An excerpt from How to Be UnMothered: A Trini Memoir.
Come now. Peer through the fancy blocks in the walls’ top. And watch. Three little girls in a semicircle. One perched on the edge of the couch. Not sitting back comfortable. Looking on at the tableau, troubled. That’s me.
Pan next to the other daughter sitting fold up in an armchair. Let your gaze rest there. See her caramel fingers fidgeting in her lap. See a smile flickering in and out of focus to reveal the gap where her permanent canine is still playing shy. That’s Ericka, who can’t seem to keep her lips stretched. Benign. In a smile. Nor can she keep the crease from her 10-year-old forehead. That practiced line. Ericka, who can’t seem to keep a fun expression. She’s overdone. And, doesn’t know now, in the third act, what is the Mummy-required emotion.
Celeste Mohammed speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her story “Home,” which appears in The Common’s spring issue. In this conversation, Celeste talks about her novel-in-stories, Pleasantview, and why it was important to her to write a book that shows all the complexities and difficulties of island life, with characters who break out of the stereotypical West Indian personality Americans often expect. She also discusses Trinidad’s multicultural society, her choice to write dialogue in patois, and her essay “Split Me in Two,” about being mixed-race during the election of Vice President Kamala Harris.