Racism, Politics & the Spirit of Fear


Martin Luther King

Yesterday, I was verbally attacked for not being fully black (my mum’s white)… I couldn’t believe the hatred that came out of the person’s mouth. They directed racist abuse towards me – pointing out my background, my skin being fairer than theirs and my hair being too long to be “black”. Whaaaat?! Are we really going there, again? 

This happens to me every now and then (click here to read), but whenever it does it’s still a shock to my system, especially when it’s done by someone who’s close to my heart.

I won’t say who they were because I’m not here to fight the perpetrator, but I do want to come against the spirit (of fear). That person has been following American politics and got infuriated by president Trump’s racial attacks on 4 democratic women of colour… I understand why he felt angry, but he did to me the exact same thing Trump did to the other women. That’s what fear does – it makes you irrationally hate another… Reverse racism does exist. Since when are all white people responsible for evil actions of one or even a group of “their kind”? By that standard, should all black people be responsible for evil actions of one or a group of “their kind”? Moreover, being mixed-raced, should we be responsible for every crazy utterance of every black and/or white person? This… is… madness! We are individuals responsible for our own actions and nobody else’s. 

Instagram This Conversation

I don’t support the American president’s racist comments and the dangerous ways in which he carries on in his role. I don’t know much about politics, but my heart sank when he became the head of the state… Still, I don’t appreciate the vulgar way in which one of the women expressed her desire to impeach him. I understand her anger, but there’s a better way (language) to confront evil. We cannot fight fire with fire and we can definitely not fight racism with more racism… Two wrongs don’t make a right. Why do we remember and respect men like dr Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela? Because, despite injustice and cruelty, they responded with love and reason. They did not debase themselves to the level of those misguided by hatred and othering… 

We live in a fallen world. Bad things happen here. Bad people further their evil agendas… Is it difficult to manoeuvre through the darkness? Yes! The only thing that centres me is knowing that in the midst of it all, God is still in control. And, that there will be a time when all lies will be exposed and the truth will stand. It may not be  for another hundred years, or it might be tomorrow – but that time will come. In the meantime, we have to stay close to Him or our hearts will surely fail out of fear… 

I’d like to conclude with the following verses from the Bible which is what helps me with my own struggles in this area…

Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken…” 

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

Extraordinary Things in Ordinary Places


Two weeks have passed since my poetry evening. I’ve had some time to reflect and would love to share my thoughts with you…

After-Party Poetry Evening.jpg

The event was a success. The venue turned out to be the right one, and it was full. Due to previously mentioned last-minute changes, I had less than 3,5 weeks to promote the show, hence filling it up was probably one of my main concerns…

Testimonial Joanna.jpgSome of the words attendees used to describe this poetry evening were: eclectic, organic, inclusive, something different… Paul, one of the guests, said that it was “an interesting, colourfully put together event”. 😊 David, another guest, apart from leaving a solid testimonial in the pic above, said the event was “low key, but nice”… People got inspired to write, create and many met other like-minded folks. Yuppie! For the purpose of this post, however, I would like to zero in on David’s initial thoughts – low key but nice…

Ostentatious is, in my opinion, the best antonym of low key. This event wasn’t that… I’m not saying there’s something wrong with showy presentations, but they’re not in my nature. Plus, if I’m honest, I didn’t have an “ostentatious” budget this time around.

Testimonial Desiri.jpgWell, even though my poetry evening could be considered low–profile – we had some interesting guests in our midst. There were award-winning authors, publishers and other creatives who’re experts in their respective fields. Why is this important? Because they’re the ones who can teach budding or fellow creative-entrepreneurs a thing or two about their craft… Then again, I think that some of the lessons many super–talented (especially young) creatives need the most are life lessons which you don’t learn at school.

I found the following claim in an article by independent.co.uk: “For people in Britain, everyday problems can seem like the end of the world – and most of us are guilty of complaining about things like bad weather…” I’m guilty as charged (every now and then)… It was extremely hot on the day! After the event, a few of us met at a local café… I had only brief conversations with most people, but one of them still resonates with me. The guest’s a filmmaker, whose first film won the Palme D’or at the 50th Cannes Film Festival. We spoke a little about her films which was fantastic, however, what struck me the most was what she said about preparation.

She said she didn’t like to complain about things she couldn’t change, and the weather (hot, cold, or rainy…) made no difference to her. She said – the only people who complain about things are those who aren’t prepared… The topic of preparation is deep and wide – it can include many different aspects, besides the weather. Yet, my take away from the conversation’s that preparation is key, and as the saying goes – by failing to prepare, you prepare to fail…  

Extraordinary things do happen in ordinary places. Don’t take people for granted or you’ll miss whatever help God may be trying to send your way. Also, remember – help isn’t always material. Sometimes, it is the right word at just the right time. I hope this helps.

‘Twas a good evening, everybody. Track my event journey by checking out the previous post and by following me on Facebook and Instagram @monikaribeiro.writer.

Poetry Evening – Only 7 Days Away


Free Poetry Event London

I’m beginning to get those butterflies whenever I think that my first poetry evening in years is only 7 days away! Thank God, in spite of initial roadblocks, I’m calm and positive about it… All in all, those are friendly butterflies – they can stay, for now, as long as they don’t misbehave.

It’s not butterflies that make this event special though, but the artists who offered to contribute… Poetry Evening with Monika Ribeiro & Friends Line-up Includes:

Lyrical Healer – Bestselling Author, Poet/Singer whose work was featured on BBC iPlayer, Virgin TV, BBC London radio…

Desiri Okobia – Author, Poet, English Literature Teacher…

PK Boadi – Multiple Award-Winning Gospel Musician…

Avril Swift – Theatre Actress as seen in “Daisy pulls it off” at the Miller Centre Theatre Company Productions…

Nigel Swift Contributes at a Theatre; Plays the Flute…

Monika Ribeiro – Author, Poet as seen in Polish Weekly, Goniec Polski, Nigeria MagazineBlack Heritage Today…

You may remember Lyrical Healer, aka Winsome Duncan, from my interview with her (on the subject of creative entrepreneurship). On that note, this event is also an opportunity to network with like-minded creative entrepreneurs.

Likewise, I had already introduced the author of “Diaries of a Visionary” and “Bodel” – Desiri Okobia who did a great job at recording the voice-over for my poem titled “I saw her smile”.

PK Boadi is a multi–award–winning Gospel musician whom I’ve also mentioned a few times before. Moreover, in my “other life”, as a journalist, I wrote about him winning AGMA Discovery of the Year 2012. He has won many more awards since then…

Avril Swift, in January this year, played Alice Fitzpatrick in “Daisy pulls it off” by an Irish screenwriter Denise Deegan. Having seen Avril in action, on a few occasions, I fell in love with her dramatic expressions. I’m super glad that she’ll be a part of this eve.

Nigel Swift, too, is an occasional actor who happens to play the flute beautifully. When he plays, I feel transported to another – very tranquil place in my mind.

Both Avril and Nigel will read and perform from my books “Love, don’t Fear” and “Do Lend Me Your Ears”. Topping it all off, Nigel will play a few beautiful melodies on his flute as well… 

I have no doubt that this will be an evening worth remembering… Still, if you’re unsure if it’s for you, find MORE INFORMATION HERE and/or watch out for brief previews in my Instagram Stories. I plan to post them daily starting from tomorrow…

Let’s Meet Offline. 😊

My Poetry Collection & Self-Publishing Update…


Love, don't Fear - Book CoverSince publishing “Love, Don’t Fear”, I have learned a few valuable lessons not only about book publishing but also about myself. Previously, of course, I had discovered that I could do with a little more patience – you’ll find the post on this topic right here “If it’s Broke – Fix It”. 🙂 

Back to right now, though… So far, I have received great feedback from “Love, Don’t Fear” readers – thank you! Yet, I have also received some useful suggestions, on how to improve the book, from the pros. I believe that every writer needs an editor, not only because two heads are better than one, but also because of the strong emotional connections we all have with our works. Such being the case, I try to stay open to constructive criticisms.

On that note, yet digressing slightly, I am currently a one-woman band as far as publishing is concerned, but I am writing my first novel which I hope to publish traditionally… If you are a literary agent, open to submissions, and interested in my work, please get in touch. Let’s talk…

Back to “Love, Don’t Fear” – yesterday, the collection turned one. Happy Birthday!!! (note the emotional connection I was talking about) 😄

giphy

I thought this would be a good time for an update/upgrade if you like. Before I share what changes were made exactly, let me reassure those of you who have already purchased and read the book. The changes aren’t very significant. However, if you’d like to receive a FREE updated version, in the form of an e-book, please contact me at monika@monikaribeiro.net .

I decided not to change the book’s edition, because as mentioned – these changes aren’t that significant. Plus, I’ve updated the price too – partially to reflect alterations, but equally to reflect the time passed since the book’s publication.

To cut this long story short, after considering the advice given to me by two trustworthy (traditional and non-traditional) publishers, I have:

  • updated a few titles;
  • changed the order of poems to improve thematic connections; 
  • added two poem descriptions.

I hesitated about the last one because out of the two people who were my advisers – one said: “add descriptions” and the other one said “don’t”. Well, there are 25 poems in the book and only 2 of them have descriptions now. Based on the readers’ feedback, I believe that most of the poems are self-explanatory and relatable. Plus, I don’t want to completely take away the joy of the reader’s own interpretation. What do you think about this one? 

One more change, that I made on my own initiative, was adding a few additional images to enhance book marketing on Instagram, etc. By the way, please do join me on the platform if you haven’t done so yet – @monikaribeiro.writer 😊

So, yes, the book has been around for one year now, but I believe it is ever-green… It deals with relationships, people, emotions that are difficult to express and stories that happen or could happen in real life. This book is about love, life and doing the above without fear… I think that the need to read this type of stories will always be in us. I believe the book is a little bit like wine which gets better with time.

In closing, to complete this “Love, don’t Fear” update, I would like to share some of the words written by those who read and enjoyed it:

“…‘Love, Don’t Fear’ by Monika Ribeiro is such an amazing book – filled with heart-warming and heart-breaking poems… These poems made me feel less alone.”

Angelina, Nanny from Florence – Arizona

“It is a book for someone who feels challenged by their relationship and can’t find the words to express how they feel. You will discover your own truth in the emotions of these poems.”

Joy, Singer-Songwriter from New York

“I found myself in many of them (poems), especially the story of a broken friendship… Smooth language, very beautiful clarity of words, fantastic wisdom…”

Lina, Artist from Ireland

Please grab your copy of “Love, Don’t Fear” HERE if you’re in the US, or HERE if you’re in the UK. Its digital format is available on Amazon worldwide.

Alternatively, if you’ve read the book, please consider sharing your thoughts by e-mail or in the comments below.

Thank you for being here. I appreciate you! 🙂 

Made of Many Worlds – Poem


Bushy Hair Woman

I was born, brown-skinned and a black-eyed girl,

Into a blue-eyed spot in this world –

Blessed with black, thick and rather frizzy hair

Where hair tends to be silky, smooth, mostly blond.

.

When I was a girl, maybe twelve years old,

I would lay my head down, on the ironing board

Because a real iron could tame my real hair…

Benefits seemed great… Risks? I didn’t care.

.

Sometimes, I would hurt my neck

While trying to look more like my peers…

My silky, smooth hair would cover the scars,

But couldn’t heal wounds inflicted upon my ears.

.

Finally, my strands lost all strength and shine.

Hurt, brittle and broken, they told me the truth:

Silky and smooth was not to be mine –

What was, however, was a gift… divine.

.

Some say, I cannot relate to the black woman’s plight.

I’m not brown enough – they say, again and again…

And yet, in the white crowd, my skin’s far from light.

No blue sockets in my eyes, no blue blood in my vein.

.

Some say I’m neither, but I share both bloodlines

So, I take the liberty to claim Angelou’s lines

“Out of the hats of history’s shame, I rise”

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain, I rise…”

.

There are decent and wicked people, in every place.

As Shakespeare well said, many years ago,

“There’s no art to tell the mind’s construction in the face”.

This line could apply to the subject of race…

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There’s more that connects than divides us, you see?

I won’t get offended if you disagree…

But, do look beyond the cover, listen to my words –

We live in a world made of many worlds…

.

I live in a world made of many worlds…

Even more come alive in the depths of my mind

I pray that this world, made of many worlds,

Becomes one in the One who is colour-blind.

.

Besides, I’m the world that lives within me…

Letter by letter and word by word –

HOW I look at things determines what is…

My own world gets recreated, every day, by me.

.

I’m no longer looking for my place in this world…

His sweet spot within me is what I’m striving for.

In the midst of it all, still, I have to believe…

That right now and after… will surpass before.

↓↓↓

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Conversations with a Clock – Poem


old-man-clock

He lived among waiters. They surrounded him
Waiters on the outside – a waiter within
Waiters for their birthday
Waiters for more money
For the kids to leave home
And rain to stop raining.

Once upon a time, he met a wise Clock
It could speak and so it spoke:
“Tick-tock, tick-tock …
If you teach your heart to be grateful and kind
When your time arrives you will not be blind
Tick-tock, tick-tock …”

This waiter was in a rush –
He kept chasing better times
Hence, his ears were widely shut
He’d much rather skip this chat.

Yet,
Tick-tock, tick-tock …
This clock was determined to talk:
“Your life will not last forever…
You cannot afford to be happy never
Tick-tock, tick-tock …”

That verse had the waiter seriously ticked-off
‘Well, I can! And, yes I will!
Clocks can’t tell me how to live!’

“Tick-tock, tick-tock…”

Quietly replied the clock.

giphy clock

Time waits for no one –
Be it Clock, or be it Man
Tick-tock, tick-tock …

Seconds, minutes, hours, smiles
Running fast before his eyes…
Many wasted, every day…

Always chasing what’s away.

.Without words, yet with each TICK
The clock found him more convinced –
Each day truly was his birthday
And life was a birthday gift.

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Taking Happy Mental Pictures of the New Year!


 

Happy Pictures.jpg

We spend so much time reminiscing good old and bad old days… That’s fine… It’s okay to look for motivation or lessons in days gone by. Having said that, why not spend at least the same amount of time visualizing our future…

Once we’ve captured the beautiful picture of what we want to become we should lock it in our memory bank until it comes to pass! Start taking beautiful pics of your future right now, and remember them throughout 2019.

Happy New Year!

Remember your future

When the past is bleak

Remember Tomorrow

When you’ve had a tough week

or a year, even many tough years…

which have left you discouraged and weak

 .

I pray for your strength

When you’re weary and drained

That you focus your mind

On remembering good days

Again, and again, and again…

  .

Just remember your future,

Picture it in your mind

Decide what you want

What it will be like…

  .

Stop remembering your past

Don’t repeat old mistakes

Start remembering your future

Let it find you prepared…

Number Seven – Poem


Number 7 Man

Even when I do all 6 tasks just right

You still focus on the seventh

Which is done, just not quite…

.

Your kudos last but a minute

Criticisms never stop

It’s annoying just like dripping water

Drop, drop, drop, drop, drop (it)

.

7 is a symbol… of perfection

Is that what is needed to avoid rejection?

How about 6.99?

Will 6.99 secure your affection?

.

As You turn Love into Math

You’re turning joy into pain

Can we scratch number 7?

So, His Passion can reign!

.

Can we cover one another

For as long as we’re alive?

I have never met a 7

Not even a 6.5

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Poetry Reading – Collaboration with Desiri


Desiri and i 2Welcome back to “Love Don’t Fear” stories and collaborations 😊

“I saw her smile” is a story of a girl who keeps searching for love in all the wrong places. I have shared this poem before, but I’m super happy to present you with Desiri Okobia’s rendition of it. Desiri (aka Miss Dee) is the author of “Diaries of a Visionary” and an English Literature teacher. Currently, she is preparing to launch her new book – a wonderful novella I can’t wait to read. In the meantime, however, please enjoy “I saw her smile” as well as Miss Dee’s powerful delivery.

A while ago, I’ve had an encounter with a lady on social media (I don’t know her personally), but she had read the poem and started messaging me about it. She told me: “If you don’t remove this piece from print – I will sue!” She accused me of thoroughly researching her private life to share it through my writings…

Whaaaat?!

Well…

To some extent, this tale may indeed be “hers” – not because I knew about her experiences, but because it is timeless and universal, while the principles it bears are gender-less… Truly, this poem is about (and for) all the girls and women, in all the corners of the world, who ever felt like they needed to be in romantic relationships (bad or good) before they could be whole.

Having said that, I asked Desiri why she picked “I saw her smile” – she told me she simply liked the story. So, even if you’re not “a girl who never smiles”, I believe that you’ll enjoy the narrative within the poem. As always, you’ll find drama and pain and all that stuff here, but ultimately it is a one woman’s journey from darkness to light.

FYI, “I saw her smile” can be found in my recent Poetry Collection “Love Don’t Fear”, so please go ahead and pick it up on Amazon if you like what you hear.

Please enjoy the YouTube video below and let me know your thoughts.

Just don’t sue – I haven’t been spying on you 😊

‘Love Don’t Fear’ Collaborations


POETRY AND BOOKS

DesiriiOne of the greatest American novelists Ernest Hemingway is quoted to have said “Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.” And yes, writing is solitary – it requires concentration and dedication, but that’s not what this post is about… This post is about collaboration.

“Love Don’t Fear” is filled with relationship stories, hence my need to share the book’s creation process with others came as no surprise. Ayo (foreword) and my husband Miguel influenced its title… During an impromptu ‘brain-storming’ session, Miguel put “Love Don’t Fear” out there and I knew that was it! One day, I might share the circumstance in which he got inspired, but that’s a whole ‘nother story… for later… maybe 😊

Moving on, I invited other fellow artists to contribute in the post-creation process. I can’t wait to share the fruits of these wonderful relationships with you. I hope you enjoy what’s to come and that we can connect through it…

On this note, let me introduce Desiri…  

Desiri Okobia (aka Miss Dee) is an author and English literature teacher from London, UK. In her book “Diaries of a Visionary”, she shares her experiences, positive energy and strong passion for God. She writes: “I made plans to move to America and pursue my career as an actress in Hollywood. By this time, I had built up my acting portfolio by attending a theatre school in London, taking part in theatre productions and appearing in some TV shows… …New York is similar to London, and I was used to the city life. I had it all planned out: first New York, and then eventually I would move to LA and work as an actress, live in a nice house on the beach and drive a red convertible. Yep! That’s all I wanted to do…”

Desiri’s honesty makes me smile and her story brings to mind a well known saying: “Man plans, God laughs”. Pick up “Diaries of a Visionary” (on Amazon) if you’re so inclined – find out how the Maker interrupted her American dream, see her growth and enjoy the rest of this inspiring tale…

Back to “Love Don’t Fear” collaborations, Desiri will be reading “I saw her smile” – the full recording will be here soon. Meanwhile, please enjoy this short snippet with her powerful delivery of the story about a girl who never smiled… until she did. 😊

There’s more to come. In the meantime, go ahead and pick up “Love Don’t Fear” on Amazon. ♥