Ronnie Smith is a retired United States Postal worker and native of Chicago IL. Born in the 1960’s, Smith has lived through numerous historical events including the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. as well as the onset of the HIV/AIDs epidemic. On a personal level he was raised in conservative, Christian family and witnessed numerous social economic changes in his immediate community. All the while Ronnie navigated significant challenges as a Black Same Gender Loving Male battling substance abuse and numerous health issues. His experiences to date culminate in the completion of a long-held desire to publish his memoir. On September 9, 2020, Ronnie successfully published Miracles: A Prodigal Child of God which chronicles how his faith in God and a spirit perseverance saw him through it all.
“I’m writing this book to share my testimony and the miracles I’ve experienced over my lifetime. There have been many circumstances I had to face in my life, as far as my sexuality, my stress, anxieties, my physical ailments, and so much more. This miracle-type lifestyle, going through trials of addiction and heartbreak, has made me wiser and more spiritually stronger. As you read, you will see that I’ve come from being a very weak person known to have doubt and fear. You will see how I grew up with no parents while living with various family and friends, always searching for love and companionship, creating a life full of fear, doubt, and worry,” said Ronnie.
PrideIndex interviewed first time author Ronnie Smith via email. He shared the challenges he faced to bring his story to life, writing influences and the takeaway.
PrideIndex (PI): Please introduce yourself and tell a little about Ronnie Smith and why sharing your experiences was important.
Ronnie Smith (RS): Hello, my name is Ronnie Smith; I was born and raised on the Northside of Chicago, IL. I attended LaSalle and Arnold Elementary schools, then graduated from Waller High School, also on the Northside. And still a resident of the Northside today. I am a retired Postal worker. Raised by uncles and Aunts with their children as my siblings. A somewhat dysfunctional early life, but feeling quite fortunate and blessed to have grown into the person that I am. So, I feel it’s important to share some of my experiences with you; I know that other loving and caring people out there need a pull-up to better understand themselves with similar life challenges. I’ve written this book to share my testimony of some Miracles I’ve experienced over my lifetime. There are many circumstances I had to face in my life as far as my sexuality, stress, anxieties, my physical ailments, and much more. This miracle-type lifestyle, going through trials of addiction and heartbreak, has made me a wiser and spiritually stronger person. I’ve come from being a weak person Known to have doubt and fears. I grew up with no parents while living with various friends and family members, always searching for love and companionship, creating a world of confusion; although difficult, I made it through…Because I had some good people around to guide me. I know that I’m a Christian and had God with me all those years; I know that there was a thing called the holy spirit that kept me safe and alive.
PI: What challenges did you face to bring Miracles: A Prodigal Child of God “to life?”
RS: One challenge I faced was working to finalize my work the last few years while the Covid Pandemic was going on. Staying resilient and having to release, in the midst of that time, the uncertainty of it all. Also, overcoming all the obstacles, like freeing myself from alcohol and drug addiction. Pushing my way through self-acceptance. Staying strong and confident, with a desire to stop writing and then return to finish.
After having to rewrite my story by memory due to some unfortunate circumstances, it was a success with the help of my publisher Eddie Pierce “Rainbow Room Publishing.“
PI: Talk about your writing process and how you decided what to share and leave out of the book?
RS: I had to go back in time and remember as much as possible; I recall some family members asking, “How did you recall all that” Well, some things you forgive, but you never forget.
I began taping on a recorder, but that didn’t go well, so I began writing, which gave me a chance to omit some personal and private things, like last names.
PI: Were you concerned about exposing yourself too much as you shared your story?
RS: Yes, I was concerned about too much, as I mentioned having to rewrite. Unfortunately, it condensed my story, but, still an awesome story Although the world has grown with inclusive acceptance of all people, especially in the LGBTQ+ communities.
PI: Name three people who have influenced your artistic style most and contributed to your confidence.
RS: Leonard and Patty H. First, to tell me, I had a story to tell. My Godfather, mentor, and Postal Manger, Charles Jones. Called me a Miracle. R.I.P.
My Godmother, Eleanor “Pat” Simpson. She said I was her Prodigal son. R.I.P.
PI: What do you want readers to retain from Miracles: A Prodigal Child of God?
RS: My hope is for you to have a sincere belief in God and keep him in your heart through every trial and tribulation that comes your way in your lifetime.
You can overcome low self-esteem, worry, sickness, sadness, shame, and all negative feelings by trusting and believing that Jesus is your Lord and Savior; if not, believing in something in this universe for positive strength and guidance.
God shows us with his word, the Bible, that he performs miracles to save his people. He can also save you if you believe and let him inside your heart so that you can receive blessings, just as the Prodigal Son did. This book is for anyone not feeling accepted by others, where judgment and criticism strongly exist, especially in the poor, African American, and LGBTQ+ communities. The lesson is for everyone to learn acceptance in our everyday changing society. Also, to pull away from people-pleasing, instead sharing and becoming more informative about self-esteem and self-love and knowing that it’s OK not to be like others.
PI: Do you have plans to write a sequel? If so, when?
RS: At this time, I don’t foresee a sequel being done. I have started to keep notes on other subjects like physical and mental health.
PI: What does the future hold for Miracles: A Prodigal Child of God, a movie? A stage play?
RS: No, I don’t see a movie or stage play.