Anna Dunwell | Writer Yogini

Let Joy Fill You


Book Excerpts



Dear Readers,

Here's a peep into my saga! Can't wait to get the books out to you.
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Warmly,
Anna
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Paradise Lies: A Modern Slave Narrative by Anna Dunwell
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From Paradise Lies: A Modern Slave Narrative (Alert the Paparazzi) 

THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH 
Before I was Paradise. A glittering expanse of sand crystals beckoned to the roaring sea muffled only by the brightness of life. We were all there, all knowing some part of the story of what happened on the shark followed voyages of The Middle Passage. It was our race memory of stench, shackles, cries, deprivation, and fear crossing tumultuous seas away from Paradise, and being considered other by Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, Dutch, and Europeans themselves just emerging from death and damnation from their own feudal Middle Ages. 
After… I was swaddled, solitary, and silent. And yet I grew. 

grey-bullet-002s-3-3-3-3-4From Paradise Lies: A Modern Slave Narrative (I Came for the Transcendentalists)

UP AGAINST THE WALL
Then my feet started to move and I was running out of the apartment. I think I stayed at a friend's parents flat somewhere in lower Manhattan that night. I'd left home. The physical body that I rescued from that place was heavy and wounded. But my mind felt invisible and light. The only problem was that in the process I had split into pieces separating from myself.

grey-bullet-002s-3-3-3-3-4From Paradise Lies: A Modern Slave Narrative (Running Towards Utopia) 

TIEPOLO SKIES
Most people go to their bedrooms to cry, I flew 3,000 miles away to California. Only my mother knew I'd left. Now there wasn't anyone to tell me what to do, but I was so anxious I didn't feel free. I had to learn to make my way in the world. And I needed a place to stay. I called my husband who had left me. He agreed to put me up.

grey-bullet-002s-3-3-3-3-4From Paradise Lies: A Modern Slave Narrative (Fleeing Utopia for Providence)

TRAVELLING 
Living with WASPS. What I learned was that WASPS don't network because they consider themselves all they'll ever need or want. Nothing I knew was useful in this new world. I have to learn a whole different culture to survive. I moved to Rhode Island, nearly escaping death on the highway in Joliet Illinois. A blue Ford pick up truck forced me off the road. The Rider van flipped over with the roof skidding along the ground. I climbed out of the windshield. A woman by the road asked me if anyone inside the van had lived. It was like she hadn't seen me.
grey-bullet-002s-3-3-3-3-4From Paradise Lies: A Modern Slave Narrative (The Brass Ring & The Frying Pan)

ARRIVING IN BOSTON
Boston is known as Beantown to some, and the Belly of the Beast to others who are referring to the Solomon Pond Mall that straddles the border between Berlin and Marlborough attracting more than 9.6 million visitors a year. But to Norman Mailer the Belly of the Beast was prison. And when I arrived in this city I heard black people referring to Boston as the Belly of the Beast. They said they'd heard Malcolm X call it that.
grey-bullet-002s-3-3-3-3-4From Paradise Lies: A Modern Slave Narrative (Primitive Rites of Caucasian Cannibals)

CRESTING
My memories are rolling around like dusty chalk in a box, and for an asthmatic that’s not a good feeling. I can still smell the fetid vapors of that city summer when the aroma of bubble gum seeped up from the pavement reminding me of my past. My second husband and I are leaving a party in a Boston industrial building and descending from their loft down to the first floor in a rickety elevator. In a few minutes we approach the curb of the street just before Downtown Crossing where two large department stores wearily face each other, enduring the renewal process between Fort Point Channel and South Boston.
grey-bullet-002s-3-3-3-3-4From Paradise Lies: A Modern Slave Narrative (Black Woman in a Basement) 

SECTION
I heard this story about my ancestors. There was a relative of mine from Trelawny, long ago who was so difficult and cantankerous that they kept her up in the mountains in Jamaica. They did this because she'd come down and try to bit white people. She was a descendent of Africans from a shipwrecked slave ship. These escaped slaves ran off and intermarried indigenous people of the island, joining other escaped slaves fleeing to the mountains where they became the most ferocious cannibals the French or English had ever seen, and made a treaty with them if they promised not to kill whites.
grey-bullet-002s-3-3-3-3-4From Paradise Lies: A Modern Slave Narrative (Beneath the Feet of the Mother)

There are two stories swirling around in my head. one is about the enormous challenges my life has presented me. And the other is about the blissful future I might have if I can understand my family's story.
grey-bullet-002s-3-3-3-3-4From Paradise Lies: A Modern Slave Narrative (Holy Subtext)

DEMONS
I’d just spent six months planning my mother’s 90th Birthday. I was in Staples having something copied and wishing her Happy Birthday on the phone. A huge celebration was going to held on Saturday at Trinity Church seven blocks from her condo, but her birthday was a work day, Tuesday September 11th. She was looking out her window at the twin towers, wondering about a plane she saw. "Don't worry." I said. "It's probably just some publicity campaign."
And then she shouted. "Holocaust!" "What?” I said scrunching up my nose.

*

When I knocked on the door my mother opened it, throwing her frail flabby arms wide apart in a V formation, fingers extended wide above her head, like the home team has just won the final game of the season and she was head cheer leader in front. She shouted her standard greeting at me. “Greetings and Salutations” like she was addressing a throng of eighty thousand fans at a football stadium. "They sent you from the agency" she said. I froze realizing it was Alzheimers greeting me. She didn't know who I was.
grey-bullet-002s-3-3-3-3-4From Paradise Lies: A Modern Slave Narrative (Unravelling Memory and Forgetting)
FUNERAL PYRE
The procession is huge and longer than the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Four huge inflated twenty foot tall black men in white tuxedoes hold down the corners of the float and throngs of strangers line the entrance to the Mass Pike as the multi-tiered float drips with white dog wood blossoms and lilies, flanked by children. and on top Minerva lies on her back in a white gown that lilts with the movement of the float pulled by a team of limousines, her arms folded across her tiny chest. She is being carried on a bed of flowers on a thirty-five foot long float with invisible iron scaffolding hidden by flowers onto the pike, south to Trinity Church in New York City.


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