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.

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