Novel Writing Update – Story Time


“…but she did wonder if indeed one needed ‘all that money’. And if not, what did one need to be happy?” © Monika Ribeiro 2020

In a nutshell, my novel (in the making) titled “Everywhere & Always” is about the pursuit of happiness. And, you’ll probably agree that it’s almost impossible to explore happiness without addressing money…

So, I decided to throw some of my characters into riches and luxury to see who they really are… It gets interesting… That’s all I will say for now.😉

To begin introducing this theme, I gave Ai (one of those characters) a job at Harrods Knightsbridge which is where I used to work (in my early twenties)… Hmmm… I still remember dealing with vendors from the UK, Germany, France… chasing deliveries of 35,000 GBP sofas…

I used to wonder if I’d be happier sitting on a 35k sofa as opposed to a 1,5k sofa… 🤔 Well, my novel is fictional, but Ai too finds herself asking similar questions i.e. if one really needs ‘all that money’. And if not, what does one need to be happy?

I have been posting brief novel updates on my socials. Here… not so much, but I’ll do my best to change that. With that said, please Join me on Instagram too if you’d like to get regular glimpses into what’s cooking – glimpses like this one, below.

Back to my novel update though, I have received feedback regarding its first chapter. Aaaand, it was slightly underwhelming but fair. So, I decided to re-write the weaker parts of my opening, aaagain.

Honestly, novel writing turns out to be slightly more complicated than I thought it’d be… However, I am making progress. Accidentally, my rewritten first page has already earned the love of author and English teacher Desiri Okobia who said she’d use it for Year 11s’ creative writing lessons. Exciting!

So, to summarise my novel writing Update: I am rewriting… Aaagain. The promised first chapter of “Everywhere & Always” will drop in your inbox… in all its glory… soon! If… you have subscribed that is. Please do RIGHT HERE.

One More Poem – Shielded Memories


Picture taken from Barbara Campbell’s Facebook Profile

I had said that while working on my novel I’d put the brakes on writing poetry. And, I have kept to that until now. However,on Wednesday, my friend/mentor’s body was cremated. I had been invited to say a few words at her funeral…

Barbara was a big supporter of my poetry and often expressed her desire to be in the audience when I performed. Sadly, that never happened, but I thought a brief speech in poetry form was what she would have appreciated.

She died from dementia. I couldn’t stop crying every time I saw her in the final years of her life. In the most difficult times, her family and friends saw things that most would probably wish to unsee… While that’s impossible, my prayer for them and anyone who lost a loved one to this or any other monster disease is that the beautiful memories become more powerful in their minds than the bad ones.

Dementia is crude and cruel. However, Babs was and will always be a lady in my mind. I wrote this short, simple poem to celebrate that memory of her.

She is gone, but her legacy and the beautiful memories live on.

Lady B.

I call you ‘Lady’ – ‘Lady B.’ actually

International woman filled with dignity

A little stern when need be but sweet when you knew

That your heart was safe and a friendship was true…

 

So many friendships are make-believe.

 

You did not find your El Dorado. There was not enough time.

But the monster that ended your quest cannot stop you now!

You were such a star… I felt warm in your light…

We know you were here. You don’t have to fight…

Anymore.

 

I still laugh thinking of you speaking Patois to me

I am not Jamaican, but felt I could be…

When we laughed.

You left solid love chunks for your people down here…

And, you left quite a few… just for me.

 

Thank you for your time and mentoring –

Not only in good journalism or editing skill…

Thank you for your heartening when I wanted to quit.

 

You’ll be missed, Lady B.

That is who you are and will be to me…

I’ll remember your passion moving past the pain!

I’ll remember your laughter in spite of the rain

And the violent storm that came…

 

It is gone now.

It’s okay, Lady B.

Wait in Him for us… R.I.P.♥

 

Written by Monika Ribeiro

                                                                                                                                                      In loving memory of Barbara Campbell

Let’s Make the Most of Our Time…


My 2019 ended… well… with passing away of one of my mentors and friends. Mine and other journalists’ tributes have just been published by the Voice News. And, I couldn’t start 2020 without acknowledging the impact this editor/publisher and friend had on my writing and life.

“…Barbara Campbell trained me as a journalist while I was freelancing for Black Heritage Today and International Women’s Month magazines. She taught me how to write feature articles, conduct journalistic interviews, research and more. She welcomed me into her home and heart as well.

“I remember proudly presenting my first feature to her. It was embellished – quite “flowery”. She cut so much out. I got upset thinking she took my soul out of the piece. I then showed it to my friend who had read the original. She didn’t hesitate to tell me that Barbara’s pen made it better. So, I decided to stop mourning my style and started paying attention. 

‘HER HEART BLED FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITY’

“Barbara knew exactly what she wanted to say and how she wanted to say it. Her heart bled for the black community and for black stories to be told the RIGHT WAY. I could see a flame in her eyes when she spoke about how much the community needed positive role models and narratives. That passion drove her and made her fight tirelessly against financial, physical and all other odds. It was tough on her, especially towards the end. Sometimes, I think she sacrificed her life for it.”

Speaking about the lasting impact that Campbell had on her life, Ribeiro says:

“These few words are not enough to summarise the impact she made on me as a writer. When I decided not to pursue journalism, she encouraged my poetry and gave me a poet’s corner in Black Heritage Today. In one of her recommendations, she said ‘…Anytime, she is performing l hope to be there – cheering from the front!’ Sadly, she never made it to my shows, but I still hear her voice in my head reminding me to use the word ‘reportedly’ just in case… I edit my stories the way she taught me. Her heart and skills are part of my writing. She was an excellent journalist, editor, boss lady, teacher and friend…”

Please read the rest of mine and other tributes on the Voice News Website.

I wish you and myself a Happy New Year. Let’s make the most of our time here and let’s appreciate friends and family while there’s still time.

Everywhere & Always – A Story Waiting to be Told


“It was one of those afternoons when the beautiful summer sun chased even zealous hermits out their four walls. All but one. Her curtains were closed all day. She didn’t notice the sun’s rays and her skin couldn’t feel its warmth…”

Yes, there’s a new book in the making!

The first draft is done. Yuppie! However,… Yes, there’s a however… I have a bunch of revisions ahead of me still. There’s a vague release date in my mind but I’m not going to share it just yet. Undoubtedly, it is going to take some time before the book’s out. That’s not a bad thing though. Quality is what I’m after…

So, I’ve already spent some time revising the first chapter – over and over and over again…

I believe it is strong enough to capture your imagination, but… Yes, there’s a “but”. I thought it’d be smart to ask a few other storytellers for feedback. I’m waiting to hear from them, at the moment. Once I’m confident that I’ve done the chapter justice I am going to share it with my e-mail subscribers. I can’t wait!

Please Join Us if you’d like me to share glimpses of my novel in the making with you.

So now… The title…  [drumroll] “Everywhere & Always”

It is a story of a multiracial friendship between four people from  different cultural backgrounds… Taking place in a world that doesn’t always get it… It is about their pursuit of happiness; identity search and breaking away from the society’s expectations to pursue their own respective destinies…

Life events force Ai, Alma, Emilio and Jack to face their fears and make choices: love or money; truth or freedom; forgiveness or torment, sadness or joy… Ohhh…

I feel like giving away a little more… I hope this isn’t a spoiler. Nope, I don’t think it is. The book begins with “trouble in paradise”. Yes, their friendship is tested, and the journey begins. I’ll add this for good measure – one of the characters is a drama queen… who’s suffering from depression to top it all off.

But don’t worry – the others are lovely… or not… 😉

Click to Subscribe (via email) and Find Out for Yourself.

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. 😊

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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Art of Books – Start Them Young


BL S & IMy kids and I have just visited the British Library for the very first time. Loooved it! Would you agree that there’s beauty in being surrounded by books, books, and… you guessed it… more books?

I was amazed by the King’s Library and the ancient historical treasure Codex Sinaiticus (Sinai Bible) displayed in one of BL’s exhibitions. Reportedly, the latter was produced in the middle of the 4th century and it is the earliest complete manuscript of the New Testament plus the best witness for some books of the Old. Usually, members of the public aren’t allowed to take pictures of it, but if you ask it will be given as the book says… So, I asked and received the permission to take one shot. Thank you, kind BL person! 🙏 Please check it out in My Instagram Highlights “Art of the Book”, if interested. 📸 I was told that people come from all over the world to see the Codex as well as Magna Carta which is another significant part of the same exhibition…

When gazing at the tall glass tower of the King’s Library, my daughter (photographing Anne Frank’s sculpture in the pic above) sighed loudly with her arms wide open as if trying to embrace the volumes. This rather theatrical scene caught the eye of a passer-by stranger who then smiled at me briefly amused by her “ode to the books lookalike”.

sang ode.gif

  • “Amazing, isn’t it?” I said acknowledging the book tower.
  • “Yes, it is” he answered.

That was it! He went on his way and so did we… No one said a word about my book–aficionado’s symbolic, although exaggerated, gesture. Yet, it brought about a brief, memorable moment of connection between us book lovers. 😂 Soon after, another passer-by glanced at my kids aged 6 – 12, smiled at me and said: “It’s good to start them young”.

  • “That is so true.” I replied.

And then, my son dropped a bombshell (in my mind) saying that the library was a great place to hang out… ‘What?!’  the fun-police in me reacted on the inside, ‘we’re here to LEARN – not hang out! You’re here to expand your minds, blah, blah, blaaaaah…’ ‍Thank God, after my brief internal turmoil, it clicked… He just needs to fall in love with the atmosphere… Of course, I want my children to see the library as a great hang out spot (sort of).

It was wonderful to explore knowledge with themphysical books, books on the screen, history, a little bit of art and music from Chopin to strangely sounding noises which resembled mating birds more than anything else. For a few hours, we have walked up and down the national library. By the end of the day, they were gloriously exhausted (no bedtime drama) and enriched at the same time… It was good for mama too.

So, stay calm and keep on turning one another into a book lover… If you’re a parent do start them young. 🤸‍♂️🤹‍♂️🤸‍♀️

And, if you’re into poetry and/or books about relationships please check out my Poetry Collection “Love, Don’t Fear.

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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

.

Remember Your Future – Poem


Hope Endures

Remember your future

When the past is bleak

Remember Tomorrow

When you’ve had a tough week

or a year, even many tough years…

That 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 ♥

 .