Abagond is my pen name. I write under a pen name because it is the only way I can write truthfully. Otherwise I would have to guard my words knowing that my wife and people at work and all future employers could read my every word. I have a hard enough time with commenters!
I am a computer programmer who has lived mostly in or near New York City. The part of the world that has most shaped my view of it is Uptown Manhattan. Although I tend to think of myself more individually, I am part of the wave of middle-class West Indians who left the city in the 1990s to bring up their children. I have two sons, ages 12 and 14 (as of 2010). After 15 years of marriage I left my wife, Rebecca, on March 1st 2009. I took our two sons. She was growing increasingly violent.
At university I studied computers and ancient Greek. Computers showed me how to make a living, the Greeks showed me how to live. People told me studying ancient Greek was a waste of time, but I learned far more about life and the world from the Greeks than from anything in computers.
In my 20s I was a Marxist, a materialist: If God exists, he does not matter to us. The universe is just matter in motion. In my circles in New York, Christianity was something for old women who did not know much about the world.
Then I got married, had children, settled down. Before I got married I had promised Rebecca that I would read the whole Bible. I did, cover to cover. As a materialist Marxist, no less. I found out it was not the pious fable I had always assumed it was. And so in time I became a Catholic.
My mother brought me up to be colour-blind, so I had to learn about race the hard way.
IAT racism test score: “Moderate automatic preference for Black people compared to White people”.
- Magazines: The Economist, National Geographic.
- Books and authors I like:
- The Bible
- the Greeks: Antigone, Thucydides, Aristotle
- New York: Jamaica Kincaid, L. Sprague de Camp, Asimov
- Catholic: Augustine, Aquinas, Chesterton, Tolkien
- British: Alice in Wonderland, Emily Bronte, Orwell, Churchill, C.S. Lewis.
- Other: Hemingway.
- jazz: Billie Holiday.
- r & b (soul/neo-soul): David Ruffin, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Gladys Knight, Roberta Flack, Donna Summer, Commodores, Sade, Jody Watley, Black Box, En Vogue, Faith Evans, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Kelis, Alicia Keys, Jill Scott, Solange.
- rock: Pete Townsend, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, 10,000 Maniacs.
- ska/rocksteady/reggae: Annie Ruddock, Judy Mowatt.
- Film: Wizard of Oz (1939), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), North by Northwest (1959), Claudine (1974), Paris, Texas (1984), Boyz n the Hood (1991), Crooklyn (1994), Romeo + Juliet (1996), Gladiator (2000), Love and Basketball (2000) and anything by Hitchcock or with Gabrielle Union or Alfre Woodard in it.
– Abagond, 2007, 2015.
- New York
- Why I write under a pen name
- Why study the Greeks
- My political compass