Rossandra White, a fascinating lady who has crossed the ocean from Zambia to the U.S.A., battling a difficult break-up (so many can relate to) in her memoir, talks about her book, art and culture, her inner journey and the importance of finding strength. Meet her here and check out her wonderful website and book.
1. Loveyoubye is a memoir about a very intimate period in your life, your marriage breakup. I always consider memoirs rather risky and brave. Was writing it worth the risk of laying it out for the public?
I had to write Loveyoubye to make sense of my husband’s “disappearances.” Once I got past the hurt and anger and confusion, I found myself digging deeper and deeper into the core of my being to find the essential truth of the situation, my essential truth. But when the book was finally done, I agonized over laying it out there for all to see. In the end though, I realized that I had to complete my journey out into the light of day, I had to claim it and set it free.
2. Was it difficult or liberating to go through it all again while writing?
I wrote half the book while everything was happening. It was difficult.
3. You spent a good deal of your life in Zambia and the States. What’s the best and worst of both cultures for you?
I love Africa’s beauty, its raw unpredictability, and the basic directness of its people (notwithstanding tribal custom), along with their strong practical sense. Oh, and all the hugging and kissing upon meeting (strangers included). What I ran away from were the violent aspects of life in the bush, and the lack of a national identity, but perhaps more importantly was the lack of the arts. America has the latter and a lot more that suits me, plus Americans have a great deal of heart and a over-riding desire to do the right thing (which sometimes fizzles out and/or backfires). What I don’t like is the litigious nature of the country, it’s tendency toward extremes, the notion of “exceptionalism,” the notion that the U.S. is a Christian Nation, (even though the majority of people either practice other religions, have none, or are non-practicing), the nation’s lack of a broader world view.
4. You compare yourself to a bushbaby, a nocturnal African primate? ‘I don’t bite. Though sometimes I wish I did.’ Why?
I’d like to be a little more assertive.
5. What do you most like about your home, the Hobbit House?
I love that it’s small and quite charming, although overnight guests are a problem. I’m also just a mile from the beach and can hike the hills behind the house.
6. You often do live public readings. What’s it like? Do you prefer a silent reaction or an active debate?
I’d never done any public speaking before my first reading and I was absolutely petrified. But after a voice-cracking wobbly start, something took over, causing an acquaintance to remark: “Turns out that nervous, scared oh-my-god-what-if-I’m-a-flop was all an act. You’re a natural, Rossandra, it was more a friendly conversation than a presentation. Such a wonderful hour!” But to properly answer your question, I would most definitely prefer an active debate.
7. You are also a fan of other art forms. As a creative artist and a parent, do you think art is important in raising children and why?
I think Albert Einstein said it best, “I’m enough of an artist to draw freely on my imagination, which I think is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
8. Would you like to add anything about your current work or send a message to the readers?
I’m in the process of having my YA paranormal novel Monkey’s Wedding (set in Zimbabwe) edited and published. Meanwhile, I’ll be revising the sequel, Mine Dances, (set in Zambia).