Connected Fiction- Term of the Month (ToM)

Women in Black

Mourning the loss of Womanhood

Recommended age of engagement- a mature 16+ and adults

Dehumanization; objectification; materialism; exploitation. Each of the short stories in Women in Black will explore one or more of these themes. The book is intended as a cathartic memory experienced through the elements of literary fiction, dark comedy, satire and magic realism assisting in the propulsion towards a place of healing. Exploring mother-daughter and sister-sister relationships, the novel will appeal outwardly to members of this readership; however, a male audience could gain some insight into how best to provide support and encouragement to promote the healing of these fractured bonds. Aimed at a more mature 16+, and adults, this novel will test the concept of Connected Fiction to the fullest – the emptying of long-held grievances, hurts, misunderstandings, and finally, reconciliation. Certain names and entities keep incarnating in different ways throughout the stories, from the 1700s right through to 2012. The Trinidad dialect is used liberally throughout the short story collection and facilitates the stories’ authenticity, warmth, comedy and connectivity.

 The Baying of the Bloodhounds: In a haunting tale from the past that still resonates, IC Blackman uses Trinidad folklore to show the transmutation of the protagonist and her pursuer running from a harrowing past to an uncertain future.

Bridal Shop: This story was constructed as a homage to the comedic genius of the Caribbean and the essence of the works of the much-loved and revered comedic duo, the late Shirley ‘Beulah Boxhill’ King and Errol ‘Stalk’ St. Hill, as well as the keenly witty poet/stand-up comedian Paul Keens Douglas, the prolific playwright Freddie Kissoon, and the socially astute poet Louise Bennett-Coverley. The author, IC Blackman, ‘tek serious t’ing mek laugh’ using dark humour, magic realism and satire to explore the troubled, ambitious mind of a Chief Shop Assistant.

Ward 504: Privilege is no guarantee of an escape from the fallout of exploitation. This story takes us into the world of a retired psychiatry Sister who once worked on Ward 504. It uses surrealism to explore the unappreciated outcomes of unchecked privilege: guilt, suspicion and ultimately a tortured existence, despite the best intentions and material comforts.

Big Titi and Little Dee’s Baby Grand Piano: The tale of a mother-daughter musical duo, Big Titi and Little Dee. A tale of survival, defensive nurturing and its predicted outcome. The duo’s creation and performance of calypso music are used as a modality of escapism and sublimation in an attempt at healing a less-than-savoury past.

Housewife: The Five Acts of Elspeth Sweeting: The final story – the ending and the beginning. A revisioning to a point of expectant resolution. Satirical yet literary, it is a bedtime story, an ode and elegy to the Women in Black.

© 2020 IC Blackman