CAROL TAYLOR

BROWN SUGAR WANDERLUST THE EX CHRONICLES AND INSIGNIFICANT OTHERS


Roots and Culture was really exciting to explore how my past influenced my present. Because I could do it with something as concrete as my space. At that time I was living in a loft that I had pretty much built from the ground up. So I was able to use any type of colors and decorating style. It was interesting when I looked back at pictures of my childhood home how my present home had taken on some of the decorating habits of my parents. My bedroom was the same blue of my childhood living room and my kitchen was the same golden yellow as my childhood kitchen. It can be surprising how our past influences us without us even knowing it.


PRAISE FOR
THE EX CHRONICLES

"It's a familiar premiseófour 30-ish, New York City friends... navigating the perils of single life. Thankfully, Taylor makes it fresh again in her delicious debut novel by punching up the ante with some intriguing Terry McMillanesque twists."
ó Publisher's Weekly



PRAISE FOR BROWN SUGAR

"Audaciously refreshing."
óEssence
"A stylish anthology."
óPublishers Weekly
"As smart as it is sexy."
óHoney



CONTRIBUTORS


Sapphire, Pamela Sneed, Natasha Tarpley, Jabari Asim, Tony Medina, RM Johnson, Leone Ross, Reginald Harris, Marci Blackman, Kwame Dawes, Lisa Teasley, Michael Gonzales, Lois Griffith, Chris Benson, Diane Patrick.



CONTRIBUTORS


Tananarive Due, Nelson George, Zane, Bernice McFadden, Timmothy McCann, Shay Youngblood, Sandra Kitt, Willie Perdomo, Jenoyne Adams, Preston Allen, Yolanda Joe, Leone Ross, Nicole Bailey-Williams, Michael Gonzales, Kathleen Morris, Rebecca Carroll, Shawne Johnson, Reginald Harris.


CONTRIBUTORS


Wanda Coleman, Patricia Elam, E. Ethelbert Miller, Lolita Files, Karen E. Quinones Miller, Trisha R. Thomas, Michael Datcher, Sharrif Simmons, Denene Millner and Nick Chiles, Lisa Teasley, Preston Allen, Tracy Price-Thompson, Lori Bryant-Woolridge, Michael Gonzales, Raquel Cepeda, John Keene, Leone Ross, Miles Marshall Lewis.

ROOTS AND CULTURE


In America, Canada, and London, most West Indians grow up in houses filled with pseudo French Provincial furniture wrapped up tight in a protective plastic skin that clings to the body in summer like a wet tongue kiss.

West Indians love to live in a faux world: Faux mahogany dining sets, nestled comfortably in retro Edwardian living rooms. Implausible ornaments crowded ten to a side table. Elaborate wicker displays and fake flower arrangements. Wall-to-wall carpeting protected by plastic runners, crisscrossing every possible walk way.

Of my West Indian family I was definitely the apple that fallen far from the tree. Actually, Iíd fallen and rolled all the way down the hill. For me, plastic was for storing food, not covering furniture. Inconceivably, I was born a modernist with minimalist aspirations into a family of ceramic figurine collectors.

My childhood bedroom, incongruous in my family's overstuffed world, was a monastic whitewashed space broken only by the black and white Ansel Adams photographs Iíd cut out from a calendar. My wooden floor, polished to a high gloss, was a natural oasis in a world of wall-to-wall. At eight, I lived "less is more" long before I knew whom to attribute the quote to.

Today I am an unrepentant aesthete. I can tell an Eames from a Saarinen but find joy in both the bentwood forms of the former and the happy curves of the latter. I can easily discern the curvature of a Jacobsen from the sharp lines of a Van der Rohe. And although I'll never Rococo I may one day go for Baroque. And they would all go well in my place for I am a loft dweller in Manhattan, at a time when only the rich can afford to live this way.

Yes, I live alone in a loft on Millionaire Island. I am decadent, important, powerful, like a media mogul, a dot.com maven, or a trust fund baby. But I am none of these things. In fact, I am as far from them as you can get. I am a writer, who somehow lives alone in a 2,000 square foot loft in the East Village, which now appears to be the most expensive neighborhood in New York. Three floors above Avenue A and Second Street, at the crossroads of affluence and apathy, I live and work under ceilings 14 feet high and windows six feet tall, the light flooding in from three exposures.

I have a bathroom the size of most Manhattan studios, a bedroom the size of most one-bedrooms, a dining room, an open kitchen, a walk-in closet, two separate offices, a living room, no two living rooms; one at either end of the loft, which runs for a quarter of a block, and please donít repeat this; a guestroom. Yes itís true and Iím sorry. I get up and thank God everyday for it, believe me, and no it wasnít easy. I lived for two years in a construction zone of plaster dust and sheetrock, paint cans and joint compound. Two hard years of working 9 to 5 during the day and then 7 to 11 on the loft at night. Years of paint fumes and sawdust, of broken nails and smashed fingers, of putting up walls, painting and plastering. But it was worth it because I can never take what I have for granted.

When I moved in 6 years ago, on the cusp of the great East Village makeover, I was struck dumb by the soaring space. Not knowing which end to walk to first all I could do was stand in the center of the loft and turn slowly around. When I first moved in I kept losing things, Iíd put my toothbrush down and it would disappear, or Iíd spend half the morning looking for my coffee cup. Now when I go away on vacation I come back and am struck again by those first moments of space and height. And I am understanding when people come over and float disbelieving from room to room, repeating, "What a great place. You live here alone?" My answer is always the same, "I know, I canít believe it either." And I mean it.

I donít know really, how it happened. Every morning when I wake up and walk the fifty feet to the other end of the loft to look out over Avenue A, I shake my head in disbelief that the Space Police have not hauled me off and divided the place into five apartments. Can I afford to live this way?" I ask myself daily. I pay a buck a foot, but itís worth it. Cheap even when you consider that you now need at least five grand to move into an apartment in Manhattan. Pretty soon youíll need this same amount to move into an apartment in Queens. Forget Brooklyn, itís already too late.

Sure, I could take a roommate and have them pay most of the rent. But the thrill of having my own place, of living alone for the first time in my life is beyond compare. I am now blissfully, excitedly, thrillingly alone to wander around naked, to sleep with my door flung open, and to leave things askew and unclean, to let go and let be without remorse or care. I find now that without the constant vigilance of making sure that things are where they should be I amósurpriseóa more relaxed and happy person. The books and CDs are still alphabetized by authorís last name for the former and groupís name for the latter. But now I can leave them lying around and not lie sleepless at night after having done so. Now living alone, I am no longer anal, only orderly. At the age of 33 and a third, I am finally relishing the peace and tranquility of life on my own, but more important, life on my own terms.
After ten years with my ex, I now know what is mine: the books, the magazines, the paintings, the objets díart. For one month after our separation I went through every drawer and every closet, and reassessed what was mine and why. I moved everything out of storage into my loft only to turn right around and give it all away. I didnít know how much I liked, no needed the space until it started to fill up. So my motto became "when in doubt, throw it out" and I did. If it wasnít built in or breathing out it went.

I can now see the space without all the things taking it up. I am left now with the bones of the rooms and my vision for them. Funny enough what I see is that my place, though light years from my parents house, is not so much unlike it. I have my fatherís love of plants and antique rugs. I have inherited my motherís eye for pictures, which we both frame and arrange in hanging collages. I have my fatherís passion for aquariums but not his patience, so he has inherited the aquariums I have given up on over the years. My sister and I relish open spaces and spartan rooms. Her living room is mostly a great expanse of burgundy carpeting broken only by white walls and potted plants.

While researching pictures for this piece I was rocked when I saw, in a new light, the photos of the house I grew up in. The living room almost the exact same aquamarine blue of my bedroom and the kitchen the same burnt sienna as my kitchen and bathroom. And so it goes. The further you go away from your origins the closer you get to finding yourself right back where you started. And you know itís not such a bad place because I now know where I got my style.


SELECTED WORKS

New Four-Book Novella Series
Book 1 coming spring 2013, with a new book published every six months.
BellaOnline Interview Part 5
Carol Taylor shares her 18 years writing and editing experience with BellaOnline.
BellaOnline Interview Part 4
Carol Taylor shares her 18 years of writing and editing experience with BellaOnline.
BellaOnline Interview Part 3
Carol Taylor shares her 18 years writing and editing experience with BellaOnline.
BellaOnline Interview Part 2
Carol Taylor shares her 18 years writing and editing experience with BellaOnline
BellaOnline Interview Part 1
Carol Taylor shares her 18 years writing and publishing experience with BellaOnline.
Book Review
Read the review at BellaOnline http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art174517.asp
Magazine Article
Society Column, Dwell Magazine 2001
Is there a crisis in black relationships? Despite millions of examples of loving couples, do black women and men still have negative perceptions of each other? If so, where did they come from and are they true?
TANGO MAGAZINE 2009
Interview
An Editor on Editing and Writing
The Life of an Erotica Writer
Excerpt
Bronx Biannual Literary Journal #2
Advice Column
Advice on Love and Lust
A novel
In a New York City rife with emotional landmines, four friends search for Mr. Right but often end up settling for Mr. Right Now.
Books
A Los Angeles Times Bestseller and Winner of the 2001 Gold Pen Award for Best Short Story Collection
The second book in the best-selling Brown Sugar series
The third book in the best-selling Brown Sugar series.
The fourth book in the best-selling erotic collection
Read an excerpt from the book
Short Stories
Uptown Magazine September 2005
Dwell Magazine April 2001
Oneworld Magazine Feb/Mar.2002
Oneworld Magazine Sept./October 2003