In a small place you can feel squeezed, in a vast world overlooked…no woman is an island but on this patch of soil on which I stand, I am happy to have dared, to be daring still in spite of the odds, to do the thing I love through bad weather and good. This dream is sometimes a nightmare. But I’m living it.
Where’s all this coming from. I did an interview this morning at ABS TV – the Good Morning Antigua and Barbuda show – promoting the upcoming CODE workshops I’ll be facilitating. Near the end of the interview Dave Lester Payne – who said he loved the cover of new book Musical Youth by the way – asked, so how many books have you done?
Now, if you’re a writer, you’ll understand that one book is plenty and when I was a kid dreaming, and through many years of rejection after that, I couldn’t even imagine that.
So you can understand why my mind blanked for a moment when he asked that.
How many books, the very idea that I had written and had published books, plural, was unfathomable to me, overwhelming for a moment – and none of these books are bestsellers mind you (I should be so lucky) but they exist, physical, tangible, real. Written.
The other reason for my pause – a pause that seemed to stretch to me but was probably no more than a millli milli milli second was….
(shamefaced) I don’t do numbers…not proud of that but numbers don’t stay in my head…so I almost said I don’t know (really as if I’d done so many books they couldn’t be counted *rolls eyes at self*)… instead I used my words and began listing, the first The Boy from Willow Bend
, continued with Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, the children’s picture book Fish Outta Water, the novel Oh Gad! and now Musical Youth. How many is that? What a pretentious sounding question though Jah know I genuinely couldn’t find the number in my addled brain on live television no less.
Later, sitting in my car (read: the loaner I had for the day), I was struck still for a moment by the very idea that dis gyal from Ottos, who struggled and still struggles to write, to make life writing, to make a living writing, in a space that too often doesn’t seem to have space for me, in a reality where the climb seems always uphill even as my legs get weary and I get short of breath (I’m not 20 anymore)…the very idea of that person having a list of books to her credit. And in spite of every bit of trouble and deprivation that insists on trying to steal my joy, I felt nothing but grateful in that moment.
So I wrote the little reflection that opened this post.
Then I hijacked my mother for a lunch date because life is much more than the worries and the stress we both sometimes give too much weight. Life is moments of gratitude and impossible things becoming real. Life is also curried goat, your drink of choice, and a beach side lime …with the woman who paid for your typing lessons …and bought you your first type writer …and then an electric one after that…