Dedicated to all those
who visited my facebook wall this week
I choose love, not hate
I hear Martin Luther King knocking at the door
I choose poetry, deny so called fate
and hear so many poets begin to roar
Maya Angelou says be the rainbow
in the clouds
I will forgive but still call for injustice to end
Mahatma Ghandi shows people how to resist
with non violence so –
I wage peace not war
I don’t wait for it to come knocking at the door
I read Abdul-Baha’s Paris Talks
and think of when he brings Louis Gregory to the table
in the United States
I choose for my children
more than debate
I dream we walk through unity’s gate.
My family in the seventies
I spent this week having discussions in my facebook space about racism and prejudice and what we can do about it.
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It was amazing today to feel like an advocate for unity in diversity, and the power of poetry, love, and education.
I mentioned Maya Angelou, Nelson Mandela, my parents and the spiritual and cultural upbringing that has made me who I am today. Love will always lead us away from hate as a solution, and words on paper can have great power to release pain and lead to understanding!
Hope you can listen in to this story of my family, paying tribute to the courage of my parents and thinking about ways we can deal with racism.
For me there are five powers to dealing with racism: Power of poetry! Power of spirituality (faith) ! Power of love! Power of Education and Excellence!
Can’t quite believe where the journey of this kickstarter has taken me. Thinking of my heroes like Maya Angelou and Nelson Mandela and also of the dear ones we have lost, like one of my brothers, and so many who have fallen partly due to the ravages of racism gives me so much passion to write and create art.
If you’d love to support Magic Fish Dreaming, and be on our blog honour roll, head over to THE KICKSTARTER
We have just 5 days to go, before the magic of producing the rest of the book begins!
At the moment I am working on three short stories; one about homelessness, another racism of the insidious subtle kind, and the last one introduces and captures a deep thinker trapped in his falling apart (but maybe he can put it back together) country life.
But these themes whilst they appear deep and meaningful are carried by compelling characters who don’t speak like philosophers but like everyday people with particular lingo/slang/dialogue that is real and natural.
As I create each story I am thinking extensively about the voice of the narrator and which narrative point of view will work the best. One story has me writing from several characters’ perspectives, something like in Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper.
I find that shifting the point of view in my stories is deeply challenging as I have to jump inside the head of a racist for art, and that character is letting me know she has many redeeming features, and the possibility for growth and change as much as any other in a tale of broken friendship. Yet the empathy is discomforting and I still want the character to change and grow but I am not sure if she can. I don’t want to judge this character, and yet I could be biased in the fate I give to her and not let her be organic and make sense if emotion gets the better of me.
One piece about homelessness is very poetic and seems to like being a piece of flash fiction, or it could become a performance poetry piece. I’ve opted for a third person narrator seeing a scene, but I may well experiment with it more, as that might lead to some new discoveries about that scene. As I write it I keep thinking of Elizabethan songs with crows in them, only my story has a different species of bird.
Often I use photographs to inspire my writing, and in the same way I like to abstract an image as the one above in this blog, I think about how to abstract characters – make something straightforward more ambiguous, questioning and creative, create characters that ripple and flow into and around the river of existence.
I have no idea yet, what age each story will suit, and whether they will lengthen or shorten. All I know is that the characters want to leap off the page and speak to a wider audience. I don’t want to put them on my blog, but into competitions or publications, maybe some might even join together and create a novel, yet I do want my blog readers to know a bit about the journey of these characters as they come into being.
I worried that when I moved to the city, my inspirational muse of nature might cause me to close up in my longing to write and photograph. Instead my memory of the country becomes more vivid and has something to contrast against. The country becomes a place to move into as a storehouse of experiences and characters to consider representing. The city is vivid too, as it is all around me. It is strange and unsettling to hear sirens everyday instead of twice a year.
I still keep up the life writing. The city sparks memories of times I was a student in the city and those stories become clearer as I travel again on trains. Yet, there is a freedom in creating fiction that calls ever more strongly.
(c) June Perkins
Thinking about this months ABC Open 500 words theme Like it or Not inspired me to write this prose poem.
I wonder what contributors are going to make of this month’s theme. I look forward to reading their stories.
I was born golden brown with
hair thick and frizzy.
I used to think these were things to overcome.
I’d do everything to hide my curly hair
put it under bandanas and scarves
comb it a hundred times to try and make it straight
cut it, pull it out, twist it into ringlets,
ringlets are better than frizz, aren’t they?
pray somehow I’d wake up and it would be straight and easy to brush.
As for my skin, I didn’t change it, but sometimes it felt a burden.
Some people said, ‘You are so lucky you don’t need to tan.’
‘You have to work harder at school people will judge you by it,’ said my Dad who had seen so much prejudice and wanted to protect me.
I learnt that some people judge you by the colour of your skin & some don’t.
They accept you for who you are.
I learnt about ‘internal colonisation’
& read The Colour Purple.
A mother of a friend combed my frizzy hair.
She said ‘it’s so beautiful.’
I never forgot what she said.
It had more power than any unkindness after that.
Here I am now,
my skin has psoriasis
& it’s not just golden brown but full of pink patches that itch.
I have no control,
try everything to get rid of it
& people tell me everything they’ve heard to get rid of it
I listen patiently
I’ve heard it all before
but nothing cures it,
I wish it would.
I keep trying,
live in hope of managing it better,
have learnt detachment gives strength.
My hair is curly still,
it has white strands wound through dark curls.
I smile, laugh, write
no matter what my hair or skin are doing,
or changing into.
I have learnt I am not the sum of my external being
but a collection of experiences, moulding me into
My obstacles were a way of thinking
& that I can control.
(c) June Perkins
For more information on psoriasis