Unheardwords of Writers of Colour

Emma Hopkins - thinking of place


Editorial: Thinking of Place

A place to think makes an Endless List. Greetings from Leathermarket Gardens, London, South East 1. Over the past year i have been transfixed by these flowered surroundings comprising; tower block council housing, tower block hospital facilities, penthouse apartments, a children's school and a public playground. It's an amazing use of space where there is no church, police station or supermarket in view. As a person of colour, i have felt individually freed from these symbols -of religion, security and physical hunger stroke greed. But i shouldn't feel that a SYMBOL can possess me! I am not an insect having once Crawled upon an A to Z, now squashed and dead.

I am going to show you how 'experience' is an endless list of description and description is an endless list.

As an artist and writer, i feel comfortable that I can associate the Dorian Gray character in Oscar Wilde's, The Picture of Dorian Gray, with my own preferences for:
    outdoor settings and environments
    the study of self-image and self-consciousness
    curiosity interacting with knowledge
    reflection on people and opportunity

So as i sit here in the 21st century in a multiracial city, I have mused over the thought that Dorian Gray has become a brown skinned go-between!

Opportunistic, i think that if people of colour can change the atmosphere of an English office environment, then Race can Fill In For Class, and what more do i have to learn about London.

Oh yes! Working and living experiences have given me insights that keep me trapped and transfixed in a routine of people who stir me into phraseology:

Truthfulness is better than hope
Truthfulness is better than hope

Is this a new version of what you see is what you get?
Is this what the Unheardwords website provides?

Truthfulness is better than hope, is accurate for me as it makes me think that art opportunities require the hope for visual legitimacy, whereas all writing is the product of the logic of Reading and Observation. Reading and Observation are a literary route for any writer. Reading and Observation are interests of mine that urge me to bring to life the importance of place, race and character.

Being mixed race and female, I have been subjected to 'style enquiries'- endless questions that I feel expect answers about racial identification and allegiance.  In the main, this is the way that young people wish to communicate, but when does this type of communication become so fixed?  When in Leathermarket Gardens, I have seen boys of all colours - having grown out of see-saws and climbing frames - happily chasing each other and screaming in childhood acts of play.

Why haven't I seen any girls behaving like this?

Anyway, during this experience I have naturally conceived a name for a part of my character: 2 hats 1 brush - a metaphor for my swift approach to the seasons, sensations, surprises and the general sorting office that is life.

Whilst in London, I haven't been on a mission to stick two fingers up to the society that I’ve discovered, but neither have I been naive about other people of colour who are an endless list: Nigerian, West Indian, Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan...


Emma is featured in an anthology of poetry and essays called Brown Eyes (2005), edited by Nicole Moore. And was Joint-Editor at unheardwords in November 2005.

© Emma Hopkins (editorial by editor-for-a-month), October 2005 (all rights reserved)