Jasper native releases first book of poetry

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Jasper native Cristal Johnson recently published her first book.

"Out of My Straight Jacket" is a book of poetry, most of which were written within the last three months.

Johnson said she initially wanted to share her own testimony but soon felt inspired to offer words of encouragement about life situations common to everyone, such as death, bullying, peer pressure, family and hope.

"The most important thing I want people to take away from my book is how blessed I am. At only 39, I have been through more than most physically & mentally, but I made it! I want them to know they can too," Johnson said. "I also wanted my truths told my way. This book has something in it for everyone. Everyone gets down sometimes; this book will help keep them afloat."

Though born and raised in Jasper, Johnson now lives in Birmingham.

She graduated from Stillman College in 2005 and then joined the  Army National Guard, where she served for eight years.

She currently works as a travel respiratory therapist.

Johnson's coworkers gave her the extra push she needed to become a published author.

After receiving compliments on her singing, Johnson showed them some of her writing.

"I received the same response I always do — tears! They told me how good it was and that I should write a book. They connected me to some people, and I started writing," she said.

"Out of My Straight Jacket" is available now through Amazon and will be made available soon as an ebook and through Barnes and Noble and other stores.