A. Jamaican-born woman, activist, writer, performer, New Yorker.
A. If we do not speak, who will?
A. A good book- or a good episode of Law & Order, or a good, sad movie. A cold night. Hot tea- maybe a glass of red wine. Someone who is comfortable with both silence and noise. Repeat throughout my life.
A. Being left; it doesn't get better as I age. Being left sucks.
A. At home, with a little person who calls me mummy.
A. A long list of women who have struggled with issues of race, sex, class; Zora Neale Hurston, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Nanny of the Maroons, Virginia Woolfe, Nina Simone...the list is endless.
A. Too many to list. Alice Walker. Dorothy Allison. Frances Goldin. Bell Hooks.
A. Negotiate. Navigate. Notion. With particiular reference to...
A. I regret moments where I have been unkind to people. I try to go back and apologize for those moments when I can.
A. To see into hearts.
A. Remaining sane.
A. I can be inflexible if I think I am right- which may be too often.
A. I am forgiving- and quick to apologize.
A. A well written book.
A. I'm argumentative.
A. Anne of Green Gables, Harry Potter...
A. I would ask Harriet Tubman how she managed to keep going- no matter the black-out spells, the dogs they sent, the unwilling and frightened slaves- she kept going. I would want to know how she stayed on course.
A. Food garbage in my bedroom or office garbage can.
A. Playing scrabble. I can do that for hours.
A. For brief moments I wonder what it would be like to be a waitress on a highway restaurant. I would love the cast of characters I might meet on an average day.
A. Loyalty, honesty, and kindness.
A. Hmmm. Too many to list. I like angsty, radical women like Ani Difranco, and Tracy Chapman. I like vulnerable boys singers like John Mayer, Peter Cetera and Prince. I like boy bands like Collective Soul, and Smashing Pumpkins. I like risky passionate singers like Tina Turner and Nina Simone.
A. Apart from the obvious rags to riches story(abandoned by both parents, left with my poor, deaf grandmother in a Third World Country with a history of violent homophobia, coming out as a lesbian, and having to finally flee that country) I began my writing/performing career with autobiographical material. I gained some notoriety through being an activist: I was a poet on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, then I was co-writer and original performer in the Broadway Show Def Poetry Jam, Then I did three or four one-woman shows downtown Manhattan. I was approached by a few agents and editors about writing a memoir. I declined the offers, but began penning some episodes- fleshing out the stories referenced in the poems and the theater peices. By the time I met and signed with my agent, Frances Goldin, I was ready to meet an editor who would help me craft the odd, disconnected memories into a book. Alexis Gargaliano, who knew my work from my performance poetry, seemed a good match. I liked her immediately. The book we have now is the product of a journey we took together; it wasn't always smooth sailing, but it was never boring. Her insight and her ability to see beyond badly written pages made it possible for me to contine writing after my grandmother passed, and relationship after relationship ended- Under her encouraging gaze I discovered that I was able to tell my most personal stories without dying.