Women of Wednesday: Minda Honey on Writing, Belonging, and Carving out Space
WOMEN OF WEDNESDAY is a weekly micro-interview series featuring women of color in various industries and walks of life, focused on highlighting their pursuits and making it easy for readers to support their endeavors. If you would like to be featured, please submit your answers to the below five questions here.
Minda Honey, 31, woman of many words (Louisville)
1. Tell us about the work you’re doing and why it’s important.
I write mainly about my experience dating as a Black woman. Black women are a cohort of women that are berated for excelling (Michelle Obama is too “angry,” Serena is too confident, Misty Copeland is too muscular) while simultaneously being told we are not good enough (unattractive, angry, and loud). My writing carves out a space for Black women to explore this dissonance and reasserts our personhood.
I’m like most writers. I’ve always loved reading and I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. Although I went to college for English, I somehow found myself working for Corporate America and enjoying the peace of mind that financial stability provides. But the whole time I was always writing. I sought out writing groups in every city I lived in. Eventually I got to a point in my career and a point in my craft, that I felt like I could step away from work for a couple of years and pursue my MFA and focus on my writing full-time. I decided to start my new organization, Write Louisville, because not everyone has the time or financial wherewithal to drop everything and go to grad school for creative writing — it is both a privilege and a flight of fancy. Also, Academia ain’t for everyone. The truth Junot Diaz spits in POC Versus MFA is still very much the reality. Even if you don’t want to endure that experience, you still deserve a space to work on your craft and a community of writers to belong to. One of the places I felt most at home was at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, a city where I felt the most like an outsider. Louisville deserves their own version of a safe harbor for writers. The idea of what is or isn’t literature, who does or doesn’t get a voice is changing and that change includes the southern literary voice. I want to contribute to that conversation not only through my own writing, but by going into the community and helping center marginalized voices. Like Andre 3000 said, “The South got something to say!” And I’m here for every word of it.
2. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in pursuing the work that’s important to you?
The balance that plagues every artist: financial stability versus dedication to craft.
3. What do you need to continue your work in the way you envision?
I need to stay active in a community of writers. It’s helpful to see that it is possible to strike that balance, that writers are doing it, that writers that look like me are doing it. I find that inspiring.