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.”
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:
There I am – seemingly high on wine – yapping away to someone while the person I came to meet stood RIGHT BEHIND ME!
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 →
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.
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…
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 →
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.
So this is supposed to be a writing blog, but it is mine so I can write whatever I want – and today I want to talk about food.
I don’t particularly love to cook, but I love to eat, and I love to see other people enjoying a meal I prepared. I pretend to be upset when food that I cooked is eaten in record time, but inside I feel a bit of pleasure that the meal was THAT good.
Please don’t mention this to my family. I like cooking when I want to do it, and not when I am expected to do it.
A powerful tribute to women around the world was created by Barbadian poet, DJ Simmons. Read for yourself:
Your instinctive alarm clock is the morning air,
Rub tired eyes clear,
Open up the house to a home’s atmosphere,
Breakfast to prepare,
Got to put bobbles and bows in de lil girl hair,
Wipe de cold outta de lil boy’s eye stare,
Wunna got de bus fare?
Hubby come for ya kiss dear,
Everybody tek care today ya hear!
Your dance enchants me,
Immersed in your planned patterns completely,
Swiftly gliding your delicate toe tips skillfully,
Across the floor in your personal spotlight’s imagery,
Gracefully, reminding me,
Of what God saw he thought of the word beauty,
Unapologetically displayed and defined between and along the curved lines of your body,
Yesterday, March 7th, I was invited to read a story (thank you Arts Etc!) for World Book Day. Confused? That’s because March 7th is UK World Book Day and April 23rd is US World Book Day. Which world is it? The UK or American world? Anyway, I won’t complain about getting to celebrate books twice.
Days Book Store
Days Book Store, located in Independence Square, Bridgetown, Barbados celebrated World Book Day by staging an in-store open day event, where children read from their favourite story books, and then local authors read excerpts from their stories, and discussed our writing journey and the importance of reading. This event was not only free to the public, but had live internet stream, and was broadcasted on Starcom’s VOB 92.9.
Before I go any further I want to state how impressed I am with Days Book Store for their continuous support of local writers, and their efforts to develop future readers. It is so hard to find local and Caribbean books in most bookstores – many titles are found at the back of the store on ONE obscure shelf, but I guarantee that you can always find at least one local title in the display window at Days Book Store. Thank you Karen Austin, Keith Austin and the rest of the Days Bookstore team. We appreciate all that you’re doing.
Since the event was being broadcast live on radio, I had edited out all of the cuss words from the piece I was reading called Four Angry Men; a story about four old men in a rum shop talking about women, cricket and politics. You can imagine how much editing I had to do.