Author Michael E. Reid, known to most as Just Mike, recently sat down with me for an interview after the finale of his “Love and Poetry” tour. The tour featured several other poets and left the crowd in awe at the talent and vast topics that were covered about love, social issues and life. Don’t be alarmed by some of the serious topics mentioned because there were many moments of laughter and lightheartedness. Check out my exclusive interview below:
Nyia: What is your definition of love?
Just Mike: It’s an optional choice to care for somebody unconditionally without any obligation to it or reason behind it.
Nyia: How did you become interested in poetry?
Just Mike: So, I was dating this girl and we spent almost every day together for about three years and one day she just woke up and said it’s over. Afterwards, I attempted suicide. I went home and took a bunch of pills. I felt guilty about it because my mom was my best friend and I didn’t tell her. When I finally did, she came over and took me to a crisis center and I met a nurse there who told me that instead of taking pills I should write my feelings down in a journal. So, I did. Eventually, I got an Instagram and I started posting poems. People were like, “Yeah this is dope I want to hear more; you should write a book.”
Nyia: What made you focus on primarily writing for women?
Just Mike: I think because women don’t have a voice; not from women but to women. They have their own voice but nobody really wants to target just women, especially in a positive way. Every man in a woman’s life wants something from her or treats her a certain way, whether it be a boyfriend or dad or brother, because they all have these roles to play. So, imagine a man that wanted nothing from you and had no obligation to you; he just wanted you to be a better woman. I’m not your dad here to tell you all boys are evil or your boyfriend to tell you everybody else is evil, except for me. It’s just a pure genuine connection with women.
Nyia: What was the defining moment that made you realize that this was your purpose?
Just Mike: When my purpose became my paycheck because I had a paycheck and then I had a passion. When my passion became my paycheck, that’s when it became my purpose.
Nyia: Looking back, how have you changed as a person from when you wrote your first book Just Words to now your third book Dear Woman?
Just Mike: I think I’ve become a better listener to women and my thoughts are more centralized.
Nyia: Aside from writing what are some of your other interest?
Just Mike: The empowerment of women whether it be through writing, speaking or poetry shows. Anything that has to do with making women better for themselves. Aside from work I’m just a regular guy so I like cooking, video games, etc.
Nyia: What influences your books?
Just Mike: In the beginning it was experiences, that took care of the first two books. The third book, Dear Woman was inspired by women’s questions that needed answering which I received through Instagram DM’s and emails. My next book is The Boyfriend book. Dear Woman was to help you as a woman, now of course everything is about love and relationships but they were always from a point of getting you out of some stuff. I think I wrote three books to try to get every woman in the world out of whatever bullshit they were in. If you did it right, by the time you close Dear Woman you’re single and ready to be in a healthy relationship. The first part of The Boyfriend book is you being healthy enough and content with being single. The second half is, “Okay I finally think I got somebody I like.” What happens now?
Nyia: What is your favorite poem that you’ve written thus far?
Just Mike: I have two, the first is in the back of Just Words Two. It’s an apology to every woman who has ever been done wrong because if I could that’s what I’d do– personally apologize to you on behalf of every man that didn’t so it made you question yourself. The second is a new poem that I wrote called “I’m Ready for Love,” because I finally think I know what I want after writing it down on paper. I’m excited about finding it.
Nyia: What advice do you give aspiring authors?
Just Mike: You can’t let anyone tell you that your story is invalid. Remember that you write for yourself first. Also, the same way that Beyoncé can drop an album on iTunes with no promotion and no advertising and no company behind it, you can drop your book. You don’t need a big publisher or permission from anyone else. Know when to let the words go. We are all our own worst critics. I sat down writing my book for almost seven months before I put it out. I kept changing it when I could have written another book just off all the changes alone, so just get your message out there. Last but not least, never forget why you write and don’t ever let what somebody else does dictate what type of writer you want to be.
Nyia: When someone is done reading one of your books, what is it that you want them to take from it, how do you want them to feel?
Just Mike: Better than they did before they started reading it. Even if just one word changes you for the better or makes you think about one thing in your life differently, hopefully it has a domino effect on the rest of your life and the people you know.
Have you read any of Mike’s books or plan to in the future?