Planting Daisies is an encounter with those whom we have neglected to take the time to meet in our day-to-day lives. These are real people with real struggles, humor, and dreams. They are the common men, women, and children in our neighborhoods, schools, and churches who we have forgotten or ignored. Their stories are unique but similar. They are tragic yet hopeful. Domestic violence is filled with silent screams. This is a book which gives a fictional voice to the hurt and a release to dream of ways out of the pain.
Robin K. Johnson takes us on a journey to the homes, porches, cells, courtrooms, and offices of these daisies. Those who watch from a distance believe they are all the same. To them, they are just another story on the news, in the paper, or in the church bulletin. Those who will take the time to read will be moved by compassion, anger, love, and fear that these daisies experience. With raw language, emotion, and faith Johnson will lead you to examine them closely and realize they are each unique in their struggles for survival as well as hope for something better. Planting Daisies is another work drawing us to compassion, empathy, and love for others while maintaining the dignity of each individual flower.
Robin K. Johnson is a graduate of Lee College and the University of Phoenix and a graduate student of George Fox University. He is a devoted husband and father of seven daughters and one son. He is also the author of The Heritage Tree: Planted by Mom, Dad, and the Girls (2009) and My Spiritual Journal: For a Closer Walk with God (2010).
“What are you trying to prove having me tied up in this old house?” He sounded a little defiant to me. Must be the prison mentality he’s obtained. That can be repaired and repealed.
“Trying to prove?” I pulled off the wig and dropped the shift I was wearing by the door.
“Trying to prove?” I smiled at him as I placed the glasses on the costumed pile. “There is nothing to prove on this night. Just gotta cash the check you wrote four years ago.
“Girl just face it, you got what you wanted and I got what I wanted.” He tried to act as if he were in control. “You should have acted like a woman and broke me off like you were supposed to. That waiting for marriage thing is for the birds and children.”
“Oh I truly plan on acting childish with you tonight.” He grunted and tried the leather straps. “Don’t worry you can’t break those straps.” I pulled the sheet off of the table I had set up in the corner. I watched his eyes as he scanned the table of toys. “You have to pay for taking my dad’s life.”
“Is this all you want me for?” He tried the straps again. “I served my time. They let me out for good behavior.”
“No it wasn’t a “they” thing. I let you out.” I moved the water and jar which fed him baby food for the past few days. “I hope you have your strength.” The bank has a lot of old money it has to give to you.” He looked like a large gerbil when he drank from the tit of the large bottles.
“Listen her little girl, you can’t hurt me. The cops will be looking for me.” He tried the straps again.
“Are you scared?”
“I ain’t scared of you!” He shouted at me.
I shuttered a little. It made my nerves tighten and I remembered singing the song my dad requested at his Homegoing service.
“I’m a little girl now?” I put on a pair of latex gloves. “I’m a little girl?” I put on a second pair of latex gloves. “Well this little girl has a check for you to sign.”
I turned and smiled at him. He tried the straps again. He was scared. ‘Punk bastard’, I thought as I positioned several Monopoly game pieces on his chest and forehead with Superglue. I pushed a large green sponge soak in honey and vinegar in his mouth. I figured if he was gonna scream, he should choke while he is doing it.
What is your book about and why did you write it?
The book centers on a Domestic Violence Shelter, which transforms the lives of the victims, their families, and those affect by collateral damage. I wrote this book as a way to lead the memories I have from my childhood into a positive light for others who are experiencing the same emotions and problems. Violence upon women and children is never a good thing and this book offers a few hours or days of escape.
Why the title Planting Daisies for your book?
The title offers a visual look into the actions of one individual planting emotional seeds into another, which can either grow positive attitudes for productive change or negative choices from the desires to seek revenge in some form or fashion. Just as it took one individual to put me on the correct path in my life, which has caused me to work to do the same things in others as they find themselves wanting to do better, but have been stifled by either their past or not knowing how to pursue their callings in life. So I plant daisies to make the world a little brighter as one was planted in me.
Why are the female characters in your books written with such strength?
Why should they all not be strong? The images I would like to give to the female readers as a take away is that there is a positive force of strength in all of them and that these characters are off-shoots of the women who raised me, who grew up in terrible and harsh times in this country and found strength enough to raise children, keep home and run businesses. This book is not gender specific, so I did not want to make the typical read and have the women of the stories seeking out a man to solve the issues they are facing and overcoming.
Do you believe that personal experiences aid writers in creating good stories and believable characters?
Yes, I do believe that any good writer has to have some portion of their pains in the characters they develop, the scenes they write and compose, and the songs they sing to themselves. If not, nothing in the stories can be in direct relation to the readers they are trying to read and convey a message. There is a comment from one of the character Duck in the movie, The Five Heartbeats where he makes the statement, “someone once told me that I am on my way to becoming a great songwriter, I just have to experience some pain”. I think this summed up how I am when I steal away and find myself in emotional conversations with my characters as I walk with them into their days. Yes, it takes personal experience to create a good book, short story, song and poem about love and loss.
How do you write short stories that are so vibrant in emotion and imagery and not turn them into a novel?
I think the short story can give the ride of a novel if it is done in a series. This offers the reader the chance to have a stopping place and not feel like they have to read to the end of the chapter, folding pages, putting up bookmarks and losing their exact place after not picking up the novel for several days. I begin the stories with the conversations and then add in the scenes and the sounds that are taking place in the background. If the imagery is not present throughout the conversation, then the reader cannot imagine that they are sitting at the next table eaves dropping in on some else’s life.
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9 thoughts on “Planting Daisies by Robin K. Johnson”
Robin is a great man and this is a great book!
Thank you Dan for your support.
I LOVE THIS BOOK! The stories pull you in until you feel as if you know the characters. This is the 2`nd book of this author’s writings that I’ve read and can’t wait for the next!
Thank you for your support
I read The Heritage Tree first, which was a huge insight into African-American life and I simply ADORED THIS BOOK. Each story had it’s own deep message in the end and the poetry, my goodness, the poetry was real. THEN came along PLANTING DAISIES…..OH HEAVENS. My life has been one huge journey of pain and suffering, from molestation for 17 years until I ran away from home to dating men like my father, men who put down women, beat them, abused both physically and emotionally. I was raped once, a statistic, fought and screamed and the man beat the heck out of me but did not succeed in his mission. Then two months later, raped by two men, one after the other in every disgusting way imaginable. I was able to rise after many years of counseling, a lot of money to do so, and still I stand. This book, this book came along and became my best friend when I needed one the most. No one could ever understand the complexities of a dysfunctional journey unless it’s lived. But this book, helped me to feel beautiful, unique and not alone. This book didn’t neglect me like society did, it didn’t forget or ignore what I went through. I feel unique, I feel there’ a purpose now and THIS BOOK, it was this BOOK that helped me feel beautiful. It gave back dignity I lost so long ago. I cried in shock reading these stories. When I finished reading, it was as if I lost my best friend. I have highlighted sentences, postmarked pages and will read this book again and again. Finally, someone understands. THIS BOOK, thank you Robin K. Johnson for using God’s words to put it down on paper because you saved my life. Through God, Robin K. Johnson, you gave strength to carry on. This book is my best friend and I need to thank you for writing it down. You helped me want to live when I wanted to die. You will never know….it was THIS BOOK that saved my life. God bless you dear Robin K. Johnson, God bless you and the words “thank you” don’t even come close to what I want to say. It was THIS BOOK that made me feel beautiful, alive, hopeful and gave me the will and strength to live another day. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.
thank you Jennifer for your words. They are a strong encouragement for me to keep writing.
Thank you for your comments and for reading my book. Many blessings to you on this holiday season.
Planting Daisies is a fascinating story about how justice is taken into the hands of the victims. Brilliantly written, the shift in perspective from chapter to chapter is a bit disorientating at first; however, once you get the hang of it, it’s an innovative and new way to keep the story fresh and alive. While the story is great, the subliminal commentary on justice And women’s rights takes Planting Daisies to a whole new level. Robin Johnson is a brilliant writer, and I cannot wait for his next book.
Sounds like this book is talking to the world. I’ve experienced domestic violence both directly and indirectly during my days as a CPS Specialist. An Awareness that is definitely unspoken at times. Thanks for the peek review, love the vivid illustrations! A MUST Read! Countless Blessings!!