Blog Posts by Antonio Michael Downing

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Excerpt: Antonio Michael Downing's Saga Boy

Antonio Michael Downing — 02/15/2021

What is home? The house you grew up in? Your hometown? Where-ever your family stays?

When I was 11 everything I thought I knew about home and who I was disappeared. I went to sleep in a rainforest and woke up in a blizzard. I moved from Southern Trinidad in the Caribbean Sea to Northern Ontario, Canada. My grandmother Miss Excelly, who was my whole universe, was gone. The way people looked and spoke, the assumptions they made, were all gone. My place in the world was gone. And everything that followed was a mad scramble to find a way back to a sense of belonging.

Saga Boy is my return back to that place. This is a memoir of my scattered family, of colonialism, of childhood trauma, of blackness, of placelessness, and of an old lady’s prayers living far beyond her life. I travelled through North America, shared stages with rock stars, took meetings with tech tycoons, and changed my name many times in pursuit of the elusive sense of arrival. And there is still a little boy inside me. He is still in the jungle, running through the bush, singing her songs, with a guava wood scepter and a hibiscus crown. This book is the alchemy of his experience. The saga of a boy returning home.

Antonio Michael Downing, author of Saga Boy: My Life of Blackness and Becoming