InspiHERed By spotlights phenomenal women in the Black queer community—everyone from artists to activists. Each week ELIXHER features someone whose personal journey and individual craft inspire us to dream bigger, laugh harder, and love deeper. Check out our latest interview with Donna Collier, a London-based writer.
ELIXHER: Tell us a little about yourself.
DONNA: My name is DF Collier and I often tell people that I’m 47. [Winks.] I’m from Albany, Georgia and I’m a writer.
ELIXHER: What topics or genres do you typically write about?
DONNA: I write short stories, mostly fiction. But, I’ve won a prize in London for a creative non-fiction story. In my stories, I typically include interesting things that I’ve observed or experienced in my everyday life.
ELIXHER: Tell us about the book you’re currently working on.
DONNA: I’m presently working on a humor/crime novel. When it’s done, I’m going to dip my pen into fantasy/science fiction. I’ve always loved that genre and am surprised that I haven’t written more in that area.
ELIXHER: What’s your writing process like?
DONNA: My writing process needs improving. I’ve always heard that a writer must write every day to keep the muse flowing, yet, I don’t. Instead, I write in large moments of creation that happen when they happen. Some days, I simmer my ideas in my head and I don’t write at all.
ELIXHER: When did you begin pursuing writing and what drew you to the craft?
DONNA: I used to write as a child but didn’t have a support system that saw value in what I was doing. I was quite creative and would take everyday things that I saw, elaborate the details, then turn them into something magnificent. Instead of being applauded for my ability, I was thought of and called a liar. I’m sure being called a liar wasn’t the only thing that made me stop putting pencil to paper – but, it was a part of what made me think that my writing was a negative and unnecessary thing. I started seriously writing again in my 40s. A friend saw a non-fiction book that I had been struggling to put together and began offering me loads of positive input. With her encouragement, I made tiny steps that eventually put me back on the path.
ELIXHER: Where do you get your inspiration (literary and/or personal)?
DONNA: I get my inspiration from life events that I have seen, touched, tasted, smelled and experienced.
ELIXHER: What’s one thing that never fails to make you smile?
DONNA: The thing that never fails to make me smile is listening to the blues.
ELIXHER: What makes you proud to be a part of the black queer community in London?
DONNA: I am part of the black queer community in London because no matter where I am, I happen to be a black lesbian. I don’t search or make a huge effort to be a part of any community, yet, wherever I go, I take myself. Living in Atlanta spoiled me because there are many political groups and also social events for black lesbians. You don’t have to look far before you meet others of a like mind. In London, you have to look for these groups as there aren’t that many.
ELIXHER: What changes would you like to see in the community?
DONNA: The changes I would like to see in the community is for black lesbians to tap more into feminism. Sometimes I think that we (lesbians) get too carried away with the queer label and lose sight of the woman label.
ELIXHER: What’s next for Donna?
DONNA: I am going to continue writing short stories and working on my novel. I’ve been published in several London magazines and intend to become published in more. My goal is to become more disciplined in my day-to-day writing and to add current information to my writing blog as well as put more info on my Facebook page.