautiful. From poems with 3 lines to poems of 3 pages. From mythological metaphors to thoughts while taking out the garbage on a warm summer day. From poems about lovers to poems about loss. Every time I'm honored to read another person's work, their heart on paper, I make sure to tell them how much their words matter. How deep their thoughts are. How there's beauty in vulnerability. There is no wrong way to write a poem. Period.

And yet, there is a world, a system that we live in that values certain types of intellect or writing over others. I've experienced that system from adolescence to graduate shcool. Comparison traps us under the weight of fear. The fear that our words, as they come out, are not good enough. We tell ourselves, "If I can't write like [insert your favorite famous poet here], or I can't turn an allegory into something that has 'depth' then I'm not a poet." Or "I'm not a writer." Which is wild to me, because I would argue that your favorite poet would probably insist that, "Anybody can write a poem." Anybody. And that poem would be beautiful and have meaning and depth, simply because you wrote it.

I have had my fair share of rejections from magazines. It is part of a writer's journey to publication. Some editors have sent examples of the type of poetry they prefer to read. And their preference is their's to have, to be sure. We don't all have to like the same things. But, those poems that they share with me as the "goal post" of poetry are often ones that are not my goal post. I prefer accessible poetry and writing, as many people do.

Let me be clear that my preference for accessible writing and poetry in no way means that poets who employ other methods from the vast library of literary devices don't deserve a place at the publication table. They absolutely do. Because, again, "Anybody can write a poem."

But who is defining the goal post? I have sometimes been told that my work is too specific, too subjective. Too Black. Too woman. Too rooted in my experience. I once wrote a poem about my grandmother and in response to it, an editor told me, "I can't see myself in this story." (Before you ask, yes, this was a non-Black person). They also said, "It is hard to discern much else from this piece, aside from what is quite literally presented." Essentially: the story you tell here, that is wrapped in Black womanhood and familial trauma, doesn't leave much to my imagination. And because I haven't lived it, I can't really make meaning of it.

That rejection was hard for me. Rejection is always hard, but this one hit home in a different way. It felt like this editor's critiques were not just about personal preference. Their critique suggested that this story, my story, in all its Black ass glory, did not have a place in their hall of poetic elites. I didn't submit for a few weeks after that. I felt myself growing discouraged. Until a close friend of mine shared a poem with me, the first poem she'd written in years. I immediately applauded her, simply because she wrote her truth. She downplayed my applause with an, "Lol, thanks, although it's not very good." To which I replied, "It is good! We define 'good' for ourselves, sis." And then I sat there, reading my own words, and realized I needed to keep that same energy for myself, too.

Therefore, in an effort to channel my inner Toni Morrison, I affirm this: I write the poems that I want to read. I write the stories that I don't see being written. That is my truth. And no one, aside from me, is the gatekeeper of my truth.

So, fellow writer. Write the poem. Write the story. Write that screenplay. Write that letter or postcard. Write in your journal. Submit your writing, if that be your aspiration. Or share with friends and family. Or simply hold it sacred to your heart. Your words are deep. They have value. And no one can take that away from you.

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