“Recently, the struggle for freedom and equal rights for Afro-Americans has euphorically come over me. Before that, the cause appeared so distant— typically American. The voting rights, segregation, etc. Until, by chance, after having watched a couple of television documentaries, read a few articles that appeared in my evening newspaper, and listened to one or two African and West Indians, my interest in the Afro-American struggle began. The calls for solidarity from some black militants with the oppressed peoples of the Third World seem to appeal to the idealist within me. The black cultural slogan ‘Black is Beautiful’ had already become fashionable amongst some members of the black diaspora in Stockholm.”
Interview with Lawrence G. Taylor
Today our guest is Lawrence G. Taylor. He recently self-published a collection of stories, in ebook format, and available on Amazon. We have conducted an interview with him.
How did you decide on the settings in the late 60s and about marginal men of colour in your stories?
My interest in writing stories began in the late sixties. There was much going on regarding social, political and economic, as well as cultural issues. The decision about the settings came naturally. The same could be said about my selection of characters, “marginal men”. I wanted to write about some of my experiences and that of others. I was always interested in individuals not belonging to the mainstream. The stories are indeed a work of fiction. Few scenes are authentic while others got fictionalised.
What inspired you to write these stories?
In my mid-twenties, I had become politically conscious and socially engaged with the times. I wanted to be involved in some cause or another. The goals of making the world a better place for all and the need for self-realization were made apparent for peoples in various regions of the world. From my corner of the world, I offered verbal support for the black American struggle. The question of identity, being authentically black, was in full swing. There were, of course, perspectives from left, right, and centre. I held a leftish position on matters of such and others. But with time, I have shifted to the centre.
Were the stories in your book based on your experiences during the time when you were a mental health counsellor?
The four stories were written in the early 70s before working in mental health. Before such work, I had written other stories too, a four-act closet drama, a short novel, and an unfinished novel. I had spent around two years nurturing the ambition to become an author of some repute. But the going was tough, financially and feelings of insecurity for the future. I got myself an education and profession. The dream of becoming a writer full time was ditched. Nothing to regret, for I still enjoy helping others in the capacity of psychotherapist/mental health counsellor.
What are the key themes of your book “Strangers In Another Country”?
The themes are loneliness, empathy, love story, friendship, non-solidarity among black expatriates, education, racial prejudice/discrimination.
Who do you recommend to read this book?
Based on feedbacks from readers in 1977, I would say that the reader for my stories is he or she who is interested in social, cultural, and personal problems of folks of colour in a predominant white environment, and an interest in the human condition, with a positive view of people in general.
How do you think social and personal issues can be alleviated when someone is new to a different culture?
I would say that having a positive attitude helps. One must also be optimistic as well as realistic in one´s expectation of success in the “adopted country”. The new situation that refugees and others in need of work are confronted with is both welcoming or to the contrary. It is also imperative to learn the language and cultural norms of the newly adopted country. I say good luck to all newcomers, whatever country you succeeded in entering. These are trying times for anyone in need of a better life. I strongly believe: where´s a will, there´s a way.
End of interview
A Book of Night Women by Marlon James was recommended to me by a friend. Two years before, I started to read “A Brief History of Seven Killings” I only got through half of it – promising myself to return but never did. I remembered enjoying some but not all of what the book offered, which isn’t unusual in my book reading. However, after reading A Book of Night Women, I will have another go at A Brief History of Seven Killings. After my initial struggle with the narrator’s skilful handling of Jamaican Creole, (which is different from my Guyanese Creole), I became wholly absorbed by the story’s intricate plot and storytelling. The book was a remarkable read, the narrative was superb and the plot intriguing and breathtaking. Someone should do a movie script for the story. I have read history books about terrible treatment and punishment the slaves in general received. The narrator of the story delivered an incredible account of the cruelty and evil of slavery. I highly recommend “A Book of Night Women”.
”30 Behaviors That Will Make You Unstoppable” by Benjamin Hardy