The Gift’s Legacy

Photograph: ‘Studio’, ©JStadnicki, 2018

 

It’s almost a week since I met the author Nikesh Shukla. He was a guest at University of Gloucestershire and he spoke to a group of Creative Writing  students about his journey in the British publishing environment. An inspiring story. The book he edited and published in 2016, The Good Immigrant (London: Unbound), is considered ‘an important, timely read’ (J.K. Rowling) and, earlier this year, convinced me to continue writing when I was at the point of giving up. Shukla’s project is convincing and relevant at more than one level. And not because he gives a ‘voice’ to a minority.

Shukla places the concept of ‘minority’ (in terms of writing) in relation to craft, ability and potency. In literature, we do not see the writer’s skin colour or accent. The name, as such, should not be relevant either. The only signs which should truly speak to us (and a writer should be judged against) are the words. Everything else is just context. I salute this discourse which shapes our conversation about literature and writing without falling into the trap of politics and polarisation.

Undoubtetly, it is important to look at demographics even if it is for their relevance in regional / national / global economic and infrastructural planning. However, in terms of art, one needs to move beyond this and discuss demography in terms of artistic relevance. In this context, the notion of migration is more fluid and it is not necessarily about statistics like ‘them coming here’ or ‘us moving there’. Migration is a human characteristic; one might call it ‘culturally enhancing activity’ and needs to be considered a natural phenomena. We migrate all the time and the technological development has a great part to play here.

It is refreshing to observe Nikesh Shukla taking this contemporary direction and promoting alternatives. You can read about Nikesh Shukla’s work, projects and books on his website.

©Maria Stadnicka, 2018

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BarKing Powder

When I was a child and lived in an overheated three-bedroom second floor flat, my brothers used to make water bombs. They would fill plastic bags up with cold tap water, tightly knot them, and throw them over the bedroom window every time they would see a pretty girl crossing the alleyway underneath. The water splashed all over the victim and they laughed their heads off, behind curtains. This detail came to mind watching the Brexit process taking place, month by month.

Photography: @JStadnicki, 2018

On reflection, the ‘hahaha-hihihi’ is coming this time from Downing Street as I get on with my form-filling life.

It’s has been hot recently (anyone noticed?!), even I can admit to that, and I’m used to Siberian summers. However, the heated discussions among the ministerial flock have raised the warning level from orange to red as nobody seems to have a clear view-point, nor an exit plan or a rescue package. It feels more and more like we’ve all been hoarded up into a long-haul flight, with a crew of unqualified attendants. In case of crash, it’s going to be ‘each to their own’.

Earlier in the week, the BBC mentioned how the PM is risking a revolt (I wish!) if the ‘type of Brexit she promised is not delivered’. Come on, Duncan, calling the PM ‘insolent’ on Twitter will not bring a velvet revolution. When Tusk issued a ‘last call’ at last week’s summit in Brussels, he didn’t mean your plane to the Maldives was about to take off. He meant business as you were about to sip another cooling lemonade. Last Saturday, a ‘livid’ Gove physically ripped up a report (did he really?!) for a new customs partnership with the EU. Qui prodest?

I get to understand miss Vicky when she said we needed a ‘practical, pragmatic deal that gives certainty to business and trade… not an ideological one’. The only things with it is …. everything on paper stays on paper and, therefore, is ideological. I’m back, for now, to reading Nausea. It makes, by far, a clearer point.

We are about to leave, I’ve got used to the idea by now, but there isn’t a destination on sight. We might find ourselves flying over the European economic space until the engine runs out of fuel. And then, let’s see who’s got a parachute.

©Maria Stadnicka, July 2018

published in ‘International Times’ / 3rd July 2018

International Times and ‘Imperfect’…pre-election dossier, 19th May 2017

The box arrived. The first books now being sent to the British Library. And, in the middle of it, a new poem published this morning in ‘International Times’ – the newspaper of resistance.

‘A Day at the Office’ – pre-election dossier.

http://internationaltimes.it/a-day-at-the-office/

 

Uranium Bullets

I always arrive late for everything.

Stuck in a traffic jam by the docks,

missed Noah’s boat but

survived under water

accidentally trapped between stolen books,

trapped by a word heavier than a stone,

lighter than a feather.

 

Hidden in the overcrowded wooden train carriage,

radicalised by the anonymity of my blue name-tag,

with a heart growing outside my body.

Each beat painfully visible to the guards

around the Monopoly table.

 

On the waiting list for ballet lessons,

radicalised by the price of uranium bullets on Mother’s Day

handwriting an apologetic note.

My deep eye silenced.

The familiar solemnity of a world without a face.

Photograph: @John Stadnicki, Bristol MMXVI

Flash News – ‘Imperfect’ Book Launch – 19th May @Black Books Cafe, Stroud, 7.30pm

Front cover design: @Andrew Morrison

We had to stop the car several times.

Weeks of anxious waiting finally ended.

A new, small, wrinkled, bloody, placental book

Arrived.

It had a natural birth and I called it ‘Imperfect’.

The book launch will be on Friday 19th May 2017, at Black Books Cafe, Stroud. 7.30pm for 8pm start. Free entry.

The book is available for pre-order at mariastadnicka@yahoo.co.uk.

The evening will be a vibrant performance with poetry and music, featuring Maria Stadnicka, Adam Horovitz, Jay Ramsay, Katie McCue and ‘Souled and Healed’.

Yew Tree Press – Philip Rush

Design and printer – Andrew Morrison

The evening host – Jay Ramsay

Books, drinks, sounds will be available! Come along!

Soldiers

The dreadful day we had feared

arrived at last. Possibly March the first.

At the picket line.

We held hands with the same familiar tenderness

maybe shared the same memories witnessing

the course of events as the revolution unravelled.

With a kind of regret my fist hit

the walls of a prison surrounded by weaved carpets.

With photographs stored in books

different directions awaited.

Never to see each other again.

mm