Introducing Laura Marie Clark
From and currently resides: England, UK.
I was born and raised in a tiny village. No church, no shop, no village hall … the isolation developed two opposite aspects of my personality: my nervous, shy love of being alone, and my wish to live somewhere vibrant, active and loud.
As a teenager, I went on a Polish exchange trip with school, which was the first time I had really – though temporarily – felt immersed in another culture. That was when I realized how much there is out there to discover, both at home and abroad.
Later, when I lived in Vietnam, I felt a huge change in the way that I wrote, and spent more of my time writing poetry and focusing on (usually negative) emotions and human experiences. I had seen how some of the poorer people there lived and I wanted to share this through my writing.
For this anthology, I’ve decided to show the lighter side of my writing. I think that culture should be fun so that it can encourage people who haven’t heard those stories or seen those objects before to learn more about them.
The poem I’ve provided, The Lincoln Imp, is a common folk talk about the statue of an imp that is carved into the stonework of Lincoln cathedral. The short story Almost an Egyptian Bride is a true story from my early teenage years, during a family holiday in Luxor. The photograph provides me with precious memories from Vietnam.
To me, these are not separate parts of my life. Each cultural story has helped to build me into the person I am today. I am not English or British. I am a combination of everything I have experienced so far in my life.
Laura’s page: www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html
Almost an Egyptian Bride
I am worth half a herd of camels.
“That’s an odd thing to say,” I hear you respond. “How would you know that?”
On a family holiday in Egypt, we rode camels along the Nile, in a group of tourists. Each camel was led by an Egyptian. We talked to them, the sort of idle chatter that tourists like to make.
As I remember it, the guy who was leading my camel was a bit older than me – I was only in my early teenage years at the time. We had been flirting a little, the kind of innocent flirting that shy teenagers exchange on a first date. It was cute and harmless.
My parents, close by, also began chatting to this young man after a while. My dad has always liked to laugh at my holiday romances – and my boyfriends at home. He has this calm, casual manner that makes those awkward first encounters feel easier. At least for me, anyway.
They joked around for a while. At some point in the conversation, the guy who was leading my camel made what I thought was a strange offer: half of his herd of twenty camels, in exchange for which I would become his bride.
One of the things I love so much about my parents is that they can handle this sort of situation so well. They ummed and they erred, and they speculated over what they would do with ten camels when they got them home. That was when they hit the snag in the plan.
How were they supposed to get ten camels back to the UK in a small suitcase?
And so I returned home with my family, camel-less, but proud in the new knowledge that I was worth half a herd of camels, which seems pretty good to me.
The Lincoln Imp
They say that the imp, a mischievous fellow
Was sent by the Devil in evil to revel
In league with his brother, he smashed tables and chairs,
Then the bishop they tripped – and over he flipped!
These naughty creatures, they say, were surprised
When a prayer book nearby announced with a cry
The arrival of an angel who told them: “Now, cease,
Go back from where you came” – to one imp, in vain
Bravely this imp stood against Heaven’s sent,
At the angel cast rocks; great power he mocked
While his friend, a coward, fled from the sight
Hid under the rubble they’d caused in their trouble
The angel, in his might, turned the first imp to stone
And he sits to this day in the cathedral, they say
To the second, the angel: “Now, I give you this chance
To escape what I was sent to deliver: your punishment.”
And they say the second imp still circles the cathedral
Searching without end for his cold, grey, stone friend
This is an example of traditional Vietnamese clothing, called áo dài . It is a silk tunic and it is worn over trousers. The style has been updated many times, but the modern style was designed in the 1950s. It is used for formal occasions, such as weddings, Tết (Vietnamese New Year), school and graduation. The dress is supposed to link beauty to nationalism.
Shades of the Same Skin is an anthology of culture. The world is in need of a vigorous seasoning and it is why the poets in this book are willing to share their ethnicity. Each one will give some insight into their culture, music, clothing, food, traditions, and even share a few recipes. Some will engage in unique stories and folklore. Others will take us back to their childhood days and compare it to the experience of children today. A few will even welcome us into their homes to share items from their heritage.
This is also a book of unity. Its purpose is to show that without diversity, the world would be a boring place. Each poet in this anthology has a unique style because of where they came from, their experiences, and who they are. Their words are printed on these pages to inspire why we belong. We are all vital ingredients for the recipe to keep the world stirring.
Shades of the Same Skin is Available at the following Retailers:
Create Space: www.createspace.com/6171447
Creative Talents Unleashed: www.ctupublishinggroup.com/anthologies.html
100% of all proceeds from this book are being donated to the “Starving Artist Fund” to assist writers in becoming published authors. Purchasing this book can help a writer become a published author!