Why Write?

I was aksed to answer this question by First Story for National Writing Day.

Here’s my musings:

“It’s important to tell your story, to express who you are… If you don’t do that, then someone else may do that for you…and write you out of history…”

And here’s some other writers on the same question:

+ lots of resources on the NWD website to help get the writing flowing:

https://www.nationalwritingday.org.uk/resources/by/write-away/

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TLC Showcase Writer

This month I’m featured as The Literary Consultancy Showcase Writer for my in-progress-forthcoming-hopefully-completed-sooooooon novel as memoir, Ad-Break.

It’s been a journey writing this manuscript but definitely feeling closer than ever to finishing it after receiving an insightful and encouraging report from TLC reader Jonathan McAloon. An extract of the middle part of the novel is included to download here as well as an introduction for context:

The manuscript for Ad-Break has gone through many guises. It began life intended as an illustrated coffee table book entitled 57 Creative Ways to Kill Yourself (influenced by the comedian Bill Hicks’ sketch: “if you work in advertising or marketing, kill yourself”). After attending writing workshops with Yorkshire Art Circus (2003-2005) then joining the Inscribe Writer Development programme (2005) the present form began to emerge as a semi-fictionalised account of my own experience in the advertising world. In 2008 I had enough words to publish an early version of the opening chapters, with Inscribe, as the novella Kill Myself Now – The True Confessions of An Advertising Genius.

More soon come.

 

Launch of Black Cultural Activism Map

Excited for this #RepTheRoad collaboration with Voices That Shake! family  coming up Sat 13th October. Shake!’s multi-artform theatrical performance has been developed out of ‘reparations dialogues’ between marginalised youth, artists, respected community elders and activists and will feature song from Nawi Collective, poetry from Globe Poets, film from Dhelia Snoussi and improvised dance from Akeim Toussaint-Buck, weaved together using audio interviews and soundscapes.

 

 

Sat 13th Oct 2018 at 3pm at Platform Theatre, London

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Time To Write: Making Room, Moving Body

First thing in the morning. In bed or at my desk. After just leaving the dream state. Before the distractions of the day interrupt fresh-brained consciousness. Before turning on the internet, mobile phone, email, “social” media. Before turning on the news… Over the years this has proved my peak productive writing time. Attempting to implement this regimen for at least one day a week I have organised a dedicated writing space, negotiated home-life, juggled paid commitments into afternoon and evening slots – and learnt to thrive on a relative lack of income. At my most prolific, being able to blast out a couple of thousand words a day.

This deliberate, calculated routine is now interrupted: we have kids. Full nights of slumber in our household are thankfully now the norm (following many months of some colic/reflux/still-as-yet-undiagnosed sleep-depriving annoyance) but early morning wake ups, school/nursery drop-offs/pick-ups, and other such parental duties and distractions remain. These are of course necessary, usually a joy, and often provide a poignant reminder of life priorities. But still, I do yearn and hunger for that writing time and head space. A militant restructuring of my days has thus been necessary and I have had to become much more discriminating in accepting commissions and in saying no to opportunities outside of my immediate focus.

I began the year, then, with a needed investment in my creative practice on the Numbi artists retreat in The Gambia. This proved the richly fulfilling and rejuvenating experience I had hoped: an opportunity to collaborate with other artists from the diaspora and on the continent, and to connect with heritage, global family, the land, and people. This valuable connecting, thinking and writing time was also supplemented by workshops and lectures in Kemetic Yoga with master instructor Yirser Ra Hotep bringing original research into the Afrikan and Ancient Egyptian origins of yoga. This proved revelatory in many ways and on many chakra/spiritual levels.

A fourteen-hour road trip to Senegal squashed in the back of a minibus provided further opportunity for meditation and Zen focus, but such trials were always placed into sharp relief when talking with Senegambians about their everyday struggle. Continue reading

Writing and Repair – A Healing Justice Conversation

Ahead of the first in the series of Healing Arts workshops, run by Voices That Shake!’s Healing Justice collective, here’s some nourishing quotes from writers on the healing power of writing: a conversation between Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, bell hooks, Toni Cade Bambara, Toni Morrison, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Junot Díaz and others.

And a link to the essay that derives one of my favourite go-to quotes (which I’ve possibly mentioned on every single Shake! course is also up here: “Creativity is the Immune System of the Mind…”).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


bell hooks:
Writing is my passion. It is a way to experience the ecstatic. The root understanding of the word ecstasy—“to stand outside”—comes to me in those moments when I am immersed so deeply in the act of thinking and writing that everything else, even flesh, falls away.

Arthur Koestler: There is no sharp dividing line between self-repair and self realisation. All creative activity is a kind of do-it-yourself therapy, an attempt to come to terms with traumatising challenges

Toni Morrison: There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.

Maya Angelou: When I am writing, I am trying to find out who I am, who we are, what we’re capable of, how we feel, how we lose and stand up, and go on from darkness into darkness. I’m trying for that. But I’m also trying for the language. I’m trying to see how it can really sound. I really love language. I love it for wate it does for us, how it allows us to explain the pain and the glory, the nuances and delicacies of our existence. And then it allows us to laugh, allows us to show wit. Real wit is shown in language. We need language.
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Continent Chop Chop doc doc

Here’s the freshly released documentary from Virtual Migrants touring theatrical performance #ContinentChopChop.We laboured, loved and learned long and hard on this project and will be taking the essence of this theatre-film-poetry-music-digital-arts-community-engaging-connecting-politics-intervening stylee mash-up forward in new ways over the coming years. More ripples soon…

[repost from http://virtualmigrants.net/film/continent-chop-chop-documentary/%5D

Continent Chop Chop documentary re-launches critical climate justice creativity by Virtual Migrants

At the end of 2015 Virtual Migrants toured Continent Chop Chop, an innovative theatrical performance which is now the short film – the Continent Chop Chop documentary.  This film exposes the complex process involved in making an authentic artist-activist statement that avoids being didactic, doesn’t pull punches, and steers away from the common trappings of climate change art and performance.

Here it is, please leave comments below or watch it directly on YouTube and leave comments there: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAPKS3IobTk.

Background to the Continent Chop Chop Documentary

‘Continent Chop Chop’ is a touring transmedia production linking narratives of climate change to the broader issues of poverty, race and social justice. Using interwoven narratives portrayed through music, poetry, and projected imagery, it will ask:

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Creativity is the Immune System of the Mind…

Continent Chop Chop director Amanda Huxtable recently invited contributions for her Pearl’s Project with Huddersfield Literature Festival. Inspired by Maya Angelou, Amanda’s call was for people to share their pearls – “something you have kept with you ever since you first read it… a line from a novel, a poem or non fiction. It’s precious, it’s powerful. It leaves nothing unsaid in only a few words. Words powerful, strong and as precious as any pearl could be”.

Here’s mine that I hold dear from good friend, writer, artist and founder of Artists in Mind, John Holt:

 

Creativity is the immune system of the mind and the source of the mythic.”

 

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