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    Posted February 5, 2014 by
    AudreyLaBenz
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    Los Angeles, California
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    More from AudreyLaBenz

    "Convertible Chocolate" eases breakup blues

     
    Roast, crack, grind, refine, temper, mold, repeat.

    “The process of chocolate,” says R. Steven “Stevie” Johnson, “To have the taste that it has, is very similar to the process most main characters undergo in film and in books.”

    “Convertible Chocolate”, Johnson’s second book, stars Shawn, a black youth growing amid a pressure chamber of “significant and unusual” relationships. His journey to spiritual awakening is based on true events in Stevie Johnson’s life.

    By his early twenties, Stevie Johnson was studying to become a lawyer. He had earned multiple speech and theatre degrees from the University of Minnesota. But he could not turn down the prestigious University of Southern California when they made him an offer to teach acting at the college level. He picked up and moved cross-country to pursue his true passion: acting.

    Upon his arrival in Los Angeles, he quickly immersed himself in film, earning awards as an actor and director. When one of Johnson’s acting mentors asked why the switch from performing to writing, he answered, “Survival.”

    “It’s what it took for me to keep my sanity in this business,” Johnson said, “It’s a very tough business and it makes you tough.”

    For the first time, “Convertible Chocolate” became officially available to Johnson’s dedicated fans, who stuffed like sardines into The Last Bookstore in downtown L.A. for the book’s premiere last Friday.

    The red carpet release of “Convertible Chocolate” attracted every kind of supporter, from local politicians to television actors, film producers to Johnson’s own loyal students.

    “I can relate to the challenges in this book, growing up in East L.A.,” said Gustavo Camacho, former mayor of Pico Rivera, “And this book relates to all of us in the issue of perseverance.”

    After a 13-year relationship ended with Stevie stranded at the altar, he spiraled into a deep depression. It was at an all-time low in his life, wrought with misfortune and regret. It was then that he decided to honestly examine the common factor that had occurred in all of his life’s problems: him.

    “It’s a very cathartic journey, Johnson said. “Sometimes I have to go back and read a chapter and hit the re-set button because I get seduced back into old things that may feel easy or comfortable for me.”

    It took him a year to get his thoughts onto paper, but Johnson says that as he wrote the book, he underwent a transformation; he hopes that his audience will find the same ability that he did to go back and look truthfully at their lives.

    Johnson is now a certified psychologist and life coach who has led relationship seminars with doctors and therapists.

    The core of Johnson’s quest for accountability was his need to show his two children that there is no obstacle they can’t overcome.

    Of his kids reading the often racy semi-autobiographical love memoir, Stevie says he has no skeletons in his closet. His son is in high school and his daughter in college. Of course, he says, he doesn’t want the kids to take these stories as license to make the same mistakes, but it has offered the family an opportunity to grow together.

    “I would encourage every father who has a daughter to write a book about themselves and let their daughter read that book,” Johnson said.

    After re-living every experience, rehashing the best and the worst about himself and his life, Stevie has a simple question for his readers:

    “Are you going to remain a victim of your circumstances?,” Stevie asks, “Or are you going to grow some balls and change them? I want people to say, ‘Little Shawn could do it. Maybe I can.’”

    Johnson plans to hit the road on a book tour to support Convertible Chocolate this year. He also intends to turn Convertible Chocolate into a feature film and is already planning the book’s sequel, “The Convertible Companion”, which will help readers to tell their own story and write their way to wellness.

    For “5 Tips to Survive a Breakup”, add Johnson at www.facebook.com/convertiblechocolate

    More information about Stevie and Convertible Chocolate can be found at www.convertiblechocolate.com and www.steviejohnson.com.

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