Friday, 29 June 2012

Why Do You Write?

Why do you write?

I write for several reasons; for artistic self expression, to share some important social and/or political issue, because I feel compelled to put pen to paper, because not to write would mean I'd feel deprived on a spiritual, psychic and emotional level, because it's become part of who I am and because I feel a sense of freedom during and after the writing process.

I cannot imagine not writing. I cannot imagine keeping all those ideas, thoughts, and observations circling around in my head and not letting them reach the paper, so as to explore what they can be made into, how they may evolve.

How do I write?


I write in my journal, which is where I collect thoughts, opinions, ideas, poems, observations. Recently, I started an on-line private journal ( Journalling satisfies my need to write and as it isn't going to be viewed, I can feel more free with this kind of writing than any other. Sometimes its emotional stuff and can include responses to everyday life, but more recently I write when I'm inspired/motivated/effected in some way.

Creative flow is something I have to work hard on so as to not let my inner critic have its say. I try to write freely and spend less time on rewriting. I'm aiming for a natural rhythm and momentum. I try to connect with my writing everyday, even if it is a journal entry. 

Current work includes studying children's writing through an Academy of Children's Writing correspondence course; Assignment 7 (there are 10) is a tough one as I have the challenge of writing a synopsis for a non-fiction book along with a chapter by chapter outline and then the first 1000 words of the book.  

I'd really like to hear from fellow writers so please do let me know why you write!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Home contd...

The term 'home' is highly complicated in a complex and multicultural world like ours and means different things to us.  For me, I've just scratched the surface; home can incorporate family, comfort, friends etc.  I've still more questions to consider.  Is home the place in which you were born, raised and live, or is it a space that gives you a feeling of belonging?  What happens when the two are different?

For many multicultural people our ancestors brought their country through memories, stories, traditions and large physical numbers of family and community from home.  I have some idea of that migration process even though I learned fragments about it later on in my life through my Guyanese father, who had already spent twenty years in England before we met.

Here I think it's time to introduce two significant family members, my mother Sophia Moore and my grandmother Sophia Hunt.  These strong individuals helped shape my start in life in ways I'm truly thankful for and despite the challenges of these relationships, I eventually developed a strong sense of self.
You discover all sorts of unexpectedness when you analyse an old family photo or two.  It has only just dawned on me that the above photo of me and my grandmother taken in the back garden of 29 Grosvenor Avenue, Highbury, North London, meant I had visited the house long before I started to live there; no wonder I loved living there and felt right at home.  

Although I've no memory of the actual day the photo was taken, I have questions like, was this a special occasion since my grandmother is wearing pearls and a nice little black number?  She's smiling, unlike me!  What's with my sleeves rolled up, like I'm ready for 'business'.  Am I lost in thought?  Would I rather not be involved?
There is joy and happiness evident in this photo of me and my mother and if I hazard a guess, I think I may be smiling into a small compact mirror and delighted to see our reflections, although I have no memory, so could be wrong about that.

I loved to play in the garden, which was vertically divided into two and shared with the neighbours upstairs.  Our side was on the right looking out from our back window, with its orderly colourful array of rose bushes, nasturtiums, pansies, crocuses, iris and lavender.  The left side was neglected and unruly with just long wild grass.

Our next door neighbours had chickens and the daily cock crowing, along with trains passing in the distance, were reassuring sounds.  There was a great view of the Canonbury line from the bottom of the garden.  Sometimes I would wave at the passengers and get a wave back.  The slow moving 3am cargo train would make this strange clanking noise and I would feel the vibrations in my dreamy sleepiness.

Friday, 22 June 2012


"...there are places in which we feel at home, even if we don't live there; and people with whom we feel at home; and ideas that feel like home too.  Ultimately, of course, what we hope to find is a way of feeling truly at home in this world, in our own skin, with who we are, with - spiritually speaking - our essential nature.  If we push this far enough, then 'home' means being at peace in every moment, in any place." - Roselle Angwin

The above image, taken in 2008, is of 29 Grosvenor Avenue, a large Victorian terraced house in Highbury, North London, where I lived with my mother and grandparents in the early sixties, from the age of eight years old.

So, here I am going to focus on what I consider my first home, although I lived in other 'homes' before I arrived at this one. I have felt at home in London ever since I can remember, and will always feel that way as it's where I grew up and went to school, and despite a seven year break when I lived in Northamptonshire, it is where I felt the need to return to as soon as I reached my twenties.

I vividly remember my early school days, particularly walking to Highbury Quadrant Primary School along Highbury New Park, (pictured below) a long tree-lined road, with multi-green leaves merged arching all the way along, offering a wood-like quality to a city street, with its large Victorian houses set right back off the road.  On my visit in 2008, it struck me that all roads should be built like this;

wide so as to offer everyone adequate space.  On the day, the weather was perfect, not too hot.  All I heard apart from the occasional car passing, were the sounds of leaves rustling gracefully as they danced in the light warm breeze.  All I saw was a lollipop lady with her dog.  We smiled at each other, commented on the lovely weather and went about our business.  I sat outside my old primary school - the kids were still inside.

The house I grew up in, 29 Grosvenor Aveue, was divided into two storeys, we lived in the basement with its narrow, dark, damp passage leading to a brighter living room and a small parlour, which just about accommodated a table and chair.  The larger back room had built in sideboard-type furniture, a large wooden dining table, always covered with a tablecloth, which would be white on special family dinner occasions, when my cousins, aunts and uncles would visit.  A couple of armchairs surrounded the fireplace.

My mother and I shared the front basement bedroom (as pictured above), which had wooden shutters that made the room pitch black when closed.  We used to burn Night Lights at bedtime and my grandmother would light an oil lamp.  There were two single beds, a couple of small armchairs, a black and white television, a chest of drawers and a wardrobe.

To be continued...