Life in Poetry reading, writing, reflecting

Life in Poetry reading, writing, reflecting
April showers bring May flowers

Sunday, 19 April 2020

⌗AtoZ Challenge, 17th April 2020, O is for Oranges and Oysters in Ocala.

Welcome to my blog Life in Poetry.
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Welcome to the 2020 APRIL A to Z Challenge

Over Half-Way there, Hang On.

Quote of the Day :  Nobody is too Small to Act
Greta Thunberg (December 2018, COP 24 Katowice, Poland)

if you would like to know more about the A to Z Challenge, founded 11 years ago by Arlee Bird at Tossing Out,  read here

for my theme revealed , go here on Blogger
On Wordpress, read here 

Q will be a day to answer all your questions on my novel in progress, so feel free to write them down in your comment, on any day till then. On the 20th April, I will compile all the questions and answer each one on my Q post.

My Fourteenth extract from my novel in progress will appear towards the middle of the novel. Mathilda is travelling down the Eastern Coast.

Brief synopsis of plot and characters :

Mathilda, my first main character, is American and lives in New York City. She is a student at NYU where she is preparing a thesis on the origins and developments of African American Music. She is a first person narrator. Her timeframe is 2005. In my previous extracts, Mathilda has travelled to New Orleans, Jekyll Island, Hattiesburg and Cherokee.

Bartolomé, my second main character, is Cameroonian and lives in Yaoundé. He is a professor of Mathematics at the University there. I will be using a third-person narrator for this character from his Point of View. His timeframe is the early '90's. In my previous extracts, Bartolomé has made a trip up North for his grand-father's funeral and decided to leave Yaoundé behind for good.

Oranges and Oysters in Ocala, Florida.

I am on the Silver Meteor from Jacksonville to Tampa. I gaze out at the desolate landscape between towns, yellowed grass border dry canals along which snake dirt tracks. From time to time I spot a lonely shack with scrawny chicken pecking out front or a solitary bicycle winding its way laden with oranges and groceries, a child perched on the handlebars.
I return to my novel, The Bluest Eye. I can hear the Blues between the lines. Toni Morison really has a gift : she compose a musical score with her prose; the words trip over each other like raindrops on a hollow drum or sometimes clash like cymbals to wake the reader to the reality of the cruel world she describes.

" Ocala, 3 minute-stop, " the speaker.

That's me. I hope Cousin Clara will be there to meet me. The prospect f finding the right bus to take me out to an unknown suburb, especially on a holiday, fills me with dread.
The train pulls in and through the window, I spot an expectant plump woman waving her arms with a makeshift cardboard sign that says 'Mathilda'.

" Hi there sugar. Welcome to back-country Florida. "
" Thanks for meeting me Clara. I'm so glad I'm finally meeting you all."
" We're absolutely dying to welcome you. After all family is Family. What best day to choose than July 4th. " Clara has a high-pitch singing voice which cascades into laughter.

She bustles me towards the parking lot and into a battered green pick-up. She wrenches at the stick as she speeds out of he city centre and onto side roads bordered by rundown neighbourhoods, local shops and youngsters on bikes or on foot zigzagging in and out of traffic, peddling everything from cigarettes to bananas.

Clara pulls intthe driveway of a prim house, freshly painted blue and yellow shutters, with a fine rockery blooming with summer petals. From the porch, the bougainvillea and jacaranda scents hit me first; then a delicious waft of grilled meat fills the air. My mouth waters, the dry morning waffles of the motel forgotten.
We tunnel through the bungalow, strewn with toys, sneakers, balls, a tricycle, a bat, laundry overflowing from a plastic basin and emerge again into the muggy heat. The backyard is crowded with relatives and neighbours, some in bright summer dresses, others in psychedelic bermuda shorts and white vests, all chatting away like geese and laughing.

" Hey George, look who's here."
" Mathilda, I guess. How great you could come."

Georges shakes my hand then pulls me to him in a firm hug.

" It's OK, I'm noy gonna eat ya," he says as my body stiffens slightly, "plenty here for that."

My eyes circle the fantastic spread : seafood, steaks, fruit, fish in plates, bowls, on platters and racks.

" Tuck in sugar, you'll meet everyone as you go along."

Clara directs me to one of the trestle tables with a pineapple patterned paper cloth.
Oysters, lobsters, shrimp, chicken wings, pork ribs, sweet potatoes, yam all stare back at me. I select a leg of turkey and George slips a cup of punch in my hand. I sink my teeth into the crisp friend skin, the meat melting on my tongue. Heaven.

Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye, 1970 here

Ray Charles, Hit the Road, Jack, 1958 here

Nina Simone, Backlash Blues, Live at Montreux,  watch here

Charlie Parker, Blues for Alice, here

My photos from our trip Down South in 2008

Dip in the invigorating Ocean, April 2008

Backroads between Orlando and Miami, April 2008

On the Bayou, April 2008.

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to like. dislike or leave a comment.
Monday 20th, Q & A session, stay tuned.

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