Sunday, 1 February 2009

A-Z FACT FILE: A... B...

Dear reader, I’ve decided to intersperse my fiction writing (short stories, snapshot narratives and poetry) posts with some facts about myself... my way of inviting you to get to know me better ‘up close and personal’ (lol). My remit... three key words for each letter of the alphabet... which lead to three brief facts about myself... and, I hope to cover two letters of the alphabet per post (whenever I do post). Hmmmmm... this should be an interesting journey. It’s so easy to hide behind the liquid interface of cyberspace however in these A-Z Fact Files about yours truly I do intend to keep it ‘real and honest’! Please feel free to share your thoughts or ask any questions...

A: African. Acting. ABBA.

African... as some of you know – my roots are indeed African, Nigerian specifically (Igbo tribe), even though I feel about as African as I feel Japanese. For many reasons, I have always struggled with my African identity and I have always felt quite disconnected and discontented with my African heritage. An alien of sorts! Acting... well, I did my first AND LAST acting course last spring. It was a beginner’s course which I took up for two reasons (1) to boost my confidence and (2) to try something new. The culmination of the 12-week course was an experimental play titled: Schreber’s Nervous Illness... where I played one of many patients in a mental asylum (lol). ABBA... I’m a mega FAN! And, yes – I have the ABBA gold album and yes I have watched Mamma Mia on big screen (and I was singing along to all the tracks).

B: Boarding school. Black pudding. Birmingham based.

Boarding school... I hated my boarding school years (I was shipped off from 11–16 years). I especially despised my first school, Queens Park School in Oswestry. The uniform was awful. Everything was a hideous BROWN or thereabouts (beige shirt, brown pleated skirt, brown and gold tie, brown cape, brown shoes and straw boater) – I hated how the brown against my brown skin made me look like a ‘brown penguin’ (a huge deal when you’re eleven). The next school, Kent College for Girls in Pembury, was a better place (mind you - anywhere would have been better than QPS), and thank goodness the uniform was a bit nicer in the shade of blue (striped blue and white shirt, blue skirt (not pleated), blue tie, blue blazer, black shoes and black hat (not boater – thank goodness!). In hindsight, of course I gained lots from my time at boarding school but if I could do it over again (and, if I had a say in the matter) --- I wouldn’t. I think boarding school is a place where you either ‘find yourself or lose yourself’... in my case, I think I lost myself somehow! Black pudding... YUK YUK YUK – enough said!!! Birmingham based... that’s Birmingham (UK). I’ve been living here for the past five years after having lived in London for about eight years. Both great cities in very different ways... what I especially like about 'Brummie land' is the contrast of ‘old and new’ in terms of the city's landscape and architecture although Birmingham remains a city at the height of its redevelopment. Anyway, here’s a poem I’ve been playing around with in the last couple of days...

Birmingham in January

Lattice cranes crane
through rancid gloom
to reach Birmingham’s
sombre skyline.

They hover over
derelict rustic brown
dusted around the stale
silent canal.

From the narrow boat,
I look upward in search
of a glimpse, or a whisper
of heaven.

p.s. as I post this today... on 1 Feb... outside the window is Birmingham's first snow flurry of 2009!


Faith said...

What an interesting post. Thank you for sharing about your life. Quite an undertaking to do so in this format! I love it!

Your poem is so descriptive. The images work so well. I can really see Birmingham through your eyes.

Sarah-Paige said...

Thanks for letting us get to know you a little more...I love hearing others stories :)
And what a beautiful poem, I especially loved the last stanza.
Have a great snow day!!!!

rebecca said...

I like this experiment of yours! I may just borrow it, if you don't mind?

A: I would have LOVED to be acting as a mental patient in a play! Loved it! I could see myself getting so carried away. It's very weird, I am shy when it comes to being around many people in a social setting yet, completely fearless when acting or singing or dancing in front of others. It's unreal! ABBA. Oh, Catherine...ABBA? Blah! My sister-in-law is a huge fan and she keeps insisting I see Mama Mia. I didn't even pay to see the movie for $10, you think I'm going to pay $100?

B: Boarding school? Poor thing! My sisters got sent away to boarding school and I cannot tell you the trouble they caused! They have stories that will make you laugh until your sides hurt. But then again, they were as mischievous as they come.

Lilly's Life said...

Fantastic idea - I hate Black Pudding, I love Abba, I hated boarding school and I never got the chance to go to Birmingham - great poem. I just know it!

CathM said...

@Faith: Thanks for commenting. Yes - ‘an undertaking’ indeed (lol)... but I do intend to see it thru right up to Z. Wish me luck!

@Sarah-Paige: Hey... thanks for your comment. London came to a complete standstill today... we fared better here in Brum... but another ‘snow day’ is anticipated for tomorrow (YEAH!) although I do feel sorry for all those who have to struggle in to work tomorrow. Hope they stay safe!

@Rebecca: Of course you can borrow my experiment (smile). Re acting course – it’s strange, although Myers Briggs states that I’m an extrovert... I do find that in certain situations I am more ‘I’ than ‘E’... possibly, why I struggled with the acting course. That, and the fact that my brain is a sieve so I had difficulty learning my lines (which weren’t that many). Re: ABBA – OoooHHhhhh... what I’d do to go to a theatre performance of Mamma Mia or a sing-a-long performance (lol)!

@Lilly: SNAP! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment!