Monday, June 01, 2009

Love... confession #1

One must first make the admission - Love.
Illness, narcotic, despot. Get that bit over with and maybe there'll be a chance you can do the dishes or get dressed. Lets think it through again, what you're going to do or say when he calls, the evil one. Its going to be the perfect thing to close and latch the door, the window. It's going to be a suture.
Suture for the suitor. For the would-be suitor. If he had sense. Actual tormentor.
There are things that you are going to do instead of being in love. Like increase your muscle mass, cook more often, listen to Jimi Hendrix and Charles Mingus' entire discographies, be a better, more attentive mother.
Be healthier, be stronger, be focussed.
Love in this instance is like an immune system disorder. An immune system is a great thing and so is love but turned on themselves, both will make you sick. Find the right herbs to drink. Heal yourself.
You spoke on the phone like you always vow not to do, and he was cruel. He said you are not useful. Useful! As if a woman were a spatula or a lawnmower. And such a thing should be enough of an exit, you're the kind of woman who wants to be art not an appliance. But, oh dear. You love him. The blind, consumer of a man.
And he doesn't even know how much he needs you. But he does. He conceded there was love between you. You think perhaps your writing scares him. THat old chesnut. You are too much of a Lilith for him. He says he needs something/one simple, a simple love. But he provides all the complications, so that's not fair.
You just want to feed him and hear about his day and lay next to him in the dark. Nothing sinister. But you are not a bland-faced doll and never will be. Sigh. Run.
He won't let you in the door and won't give you bus-fair home. You've been having one, long, barren conversation for the last 9 months. Babies knit their whole bodies from scratch in that time, and he can't even finish a thought. Every conversation ends with - well anyway i gotta go I'll call you when i get off work/finish this/get back in the country.
when you get off the phone you throw yours at the wall and you shout LEAVE ME ALONE!! Because you've had enough of being a colony. Invaded by a strange language and custom, giving up all your land for a string of beads.

I am going to do something other than be in love.

That's my first confession....

Friday, May 29, 2009

Opzij asks: would you call yourself a feminist person?

Gosh, I've got so much to tell you... started about ten blogs but then got diverted by my baby boy or chores or grown-up boys or TV or inspiration or good old inertia. I still have all those truncated blogs, so soon I'm going to start telling you about April, and go from there. Eventually I'll catch up with myself.

Anyway. In the very near future, my debut novel 'Love Me' will be released in Holland by wonderful publishers Ambo Anthos (thanks Naomi and Wanda!) in the incarnation 'Hou Van Me'. What an utterly strange and beautiful prospect... I won't be able to read my own book! Strange. Beautiful!I also won't be able to read the interview/review featured in Dutch feminist magazine Opzij so I thought I'd share my Q&A here instead, for posterity an such. Funny how often you don't really know what you think unless someone asks you questions about things...


Would you call yourself a feminist person / writer?

As a person, I would align myself more closely to being a womanist, a perspective which I feel embraces my origins and ideas more fully. As a writer I work at having no politics at all.

You have begun writing when you were 17 (or was it still earlier?). You published a short story then. Did you arrange that all by yourself, or did someone help you with it?

I began writing as a young child, the earliest story I remember was at about 8 years old. When I was 17 and living in Saint Lucia, my wonderful creative writing tutor, Mr Robert Lee, submitted one of my writing assignments to the paper and it was published. I was very excited.

Have you been writing ever since, or have you also done other things (like studying, working or something) besides singing and performing?

I’ve always been writing, but creatively I’ve done everything from theatre to hip-hop, journalism and performance poetry. For money I’ve done everything from working in an amusement park to doing telephone surveys. I’ve worked as a music video model, a community artist, taught woman’s empowerment workshops and partnered with an African Dance Troupe, I’ve worked life-force sapping hours as a night-reader. Retail. Sales. You name it!! I also managed to fit in a degree in English with Film and TV, plus a qualification in Business Admin. And now I’m a mum too. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

Have you been working long and hard on this novel? Or do you write very easy?

It took me at least 6 years to write it, and not one day of that was easy. Sometimes exciting, sometimes frustrating, but never easy.

Would you call yourself a disciplined person?

Not at all. I’m a mess! Only my passion for making things keeps me productive.

You have a talkative style of writing. Eats, mics, peeps, pics and lots of other abbreviations. And a loose way of telling. Is this a style of your own, or does it fit in some sort of writing or singing scene? Do you have contact with fellow writers?

I do have contact with many wonderful, fellow writers, and as a reader I’ve doubtless picked up plenty of little stylistic flourishes from everywhere. However, I wasn’t trying to fit into a particular scene or movement in writing Love Me, I just wanted to write something true. I wanted the book to have a very clear, vivid, original voice.

What kind of music do you make? I have not been able yet to trace your music, I'm afraid.

The music I make is very eclectic, soulful with a rock and roll swagger, poetic and sultry. I’ve not officially released anything yet, but you can check me out on

When did you start your singing carreer? Also at about 17?

I’ve always sung, but my singing has always fought with my fiction career for dominance, and has often lost. I’d like to really give it a push now that I’ve finally released a novel.

How do you manage to sing and write?

With difficulty and lots of internal conflict!

Your publisher told me you also had a little child. Isn't it difficult to raise a child all by yourself? And to do all the things you do?

Its very hard practically to do anything creative with a toddler around, especially as a single parent. But he also inspires me and gives me the drive to keep going, because I’m responsible for supporting him and providing him with a legacy.

Is there any resemblance between Eden and you except for the St Monica roots? Did you for example experience a love as strong as she did for Zed?

It’s Saint Lucia by the way! And yes, I think there are similarities between me and Eden, but it’s a very tangled equation… The thing we have most in common is our ability to become completely absorbed sensually in life and in other people, in love and out of love. Both of us are documenters.

Do you consider yourself a happy person?

I think I’d consider myself a joyful person, and naturally buoyant. Happy? I’m not sure. In patches. As a mother I’m happy, as a woman I’m searching, and as a writer I will be unsatisfied forever.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Nina Simone sang...

... fresh in my ear this morning as I scuttled up to Seven Sisters station and then to Tesco, and then West Green and so on...

... Well I run to the rock

Please hide me I run to the rock

Please hide me I run to the rock

Please hide me lord

All on that day

Well the rock cried out

I can’t hide you the rock cried out

I can’t hide you the rock cried out

I ain’t gunna hide you god

All on that day

I said rock what’s a matter with you rock

Don’t you see I need you rock

Don’t let me down

All on that day

So I run to the river

It was bleedin I run to the sea

It was bleedin I run to the sea

It was bleedin all on that day

So I run to the river it was boilin

I run to the sea it was boilin

I run to the sea it was boilin

All on that day

So I run to the lord

Please help me lord

Don’t you see me prayin

Don’t you see me down here prayin

But the lord said

Go to the devil

The lord said

Go to the devil

He said go to the devil

All on that day

So I ran to the devil

He was waiting

I ran to the devil he was waiting

I ran to the devil he was waiting

All on that day

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Landing part I: rain, platinum wigged madwomen, disappointment, chocolate and gel-filled bras

Landed back in the bad old LDN.
(And you never land quite as heavily as you do in London. Concrete is heavy - and grey concrete is heavier still - and rain-wet grey concrete is heaviest.)
Crashed down smoothly with a sigh and a half-hearted attempt to dislodge the plethora of crumbs from my 'outfit'...
(...if you could call it that. Invariably I end up travelling in the most tramp-ish of guises because I always put off packing til the absolute last minute and then leave myself about 253 seconds in which to get unsmelly and presentable which really isn't enough for anybody. Especially me).
... whilst simultaneously keeping my overgrown toddler (then just days from the end of 'infant' flying status')i from toppling off of my lap, a lap which was a woefully inadequate seat for a boy his size...

Sunday, April 05, 2009

gutterbrain, sexy-teeth, velvet pants

On messenger I say:

-u should do more cardio -

-lol he says - deftly avoiding my deadly punchline
-u should do less

I'm undeterred. I want to tell him that -

-Your 'at rest' heartbeat is too fast

-Wat he says, because we do banter alot
-U shud sleep more
-Go ress

I tell him:

- last time u were at mine, my head was against your chest and I heard it
- too fast
I tell him, I was listening. I'm telling him I was listening

Him, rapid-fire:
-I'm well unfit
-Fuk u
-I admitt it
-Go fuck yurself

-indeed I say, parodying him, his answer to everything.


-I'm a bit unfit as well
-so stop cryin! lol

-Indeed he types in quickly
-I kno u r


-also cd probly use some cardio I confess

-Hmmm he says

then pause

then signs out, no goodbye.

Its a very-velvet virtual silence. Just like our actual ones.

The most un-platonic, friendship (without benefits) known to man? Perhaps.

A case of 'he's just not that into you.'? Peut-etre.

I just hope he doesn't google this! (yikes!)

But just in case:

Love u gutterbrain, sexy-teeth, Velvet Pants (not sure why the last one)... love u either way.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Don't Be Drunk, Be Sober

My mate called me from London - I'm in Saint Lucia at the Mo, visiting fam and soaking sun - and asked me about the G20 riots. And I said, why? Whats been happening? Has it been really bad? I told her that I'd been watching American news over here and that I wasn't really that up on anything British, but that they did mention it. She said, I don't really know. I haven't been watching much news either. I don't watch the news. I thought that was an interesting thing for her to say because it resonated with me, I too have caught a heavy case of the indifference. Information overload??

I asked her about Obama... has everyone been trying to meet him now he's over there? She told me about a friend of hers - did I know her? She said the name. I said no - who works on OK magazine who'd met him and who was going to post pics of her and him on Facebook. It did a strange thing to my mind. I think we said some other things to relating to Obama, but I can't remember what... nevertheless I came round to saying what I've long thought about him. I said that he is, indubitably, a wonderful symbol, a wonderful living symbol of hope and of change, but that the universal adulation of him (and on the flipside, villification, but it's almost the same thing - dehumanization) makes me uncomfortable. He's still a politician, I said. Lets see what he does.
We've all been waiting for something like Obama. We've all been pretty dried up and cynical. We don't believe anything. We don't believe in politics because its become obvious that our voice seems to be drowned out by the great, inorganic screeching of the 'spin' machine. We don't watch the news because its saturated with relentless death and horror and because we no longer believe it's impartial. Before the great crash, we couldn't afford houses because they were too expensive and now we can't because jobs are uncertain and no one will lend us money to buy the - finally - cheaper houses. And the crash was based on nothing real. Just ideas about the value of things -thats all. Everything we believed and depended on has been exposed as a sham and completely arbitrary. We were ripe for Obama. Something post-cynicism, post-indifference, post-exhaustion and he came, joking that, "Contrary to the rumors you’ve heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-el, to save the Planet Earth..." Not a joke though really. We were hoping beyond hope to be saved from ourselves, from our flabby, fed-up minds and technology addiction and powerlessness. And we got Obama! And how exciting it was for everyone, even the right-wing extremists who once again had someone to really hate!
But I said to my friend, we've got to be careful. He's a politician. All I'm saying is, don't be drunk. Be sober. She said, yeah, I like that. You should put it on a t-shirt. And I got round to thinking about how it applies in so many ways right now, in my life, my career, my (almost non)love life. Its not the age for swooning, for tricking myself under the nearest spell, but for keeping my heart steady, and loving with my eyes open. No conspiracy theories, no elaborate projections of doom, but just careful, balanced appraisal of my situation and kind treatment of my wounds.

That thought made me feel a certain level of peace, made me feel around the same age as culture, as Right Now. As though society, too, were a single working mother of thirty, trying to make sense of her scars, still young enough to crave a clear, pure moment; older, sadder, wiser, and desperate for the truth of herself.

Don't be drunk, be sober... hmmm. Metaphorical of course. I do like a nice Mojito now and again.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stacey Dash Is An Immortal

It is one of those facts - Stacey Dash is 43!?? - that gives one pause and makes one doubt and question the natural laws of physics.
Namely, gravity.
And maybe The Highlander (remember that show/movie?) was actually based on the truth. Except The Highlander is Stacey Dash. I wonder how many skulls she has in her closet, eh?
And she's the mother of two! How is it possible? I saw her in last week's episode of The Game and I was like. Alright. Enough. Wikipedia here I come! I went with unshakeable suspicion that she'd looked the same for about 20 years... and it turned out that I was right! Born 1966, baby. 1966!
There are many who look good damn good being in their forties, Halle Berry and Julia Roberts to name a couple. But there's a difference between looking good for 40+ and being an immortal. Stacey Dash looks EXACTLY the same, while Halle et al have acquired a certain subtle vintage. Its not only in the face, but in the carriage. It is very hard to hide the sum of years, and keep it out of ones poise and general demeanour. But I checked out The Game on Friday night, and not only did Ms Dash still look like she just walked off the set of Clueless, she still has the high, breathy voice of a young girl pre-college. Her demeanour girlish and sprightly. That's the give-away. Stacey Dash Is An Immortal!
I may make it my lifes work - who wants to be a novelist anyway? - to carefully examine old pictures until I uncover the true length of Ms Dash's stay on the planet. Perhaps even 1966 is a sham. Perhaps she was born 300 years ago and has stalked the earth cutting off the heads off rival immortal actresses before finally landing a role TV role in the 1980's. Perhaps. It's possible.
But, research or not, I have come away with the desire to also join the ranks of the immortal. I am significantly younger than Stacey Dash. In fact, she's been the same since I was a child! And now that I am many years deep into womanhood, I'm making a commitment to join the ranks of the ageless! I'm starting now!
Green tea? Yoga? Fencing lessons, anyone?
The future is bright! :-)


Sunday, March 29, 2009

stomach cramps in brighton

I'm working on this new book now, but I forgot about this part. I keep trying to squeeze past myself, if that makes any sense, and on to somewhere clearer - but there are no shortcuts. That's what I forgot, that there aren't any shortcuts. Its a long way all crowded up into a tiny space, like intestines.

I went to Brighton the other week for a couple of days to clear my head - or vacate it for new tenants, so to speak. But the head is really crowdedl. Chocolate-orange liquer doesnt help either. I just gave myself stomach cramps. No, I lie, I did get a about 10 or so wonderful tipsy moments with Marvin Gaye, dancing around my room. And then came the stomach cramps.

My window let out to a little balcony, and the balcony was wreathed with fairy lights, and I could see the sea. The window kept jamming though, and although it was warm for England, for March, it got very cold and I had to call a manager to help me close the window. We had to both pull on opposite sides really hard and at the same time. She gave me an extra room upstairs because of the guy next door and his near-apocalyptic snoring. It was amazing, I have to tell you. I was like, somebody wake up that bastard before he chokes to death.

I called up a friend and asked him lots of philosophical questions one after the other like it was about the book but really I was just lonely. And afraid of writing. And some people are blessed with lovely voices, late night voices. I say weird things when I'm tired. Though afraid, I did quite a lot of work. And I walked up and down the seafront, and up and down the pier. I ate on my own and went walking around aimlessly and wrote sketches, and I felt something really deep, like love, for this very old man eating fish and chips carefully, alone. The meal seemed so important, even though it was off styrofoam. Things should be important.

I sent an angry text off into the void. I bought little man a very grown-up hat. I realised how tired I am, but very excited... to be making things! Making things! And Brighton sparkled all over and I felt young, and serious, and important, like a fish and chip dinner eaten off styrofoam.

Alone, in silence, I discover that my body is misaligned and achey, and that my mind has acquired sharp and rusty edges. But I'm alive. And I'm free to feel these things! I realise the difference, now, between joy and happiness.