Artists with OI: Ditte Johansen
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Ditte, and I’m a 25-year-old woman, that is born – and still living – in Denmark. I’m working as a writer, and besides my ordinary and boring adult life, I’m filling my days with lots and lots of hobbies; I’m an actor, an author and “a public person” in some ways when the opportunity presents itself. I love having a lot on my plate, so I’m always busy, busy, busy!
When did you decide to publish a poetry book?
Well, that simply wasn’t a decision I had to make. I’m born with a creative nature and an artist’s soul, so writing has always been an innate interest. And if you love books and is writing yourself, it is my conviction that you will cross the poetry genre minimum once in your life.
How did you do the publishing?
Since I was 18 years old, I’ve tried to publish my stuff at all costs. But all the profiled publishing companies wouldn’t touch any of my scripts even from a distance. I knew what kind of authors they wanted, but that wasn’t me. And instead of changing my personal touch and risking to lose myself in the process, I simply gave up. My integrity has always been my first priority, so I just locked my scripts away in a drawer and forgot all about my dreams. Until the day, when my boss introduced me to one of her friends; a publisher who was only interested in poetry. So I took the chance, and he LOVED my script! And the rest is – well – history…
Why do you deal with psychosocial aspects and OI in your poems?
As I see it, OI and psychosocial aspects are just two sides of the same coin. If you – as a person with OI – are telling everyone that you can’t acquaint yourself with some kind of psychosocially related problem, you’re lying. Being different; being a minority will always create some frustrations associated with having OI, be in a lot of pain, etc. I wanted to tell an honest story from a disabled person’s perspective. There’s a huge lack of honesty associated with being disabled. The stories you’ll probably find nowadays will generally be these nauseating heart-warming stories, that aren’t even telling the (whole) truth.
What projects are you currently working on?
As I said before, I love having a lot on my plate, so I’ve currently got three projects that I’m working on. I just signed a new contract with my publisher for my next poetry collection, which will be a follow-up to my first one. I’ve also finished the English translation of my first book – “Puppet Infirmary”. Both of them are getting (re)published by the end of the year. So all you English-reading people – there’s a lot in store for you! Meanwhile I’m working on a novel, but that project may not happen for a long time. But it will come sooner or later. I’m stubborn and hard-working.
What role does the artist have in society?
I don’t think that art should be art, just because it could be. Or that you should be an artist because you can. Art is like air – even though you’ll never see it, you can’t live without it. If society was a big vase, art would be the glue that’s sticking all the broken pieces together over and over again. If we eliminate all kinds of art – the society would corrode and crumble away. Being an artist is an important job – maybe one of the most important ones, because you’re the voice of other people. Whether you paint or write, you are channelling emotions through your book or painting, that they may not be able to express themselves. You’re telling their stories for them, so to speak. And that’s why artists are so important to society – because they’re expressing all your personal feelings, even when you can’t do it yourself.
Is there anything you like to tell our readers?
Please be honest, with yourself and with others! The stories you tell, may be other people’s guidelines. And if what you say isn’t true, you’ll mislead them. If life is hard – tell them! If life is freaking awesome – tell them! We all have the responsibility to teach the next generations what life is about and how you live it. With or without OI – that doesn’t matter. No one is satisfied with a soothing lie.