Tell me to get lost and I’ll go find a book – Michelle Yeboah 


Books?  Will always be magical, at least in my opinion. For 300 or so pages you’re transported into this parallel world and meet people you never thought you could care about because they become so real to you. If you can’t afford to travel grab a book and let your imagination take you to somewhere you’ve never been.

That brings me to my challenge.

I have said that by the close of 2018 I will have a read a minimum of 52 books. (Actual books, not audiobooks – don’t get me started because it’s a story for another time). Essentially I am reading (and have been reading) a book a week since the year started. One of the reasons I started doing this was to improve my writing skills.


I’m also doing it because all through school, I loved reading. I was an honouree member of the Famous Five, I lived at the Dumping Ground, I was right there with Sephy when Callum was hung and I was best friends with Lucky Santengelo (RIP Jackie Collins).

It sounds like an absolute cop out but life got in the way and I couldn’t read as much as wanted it to unless it had something to do eurocentricity of the educational system and how it effected children of colour. Not would you would call light reading?

So join me as I read (and write) my way through 2018.




Crippling Self-Doubt



The Land of Crippling Self Doubt is where all dreams go to die.

That is where I have been for the best part of the year!

The mind of a creative, perhaps I should say my mind is easily bogged down with voices that scream “Bitch, what are you thinking? You really think you’re going to be the next Shonda Rhimes/Zadie Smith/Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche” in this little scenario I’m backed into a corner with a pencil and notepad. A single tear is streaming down my chubby cheek and I meekly nod and mumble ‘Yes’. Then comes the laughter. The ‘You can’t do it’s. Depending on how far I have travelled into Land of Crippling  Self Doubt sometimes even the characters I’ve created will come out and beat me – demanding to know why their backstories are not better. 

So the inevitable happens.

I stop.

I try to find something else that I can do. Something that equates to the magic of creating new worlds by putting pen to paper.

I fail at this too.

Then I read extracts of my own work and think ‘Hey, this isn’t that bad’

So the cycle continues.

I made a couple of promises to myself this year and I have to keep this one. I have to be the writer I want to be, the one that I know I can be. Would have been by now, if I didn’t keep journeying back to the Land of Crippling Self Doubt.

Where am I now? Well as injured as I am. I am slowly making my way through  the treacherous forest. Where the trees whisper you’re every failing and reasons why are not good enough.

I’m making my way to the Isle of I Can Do It.

I heard it’s nice there this time of year.


First Love.

‘I remember the first day we met like it was yesterday, I had on these tiny black shorts, that were probably a bit too tight but it was hot out and I wanted to show off my thighs I had been working hard in the gym that year. I remember being sat on a park bench, revelling in the shade. I was tired, hot thirsty and fed up, your aunties, I don’t know what the hell they were doing but I do know they weren’t there when I first saw him. To be honest you couldn’t miss him, he was tall, now I know I’m small but he was tall, it was almost like his head just lived among the clouds and he was at peace way up there, comforted by just his thoughts alone. He had his headphones, I would soon learn that music was an extension of who he was, if you cut him he would bleed rhythm instead of blood, the man loved his music. Ironically though I remember his inability to dance, which I found strange, perhaps because dancing is one of those stereotypes that black people so hold on to. It’s always a shocker when you find one that can’t’ I said full of nostalgia, remembering the times that he had tried to dance to me on the nights that there was nothing on TV and we would just allow the mellow sounds of rhythm and blues fill the tiny space we occupied.

‘Anyway, where was I…oh yes, I was noticed him, he had this thick black curly hair that I just instantly fell in love with it, I would love to run my fingers through when he would lay across my lap. He said that he hated it but secretly I think he loved it or at least that was the thought that kept me happy’ I said laughing at the thought.

‘I think I must have been staring too hard because he finally smiled at me walking over simply saying ‘Hi’ I remember smiling so hard that my cheeks hurt. The thing I said to him was ‘I’ve lost my friends.’ To be honest I don’t know why he didn’t think I was some sort of weirdo and just run, perhaps it was the power of the my thighs in those tiny black shorts’ I recalled laughing. ‘But nonetheless, I remembering him waiting with me until my friends did turn up, he even gave me his phone so I could call them since mine was dead.’

I paused a moment thinking of all that happen that day and realised that this story was still the one the hurt to much to tell because essentially it was the story of the one that never was. But she wanted to know. I wanted her to know what true love was. That its one of the strangest feelings that you could ever feel almost bordering on total madness because for a moment in time one person becomes all you could ever need. The thought of being without them makes you physically ill and all off sudden all those stupid love songs begin to make sense as if falling into madness was the key to unlocking the secret code within them.

‘I can’t actually pinpoint when it happened but it did, we fell in love and we fell hard…there hadn’t been many others, not for me anyway but this feeling I felt when I saw him, when I heard him speak, even just being near him was so intense. It was like nothing I had ever felt, none of those cliché things happened – my heart didn’t skip any beats. Instead it fell into time with the melody of his own. I didn’t just see him, no my darling girl the world is filled with beautiful men but difference was even though they were there, it didn’t matter because all I wanted to see was him. He was my everything, my forever and always.

‘But Mama…Daddy isn’t that tall and Daddy can dance’ My daughter said interrupting me

‘I know he isn’t baby and I know I he can’

‘Mama, you were meant to tell me the story of your first true love’ she complained, arms folded.

‘I did baby, you just made the mistake of thinking I was lucky enough to marry my first true love’ I replied with a sad smile, that couldn’t possibly tell the story of a million tears and sleepless nights.

‘Wait, Daddy isn’t your first true love?’ she asked her voice tinged in something I didn’t quite recognise, perhaps it was a variety of emotions. I don’t know but by the expression on my young daughter’s face she was less than impressed.

‘No, baby’

‘Then who is?’ she asked shrieking

‘I love your father’ I told her, ignoring her question. I did love him and I’ll admit it probably wasn’t as much as I loved ‘him’ but I did love her father and that’s what’s important right? More importantly he loved me too.

‘Where is he now?’ she asked her voice had softened and so had her face. Now looking at her I think she felt sorry me. Because when you really break it down all I had now was an abridge version of what was meant to be my perfect fairytale.

‘I don’t know sweetie’ I told her regretfully

‘Do you still love him’ she asked

‘Yes’ I told her hesitantly. On sure to how she would react. My daughter was just like me in many ways. Volatile and over dramatic, though if you asked her she would refuse to admit it.

‘So why didn’t you marry him?’ she asked full of confusion as if the world was that simple and everything you wanted with given to you on a silver platter with a serving of cake and ice cream.

‘Because you can’t always get what you want’

Kiss ‘n’ Tell: Nico Speaks


‘Still as beautiful as ever’



*Five years have passed*

I ran into Cassie today, she is still as beautiful as ever. Normally girls peak in high school and then drop off. Until they are nothing but a shadow of their former selves. Living in the memory of their heyday.
First thing I noticed was her hair. It still hung thick around her face, almost covering her eyes. I had a sneaking suspicion, she wasn’t quite aware of how extraordinary her face was. So she hid behind these voluminous curls, that danced every time she walked.

Then I noticed her lips. Lips have always been my favourite feature on a woman. Yeah, breasts are nice and legs are too but there is nothing particularly unique about them. Once you’ve seen one pair of titts you’ve seen them all. Right?
But lips? There is something so seductive about them. On them holds the secrets they’ve never dared to tell. Every word of passion and kindness lays deeply ingrained on a woman’s lips. And when your lips finally do meet hers, you’re able to read the pages of her soul. It’s a story you’ll always want to read.

Cassie didn’t see me, I hid from her. What would I have said anyway? ‘Hey, do you remember me?…We made out once upon time…’ I watched as she order her overpriced coffee and stale muffin. Then I watched her walk out.

Clouds of regret loomed over me as I tried to finish my morning paper. My inner self was throwing a tantrum, screaming at a missed opportunity and all I kept asking was what would I have said to her? I banged my fist on the table causing the elderly lady across from me to jump. A simple hello would have sufficed, I thought to myself. I made a quick dash for the door in the hope that she was still in the area. But she was gone. Defeated I returned to my newspaper.

Without the help of my good friend ethanol, my shyness was crippling. I was a Ladisen man. I was supposed to reek confidence. Have a suaveness about me and yet the beads of sweat caused by seeing Cassie remained on my forehead.
Everyone had painted this picture of me of being ‘That Guy’ and that was never me. To tell you the truth I was just this shy guy, that would have been happy to be left alone with a book and drawing anime characters. But my reputation had already been established before I even started  school. My brother was the ‘Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry’ type guy. So I guess that’s what they needed me to be too. It’s so easy to play pretend when you know that everyone is watching.

I remember Tara’s party despite being drunk, Cassie was looking sweet! She had coloured match her lips with her dress. Purple, it looked good on her. Even better on her lips. The vodka and orange was whispering in my ear  to go dance with her. So I did. Our bodies were so close, I thought her heartbeat was mine. Then the vodka and orange told me to go in for a kiss. I wasn’t sure but the more I ignored the command the more the whisper became a scream.

So I kissed her.

She never said it but the look of disappoint on her face was enough to tell me I had done a terrible job. I was crushed. She ran off to talk with her friends. I left the party.

The truth is Cassie was only the second girl I had ever kissed and the only real practice I had had was with my pillow.

First Kiss


I was way pass the age that a ‘normal girl’ should have had their first kiss. This is what I had convinced myself anyway.

In my twisted reality my friends were having sensuous make out sessions. With boys that were movie-screen beautiful.

Then, there was me, eager to lose my lip-ginity. I didn’t want to be the odd one out but at the same time, I also didn’t want to jump right into the first kiss because I wanted mine to be special, I wanted it to be the Disney kind of magical.

I even had it all planned out, scented candles would light up the room to make for a romantic ambience. I would look enticing in the soft glow of candle light. He would stroke the side of my face lovingly, before running his fingers through my wild mane of curly hair. He would comment about how soft my hair was and how it smelt like strawberries.
Perhaps there would even be rose petals scattered  across the floor. If luck was  on my side, rain would tap gently against the glass as soft jazz filled the air between us.

‘You’re beautiful’ he would murmur in my ear, making sure that his lips made contact with my skin in the process.

No! He’d be twice as romantic as that!

‘I’ve never seen truer beauty until this night’

That what he would whisper in my ear as the rain continued to thud against the window. It would be just like Romeo and Juliet, without the tragedy of course.

Then, then his lips would touch mine and it would be amazing. We’d kiss to the melodic sounds of the saxophone and what’s more? We’d fall in love.
Then we’d retell our fairy-tale to our grandchildren. They’d look at us in awe, in the hope that they to could have love as brilliant as ours.

An animalistic noise left my mouth as I rolled my eyes and slammed my diary shut. I felt sick reading the pathetically idyllic, painfully unrealistic fantasy of a 13-year-old child.

What was even more bile inducing is that fact I was forced to remember my actual first kiss.

Nico Ladisen

Oh my Lord and all his angels too! Nico was a beauty. To put it crudely was every girl’s wet dream and of course I wasn’t exempt.

It was the night of Tara Neasden’s party, it was to celebrate the end of exams. The music was booming, snacks and alcohol were flowing. I was feeling good. LIFE. WAS. GOOD.

Life got a whole letter better when Nico began to dance with me. He was bold, taking charge by placing his hands firmly on my newly aquired hips. We slow grinded to every song, I’m not sure how we made that work but we did.

One hand left my hip to sweep the hair out of my eyes. I could have died! (It was just like I had wrote it!)
His face was leaning toward mine, eyes closed and lips ready for action. As soon as his lips landed on mine, his tongue sprung into action. I felt as though I was receiving a dental examination, no! Even worse I felt as though he was trying to find out what I had had for a lunch. A week ago!
I tried to pull way but he just tightened his grip on my and kissed harder!

As if things couldn’t get any worse he bit my lip so hard, I let out this weird little yelp. Now all I could pray for was the torture to be over.

This is not how I imagined it would be, even with the most realistic fantasy.

Nico, wasn’t ‘Nico’ anymore he was just a 16 year old boy with an over zealous tongue, great hair and dimples.

I left the party disappointed, wondering if these were the kisses my friends were raving about.

Surely they couldn’t be.

Luckily for me, I soon found that my ‘Nico experience’ was just an anomaly.