Toad Bible

Our teak sideboard housed the Bible. A small leather thing like a black toad. I think it travelled across miles of ocean lodged in my father’s chest. It didn’t actually croak but shook and I swear I heard it breathing when I ran passed the sideboard into the glass cabinet shattering the patterned glass into tiny pieces. I spent my entire childhood picking up those pieces of glass and adding them to a jigsaw box. In all the hundreds of years we were trapped in that maisonette, with the shaking sideboard with the breathing bible, we never could afford to replace that glass. 

The Mountain

I started 2020 off by starting an online course with Creative Non-Fiction called Writing the Lyric Essay: When Poetry & Nonfiction Play. It’s five weeks of writing time on my personal essays and I’m enjoying reading a range of new writers as well as reacquainting myself with ones of old.

Last week was looking at the lyric essay in relation to e prose poem. I was introduced to the weird and wonderful work of Charles Simic and the early work of Toi Derricotte. It was a lovely week of red and writing and the words just seemed to flow. Here I share a piece with you called The Mountain.

We climb in the rising heat
and I feel heavy.
Rucksack clinging around
my waist like a troll,
I’m at the end of the line, always, as if I need the others, fitter and whiter than me, to pull me up the steep pass.
I tell myself, I’m taking my time to savour the moment, enjoy the view as my breath escapes like a monoprint; white lake
surrounded by shades of grey; flint, slate, gun-metal to charcoal.
The majestic mountain.
Because I’m afraid to love,
I keep my wetsuit on
and enter on foal legs
the clearest blue lake
known locally as bottomless
as well as home to a water dragon. The dragon does not scare me.

However, letting go does.

Blogging Reflections: one

Over three weeks into my #100dayofblogging challenge; the aim to post something everyday for 100 days straight, and I’m looking for some space to reflect on the task so far.

I’ve not posted anything mind boggling, or life changing so far but I have been showing up. Maybe not showing up in my fullest capacity and maybe not showing up with much of a plan either but showing up I have. And I’m noticing a turn. A turn towards wanting to write more, especially poetry after a rather dry period there.

So that’s a good thing. I’m also thinking of the three quarters left to go of this challenge and what I want to see more of in the coming weeks.

First, I want to see more poetry( already mentioned that Sheree!) Maybe trying out different forms. Already been writing some haikus. I’ve got an itching to try haibuns again. Love them.

Next, I want to start a series. I started a series in relation to Black British Art and I want to continue with this with a focus on different Black British Artists who have influenced me or who I’m just finding out about. I’m excited about this as I’m feeding my creative pot in the process.

I also want to share a vlog or two regarding my working practice, especially regarding visual journalling as I think everyone should be doing this! Amazing results in terms of how you respond and treat yourself.

Other posts I’ve been thinking about have been lists, personal facts and fictions, ‘how to’ posts as well as sharing my daily routines, morning and evening and what a productive day looks like for me as a freelancer etc.

I hope you stick around for the ride as I’ve been enjoying it so far. Yes there are days when I can’t be bothered to show up here but when I do show up, I’m pushing on through the doubts and fears and tiredness and bringing something into existence that didn’t exist before. I think that’s cool and it’s a good enough reason to keep on showing up here too.

#onwards

Who’s afraid of the dark?

A 6.30am alarm wakes me. On a Sunday. And the gadget, a smart watch, ringing the alarm is somewhere on a desk somewhere hidden in a dark cold hotel room.
I stumble out of bed blind and unsteady, hand and arms outstretched in front of me, combing the black air, trying to touch something soild. Trying to stop the incessant noise.

I was brought up to fear the dark. It didn’t take my small imagination much to conjure up monsters under the bed and ghosts on landings. Lying perfectly still in my bunk bed pretending to be dead already, the dark dug deep into my psyche so that I grew up fearing my own reflection.

When I’m not watching my weight (come on, when am I not watching my weight?) I enjoy an extra cold pint of Guinness with a shot of blackcurrant to cut through the bitterness. A drink of pure iron. Thick like treacle, it works well as a lining on my stomach before multiple rounds of alcoholic concoctions follow. Who knows? Who cares? But as long as my core swims deep with the dark stuff I’m ready for anything.

On our living room wall in our maisonette flat in Bradford where I grew up, we had a velvet scroll depicting two islands. The land was made up of bright green stitched thread. The towns and villages were named in golden thread. Bright red blazed across the top, ‘The Islands of Trinidad and Tobago.’ I’m not sure if we were ever told but our dad came from those islands. It was a silent fact. I liked to touch the thread, when I got the chance. The stitching was tight and taut. My eyes, though, were pulled into the expansive black crushed velvet Caribbean Sea wondering how he survived the swim over to the U.K.

I thought these smart gadgets were supposed to make your life easier. Why wasn’t it flashing neon green, or red even, at the same time as sounding an alarm, giving me some clue as to it’s whereabouts? I felt I could have done better with my eyes shut. But I’ve been living that way for far too long. Now with eyes wide open to the dark, I’ve become wise to the tricks of history. I’m woke.

Why do I blog?

I’ve lost count of how many years I’ve been blogging now. I started out on blogger.com and created a blog that documented my creativity on a daily basis. I saw this as a practice, as way of developing my craft and to connect with others. That was the main reason in the beginning to blog and I don’t see it changing now.

I blog because it feels like I’m having a conversation with myself and with some one I’m really close to, a friend, at the same time. I blog to make sense of this life I live and the world I live in. I blog to share how I see the world at any given moment. I blog to communicate the highs and the lows. I blog to raise questions and enjoy seeking the answers.

There are times that I’ve fallen out of love with blogging. Times when I can’t be arsed to formulate a sentence never mind a coherent blogpost. But these times don’t last long and are far between.

Blogging is a habit and a good one at that. Not one that I need to kick but one I need to embrace more. Hence this #100daysproject challenge of blogging for a 100 days straight. I want to get back into that sweet spot of creating blog post, creating great content that support me on my quest of becoming at the same time as connecting with you.

Please let me know if it’s working. Or not!