I don’t know where to start today because this morning I spoke to Benjamin Zephaniah on the phone! I’ve got quite a bit of news but since I’m feeling so inspired by tour conversation, with a massive scrawl of notes surrounding my typed questions, I’ll start with this. I had been in contact via his agency about emailing some questions, however, I was told Benjamin doesn’t do email interviews and to give him a phone call. I was so scared at the prospect that my initial reaction was to run away in fear. Obviously, passing up the opportunity to speak directly to one of my idols would have been a stupid thing to do. So I did it.
It’s one of those days where Metric’s Help, I’m Alive comes into my mind. These are the things you need to do to feel alive, to be really living. I don’t like dealing with phones at the best of times, so talking to such a successful writer was bound to be daunting for me. I’ve admired his work since primary school, and got to see him perform live during secondary school. I even discovered I’d done a project on him when I was at school, so it seems almost meant to be that I have decided to do a piece of coursework on my MA about him again.
So, there was a bit of a mix up with timings but after a few nervous words from me, I began the questions. The rest of the questions connected with what Benjamin was saying, and just flowed very naturally, until I even began to ask questions that just occurred to me on the spot. I related to a lot of what he told me about feeling the desire to become a writer ‘deep in my bones’ and with wanting to do a range of work because of a ‘need to express yourself’.
It was so interesting hearing him talk about his experiences and the way he really lives and had no doubt that he would be able to achieve the dream he had when he was ‘eight years old’. It inspired me so much, especially the way he spoke about his belief in ‘love and peace’ and that it is something I really connect with, and something that if everyone did, a world without war would be able to become a reality. We are one world after all. He is a man with a lot of compassion and understanding, and sees the importance of being both serious and playful, and how even with lighthearted work, sometimes humour can ‘show the absurdity’ of something.
So, overall, I am so glad I got this amazing opportunity to speak to Benjamin Zephaniah. He spoke of receiving a hand-written letter from Bob Marley, and how it gave him a ‘big push’ and I feel this has given me the same push. When you speak to someone like Benjamin, it restores your faith in everything. I have always had this conviction that I will achieve my dreams, but it can be hard when you feel like you have to convince others, and that they don’t understand where you are coming from. I feel that I can look back on this day whenever I face any opposition or rejection, and know that I will not let the doubts of others affect my mind.
Just to end this post with a few bits of good news. I have entered a competition with Ether Books and need to get the most downloads of my short story from their app. It’s free, so please click here to download. You need to have an Apple device to access the app (I can use my iPod Touch) and then you just type in my name and should be able to find it. The ‘genre’ it would be under is ’18-25 iPad Contest’.
I have some love poems up on the Something Fine website, so check that out. And, last but not least, I have managed to just scrape a distinction in my MA coursework submission from last term. I got two 69 marks, and two 71 ones, so that averages out as a 70. I really want to work hard so I can achieve a distinction at the end now! Well, Benjamin Zephaniah wished me luck, so I’ve got a lot going for me right now! Also, look out for his next dubstep album, and see him live at Broadstairs Folk Week in August.