Poetry and Me

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“The cold… seeping through my bones… this heat so different from the sun’’. These were the first words I wrote when I had just moved to the Midwest in the US. Coming from a warm climate, where beaches the beckoned, and sun kissed fruits were in abundance … this concept of cold was new and terrifying to me. Not only that but the kids were having a grand time mocking me about my accent ( at this time I thought Pasty Face would have been a welcome escape). My only friend was my battered poetry book. It would hold the words pounding in my head, threatening to escape which would only alienate me from these children. My poetry book fondly named Pandora ( I thought this was funny at the time because it would unleash all my misery on poor unsuspecting souls if opened …lol).

Pandora would become my most faithful listener through the different periods in my life she would constantly be there as an archive of my tumultuous teen years: from first love, to heart break, to feelings of accomplishment after I won first place in the beauty contest… Take that Syliva…. Pandora never failed. She was filled with my yearnings, and thoughts about decisions that I needed to make. The words would come flowing from my heart and into the pen onto paper. It seemed incredulous to me that such emotions that could often be so overwhelming could be caught on paper.  Sad to say, Pandora took a back seat when I went to college and became overwhelmed with courses, research, group work and other things much more fun ( college life most definitely the booze killed some of my brain cells… ) I began to fill her less and eventually she was forgotten. (yes, boyfriends will do that to you)

Life Marches On

When I got my first freelance photography job… I was filled with a lot of pent up energy, anxiety and… (Maybe it was the burrito I ate for breakfast that day). For the first time in a while I felt glimmerings of my old self. I rushed home that day and dug up my old friend. She was still there waiting for me patiently and as I flipped through the pages …. I began to feel awakened again… like a giant from a long slumber. I began to scribble words and then I began to feel the rush again… that only poetry could give me. ( this was my fix) As the weeks passed I began to write more even I had a hectic schedule. I made a decision to put aside some hours in the week. It didn’t matter if it was a few minutes before breakfast or on the weekends after washing the dog. I would commit myself to writing my poetry. These words would soothe, revive and motivate me through the days.( they weren’t all eloquent, some were just down right dumb but that’s me)

They would be quirky, haikus, dub poetry or just limericks. I thought if these helped me maybe there was someone out there they could help too. So last week I asked my best friend to listen to some ( I was nervous of course, who wouldn’t be considering that my accent would take over whenever I became nervous, making me even more nervous … the endless cycle lol). My best friend is a tell-you-like-it-is-I-don’t-care-its-the-truth type of person but can be the most compassionate person. She listened and here I am trying to find like-minded people to begin a poetry circle…

The ticking clock

the-ticking-clock

Everywhere I turn either my friends are getting engaged, married or having babies. I just hit my mid 20’s and looking and wondering when it will by my time. ( mmhmm? Am I next?) Of the three babies are am absolute favourite. There is something about the birth of a baby that allows me to be introspective and feel that life can start anew and reborn into whatever direction I would like to take it.

Single Childhood

Being an only child while growing up was a comfort to me at times. I had no to pest or bully me, no one to share with and constantly being doted on by the parents. (hallejiauh…I got whatever I wanted) It however, also had its downside because most of my relatives lived far away and I made few friends so it was a lonely childhood (cue Pandora). Who could I blame for the broken dishes? (maybe an imaginary friend..?)

Children: Babies and Toddlers

Babies bring a lot of joy to one’s life. They are soft, cuddly and smell so sweet (when they are not pooping or throwing up..). They are often sweet little angels (when they are not crying..lol). Each baby I realize has their own disposition. Children are a genetic imprint of two people coming together and carrying on your culture. Imagine carry another life inside of you. Feeling every movement, becoming fiercely protective of this person you have not yet met. Becoming aware that your life is no longer your own; adjusting your life mentally and physically to accommodate this person that will their indelible print on you forever. Continue reading

Staying fit: Exercising and diet

health-and-fitness

Has I get older I begin to realize that my metabolism doesn’t work as fast as it used to. Gone are the days when I cold wolf down two burgers, some fries and soda without breaking a sweat and wondering about my weight. Now if I even think about eating that fry it automatically gets sent to my stomach, butt and thighs. (Cellulite here I come …ugg) So I recently decided to invest in my health before it gets any worse ( can a budding beer belly be any worse?)

Clean eating

A diet is basically whatever you are eating. It only comes down to a balanced or unbalanced diet. I remember growing up in Trinidad we would get fresh Callao or Pak Choy (veggies) from our next door neighbor. Food sourced straight from the earth. Cleaning eating is basically about eating the freshest, organic produce as possible and limiting as much processed food from your diet. (Yeathat chips ahoy will have to go, I know you love it …just put it down) But you can still eat that chocolate chip without all the additives by making a healthier version for yourself

http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/10_ways_to_eat_clean

Exercising

With the new diet comes the exercise. This for me was the most frustrating part. I would psyche myself out and create excuses about why I needed to start another day. (I’m sure we’ve all done that) Then one day I looked in the mirror and did not like the road I was heading. I began to workout at home because of two reasons:

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My Trip to China

triptochinaChina is a country filled with mystical charm from its old world traditions colliding with new technology. Imagine me a West Indian chick, by way of Kansas being submersed into this culture and being overwhelmed by the history. I had to take it all in slowly like a kid who get their favorite cake, careful not to eat too much too fast but to savor it. I went on the typical tourist route and also got lost following the directions of friends (like we all haven’t done it before lol).

Some of my stops were: The Forbidden City in Beijing, The Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an, Shanghai’s skyscraper forest in Pudong.

The Forbidden City Beijing

It is an amazing piece of architecture testament to the fact of human ingenuity. The structure and layout of the buildings showed that a lot of time and care were taken in the process of building this city. It was the imperial palace for twenty-four emperors during the Ming and Qing dynastiesit has a total 8,700 rooms.( so many rooms and what to fill the with) It may have been a typical tourist stop but it would have been remiss of me if I hadn’t.

http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/beijing/forbidden.htm

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How to be a freelance writer

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Writing not only can be a catharsis process but it also can help you to make money. You can become a freelance writer like me. It can be done in the traditional and untraditional sense (yea to the spider)…

I needed some extra dollars to supplements my income and I decided to try my hand as a freelance writer. I got my local newspaper and started to look for jobs in the classified. There were some interesting ads in that paper I tell you (do people still look dates through the paper?) There are also several online sources that can help you in becoming a freelance writer.

http://www.freelancewriting.com/freelance-writing-jobs.php

The Process

Being a freelance writer is an interesting process. The individual contacts regarding your availability. Issues concerning budget size, amount of articles and the length of time are discussed. In essence the contract is being formed during this process. The employer will give the topics that they need to be written about. To become a successful freelance writer is the willingness to get out there and expose your writing to the world. You have to work hard at especially if you don’t have any qualifications in that aspect. Continue reading

My favorite poets

favrtpoetAs said before I am a lover of poetry and an amateur poet myself. I think over the years that I have seen some heavy weight poets and the significance they lend to my life. Their use of imagery, alliterations and the depth of the words to incite passion (and even morbid depression) marvels me to this day. This is a list of three of my favorite poets (and yes they include two West Indians)

1. Claude Mckay-

He is better known as a prominent literary figure during the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920’s. He grew up Jamaica and then moved to the US during a time that was filled with racial tension. He used his words to inspire, to challenge the authorities at the time, and also addressed our intellectuality. These poems addressed life in Jamaica and America at the time. More can be read about him at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/claude-mckay . Here’s a line of my favorite poem by Claude Mckay, If We Should Die-

If we must die—let it not be like hogs Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot, While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, Making their mock at our accursed lot. If we must die—oh, let us nobly die, So that our precious blood may not be shed In vain”- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15250

2. Derek Walcott-

A St Lucian born son Derek Walcott began writing poetry and at an early and didn’t receive recognition until his poems In a Green Night: Poems 1948-1960 (1962). Most of his poems focus on how colonialism shaped the Caribbean and how it as affected the islands post. He often switches between English and Patois. (broken English which I use when I’m particularly pissed or don’t want anyone to understand me)

A Far Cry from Africa by Derek Walcott also another favorite of mine “Threshed out by beaters, the long rushes break In a white dust of ibises whose cries Have wheeled since civilization’s dawn From the parched river or beast-teeming plain”. – See more at http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/634357/Derek-Walcott

3. Maya Angelou-

Has a woman Maya Angelou speaks to me. I feel we have a kindred spirit. We both sought to rise from the situations life had thrown at us and to become more than… (her poems at times mirror my life with frightening accuracy)Check out her bio at http://mayaangelou.com/bio/

Still I Rise   by Maya Angelou

“You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may tread me in the very dirt But still, like dust, and I’ll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise”.

- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15623#sthash.jICBI75j.dpuf

Clearly whenever I have a bad day or feeling down (even take charge, fiercely independent women like me have days, and then days…) this particular poem speaks to my being.

Jonathon Richman “A Plea for tenderness” and the music lover in me

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The album “A Plea for tenderness” by Jonathon Richman is one of the most authentic albums I’ve heard. The title song “A plea for tenderness” is a lovely song. It expresses the angst a person feels about love or a plea for tenderness to the one they are in love with.

Diversity

I listen to a wide range of music. I do not allow myself to be stuck in a box and not cultivate my tastes to liking different music. Being a West Indian by birth my love of Reggae as stemmed from my roots and culture. Some of my favorite Reggae artistes are Bob Marley(no doubt) ; Beres Hammond, the singer of smooth lovers reggae rock that was created in by my neighbors in the isles, Jamaica (Jamrock). Of course, I cannot deny Calypso (being a Trini) cause when that beat drops I’ll be whining like a manic (yes indeed lol). Calypso music is synonymous with Carnival in my homeland and is as intrinsically linked to this festival as well as the costumes. For all other types of music, it depends on the type of mood I am in. I will listen to almost about anything as long as the beat and the lyrics are saying something to me. Contemporary gospel music is also on my list. One of my favorite groups is Hillsong United. They sing great inspirational music to stir the soul and bring you in a closer connection to the creator.

Bands maker her dance

One of my favorite bands is Maroon 5. I got hooked on their music when they came out with the album “Songs about Jane”. The music and the lyrics had such amazing clarity and I could understand and feel the emotions of the songs having been in situations they sung about. Since then I have followed their music. I will also sway to Coldplay or Green Day. Their songs have raised the hair on my skin on occasion and took me to heights of emotional ecstasy. Continue reading