Dashiki

I first discovered you at a time when I was lost. Was it by random chance or destiny? Your wondrous colours and design captivated my soul, reminding this child of the diaspora who he is. Although the connection to my lineage has been lost – when I wear you, I feel as though I am home again.

Ricky Baxter

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Tell your story, the way you want

Ever watched a really bad movie? I did, just the other day in fact. It was an awful movie called Skyscraper, featuring The Rock. What irked me about it, was how bland and predictable each scene was. Family in a burning building? Check! One man who is unstoppable? Check! Pointless crime syndicate that has your typical grudge? Check! However, although I was disappointed in the whole experience, I forgave it for the simple fact that it wasn’t my story.

My stories do not recycle scenes that we all have gotten used to. My stories entertain me, just the way I like – without relying on another person to do it for me. One man’s family in a burning building? No thanks. One unstoppable man who never seems to run out of energy, even when injured from head to toe? Nahhh. Spending a bit too much money at the movie theatre, in hopes that a movie is good? Maybe next time.

As a writer, you get to tell your story, the way you want!

Thanks for reading!

Ricky Baxter

My books

Our love for the opposite

Have you ever stopped to think about your favourite hero? Just about everybody has or had one, at some point. At the moment, my long standing hero is one piece’s Monkey D Luffy. He’s strong, loud, stubborn, stupid, breaks the rules and is incredibly loyal. However, most importantly, he is nothing like me. So why would I admire a character, who I’d almost certainly never be friends with, if her were a real person?

The same can be said for others like: Naruto, Goku, Spike (cowboy bebop), Vash the stampede (Trigun) and many more. They think with their heart (and stomach at times) and are not afriad of causing a scene, to get what they want.

An interesting answer is: They represent what we want to be… What many of us can’t be.

We can’t all go around breaking the rules like Luffy, however it’s the very fact that he cares not for the consequences, which makes him so amazing! We can’t all dream as big as Naruto, however his dream to be Hokage, filled in a world of geniuses that doubt him, make him so incredible!

Like two sides of the same coin, we need to admire others that are different from us, in order to better understand ourselves.

Thanks for reading!

Oh, and if you’d like to read a new take on being a hero, check out my novella: The Blue Witch. It’s available now, free for a limited time, on Amazon!

Amazon link here!

Ricky Baxter

A City Boy Who’s Not afraid of Change

Being part of a city rat race is nothing new for us Londoners. We get up, go to work, eat, go to bed and repeat. A lot of us yearn for a change – however because of many factors (family, finances, fear etc…) we merely end up pushing our need for change to the back of the list. There is one person who decided to challenge everything, and did it anyway – regardless of the consequences. Naturally he learned a lot from his decision and experience – even writing a book along the way. 


 

Who are you, where do you come from and what do you do?

My name is Alva, I’m born and raised in London, but my background is Sierra Leone,and Trinidad & Tobago. At the moment I work in financial risk IT.

Tell us a little of your background and certain interests? If I am not mistaken, you’re quite the skateboarder.

I have a few interests; mainly art, cooking, and writing. Yes, I also skate when I have time, but these days I feel so old and fragile that I just take my bicycle when I go out.

A little while ago, you journeyed to Japan. What made you decide to go there, compared to the many other places in the world?

My trip to Japan was just a series of fortunate events. I couldn’t sleep one night a few years back. I was tossing and turning, and just felt very stuck in life- it got to about 4am in the morning, and I still hadn’t slept. So I checked for last minute international flights. The first two that came up were Japan, and Brazil. Japan was around £700 and the flight was leaving in 5 hours, and Brazil was around £900 and was leaving in 8 hours, so I booked the flight to Japan, packed a rucksack, and jumped on a train to Heathrow. I knew next to nothing about Japan, or Brazil, it simply came down to which flight was the cheaper one. Had Brazil been cheaper, the last few years of my life would have turned out completely different.

What was it like being in Japan as a British Citizen, let alone a person of colour?

Japan is one of the most amicable places I’ve visited. I stayed in various cities, but lived in a small countryside town for most of my time in Japan. I could probably count on one hand, the people there who had seen a black person in the flesh. But they were in no way negative or xenophobic towards me. People who didn’t know me would say hello, people would go out of their way to help me. They always had time to talk, and I used to eat and drink with a group of grandmothers. Anywhere you go in Japan, there are always new people to meet, and you can end up making a whole group of friends in the time it takes to finish one beer.

Tell us about your book: Musings of a nobody. What is it about and what made you wish to write something like it?

The book was a project I’d started a long time ago, but then gave up on. At the time, I didn’t think that I had seen enough to write a book on life’s experience. I was also avery different person to who I am now. But been abroad for as long as I was; all the different countries I lived in, all the people I met, and all the situations I was in, made me start writing again. I realized that no matter where you go, you bring your mind with you. I also realized that no matter where you go, everyone is fighting the same battle with themselves. So I started writing the book again just as a piece on my self- introspection, nothing more. It’s about mistakes I’ve made, damage I’ve caused (to myself and others), and ways I’ve changed. It’s just as the title says, the thoughts of an unknown person.

What sort of person is your book catered to, and what can one learn from it?

I don’t know if there is anything someone can learn from my book, because it’s just a retrospective on my life, and many of the things may be too subjective or specific for another person to relate to, or learn from it. I would however, like people to read it and look at their own life, and think about what they think they’re doing wrong in life, what they think they’re doing right, and how much pain they inflict on themselves. I don’t think there’s a certain type of person my book is catered to; but I do think that people who are at a stage of sudden self-understanding may take more from it than those who are not at all interested in introspection.

So you accomplished your trip to Japan, and wrote a long awaited book. What else is next for you?

Haha, in all honestly, I don’t have a clue what the next step is. I am currently playing at being grown up, and staying in one place for a while. I’m working on a novel, learning everything little thing that I can, and trying to stick to what my experiences have taught me. I still need to live in Brazil because it was the runner-up when I was looking at tickets, so maybe there’s something there for me. And if there isn’t anything there for me, I’m sure I’ll pick up a few life lessons along the way!

Thank you

Much appreciated Ricky!

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To read Alva’s: Musings Of A Nobody, click the link here!

When the big smoke calls you back

I have lived in Leeds for the past 2 years. I came for a new way of life, love, career, and most of all… a break from the hustle and bustle of London. I grew tired of the constant pushing and shoving from my fellow Londoners, and disliked the experience of always being crammed into tubes like rats.

Leeds was a breath of fresh air for myself and many others who escaped the clutches of the London-life. For the first time in years, I was able to breathe (fresh air) and take things easy. Everything was easy to get to. Supermarkets was only a stones throw away. Over time I got used to the slow-paced world of the north, and tried to become an inhabitant of Yorkshire. I loved the way the ladies from Gregg’s bakery smiled and stopped a chat, while getting my chicken pasty. I loved the somewhat community feel of doing similar things and going to the same places. It all became a content routine.

However – over time things changed, and the city boy in me was not content with the life I had thought was one I could get used to. I grew tired of seeing the same faces, day in, day out. I became frustrated with the slow-paced life, and all in all, was not content with routine. The individualism in me couldn’t take it. The big smoke called me back!

However I now have found another home – one that I can return to, should I tire of the big smoke.

Lovely Leeds!

R.L.Baxter

Leeds

The Dark side of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is an interesting thing. We all do it in one way or another, and some longer than others. However… what if you felt the need to forgive – not out of a natural decision after much thought and time, but because you forced yourself to? Believe it or not, many of us forgive for the completely wrong reason, and these are my personal reasons why. Below are some of the not so helpful excuses for forgiveness, which could prove dangerous down the line.

When we Forgive to move on:

This is not only a clichéd excuse, but it assumes that one cannot progress in life, just because they rightly feel begrudged by the one who hurt them. In most cases, I usually find that the very people who claim to live by this motto, actually are the most passive aggressive ones around. Be honest, and don’t forgive if you don’t feel the desire to.

When we want to look like the bigger person:

This form of forgiveness is not only extremely conceited, but reeks of a massive ego complex. This form tends to be used when others are watching – purely to gain credit amongst ones social circle. However, as before, I tend to find that the very same individual hasn’t forgiven at all. In fact, they harbour more resentment, with the delusion that they’re now somehow bigger than everybody else.

When we Forgive someone who never asked for it:

This has to be the most naive and self-obsessed reason of all. When you state that you forgive the other, when no forgiveness was sought, you’re simply showing how weak you are to them. A bitter ex I used to know tried using the same tactic against me – however I simply laughed because I didn’t ask for his forgiveness in the first place. All it made me think was how even more pathetic he was. The fact of the matter is: If somebody hasn’t ask for your forgiveness, then they probably meant to hurt you; saying you forgive them does nothing. One need only look at the Charleston Terrorist attack to see how this form of forgiveness only makes matters worse.

Cunt in custody
Family of Victims openly forgive the domestic terrorist, only mere hours after him being caught. Note: he didn’t ask for their forgiveness.
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Only days after – several churches are burnt down. A likely reason, is because the public act of forgiveness to someone who never asked for it, sent a profound message to other domestic terrorists. This message simply means that they can terrorise members from the same community – without any backlash or consequence.

Forgiveness is not something you simply decide to do, like a flick of a light switch. It’s something that happens naturally (if at all).

Ricky