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It’s been just under four years since I began this blog, completed the 365 challenge, attempted to keep going, realised I’d run out of stamina and had taken on far too many projects along the way. But it’s been wonderful, especially knowing I could share 4 years of my life with over 100 dedicated followers and many nomads who passed through from time to time. However, from this day forth, ‘The Death of the Writer’ is now closed. It’s not, of course, the end of my writing. As you know I’m now the deputy Editor and contributor for MAGNIFY magazine – the UK’s first independent feminist, faith and fashion magazine – you should definitely check it our here. I’ve also been exploring and expanding my poetry. In fact i’ll be performing at Latitude Festival this summer and hopefully at many more in the years and months to come. I’ve found small and meaningful success with poetry and poetry competitions and hopefully you’ll see me on some circuit or even buy my anthology (when I get round to writing it!). Theatre’s also been a great exploration, so who knows what the coming months will hold! I suppose, the main reason i’m closing the blog is partly the lack of discipline to keep going everyday (life gets pretty busy). But also the lack of freedom. I think, I’m also in a period of transition – i’m trying to work out what the next story will be….and that inevitably will be an incoherent process, at best, so I’d like the freedom to just scribble and write nonsense and let me thoughts crystallise organically, a bit like at the beginning of this adventure….ALSO in the meantime i’d really like to set up a WEBSITE so you can see all my stuff in one place – wouldn’t that be neat!
BUT in the meantime, if you want to keep following my spasmodic thoughts or are looking to get in contact PLEASE follow me on twitter (@JustinaKehinde) and do inbox me and I will endeavour to get back to you ASAP. Keep on the look out for whatever comes next and may you also continue to discover and hone your voice. All the best, continue to Shine Bright
Poetry So Far….
Her crown of purple and gold was drenched by the intermittent tears that fell, like rapid fire, from the tempestuous faces of a fatigued crowd of underfed and overworked clouds. They grumbled their discontent each time a proposition to suspend their lethargic tantrum was presented. And so the tears fell, pooling along bitumen lined roads, washing them slick with the image of sweat, a covering that turned them from trusted friends to slimy paths that shimmered belligerently under drug induced headlights. I watched their shallow tears fall, washing over the hushed night like a damp blanket that brought no comfort but the anxiety of further ill. I thought of their cries, hollowing out the heavens with each unexpected shower, bursting over the huddled figures gracelessly, carelessly.
And I thought of how each cry was mimicked, behind concrete and wood lined walls, in the cracks of brick and ageing mortar. I heard the disaffected chorus welling up, swelling over doorposts and under window frames, trailing round fences and gates. A moaning, wailing, mournful chorus that shook tears onto carpets, and scrunched screams up in shredded sheets of paper.
I thought about how the rain was meant to wash things away, how it was supposed to beckon in new dawns lined with fresh sprays of freedom and hope. How it was meant to cover the evil that had erupted from the clods of earth and manure we built our foundations upon.
But that night, the rain was not a blanket of peace, it was not the amniotic sac that preserved what was good in this world, holding it gently until dry land was found upon which life, crowned by a white dove, could be re-born.
That night, the rain washed over a scar wrenched city, each drop a nail hammering into already broken minds, the cries of the clouds only swelling that grey matter, their rumblings covering the pitiful moans with a forecast of tempestuous weather.
For Colored Girls London was a wonderful success and if you really want to know all the stories that surrounded its conception, production and performance just do a google search and you’ll find it all there ( can you believe, we can now be googled, so much for anonymity!). It’s been nigh on 6 months since I last posted, which means FAR too much has happened and it’d be awful for me to attempt to explain and write and describe and muse in retrospect. Moreover, where I once was able to write as a musing voice with no intended audience, since i’ve begun publishing my poetry and therefore having to put a name to my work, I now know I have (may have) an audience and moreover they know me – which changes the game entirely. However, for those who still once in a while pass through this former haven of my thoughts, I have a surprise in store for you in the New Year! (only a few days to go, stay excited).
In the meantime, one (amongst many wonderful things) that happened to me in November is I did a TEDx talk. Below is the link. I won’t say any more but do give it a watch, a listen, and if it touches you in a positive or challenging way, do share.
Wishing you seasons greetings. Till 2014
I was 18 when I started this blog. I was sitting in a room, it was clothed in shadow, with a yellow desk lamp, the same one that illuminates my food stained keyboard now, glaring at the screen, as I Skyped my older brother. I was depressed. Not in a suicidal manner, but I had lost any spark that ever glared behind newly framed eyes. I was apathetic. And my chest was burning. It was burning because I had this scream that was locked up deep inside of me, and it was tearing the enamel off my teeth, scraping the bristles off my tongue, inflaming the sores I had chewed into the lining of my cheeks. It was my voice. Disabled, disused and highly confused, and it lay mangled and crying in the back of my throat, trying to make me scream to release it. But I had no constructive way of doing so.
So came the idea of this blog. Coming to the end, albeit a month late and not in the fashion I wanted – this is more like the salutary face-plant I ended my first-year of Uni with – I have arrived in a heap of words, and thoughts, and comments, and life lessons, here, in the last post, on the last day of January. And I have grown.
It’s bizarre. This blog has seen me age three times. From 18 to 19 and now to 20. When I began this blog, I tried to be extremely covert and dissembling. I wrote critical pieces about the representation of ‘Africa’ in the media. I spoke about my broken heart for the dispossessed, for sex trafficked women. My pain at the industry that promotes prostitution. I began to voice the niggling sensations that clawed at my mind about identity and being a post-colonial being, a British Nigerian who is neither and both and somewhere in the middle. I talked about being tall, having big feet, being a gawky student, not able to get down in ‘da club.’ And then I began to write poetry?! Some of it was at 3am in the morning, raw with spelling mistakes and odd imagery. Some of it was down right contrite. A lot of it was self-indulgent and a poor man’s escape from reading the news and commenting in a socio-political manner. I began writing Life Lessons, the easiest way to get a quick post done. I travelled to South Africa and worked with Ithemba Projects. I came back and was unable to write. I then re-wrote Psalm 119 in a series of meditative posts. At each centenary mark I worked with my sister and produced 100 words and photo – and that was a beautiful experience.
I re-created my identity in this blog. I discovered, I destroyed and I forced out a voice on this webpage. I became a woman. And I came to the end of my 365 days writing. And it really was a process that killed the writer. It is the Death of the Writer… and the birth of a person who has re-learnt how to speak, and found a multitude of avenues to express her voice. And that voice is wholly polyphonic, just like the truth, just like my identity. It bursts out, it sings, it cries, it laughs, it writes, it speaks and it has learnt – most importantly – how to be silent.
So where do I go from here? Well, in the mix of this journey, I have begun to write for a wonderful women’s magazine called Magnify Musings -so check that out for more of my work.
Oh, and that poetry that just appeared? Well…check out the video below.
I wondered whether, amongst ‘the pile of shit’ that no doubt clutters this blog, if you, the reader, would ever find a piece of gold. I hope you have. If you haven’t… search harder.
So…How to end this journey?
I bow out, with grace. Born on a Thursday 20 years ago, I end this blog on a Thursday, and look forward to the many more years, strung together with words, that are yet to come.
Good night, God Bless, and a lot of love.
Thank you for walking with me.
It’s a difficult term. You apply it at a young age, and undoubtedly spite many people along the way. In one sense, every one has a multitude of best friends. They are the people who you have grown with, that you can ‘be yourself with’ what ever that quaint phrase means. They are people who lean forwards and snatch that mask off your face. They also begin conversations with you, without an introduction, and just trust that you’ll find your way through the grand scheme of things, and still have something of value to say before you slam dunk into the conclusion.
My best friend is stunning. My best friend is powerful and beautiful and intelligent. If I ever think I’m jealous, I look and I remember I just want the best, always. My best friend is my sister, my friend, my soul sister, my twin – you notice I lack specificities because the title is not set in stone. My best friend(s) knows who they are. I would not be where I am without them.
We tell ourselves we are alone in the world to make ourselves feel stronger. In my weakness, and my vulnerability I become stronger, and our friendship grows tighter.