Poetry Evening – Let’s Meet Offline!


Stanley Halls EventEverything happens for a reason… It has been a while since I posted on my blog, I know… However, it’s been even longer since I hosted a poetry evening offline. It’s been too long… With that being said, I have one coming up in three weeks, on the 29th of June at 17:30 pm.

Place: Stanley Halls, London, 12 South Norwood Hill, SE25 6AB

This “Poetry Evening with Monika Ribeiro and Friends” started with a rather significant hiccup though. For a moment, I wasn’t even sure if I’d be writing this blog post. To begin with, last year, I was asked to host a poetry evening. Originally, the event organisers who asked me to do it, were meant to provide the venue… In April this year, we agreed the date and time. Everything was meant to be a–okay, but then… 3,5 weeks before the show, they asked me to change the date explaining that they had double-booked. Whaaaaat?!

I know I know, we all make mistakes. I’ve made plenty all by myself. Still, by then, I had already started promoting slowly and invited five artists to support me. They all agreed and they’re all busy people, so I really didn’t want to change the date which has been on their calendars for a few weeks already. Also, a few days before the venue cancellation, another person, who had seen me perform at other people’s events, DMd me saying that she’d change her work schedule to be there… I mean… changing the date of the event was not an option. I was left with a show but no venue and no promoters to support it… Great! That happened last Monday…

Thank God, without going into too much detail, I was able to find another venue quickly. 😊 That means that we’re back on track and can focus on preparing the show rather than looking for a stage to put it on. Yes, I’m left with less time, but I believe that the show is worth the hustle and that it will be much greater than the off-stage drama. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! 

So, if you are in London on 29.06.19 – please be there. I’d love to meet you, and I wouldn’t want you to miss it! Please RSVP by 27.06.19. 📮 I can’t wait to see you there!

Free Poetry Event – Click to Register Now.

How Everybody Runs – Poem


woman running

Did you notice how everybody runs?

I got caught up in it more than once…

These days, tomorrow happens yesterday –

Human-doings excel, but night blends into day.

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Did you notice how everybody runs?

Where’s the space for friendships,

Or for LOVE and romance?

Did you notice how everybody runs?

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It’s so easy to get caught in this chase –

We don’t like to lose, so we stay in the race.

Did you notice how everybody runs?

Working, like a dog, to improve their chance…

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To advance super-fast and burn out in advance,

Not to look into eyes – maybe… merely glance,

Not to feel anymore, not to laugh or dance…

Do you wonder why everybody runs?

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! 🙂 

What’s happening in my world of fiction…


… And non-fiction.

We’re coming to the end of the year, so it seems as good a time as any tPK Boadi Collaborationo touch base with you briefly… What have I been up to lately?

Book-wise:

My last poetry collection “Love don’t Fear” is still very much alive and well. I am looking forward to another wonderful “Love don’t Fear” collaboration with an award-winning gospel singer PK Boadi. This should be fun!

Someone has asked me recently if I’m going to write more books… As a matter of fact, I am writing a novel! Drum roll please… Yes, it is happening – slowly, but surely. If you’re a writer, you probably know this feeling when a story is just bugging and begging you to let it out!

This is how I’m feeling right now, hence I’m doing my best to not “abuse the muse” by ignoring the story and denying it the right to be free… Title? The book’s title is “Everywhere and all the time” and I am planning to share some of the excerpts here while I’m still in the process of writing. This should help me motivate myself to get that book finished. So, that’s that when it comes to my books…

Oh, actually, that’s not it. I’ve just received this sweet “Love don’t Fear” review on Facebook. Check it out please & if you haven’t read the collection yet consider doing so… Angelina (Reader)“Love don’t Fear” is a great read and a sweet Christmas gift. It is all about relationships, expressions of love, and better ways of handling conflict – embellished in beautifully written stories. Christmas is about love, but conflict happens when loved ones come together in numbers… even if it’s all neatly edited by the time holiday pictures reach our social media accounts. 🙂 Anyways, primarily, this season is about God coming into the world, and “Love don’t Fear” is a spicy reminder that He is the source of love and the beginning of peace within relationships. Please check it out.

Back to Facebook, genuine connections with people who read my writings are really the main reason why I “love” social media. Angelina (in the pic) lives in Arizona. Whaaat?! I have never been to the USA, and I don’t know if she has ever been to  the UK. I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon, never swam in the Colorado river… 😦 LOL, I don’t even know if you’re allowed to swim in it, but my point is she’s a beautiful Native American woman, and I am Polish… (no, really, I am) and Nigerian. We live on two different continents and yet, we’re connected because of poetry and because of this social media machine…

Well, on the flip-side, I am concerned about the sheer volume of information we give Facebook access to, but that’s a whole ‘nother story for another time… maybe…

Finally, still on the social media note, I’m happy to announce… that I have just hopped on the Instagram train! I know I know… it’s kinda late, and it may not be such a big deal, but I’m having fun, and thought you might want to JOIN ME… Please do if you’re so inclined. 😉

Well, this is what’s happening here.

I hope you are well. Thank you so much for stopping by! Since my next post is likely to come after Christmas I would like to wish you a very merry Christmas right now!

I shall finish this post with a rather appropriate lyric which has been on my mind quite a lot lately – “Joy to the world… Joy to the world…” 🙂  ♥

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…

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Your kudos last but a minute

Criticisms never stop

It’s annoying just like dripping water

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

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7 is a symbol… of perfection

Is that what is needed to avoid rejection?

How about 6.99?

Will 6.99 secure your affection?

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As You turn Love into Math

You’re turning joy into pain

Can we scratch number 7?

So, His Passion can reign!

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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. ♥

The Balancing Act Called Life…


At the musem - BarcelonaI believe in hard-work – it’s a good thing. However, too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Life should be a balanced experience – we all need to find (and keep on finding) our equilibrium.

Most people living in London (which is where I live) work super hard. Meeting up for a coffee is a challenge. You want to do it, but often don’t because of work, family responsibilities, school or whatever else. So, you live in the same city but do not get to see the people you’d love to see or do the things you’d love to do for years, sometimes.  Well, I want to be a lot more intentional about how I spend my time on this Earth!

La IglesiaBarcelona happens to be one of my favorite European cities. This week, I was blessed with 2 ‘take it easy’ days in the city. The weather was beautiful and the trip, although not entirely recreational, so refreshing. I’m not sure what you do for fun (what do you do?), but I enjoyed the old town’s beautiful churches, museums, colorful features and narrow streets. I only wish they were a little less crowded, but I guess there’s no perfect place under the Sun. Sometimes, we need alone time to relax. At other times, we need to share it with the people we care for. Laughing, talking, eating and sharing my time with this lady here (plus the music, of course) made the trip super special. 

Back to the main point of this post – one morning, I was passing through the Las Ramblas boulevard and noticed La Equilibrista (The Balancer). She was petite and super focused which caught my attention. Of course, a yellow head-to-toe coverage and the fact they’re standing on a bike’s seat also helps you notice a person. 😊 I’ve digressed again, but check out her balancing act (the short video here). It may look like a passive activity, however, try this for about 30 minutes and I’m sure you’ll know that it’s not. Such is balancing in real life too – we cannot be passive if we’re going to stay balanced. 

We’re surrounded by people and forces (sometimes intangible) pulling us in so many different directions. For most of us, our culture and surroundings encourage everything but a balanced life. Working hard is good, playing hard (reasonably) is good too and so is praying hard etc. However, we need a little bit of everything to be happy and fulfilled in life.

Barcelona Streets 1My recent trip to Barcelona was a treat indeed, so it was a little hard to say “Adios” in the end. But again, I remembered that balance is key and too much of a good thing can be bad for you…

When it’s time to go it is time to go (ask the Spaniard in the picture – he knows) 🙂 There’s a time for everything. Balancing is not passive, and it is an ongoing activity. So, take charge of your days and be intentional about how you spend or invest your time.

What do you do to stay balanced? I would love to know.

Oh, and take a moment to watch the video from my previous trip to Barcelona  – expect to see La Mercé, Partying and Music, The Giants, Museums and stuff… 🙂

The Perfects Tale – Poem


Mr and Mrs Perfect

Mr & Mrs Perfect sat on a Tree

J-U-D-G-I-N-G

They kept looking down from the highest branch

“Let’s gossip a little while we’re having lunch”

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“We’ve got a great view and so much spare time

It’s free entertainment – we won’t spend a dime!”

They looked down upon peeps – never looked within…

Birds pooped on their heads. The Sun burnt their skin

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“Oh, we look so noble. Oh, we have no flaws…

Let’s leap to conclusions. Let’s sharpen our claws

Let’s pay them no mind. No! We know it all!

Let us fix their problems whether big or small…”

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Seemingly quiet, reserved, even shy…

They don’t confront issues and never ask why

Yet, they judge, speculate, imagine, assume…

They’re the last to commend & the first to foredoom

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They have an opinion about everything

They’re so out of touch… like yang without yin

Their faults may be quieter, but equally wrong

Their talks sound so strange like ding without dong

.

As they’ve sat there for days filled with evil thoughts

Their hair-dos got messy. Their dreams turned to naughts

Their skin started peeling off from way too much Sun

What they needed to do has been left undone…

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A wild swirl of wind drove dust to their eyes

Their aura attracted a large swarm of flies

Finally, they resolved to come down from on high…

Now, they’re here undercover – next to you and I

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undercover giphy.

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And that is the Perfects’ tale. Yes, this tale is true.

Let’s end with a riddle – I’ll give you a clue…

Do you know a Perfect? Yes? I know one too.

Am I one of them? Or could it be you? 😉

.

Yeha Noha – A Friendly Croydon Café


yeha noha outside again

Interview with one of the Founders: Talking about Vision, Accolades, Team Work, Competition, Positive Energy & Work-Life Balance.

Today, I’d like to introduce a wonderful café, based in South West London. Why? Well, I know it’s cliche, but I like to write (or spend time) in coffee shops. Yeha Noha Café is one of my favorite cafés in London. 

gosia i ja
Gosia from Yeha Noha Cafe & I

Yeha Noha’ means ‘Wishes of Happiness & Prosperity’. It’s also the first single from a very successful album of Chants and Dances of the Native Americans, released in ’94. Back to my subject matter… When Yeha Noha Café won Croydon’s Best Independent Café Award its owners were surprised, but I wasn’t… This café is a gem amongst restaurants and cafés in the area.

The vicinity used to be grey and uninspiring. Gosia, one of the founders, was able to see the potential of the area which may not have been obvious to everyone.

yeha noha outsideI feel like smiling when I look at the café’s colorful outbuilding and its cutesy fence – they’re friendly, fun and unusual (in the area). Inside, the atmosphere is quite special too – some call it magical. Gosia says: “I had imagined that this place would provoke growth in people, but at the same time it was meant to stop them from running all the time. That was my intention.” She says. “When you enter the café, it’s like being transferred from one world to another. It’s a bit like going on holidays. You can sit down and think, ‘What can I do to be happier’? Maybe I can meet new friends here…”

I wanted to find out how the idea to open this precious place came about, so I sat down with her and listened as she told me their story.

Gosia: We thought it’s difficult for a family with small children to live in London. My children were ‘half-orphans’ – Boban used to leave in the morning and wouldn’t come back until midnight…” Boban is Gosia’s and Yeha Noha’s significant other i.e. husband and co-founder. He used to work “in the City” managing a successful restaurant by the River Thames…

yeha inside lamp

Gosia continues: “One day, when coming back from our friends place we noticed a restaurant lit with soft colorful lights transmitting a wonderful atmosphere of relaxation…” Mesmerised Gosia said to her husband: “You have a business background. I have ideas. Why can’t we open something like this?” He answered: “Actually why not?” That’s how the idea was born.  It was a joint venture from day one. “Once the intention had been released into the atmosphere things started falling into place even though it’s taken a while” she adds…

Gosia, a self-proclaimed risk taker with a philosophy that “unless you do something you’ll never know if it could work” says: “I have to be able to make money independently – in such a way that kids can have free access to both mum and dad.” One of the initial challenges was finding a venue. They’d almost secured one in Crystal Palace, but that fizzled out. “It wasn’t meant to be” Gosia says. Today, Yeha Noha Café is just by their house. The kids used to go there after school – they’d eat dinner and do homework in the café, but most importantly they could spend time, with both parents, in a family-friendly work environment.

Gosia recalls being exhausted while painting the fence before the grand opening. She tells me how “passers-by kept shaking their heads with pitiful comments such as ‘I hope you survive for about 6 months’. People didn’t believe in us. Some laughed at us when they found out we were about to open” She says.

Yeha Noha ChocolateHowever, sometime after the opening, customers started showing up. The owners were excited to see their intentions materializePeople came. They ordered coffee, hot chocolate, food… They’d sit down and relax… In the first year, Gosia’s friends, from North London, organised all their events in the café. “Travelling the distance made no sense” Gosia says and adds how grateful she still is for the support. Yeha Noha is a labour of love – it is a sweet reflection of its owners.

The Best Croydon Independent Café Award (2016) came as a surprise to the owners. A client called yelling into the phone: “Gosia, congratulations! You won! You won!” They didn’t strive to win. They didn’t even announce that they’d been nominated. “I will not be part of a rat race… I don’t have the need to be the best. I like team work…” Gosia explains. When asked about the award, however, she admits it was encouraging. It re-affirmed their belief that it pays to be honest in life. The owners have a very interesting approach to competition. They believe there’s enough resources and space for everyone. On this note, they choose to support other cafés and collaborate rather than compete… “We can grow together” says Boban in an interview with a local TV station.

Boban is organised. He’s a social being and people like him. Gosia is more of a creative strength. Organizing events, courses, opening doors to meditation, Bible studies, live music & poetry is what she thinks about. He is an entrepreneur while she takes interest in psychology, psycho-biology, being assertive, designing your life rather than being a victim of circumstances. Her husband deals with finances, accountants, lawyers, etc. During a time of major challenges e.g. no building, no money – Gosia was there to encourage him, so he could fight those battles with confidence. They work well together, which is one of the “secrets” to Yeha Noha Café’s success.

Yeha Noha SoupGosia shares with me that one of her desires is to bring positive energy into her world. She says: “I don’t want people to feel like they have to rush in, buy and then rush out of the café…” She encourages her customers to stay and enjoy the place & food (so tasty, by the way) while respecting the needs of other customers. “Just because I am born Catholic doesn’t mean I cannot serve a Muslim woman in a hijab. If we both have good will, there’s no problem.” She says. Yeha Noha Café is a place for everyone.

Reportedly, old & new friendships continue to grow in the café. Marriages have been born there. Couples come back to celebrate their anniversaries while new initiatives continue to develop within and around the café. Yeha Noha Café, recognized by the judges & journalists, continues to be appreciated by its loyal customers…

Consider visiting them if you’re looking for a café to call your own, or if you simply want a nice cup of hot chocolate or a delicious meal to warm your soul…