What’s it like working with Maureen?
A Question-and-Answer Session with Profile Subject Sharon Cooper-Murray
What was the profile piece that Maureen Dixon wrote about you?
Maureen wrote a profile piece that looked at the contrast between my cultural upbringing and the culture of the Gullah people, which I adopted. The interview gave me an opportunity to speak of my experience that even though I was the same color as the Gullah people, our cultures were very different. I was able to talk about what I had to do and to learn to assimilate and to appreciate these important cultural differences.
Did Maureen represent you fairly?
She did more than that. She helped me clarify my meaning for an audience of readers who would not be familiar with the Gullah people. When I met Maureen there was something about her that made me feel at ease. And even though her background and color are different from mine, she made me feel free enough that I knew I could tell her the truth.
How has Maureen helped you achieve what you want to achieve through this profile?
Because this profile was put into print, I believe it opened a door for the people who read it. I won’t meet everyone who will read this profile, but I think it enabled people to view other people, and the Gullah people in particular, in a different way. I also think it enabled some people to begin to view themselves in a different way.
What have you learned through working with Maureen?
I was inspired by her. We didn’t know each other beforehand. We just sat down and started talking. And even though as a storyteller I talk for a living, I’ve never talked with anyone else so easily and intimately about my life. It also inspired me to start writing. It made me see that even though I’m just a regular person, that if Maureen wrote about me then I could write some things too. I have finished nine children’s books since then, and that all manifested after my interview with Maureen.
Why would other people enjoy working with Maureen?
Maureen has a gift in helping people feel confident in telling the truth and even bringing forth something that has always been there but you didn’t know how to bring forth on your own.