Wednesday, February 9, 2011


... you must first ask about her mother and listen carefully. 
The more a daughter knows the details of her mother's life 
- without flinching or whining - 
the stronger the daughter. "
The Red Tent, Anita Diamante.
Taken on the trip looking for Mum's Mum, August 2009 - Cottles Church, Nevis.

Mum the photographer. She discovered a rampant creative streak when she retired. Nevis 2009.

After an invigorating hot air balloon ride Mum bought as a gift for my birthday. May 2009.

we touch silence  
in awe of the horizons within

         Mum likes to talk. She'll riff and freestyle a story rich with images loaded with a slow burn allegory. Deep within these stories are messages from her subconscious as she does not express  in a direct way her intimate stuff, things that bother her or making her feel bad about herself. I almost have to be psychic with her. She'll ask questions, revealing little of herself. "It's not something we did in our house." she said.  At times it was tough for me, especially around my teens, because I AM a talker. Frequently, it is crucial for me to talk to problem solve.  I guess that's why I write. I have to have some kind of dialogue even if its with my Self on a blank page. But when Mum does choose to speak up around a problem (cos you can't make her), she'll drop a bomb.
     I remember one time we were going somewhere and we had to come out of Charing Cross tube station and cross Trafalgars Square. A neo- nazi march had just finished and there were straggling skin heads walking about. I was 5 or 6. I could sense something in the air and Mum seemed a little... edgy. So we're walking and three skin heads were walking towards us. When they are level with us, one of them shouts right in Mum face, "NIGGAH! NIGGAH! NIGGAH!" I'm freaked. Mum's laughing. Probably a nervous laugh. More than likely a nervous laugh... But I remember looking up at her thinking she was crazy. Why wasn't she scared? With my 6 year old incredulity, I asked "Why are you laughing?!" Mum never even broke her stride and said looking down at me, " That's all you can do with these kind of people, Zeen. You can't  take them seriously." Did she mean don't take them seriously or can't let them see you taking them seriously? Either way she was trying her best to break down racism to a six year old. As young and naive as she was bringing me up on my own, Mum's strength to cope in blizzard times would chime much later with me, as she had gathered techniques for surival everyday, day by day.

     I chose to post this Dianne Reeves track with this blog because resonates in brilliant metaphor, reminding us that the survival techniques we have learned, acquired, adopted from others and adapted for ourselves have come from making the same mistakes over and over and over.... and over... It doesn't matter how old you get, there are still opportunities to learn. The First Five Chapters of my Life speaks well of my Mother and her journey through life, of the many life times she has had in one. Something I also learned. A resilience.



marcina said...

hey Zena
im really loving this blog, its bringing my tired (travelling with too much} body to eye blink the water back from those big brownies, cos im on a train travelling again)!
Still want to read you that poem i wrote for you a long time back, the one that never got lifted off the rack of books with stories and rants or just plain old musings that i am shy to share,me this big voiced marci is very inspired that you care about whats on my mind and remembers how kind and gently you've listend when i needed a whine or a helping hand to help me make sense or understand!
xx love you loads hon

Cleo said...

Really enjoyed reading this Z. You just mentally visual things in a richer light when your able to talk and read about the same thing. Hope your well! Talk soon. Luv ya