In this blog I wanted to showcase artistes who live in Barbados. Anyone with a creative bent who is courageous enough to share their ‘art’ with the world. It could be writer, musician, photographer, sculptor or artist. It matters not whether they are using their art to currently make their living. Some of us are not that fortunate. I think however that creativity needs to be celebrated nevertheless.

 

Frank Collymore Literary Award 3rd place winner 2012

Brian Franklin, Barbadian Writer

Meet Brian, the first in the ‘Name the Artiste’ series. He is a member of my writer’s group O’fic and writes in the syfy and fantasy genre. Notably he was a joint 3rd Prize Winner in the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Awards 2012. And is a genuinely nice guy. His blog AntiSunGrey will be launching on 15.05.15 and just the look of the coming soon page has me itching to read more.
So heeerrreee’s Brian. Read a sample of his story Such Easy Prey.

Q1 Where do you write (eg. Favourite place).

Wherever the wind is cool, the world is quiet, and I can hear the sea.

Q2. Who or what inspires you.

It might be easier to say what I’m not inspired by, haha. But all jokes aside I’m inspired in writing by the lives and experiences of the people I meet, see or read about, and the wordsmiths who are out there with the courage to set pen to paper, and those that have gone before. Most every story I come across, regardless of media (and including real life) has inspired me in some sense.

Q3. How do you deal with writers block.

One of two ways, either playing videogames or writing complete nonsense that I hope might make sense in the future.

Q4. Write ever day – yes/no?

Technically no, but I don’t think there’s a day when I’m not at least thinking about writing!

Q5. Favorite author – Caribbean, International.

Hard for me to pin down just one! Caribbean-wise I’m a big fan of my father’s (Keith Franklin) short stories and those of Shakirah Bourne. Internationally Cormac McCarthy and China Mieville are very high on my list.

Q6. Proudest writing moment

When a friend of mine read my novel and told me it wasn’t complete nonsense.

Q7. If I weren’t a writer I’d be a _____

Dead man.

Q8. Pantser or plotter?

What’s a pantser? Cause I’m anything but a proper plotter.  :-P

Plotter – someone who meticulously plots their novels
Pantser – someone who flies by the seat of their pants who lets the characters go where they will

OK cool. In that case I guess I’m technically a pantser. I do spend a lot of time trying to plot but when I get to the actual writing it all goes through the window. As Dwight D Eisenhower put it – plans are worthless, but planning is everything.

Such Easy Prey (sample)

Fang first saw her picking through the scraps of the once great city. Feral, eyes wild like a beast. Rags her fur, thin nails her claws. Her lair formed by limestone buildings and damp streets overgrown with vines and twisting trees. Wars uncountable had stained the very earth pastel-red, had ground the city away as good as any hurricane. He wondered for a moment how she had come to such a state. Perhaps her parents had been victims. Or instigators. Didn’t much matter for they’d all ended up the same; fading memories and old bones calcifying in the streets. Maybe the girl had been cursed as a babe, abandoned here by her parents who had hoped to spare themselves from her doom.

She caught sight of him standing there perched one foot on a statue’s fallen face. And with a hiss, jerked away down a street like a shadow from sudden flame.

“The asses tired, big man,” Bellyful said.

He glanced at the old man newly come to stand beside him. His head bald, his shirt sweat-buttoned to his skin, his pants waist lost beneath his potbelly. He chewed on a stalk of grass hanging at the corner of his mouth.

“You mean the two-footed ones, or the four-footed?” Fang asked.

“All ah duh. You wanna kill we or wha’?”

A sigh. “Nah, buddy. Nah. Set up camp.” He glanced at the sky. Fire-pink clouds in the west capturing what light remained as the rest of it leaked away.

Bellyful wiped sweat from his face with a thick arm. “Wha’ you out here staring at, though?”

“Sugar city, buddy. Sugar city.” Lying at the foundations of those limestone towers and broad streets was the boiled and crystallised fruit of that beautiful crop. Sugarcane. Holy King Sugar. Not the kindest of masters, as he was sure that wild girl would attest. But, oh God, how he wished he was in the business.

He turned away from the city and started walking. Bellyful sauntering beside him, sweating enough to fill buckets the size of his belly. Each breath seemed half-filled with water but it was a good way to drown. Fang had family overseas who’d boast to him of autumn and winter, times when the air grew cold and the land died. He couldn’t understand their glee. Here the world was ever alive, hot as a lover’s breast.

Pushing through a screen of leaves oil-slick to the touch they came to an old market grounds. Rotting stalls bearing vine fruit, roofed by tarpaulin woven of bark. The asses and other members of his convoy were busy setting up camp. As usual his permission was mere formality. He stood biting his lip, calming himself, telling himself that he need not cuss anyone just yet.

A lanky boy ran to him, sweat draining through his bare back. “Juba would like to see you, sir,” he said, his tone surprisingly measured given the frantic look on his face.

Fang couldn’t blame him. He was a young country boy, easily overawed by powerful city women. Fang nodded to him, watched as he scrambled away to where men were tethering the horses.

“Her orders to make camp, right?” Fang said to no one in particular.

Bellyful grunted a response he didn’t hear. Muttered what could have been an apology beneath his breath. Fang glanced at him before heading for the only tent already set up in the courtyard. Its canvas pale pink like the clouds, expanding and contracting like thin diaphragms.

He eased inside. The canvas filtered more sunlight than he’d expected, and he stood for a moment blinking away the light-blindness.

Juba sat cross-legged towards the back of the tent on large circular cushion. She dabbed her bare arms with a towel, wiped her face, neck. Her dress hung tightly damp against her skin, outlining her every curve. She looked up, smiled as though she was genuinely happy to see him.

“Thank you for arranging the camp to be set up here,” Fang said.

“Anything for you.” She motioned to a spot beside her. “Join me?”

He probably shouldn’t indulge her. But he moved to take the offered seat anyway.

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