the audaciousness of one dynamic
young woman, Miss Staceyann Chin, author of the rave
memoir, THE OTHER SIDE OF PARADISE.
Why has it taken me so long to do something as easy for me
as breathing—writing this blog entry?
Every time I venture to surf the net to learn something about this extraordinary woman, I discover something I did not know before and I pause to internalize the juicy new tidbit.
Staceyann is mesmerizing in herself and the machine that is her support system is bodacious!
Not only is the book on my desk, worthy of gift-wrapping to myself, as a reminder that with so little, one can do so much, but also it is there as a veritable gift to present to anyone I love!
I learned Staceyann had a website from one of her friends on Facebook. Yes, this is a young woman who actually, socially knows Ms. Chin…except now that Staceyann has ascended the blockbuster ladder, this person is no longer privy to her. Never any mind though! The young woman advised me to go to http://www.staceyannchin.com/ if I wanted to learn more about Staceyann.
What a blessing in itself!!!
Simply, I hope my author’s site is half as engaging as Staceyann’s when I finish with it later this week! But don’t take my word, as a Jamaican woman informed me about the health benefits of a particular orangey spice at the DeKalb County Farmer’s Market earlier this week. Go to the Internet and meet Staceyann for yourself!
On my virtual visit, I saw beautiful images of Staceyann and her extended family, which sounds peculiar, even in writing, considering she writes poignantly about growing up, drifting, wanting to belong to a real family, not a fragmented one, who sometimes, in the case of her “supposed” father, Jimmy Chin, who blatantly stated that he couldn’t be her father since he was never intimate with her mother.
On her site, she became real for me, as real as one of my sisters or friends. There was audio. I sat under the music of her poems, recited in her beautiful bird-like voice. I wanted to leap up and call her, let her know that I understood. Her words showered me in a presence I could only feel! I was baptized and dipped under piercing emotions elicited from her poem, “Catching Myself,” in which she writes about praying for babies she has never met and not wanting to walk down the road (of life) alone, without the love of one’s own babies. Likewise, I do not want to continue walking down the road of life without a significant lover: a woman to laugh with, to make love to in the oceans of the world, to travel with, to make breakfast together in my parents’ kitchen, to whisper with through the night and sleep entwined in the morning light, to articulate my secrets to, to be strong with, to cuddle our grandbabies with. I think of my silent poetic pen and begin to rumble with my own ruminations.
On her site, I discovered her SHOUT OUT BOX! Yes, you could actually leave a published note for Staceyann and her visitors to read; so I leave a message, inviting her to come to Atlanta and stay with me while she reads across the city! I leave my personal email, too.
Her blogs, albeit ONLY four, are entirely fascinatingly rich meals of glimpses into her world. In “Falling for Bob Marley, in her simple, poetic, inimitable style, she writes of Marley’s message of love and the reason why she decided to leave Jamaica eight years ago, amongst other things. I discovered in “No One Cared If I Kissed Girls” that she engages in worldwide workshops on “writing the self” and poetry workshops and that she has found being Black in America is almost as problematic as being lesbian in Jamaica.
Diosa, Goddess, I loved her statement: “So when I discovered that I liked the smell of girls more than I liked the taste of curried goat and rice and peas (with lots of gravy), I promptly decided that relocation was in the charts.”
That is bravery in action, to pack up, lock, stock and barrel and leave the familiar to be one’s self, to love without the threat of a self-righteous machete singing at your ear and without corrective rape for lesbianism. How many of us would fly out of our homeland on a self-imposed exile, a journey whose story we cannot fathom, to be ourselves?
I’d like to think I’d be able to do it; pero yo no se! (The only complete Spanish sentence my sister Chicken can say.)
I visited Amazon.com, to get a picture of her memoir to share with you, and I received a gift of my own! There was Staceyann, bright and bushy-tailed, articulating her book’s journey and for 2:32 minutes, in video footage, she sold her book!!!! This young woman has taught me much since I came across her book’s title in a publication I no longer remember. I learned that she appeared on Oprah, and as an out lesbian, she was sharing, and proudly, her trials and tribulations and triumphants with the world! Her presence reminded me and other lesbians that it was fabulous to be us! If by chance one of us forgot, which I try not to do, even when I am hiding, at some inopportune time, when I think to admit so would be to incur instant attention, negative attention. But that is in my own head sometimes, so I correct my erroneous thinking and move on!
That Staceyann has become an ICONIC performer since she has been in New York for eight short years. Her presence reminds me how much more I can do, how I should ferret out fear in my life, and live! Sometimes we think we face fear and giggle, leaping forward doing what we do! But there is always so much more that can be done. And I intend to do all that I can do before my Sisterlocked head hits the pillow for the last time!
To see her perform on her website is enough to make you want to grab a mic and hit Centennial Park, stop the Wednesday music gala and slam the gathering with poetry, like Theresa Davis and Queen Sheba and Lakara. Publish your life and concerns right there in the park, in the heart of the ATL. Dance in a colorful sarong, let lose your hair and shake your butt and be elated for the beauty of breath and love and freedom!
I love Chin’s statement: “I cannot conceive of a life in which I am not a traveler.”
Truly, I understand! You learn so much traveling, nationally or internationally, hell locally, when you reach out to others and see their faces, hear their voices, eat other foods and listen to other music, and abide in another way of being. I am feeling the travel bug myself.
Anybody want to go away with me for a day, a weekend, a week, a month, a lifetime? (kisses)
Oh my! The title of the memoir…
To use the other side of paradise, the side that was wealthier, as a metaphor for going somewhere else or being someone else was absolutely beautiful! Staceyann illustrates this in her video on Amazon!
Miss Chin is a FULL-TIME ARTIST. The winner of slams from Chicago to Denmark, she is the author of “Hands Afire,” her first one-woman show that ran for ten weeks at the Bleecker Theater in the Summer of 2000.
In my locs, now, I can yet hear her words: “I want to erase the straight lines so I can be me.”
Amen! Hallelujah! Peace and blessings! Light and love! She makes me want to dance!
Reading her memoir, I came to love her and the world about which she writes.
I find myself missing her Grandmother. I know I’d be “one of we,” if I were in Jamaica.
I miss Delano and wonder how he is fairing in Germany, wonder if he has a German wife and half German and Black and Chinese babies, handsome babies.
I wonder who is lucky enough to be Staceyann’s woman, her wife. I wonder how life has changed for her after the publication of the book. I hope she is amassing more wealth, to do all that she wants to do!
I wonder about her beautiful, wandering, French-speaking mother. I’ll bet Staceyann is fluent in French by now.
I wonder if those Jamaican boys who almost raped her in that nasty bathroom at school ever recognized their transgressions and forgave themselves. I wonder what that Jimmy Chin is doing. Racquel? Wonder what Auntie Ella, with whom Staceyann spent that first magnificent summer that showed her what life else where could be, is doing? I am even curious about her Aunt June and her tiresome behind.
The memoir boasts a style and voice that forges to the forefront in this generation of writers! It is a feast of a meal! I am FULL! I have supped in Sorrow’s kitchen; I have laughed at the grown little girl unafraid to tell you what come pon her lips; I have screamed at Miss John and her bad-azz crew; I have wept at the near-rape, and I have applauded with the others when Staceyann delivered the graduation speech.
I am pleasantly tired…so I will retire to the arms of my office sofa and get up in a little while to make myself a pot of peppermint tea.
The air conditioner is the only sound I hear, aside from the clicking of this keyboard.
Although I am not on my way to Hartsfield International to join my beloved friend, Anita, who is flying to Africa, to Senegal, for a nine-day celebration with her sister, I am happy. I am blessed. I yet live a Golden Life.
The Golden Goddess
August 13, 2009