You would think that in the normal course of things it’s mothers that teach their daughters, for me, however, it hasn’t always worked out like that. Learning can be a two way process. I taught Posy and Lucy the basics, starting from when they were little and hopefully inculcating some of my own values as they grew up. However, over the years I have learned so much from them.
Starting with the small things: Lucy introduced me to “A Girl called Jack” and Jack Monroe’s thrifty recipes, I also now keep my broccoli in the fridge and only use environmentally friendly cleaning products in my kitchen and bathroom.
Lucy is also good at re-cycling clothes that no longer fit, or suit her and I’ve followed her example in my occasional wardrobe culls, as evidenced on my “Bulging Wardrobe” pages.
On a deeper level, she’s shown me how entrenched our un-conscious bias is when thinking and talking about gender. Equality is something I’ve always cared passionately about, even so I’ve not been so aware of the insidious nature of prejudice. We all have deeply rooted views, mostly stemming from childhood, but unless we are prepared to dredge them up and acknowledge them, we’ll never be able to move on and genuinely treat people as individuals.
As a writer, this is something I have to address if I don’t want my characters to be stereo-types, or to behave in gender predictable roles.
To be free to be who you are is lesson from Posy, Lucy’s big sister. Her legacy is an irreverent view of life, the mantra “don’t let the b——-s get you down” and the importance of living life to the full, with all the risks that entails.
She suffered from stage fright, but that never stopped her and if she set her sights on something then she’d concentrate her mind until she achieved it. In Cahoots Theatre Company’s Jamaican tour of “Romeo and Juliet” began with a conversation about Port Royale being the ideal venue for the play. From there Pose convinced Jim Malcolm, the Deputy High Commissioner, of the brilliance of her idea, found a director, cast her actors, raised the money and hired the costumes.
Great role models both of them, which is why I’ve acknowledged their influence in “City of Secrets”, because I’m sure that some of their qualities can be found in the independently minded Letty Parker, who at the age of twelve, is making a living selling pies on the streets on Bristol.