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Erica J. Massey's Biography


Erica Jones Massey was born in Mobile, Alabama where she currently resides. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education from Alabama State University and a Master of Education degree from the University of South Alabama. After teaching English for 25 years, she retired from the Mobile County Public School System. She has been married for 25 years to Walter Massey, Sr. and has two sons, Walter Massey, Jr. and Eric Massey. Erica is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, Mobile Alumnae Chapter. Besides writing, her favorite pastimes include fishing, volunteering, and spending time with family and close friends.

Erica Jones Massey’s love of writing comes from watching her mom Gloria Jones write and perform poetry. Although she did not inherit her mom’s penchant for the spoken word, she fell in love with speaking via graphite to paper. Her inaugural collection of poetry Unbagged explores the themes of love, motherhood, friendship, and loss.


If we’re lucky enough-blessed enough-we get the chance to live another day. For some, this living comes with what I call “obstacle illusions.” Obstacle illusions are those things:

opportunities, burdens, fears, etc. that seem a thousand feet tall when the reality is that they are not. Many of us soon become aware that taking a moment to assess the situation, shifting, rethinking-getting out of our own paths-brings the realization that the one thousand feet that we’re so afraid of are actually two feet. That idea is nothing new, but each sunrise brings new

challenges. Then we have decisions to make. I’m one of those people who is sometimes consumed by obstacle illusions. Considering them, the greatest for me is the fear of allowing a pass into my world, offering myself up for criticism. I’m definitely no stranger to judgment; however, these poems reflect things that I have experienced or things that I may have seen or talked about with friends. Naturally, I want people to read them, feel them, and love them. At one point, how well they would be received mattered to me the most. While I wrote, I wondered if readers would get what I did or “see” what I meant-my obstacle illusion. Then I understood that the real accomplishment was that I love them. I already love the stories and poems that will come after Unbagged,too. I had to decide to just get out of my own way, so apprehension was a smaller hurdle that I was willing to jump. I did what I wanted to do. I discussed my man, my boys, my friends, my losses, and my gains. What I thought and how I experienced this first project mattered the most. Don’t get me wrong. I would be overjoyed to establish a fan base. On the other hand, I knew that I needed to be my own fan first. After that realization, I had more fun with it. It became easier to just write.

Moreover, these poems speak to the ups and downs in relationships, (“Seasonal Differences” and “Boy, Please”); motherhood, (“WARNING:...” and “Being Their Mom”); and loss (“For my Girl” and “1992/2007/2013”). To me, they are funny and sad, serious and whimsical. They’re true and false. While writing, I poured from me. The last poem, the book’s namesake, is not finished and probably never will be because I am primed to keep writing it. I’m ready to step right over those two feet because I know it’s time to get out of my own way, and I’m ready for whatever comes with that. I’m never stopping, so get ready to come along, everyone.

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