How I Met Olive Senior

So if you’ve been following my scribbles and read the post about the Evolution of my Writing voice, you would know that Olive Senior is my favourite Caribbean writer. As soon as I heard that she would be attending Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad, I booked my ticket! I stated that:

“I hope to meet Olive Senior at BocasLitFest next month in Trinidad, and I will be try to stay calm, normal and be level-headed, and thank her for inspiring me so much with her novels. I will not scream like a groupie…I will not scream like a groupie…I will not.”

Sigh.

At least I didn’t scream like a groupie…for her to hear.

It all started at the cocktail party at the residence of the Trinidad British High Commissioner. I was all dressed up, level-headed, surrounded by great food and drinks in a lovely environment. Perfect time to meet your favourite author right? But fate would not have that. I found out Olive Senior was there hours later when I was home. To rub salt in my wound, I saw this picture online:

cocktail

Yup.

There I am – seemingly high on wine – yapping away to someone while the person I came to meet stood RIGHT BEHIND ME!

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Sometimes I feel like giving up…

I am angry.

I do not want the “I’m sorries” and “My condolences”.

I would like things to be fair.

Good people – live.

Bad people – die.

Seems simple enough right? Then why does God get it wrong so many times?

There are some evil people who live long, prosperous lives, who get to pass peacefully in their sleep, while genuinely good people suffer, and die long before they fulfil their potential.

I have a friend who is suffering from cancer. He hasn’t passed away yet, but he is on life support and everyone has said their goodbyes. He was young – not even twenty five- and bright, and all he ever wanted to do was write movies. Unfortunately he was born in a place and time where such dreams are unheard of. Continue reading

Watching Characters Come to Life – Payday the Movie

Don’t laugh at me.

But I was catching up on some old episodes of Glee, and Rachel Berry was singing “Don’t Stop Believing” in her dream audition as Fannie in Funny Girl. This particular audition was one that she had been preparing for since she was five years old.

I think I’m going through something like that right now.

I wrote a movie…and it’s actually being produced.

I felt exhilarated when my first short story was published, but that is nothing compared to what I’m feeling now; watching these crazy characters that only existed in my head come to life. Characters that I created from a blank page with blinking cursor stood before me. It really is like a dream come true.

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Writing Creative Non-Fiction

I attended a workshop on Writing Creative Non-Fiction on Wednesday, March 20th, conducted by Andrea Stuart, and organised by the NCF Literary Arts Desk. I jumped at the opportunity to attend, not only because it was a free workshop by a respected author, but because I am one of the Editors of an upcoming anthology of sensual memoirs by Caribbean women. I hope you know of Senseisha by now. Submissions have been trickling in, and it’s already shaping up to be one controversial read!

Oh so many genres, so little time…

truecrime

Sample of my True Crime Collection

I have always LOVED True Crime. My good friends used to buy me True Crime and Serial Killer biographies as birthday and Christmas gifts. They knew they couldn’t go wrong with those – True Crime books or earrings. I always joke that if the Criminal Minds team had to inspect my bedroom (Shamar, you are welcome anytime!), they would look at my bookshelf and diagnose me a serial killer. What does your bookshelf say about you?

I even tried my hand at investigating unsolved murders here in Barbados, and had some articles published in local newspapers about the Canefield Murders (a killer who dumped his female victims in canefields), and the Pele case (the controversial murder of a local football star). Why did I stop? I hope in a couple years I’ll be able to tell you…

So…Back to Andrea Stuart – author of the books Showgirls, which was adapted into a two-part documentary for the Discovery Channel, and The Rose of Martinique: A Biography of Napoleon’s Josephine. Her third and current book Sugar in the Blood: One Family’s Story of Slavery and Empire was published in England (2012) by Portobello Books and was published in the US by Knopf in January (2013).

I.e she knows her stuff. Below I’ve noted some key facts and tips that she shared with the workshop attendees about writing creative non-fiction. Those persons who wish to submit to Senseisha should pay special attention. Continue reading

The Evolution of My Writing Voice

I’ve wanted to write this post since my partner in words, Hadlee Sobers, asked getWriters what writers most influenced their writing style. As usual, I have to start the story from when I was a wee tot, and can never just give a straight answer without the back-story.

Sweet Valley High

I have to fight off the wave of nostalgia just from looking at this book cover. I used to INHALE Jessica and Elizabeth stories. Charles Colton says that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,and I certainly proved my adoration for the troublesome twins with my first story called Jealousy Can Kill, written when I was about nine or ten years old. My protagonists were Lily, a red-haired, green eyed cheerleader, and Zachary, her blonde, blue-eyed boyfriend. I’m looking at the story now, and it really isn’t bad. Maybe I will share an excerpt in another post. 🙂

Now, every time I think about Sweet Valley High, I think about Chimimanda Adichie’s Ted Talk on the dangers of a single story. At that time I wasn’t reading children’s  books with Caribbean characters, or stories that I could relate to. I don’t know if these books weren’t written or if they just weren’t available to me. I remember asking a friend what “a crumpet” was, and I desperately wanted to try treacle pie, thanks to Enid Blyton. That discussion is for another post though. Right now I want to thank Francine Pascal for sparking my interest in reading, and being my first inspiration for putting pen to paper.

PS. I  just found out that Charles Colton coined that famous phrase thanks to Google.

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