Tag Archives: Life

Sometimes I Want To Write

I see things, hear things, try to make sense of them, and writing helps me understand it all; what I think I witnessed, what emotions coursed through me, my response, and how (if) that reaction changed the situation. Or what the experience just taught me about the world. I love writing.  I didn’t know that before I started movingblack – it was more of a challenge I set myself – but I found I proper love using words to express the myriad of thoughts that I have about the world and my adventures in it.

If you’ve followed this blog for more than a week, you’ll have realised I’m kind of a fraud.  (Though I secretly prefer the term renegade) I’m not a blogger.  At least, not a good one.  I don’t blog frequently anymore, nor with anything resembling a rhythm. I get off topic easily and most posts exceed 1000 words.  I am slow at replying to comments, and my blog doesn’t seem to be a community of its own.  I am not a good blogger.  (So, if you’ve left a comment I’ve taken ‘a while’ to reply to, it’s nothing personal at all.  I only struggle with internet etiquette,  I’m really polite in reality.)  I figure, I’m not a surgeon, nobody’s life depends on being able to read a new blog post from me, so I don’t beat myself up about it too often. Plus I have a day job and plenty of real-world commitments and I’ve had one hell of a writer’s block for months now.  But then I read this piece by Radical Faggot and it all made sense again.

I need to write. Not for you dear reader, nor even for me, but because as Chimamanda once argued, there really is a danger in a single story.  By writing, I contribute to the existence of multiple narratives.  Of every thing, person and place I write about.  To me, this is crucial because multiple narratives sharpen the mind.  When multiple narratives present themselves simultaneously, a choice is necessary because questions arise; who said what?  When?  In what context?  Why?  What are their interests?  Are they reliable?  Consistent?  Revolutionary? Do I agree with their standpoint?  What does that change?  Are the available narratives the only narratives?  The most important? What is missing?  Who is missing?  Where multiple contradictory narratives exist, critical thinking happens.  No statement can be taken at face value; by virtue of a second, third, fourteenth version of the same story, holes appear, through which the truth starts to poke.  Sometimes.

So I guess this is a statement of intent to blog*, inspired by a blog post entitled ‘the political significance of being inconvenienced.’  The politics of rad fag are just On Point.  As committed an armchair activist as I claim to be, the one action I can take relatively frequently is to simply state my Afro-Caribbean/British/Migrant/French-Speaking/Girl truth.

black-woman-writing-pf

I’m currently processing a fabulous Haitian adventure, so watch this space.   And follow Radical Faggot for powerful political commentary of the radical variety.  Plus, they post frequently.

 

 

 

* Disclaimer: in my haphazard, wordy, unrecommended-by-wordpress way

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Awesome or what? An arty week in Martinique

In the name of attempting to describe some of the bonuses to living in Martinique, I will simply describe the past week and let you decide if this place is awesome, or what.

 This morning, peckish but not starving, I considered my breakfast options. Once I’d decided, I jumped out of bed, wandered into my garden and with the help of an ‘tool’ carefully manoeuvred so that the guava I’d had my eye on all week, would fall towards me rather than into the bushes directly below the tree, or worse, onto the neighbours’ patio. Score! Manoeuvre completed, I then scrutinised the mango tree opposite, decided there was nothing ripe and instead went for the mango tree at the front of the house.

Yup.

 

Gotcha.

The mango hit the ground with a thud.

Breakfast was ready.

  Continue reading

Schoelcher Snapshot: A Beach-side lunch in Martinique

It’s all been a bit intense around here. I’ve got deadlines, and major headaches accompanying them, not least with a crazy cold.  Feeling stressed, tired and ill seems doubly miserable when the sky is bright blue, the horizon line is well-defined and the sunshine is gloriously skin-tickling warm.  Carnival feels like a long time ago.

I was in the library for hours this morning, trying to talk through an assignment with a colleague, and then complete it.  Nothing especially complicated, but a lot of preparation is required for a lengthy document which I have to produce in French.  So it’s just a little stressful.  Over-enthusiastic air-conditioning did not help matters.

Having anticipated a distractingly sour mood, I had one appointment at least to look forward to.  To clear my head a little, I did lunch with a sister-friend.  We had a lot to catch up on seeing how we hadn’t sat down together for 2 whole weeks!  And catch up we did: we just talked and talked and talked and talked for four straight hours. Continue reading

Romance in the Rainforest: Dating in Paradise II

Apparently, I’m a romantic.  I don’t think it’s asking too much for a young man to put some thought into how he keeps my attention.  I’m not against a little effort, or being impressed.  It’s not that I’m into insincerity and sweet nothings. I simply believe that if life is to be lived abundantly, then matters of the heart should involve some involuntary fluttering.  And frankly, on a lush tropical island, it is not exceedingly difficult to woo a romantic; breathtaking views are the norm, atmosphere is everywhere and a little creativity can go a really long way at literally no cost.

As a young, single woman with a cute English accent (although I didn’t know that ’til much later) from abroad I was bound to be a curiosity (read: fresh blood) when I moved to the French Caribbean.  And I was semi-mentally prepared for it.  In addition, as with the approach of summer in temperate countries, I had the swinging hips of a woman liberated from her winter wardrobe with suitcases of new light and colourful clothes to enjoy.  Continue reading

7 things I didn’t know about WOOFing in Martinique (plus 2 things I did)

FYI the t-shirt says 'Support Windward Bananas'Like any armchair lefty, I have long harboured the secret desire to go WOOFing.  WOOFing is proper proof of commitment to social change; it’s stuff white people like #132 for heaven’s sake!  Actually, I didn’t know that ’til I started writing this.  And I’m not white, although I do have a history degree.  But when you work in the UK charity sector long enough, you know how it goes and so a quick google confirmed my suspicions. So, should I one day decide to try and get another job in the sector once this adventure has come to a close, I will be able to explain a competency via my WOOFing experience.

Oh, you don’t know what WOOFing is?  Please excuse my presumptuousness.  For those not in the know, Working On an Organic Farm is exactly that.  Sort of.  It’s voluntary, unpaid work, often in exchange for food and lodging, and for the London-based, usually takes place abroad, possibly combined with some extended travel.  And comes with serious leftie cred.  Continue reading

The Travel/writing binary: Too much travelling, no time to write?!

Cruise Ship Arriving in Fort-de-France

Cruise Ship Arriving in Fort-de-France (Photo credit: rustinpc)

I type this laptop on knees, sitting on the bed with my unpacked suitcase underneath the bed-edge I am perched on.  Speaking of perches, the sunlight is slightly streaming through the frosted ice shutter-style windows in my bedroom whose name I can’t for the life of me remember right now and the birds are just singing away, somehow adding to my tranquil Caribbean vibes.  And At 1’o’clock, I can see my laundry basket looking slighty full.  I hope there’s nothing in it I was planning to wear.  I am in pyjamas and the boat leaves in 4 hours.  I should be packing as I type this.

But I continue to type because I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by my own adventures recently and if you’re a regular reader, I thought I should update you.  Truth be told, I didn’t know I had any regular readers but one of my friends was like, hey you haven’t blogged for a while, which was basically the nicest thing anybody had said to me all day.  Like, somebody noticed???  Awwww…

Okay, since I am supposed to be packing, and there are no buses as today’s ferie, and I am gonna have to beg for a ride to the port if I don’t move so I can pick up one of the buses leaving hourly from round the corner…unless I want to hitchhike which is usually an incredibly effective form of transport but may not be if it’s a Bank Holiday (sorry, that’s what ferie means…I’m too rushed to recall where the accents are on this but it’s feri-e in case you were wondering…) and everyone’s chiling in their houses.  This is my life.

Shooting from one adventure the next, trying to take it all in, working out the logistics as I go along, and hoping I don’t miss the boat.  Continue reading

Travel = a need not a want

I can’t honestly explain what makes me want to travel.  Where my itchy feet come from I don’t know.  I like to think I am part of a great epic of black women moving by force, by choice, but moving nevertheless.  I sometimes think it is the Brit in me.  Raised as I was at the latter end of the times when it was still okay to idolise the great explorers of the nineteenth century.  To think of them as great rather than the imperialist baddies they were.

While the conscious black person in me always knew how morally repugnant it was, the Brit in me imagined myself with that beige hat on head, and cutlass in hand, big grin on my face as I carve out a new route through some hitherto ‘undiscovered’ place obscured by trees.  It’s such a familiar recurring image that I smile as I write it.

I’m smiling because I’ve been able to write what I’ve never been able to articulate.  The need to see new things, the craving to understand the world.  It’s the black person in me, paradoxically, who knows that if I really want to know, I have to ask the people.

Continue reading