As I read through my old blog posts and comments by readers, it strikes me that I have misinterpreted the importance of my blog and its readers. The current status of new posts; nil, new comments, none, the time and effort engaged in the activity of blogging, zero. A true yet scathing reality. My enthusiasm to blog has often had me wig-wagging; in fear of giving birth to drivel. The result of my labour, an inactive blog kept alive with solo discussion, a stupid attempt to scratch that itch. Note to self; several discarded drafts do not count as blogging.
I was asked recently why my blogging activity had lapsed. Excuses are easy; glitches in technology, time and self-belief, have gnawed their way into that productive space. There is no satisfactory answer for the inadequacy and disappointment I felt. Bored of reading ‘Top 10 reasons why bloggers fail’ and now penalised into addressing my plight. Develop a backbone and get on with it; better known as resilience.
To my beloved blog to whom I have the utmost respect. I have dishonoured you by speaking of your high maintenance and consuming nature. I have abandoned you when my focus should have been to nurture and help you flourish. Thank you for continuing to publish my meagre worth. It's a shadow of what you mean to me; I know that now, and I beg you to allow me to rekindle that vibe. I miss the furtive words between us and how you expertly present that quirky essence in every post.
We can reunite, settle our differences and galvanise our messages. Our readers if we still have any, deserve a munificent offering. Let us blog until new technology eclipses. Rest assured I have measured my commitment and reflected on my misjudgement. The sentence is a lifetime of habitual offerings to keep this community alive.
The Black Scribe blog started with zealous words; these posts are my legacy to remember the pledge, to blog.
Messages from The 70s
Our thirst for information hasn’t changed, but how we get our message across is entrenched within our communities.
Confessions of a Journal
An indulgence of innocent memories, brings a titillating blast from the past.
The Voice of a New Writer
This post is an apt and timely reminder of where the blog began.
"If you're not failing every now and then, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative. "
Social media is a gift to the modern world and if you are reading this post you are playing your part in keeping this unique eco system alive. No longer do we have to wait for the pendulum to swing left or right. We all have access to the internal mechanism and can post anything news worthy. It’s fast, raw and uncut appeal equips the nation with an unspoilt view from every facet. Driven by its own messengers, an eyewitness is a self-proclaimed reporter broadcasting the people's news.
It is easy to spend a disproportionate amount of time feasting on tasty snacks; Tweeties, Insta Bites, Face Puffs and Pin Balls. They are all designed to tickle the taste buds and leave you with a moreish appeal. How do we create a healthy social media lifestyle without compromising our cyber relationships? But maybe this isn’t the time to follow the manufacturer’s recommended daily requirements. What can we do to fend off addictive social parasites? If you are like me and had to break into a sprint to catch the media train, keeping pace with the trend setters is an exhausting task. I sometimes wish the world would slow down so I can alight and catch my breath.
As the eldest child in our house I ran errands and delivered daily messages. Reluctantly ferrying supplies from the local shop, I nervously clutched scrappy notes written in my Mother's delicate and swirly handwriting. I was grateful that Mr Sam at the corner shop was of a similar generation and could easily decipher Mother’s code. Her message provided the right currency to obtain groceries on tick until the weekend.
My messaging career hit its high point the first time I encountered death and experienced the exuberant outpouring of grief within the Caribbean community. Our neighbour, Mr Duke had collapsed and lay dead in the back yard for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, the body was wheeled through the back entry a tomb like tunnel, encased in black masonry bricks. I stood a heart beats distance away and watched as the body shaped white sheet emerged, moving eerily along, jolting against the uneven floor. I was astonished as the trolley was raised and the ambulance doors closed and took Dukey away. It was years before I could walk on that side of the street without seeing his shape shifting in the darkness. Our house became the go to place where people came to verify the story. Through a haze of blue smoke, I relayed my testimony to be questioned by my elders as grown men and women stumbled and wailed. The Caribbean community grieved openly with arms out stretched, both to give and receive comfort from their loved ones. To my delight conversations like these have lived on for decades, laughter and tears bounded across garden fences, propped up the bar at supping time and into uncensored banter in the bookies.
Back in the day I ran from door to door to gather friends and family by delivering Mother’s welcome messages. ‘De dutch pot ful ah Ackee and Saltfish’. The world wasn’t complicated back then. People took the time to talk, embrace and hug or simply write to each other across continents and share personal memories. Technology has advanced us in ways that my poor Mother would never comprehend, but in her mind, she could love thy neighbour with a daily bang on the kitchen wall with her old broom handle, to let the old lady know she was about to visit. Friendship, honesty and integrity formed the backbone of communities where everyone reached out to help each other.
As I blink myself back to our social media demanding world and compare how a modern tragedy can so easily become a viral phenomenon. It takes a relatively short time for the hungry exchange of information, posts, views and engaging reactions. We have all experienced being pulled along in the euphoria sniffing out hashtags, updated feeds and conversations to increase our followers. As we throw caution to the wind obsession takes hold to fuel the search for people to tag and stalk in our effort to reach that all time high. I too have floated high on the tempting aroma, elevated like the Bisto Kid and carried away by the promise of the gravy boat. I can recognise my own behaviour, can you?
‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?’ Martin Luther King, Jr
Reflection, journal development and content creation are all essential elements of the creative process and what aids me as a writer. For many years, I took refuge in my journal. It was a practical and therapeutic way of dealing with life’s ups and downs. It became a natural and comfortable place to reside. I relished the opportunity to pour out my thoughts and feelings, like wearing an old pair of comfy slippers.
I often find myself exploring the entrances and exits of life's metaphorical roundabout. Caught on camera in my slippers, in a moment neither past nor present as I ponder the speed of life. The joy of capturing events, immortalising emotions and reactions in this daily occurrence, fuelled with anticipation and revered reflection. Journal writing was an easy step for a natural reflector with a tendency for procrastination. I need no encouragement to obsess about things but it does work in my journaling favour. To pontificate is an admirable thing, something I am well versed in.
My first journal was my best friend, I trusted her with the deepest, darkest embers of my soul. She was elegantly draped in black embossed and embroidered silk with beautiful pink flowers and a tiny ornate gold clasp. Who am I kidding: I suspect it was patterned polyester from Cape Hill Market, it was the 70’s after all. In my eyes the finest fabric adorned my most precious possession. It was a dark day when I discovered she had been violated. Pages torn, writing defaced with childish scribble and the silky fabric snagged and scuffed.
My disrespectful younger sister had triggered the beginning of an international incident by defacing my beautiful pages. I now confess to teaching her a lesson and taking her favourite book hostage. I can still see the crumpled look on her trouble maker face as I announced that the Lion and the Witch will never be seen again, unless she met my demands. She hated me for every minute that I made her listen to me journaling out loud in our shared bedroom, where we, the Williams Sisters battled in patois for the grand slam. It had taken me weeks to save up my pennies to replace the journal and just, a little more time to return her book.
I smile as I am reminded of the C.S. Lewis hostage taking incident, when my life becomes busy and the pressure of time erodes reflective habits. My crazy animated world becomes stuck on auto play, with limited opportunity for download. Reflection in the virtual sense is a temporary replacement for intimate journal moments. The challenge has always been not to talk out loud in public. As I sometimes do and am caught responding to myself.
Judge me not folks but be reminded that the BBC news is scheduled to be aired daily. We have come to expect this regular occurrence and there is not much that will prevent this without bringing the country to its knees. In my case downloading is as essential, the opportunity to immerse myself and indulge in a well anticipated outpouring, to maintain my sanity and creativity.
It is a very different world we live in today, where thought, opinion, emotion and a variety of white noise is played out through online channels. My journal is a physical writing haven, decorated with habitual offerings that bring together expired events and today's thought provoking slice of fiction. Technology brings digital opportunities but nothing can replace the pleasing feel of pen and paper. If at any time my reflective view becomes obscured and I cannot bring a newly spun reality to feed my own literary appetite. I shall confess and return the custodian's pen.
'You can make anything by writing.' C. S. Lewis
Welcome to Black Scribe's first blog post.
Finally, I have unburdened myself of the indecision to blog or not to blog. My inner voice prevaricates, 'give it a whirl and see where it takes you’. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? As I look back at life's challenges I can remember that once shy, nervous little girl, frightened of her own shadow. The fear of what could happen was enough to keep me silent. My introverted voice dared not break out of its comfortable world, to be ridiculed. I have long since overcome my insecurities, well most of them anyway. It is certainly a skill to manage feedback from others, be it praise or chastisment, particularly the latter.
Back then I wished I could hide from the camera and myself but in truth, I was a shy skinny little kid that longed for a real afro! I hear your virtual snigger's. I’m not scared to flop as my afro's always did, but now I have the hope that as a writer I can grow and evolve.
A writer begins with small tentative steps to make their mark in the writing world. My social media posts and once published stories fade quickly, as I know my voice may not be heard above others. The Black Scribe is my place to write, review, reflect and deliberate on life’s little messages. As I remark on life through my writer’s lens and characterise the scenes in my minds eye. I will always have my fictional voice both published and unpublished.
With every new conversation brings a new footprint. It's a chance to share, like and follow others to illuminate the power of the written word and keep the ever moving trail of virtual noise alive. Choose your platform, it’s your piece of real estate, move in and make it your own. Share your voice, laugh, cry or shout if it means that much.
Just remember ‘ a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’. Lao Tzu
How does the voice of a new writer gain momentum in the literary community?
Can our footprints be traced or are they lost in the snow?
It is a pleasure to share my blog and I hope you enjoyed my contribution, you are invited to drop in each week for another peek at the voice of the Black Scribe.