An Interview With My Protagonist, Alok

A Your Echoes In Space Presentation: An Interview With My Protagonist, Alok

Words and Pictures by © Mazzy Khatun 2017 

 

His eyes were dark and reassuring, two pits of ancient coal. I could taste the light and fire sealed inside them. I cleared my throat, ready to write.

‘Where do your stories come from, Alok?

A koel perched on the window ledge. He glanced over, gave a soft smile. ‘You know that place, you know it well.’

‘Are you talking to me or the bird?’ I grinned, chewed my lips.

He turned and looked at me, tenderly, meaningfully. ‘Far off places that are close by. That’s where my stories first yawn. Oceans, forests, caves; places near to the heat and heart of the earth, so near that if you ask they will tell you everything, they will remember for you as far back as the beginning of things.’

‘What you mean to say is that stories come from deep within us.’ I shifted in my rattan chair.

‘Where else?’ He chuckled.

‘Any stories you would like to tell me that have inspired your own writing?’

He searched my face, my eyes. ‘All the ones mingled with my mother’s voice.’

‘Your mother was a storyteller?’

‘She was. She is.’

I tapped my pen on my knee. ‘What stories of hers do you remember?’

He leaned back, sighed. ‘Myths, legends, fairy tales, folk tales, tales of long ago when people wore bearskin and conch shells and gathered round roaring fires.’

My eyes widened, glimmered. ‘That is an impressive list.’

When he smiled a dimple appeared on his left cheek. It felt familiar. ‘I’ve hardly begun. And then there was – there was One Thousand And One Nights.’

When he smiled a dimple appeared on his left cheek. It felt familiar. ‘I’ve hardly begun. And then there was One Thousand And One Nights.’

When he smiled a dimple appeared on his left cheek. It felt familiar. ‘I’ve hardly begun. And then there was – there was One Thousand And One Nights.’

 

One Thousand And One Nights?’

‘You know it, you know it very well.’

I nodded. ‘I know I do.’

He raised his hand, and with his index finger traced a spiral in the air. ‘A story within a story within a story…’

I imagined the teller of those tales. ‘Scheherazade.’

‘Yes. Scheherazade.’

I clicked my tongue. ‘She told stories as if she were a daughter of infinity.’

He smiled. ‘Yes.’

I looked up at the fan, whirring. A car honked outside followed by the curses of a street vendor. Good old Kolkata. ‘You know, Alok, I remember them: Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and Aladdin, and The Fisherman and the Jinn, and The Cat and the Crow.’

I looked up at the fan, whirring. A car honked outside followed by the curses of a street vendor. Good old Kolkata. ‘You know, Alok, I remember Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and Aladdin, and The Fisherman and the Jinn, and The Cat and the Crow.’

I looked up at the fan, whirring. A car honked outside followed by the curses of a street vendor. Good old Kolkata. ‘You know, Alok, I remember them: Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and Aladdin, and The Fisherman and the Jinn, and The Cat and the Crow.’

 

He came closer. ‘Yes, but which one was your favourite?’

I met his gaze. ‘Why do you ask, Alok?’

‘Because you are making me, right now, right this moment. I am so real that I want to know more about my storyteller. Her story. Your story.’

I reached up to my left cheek, felt the coal pit in the dimple of my smile, so fertile with light, ready to shine out to the world.

My Berry First Act

A Your Echoes In Space Presentation: My Berry First Act

Words and Pictures by © Mazzy Khatun 2017

The curtain was long and black, and it hung down in perfect motionless ripples. I looked all the way up to see where it came from. Did this curtain have roots – roots that grew out from somewhere high up in the ceiling? I squinted, my eyes searched, but I could find no hint of their origin. The upper world of the stage was a mystery, a convoluted pipework of metal and interlacing wires. Bulky studio lights stared down at me. Their square flaps looked like ears trained to listen in to our every word.

Someone spoke and my eyes came down. I turned and looked out. Beyond me and the polished black floor of the stage was a sight new, and not new. It was the intimately familiar, but out of reach, existing a million miles away. Over there I knew their ways and rituals, over there was a safe world.  It was a sloping world of seats. A steep slope. A terraced paddy of red. They rose upwards and away from me. The back edge seemed to be still growing, receding, pushing back boundaries.

I pondered on my situation. I was well acquainted with buying a ticket, be led to my seat, and play the role of the seated. The watcher of the show. The ice-cream gobbler at intermission. The clapper to the act.

Take-to-the-starry-stage-1

“I was well acquainted with buying a ticket, be led to my seat, and play the role of the seated. “

“The watcher of the show. The ice-cream gobbler at intermission. The clapper to the act. “

Not this time.

This time there was a story. It was burning. Deep inside of me. A winged origami with veins of fire. It was a creature of flight and voice and expression. It blazed day and night, and the tips of my thumb and index finger, the clamping points for my pen, seethed with heat.

When the opportunity arose for taking part in the first ever MA Writers Voice venture, an exciting collaboration between storytellers and the unique multi-sensorial textures of theatre, I leapt at the challenge!  This was my golden chance – a chance to test Edward and Alok. The ultimate litmus test. If I could convince my audience of the integrity of my two protagonists, if I could engage and compel strangers to lean in closer, if I could entice new ears to want to know more of the trajectory of Your Echoes In Space, then I had a chance. A ticket. A portal to a bolstered sense of confidence that here was a story that others could care about, too. Whilst the dream diary reinforced my faith in the narrative, a theatrical hybridisation shone with the potential to resuscitate my characters. To bring them alive.

And so the night of the reading came.

The stage glowed with expectation and fertility. A black open-air womb. Tonight my throat, my hands, my eyes, my every cell was invested with purpose: To add bone. To add flesh. To add voice. There on the controlled and lit sacred ground, the grand black stage, with its black as night curtain and watchful black studio lights, I willed for Alok and Edward’s reincarnation, their magnificent metamorphosis, their osmotic transition into the real world.

I unclipped the mic from the mount. I faced the familiar world of red seats and the inquisitive eyes of the audience. I caught snatches of eager whisperings. I took a deep breath. The side spotlight warmed my cheek. I felt my sneakers tell me wise things, that there was nothing to be afraid of. I was reassured that I was not separate from where I stood. I grew out from the stage, a black protrusion, a tree of motion, conceived of moon and night.

I had nothing to lose.

Nothing at all.

So, I gave it all.

And.

I came away with more.

Much, much more.

The Berry Theatre experience was a beautiful and priceless landmark event in the development of Your Echoes In Space. I realised that I deeply cared for my characters, Alok and Edward, and with the sort of intensity that was potent enough to peel them off the page.

Over the course of one night, my two boys were no longer characters. I gave them permission to leave their roots.

For five minutes, they were people.

“The stage glowed with expectation and fertility. A black open-air womb. Tonight my throat, my hands, my eyes, my every cell was invested with purpose: To add bone. To add flesh. To add voice. “

The Force Is Strong In My Family: A Comic Convention! EPISODE III

Dear Reader & Mr You in a galaxy far far away

I feel as though I am the blessed custodian of sacred and secret knowledge who is about to, with the fullness of heart and vitality of spirit, unleash the final part of what has been kept safe so that You, too, may benefit from its illuminating effects as it has done so for me. I am, of course, referring to my final Star Wars comic cover that will complete the jolly triptych and seal it with the epic atmospheric strata characteristic of historic cinematic trilogies! Ahem, ahem, what were You thinking about?! Giggle, giggle! :)) :)) :))

I do hope this unprecedented creative project that had started out on an impulse brought oodles of happiness to You as it did for me in the making of it. I am quite a busy old lady but, with the determined enterprise of a true Jedi, if I put my mind to something – especially if it is designed with the motivation to bring joy to others like Yourself – then I shall always find time to transform my Vision into reality. Do not be disheartened by the fact that my physical eyes cannot see You take delight in what I create, I have always relied on my true Eyes to capture the essences You leave behind each and every time You cast Your attentions onto my humble presentations. That in itself is enough to make me want to forever strive to better myself as an Artist authentic to the Voice of her heart…♥

The narrative voice box in this comic cover ends with the teasing cliff-hanger to the tune of “To Be Continued…” I assure You that sometime in the future You will see additional hilariously formatted installments that express my penchant for comic book dabblings! Watch this space attentively!

Oh, before I do disappear to bed I should like to announce – and I rub both my hands rigorously with electrical excitement as I prepare myself to A-MAZ-E You – that Mr J.J. Abrams, director of FORCE AWAKENS, has revealed today on the news that MAZ KANATA, the lady pirate gifted with the special eyes, was always present in the official poster, right under Your noses, but that no one had spotted her, presumably because of her diminutive size overshadowed by the other well-familiar characters. Let me ask You a question, and please answer to Your best of knowledge, has there been a Jedi granny from Winchester with special Eyes who has ever so earnestly been prattling on about Admiral Telescopes for the last week or so?! Now You know why! Ahem, ahem, stop looking at me so deeply – blushing is in breach of my Jedi code…  ♥

Though I am short it never stopped me from seeing my favourite Star,
Eternally Your Mazzy xxx

LINK: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/lupita-nyongos-mystery-star-wars-839700

LINK 2: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3315846/Lupita-Nyong-o-s-Force-Awakens-character-Maz-Kanata-revealed-hiding-poster-along.html

The Force Is Strong In My Family: A Comic Convention!  EPISODE III

“… has there been a Jedi granny from Winchester with special Eyes who has ever so earnestly been prattling on about Admiral Telescopes for the last week or so?! Now You know why! Ahem, ahem, stop looking at me so deeply – blushing is in breach of my Jedi code… “

 

Photography, Comic Design & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Birmingham | Midlands | UK 2015

 

Meet Colonel Green Tweed!

Every which way I turned, the serpentine streets of London showed themselves to be empires of frenzied footsteps made of scampering strangers, cramped spaces teeming with a living museum of the city’s diverse and complex human characters. I had only just sprung out from the underground tube and into the reassurance of familiar daylight when this rather dapper and stylishly suited gentleman appeared out of the corner of my eye! Donned in green tweed, monocle confidently propped up, festooned with a bushy moustache on a canvas of face that was generously rotund and complementing his equally portly belly, I was curious to know precisely what such a figure of dignified antiquity was viewing on his phone. Perhaps he was requesting that he should be sent back to his own TIME? Or, was he texting Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, demanding to know where his pick-up car had gone that was promised to him? What a delight that this eccentric chap should spark endless stories in my head and to remind me that even in the most chaotic and impersonal of places my eyes could still make out exquisite pockets of magic…

Meet Colonel Green Tweed!

“Donned in green tweed, monocle confidently propped up, festooned with a bushy moustache on a canvas of face that was generously rotund and complementing his equally portly belly…”


Photograph & Journal Excerpt:
 © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Central London | UK 2014

Charlie’s Angels: The Director’s Cut

Once upon a time, there were three very different little girls who grew up to be three very different women. But they have three things in common: They’re brilliant, they’re beautiful and they DON’T work for me, I work for them! YIKES!

My name is not Charlie! Ahem, ahem!

In honour of the sheer awesomeness of the Ladies of my family, 
Mazzy x

Charlie's Angels: The Director's Cut

“… They’re brilliant, they’re beautiful and they DON’T work for me! I work for them! YIKES…”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Summer Reunion Series | Winchester | UK 2015 

Teatime With My Mate Agnes!

As if the moonlight, a sweet intruder, spread her ivory wings over
Such ringing bells of joy sent by lady luck’s four-leaf clover
For a summer reunion it was, tea shared with sister and friend, Miss Agnes
Ah! Do I hear you writhe in jealousy, an inflating puffing madness?!
So you should be because her full name is Agnieszka, which happens to be
Polish for Agnetha, famous singer of ABBA, tell me you have a CD!
Ok, ok! The invite’s open to you as well, my faraway parakeet
Next time a space on my wooden bench and it shall have your name on the seat… !

Teatime With My Mate Agnes!

                                “… For a summer reunion it was, tea shared with sister and friend, Miss Agnes
                                        Ah! Do I hear you writhe in jealousy, an inflating puffing madness….”

Photography & Poem: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Summer Re-Union Series | Winchester Discovery Centre | UK 2015

Your Home In My Heart: Happy Valentine’s Day

I know I am not like the other umpteen girls:
Eyes to light up as chiffon swirls
I can’t wear high-heels to save my life
And I’m never going to be happy just being a housewife
But there are other things that I like to do
Which sets me apart, one of the genius few:
Lying flat on fresh grass, spying on summer night stars
Fancy long treks to anywhere, forget about cars!
I can recite ancient stories to you with lips of an Arabian princess
Whilst my muddy hands moves across your heart in slow tender caress
I’d sit on oaken branches and sew thick ink on paper for you
And you’d listen quietly and smile and shed a tear or two of dew
Trickle down your rough face but I shan’t let it stay there for too long
For I’d kiss it softly and make it disappear in my damson dimple’s song
So, you see my Love, I am a little different, a melodious rainbow sea foam
Yet, I do love the fact that you still yearn for this Heart of mine to be your Loving Home…

Your Home In My Heart: Happy Valentine's Day

 “… So, you see my Love, I am a little different, a melodious rainbow sea foam; Yet, I do love the fact that you still yearn for this Heart of mine to be your Loving Home… “

 

 

Photography & Poem: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Day Out To The Dorset Coast | UK 2015

 

My Sister Of The Heart: The Biscuit Thief!

Skin as fair as the prized possession of royals, a pretty porcelain doll
Eyes of sibylline seashells that echo the sea siren’s call
But, my dear friends, what I love most about this little but tall sister of mine
Is that she often steals my biscuits and leaves my plate with a rude minus sign…!!!

The Biscuit Thief

“Skin as fair as the prized possession of royals, a pretty porcelain doll…
Eyes of sibylline seashells that echo the sea siren’s call…”

Photographs & Poem: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester UK 2015

The Collar Of Darkness

Others fear darkness and the night yet for me they are mine
If I can admire stars then why not the shirt on which they shine…?

The Collar Of Darkness

“Others fear darkness and the night yet for me they are mine… If I can admire stars then why not the shirt on which they shine…?”

 

 Photograph & Poem: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | UK 2015

“Shutter-Up, Mazzy! You’re Making Us Laugh!!”

Unlike the big fancy cities of this world, my town is very small
You are bound to bump into at least ten friends on your trot to the market stall
Take for instance these three mates of mine, on the go, like a shuttle bus
Except we paused to have a chat, an hour long, what’s the fuss?
Life is short, relish each moment spent with jolly good old friends
And it was so that on this day I was with my clicker and my lens
Out they popped in the end and my mates were too happy to agree
However, I have this habit of cracking jokes before pressing the shutter button, you see
In their faces you will read the naughty jokes told behind my woolly scarf
And, perhaps you can hear them all shouting at me,
“Shutter-Up Mazzy! You’re making us laugh…!!”

"Shutter-Up, Mazzy! You're Making Us Laugh!!"

                            “… In their faces you will read the naughty jokes told behind my woolly scarf…”

Photographs & Poem: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester UK 2014