“Big Rock Tales” is a strip about “living in a writing whirl” created by Barbadian writer Sandra Sealy. Sandra writes, blogs, teaches creative writing and is Shakirah Bourne’s “Lit Mom” (yeah nepotism BIG TIME!).
Visit her blog Seawoman’s Caribbean Writing Opps – offering tools, resources and more for writers of the Caribbean and beyond. http://www.seawoman.wordpress.com
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.
Late one evening on the way from Pic-o-De-Crop Finals (the national calypsonian contest in Barbados during the summer Crop Over Festival) my niece was teasing me about how I should stop driving and take the bus. I’m notorious for my horrible night vision. In reply I jested, ‘No, you have it wrong. I need to make enough money to hire a chauffeur.”
Instead of laughter, there ensued a serious discussion about how hard it is to make a living as an artist. No argument there, but what made me pause was: “What you really need is a full time job.”
I felt my ears burning. “Wait! So what do you think I’m doing?” I screamed in my head.
What I said in an even voice was, “Not necessary. That’s okay.”
I continued with, “There are artists, writers specifically, who are doing their thing quite successfully.”
My niece countered, “But aren’t a lot of them doing other things to make money?”
“Yes, but that’s by choice; they don’t have to.”
Then after a bit more time defending my case, I realized I shouldn’t really blame her. You see, like many looking on, her vision is too narrow. Besides, I was not the best example of “success” – if you measured it in dollars and cents, that is.
But then again, what is life without balance? Do I always write with $$ as the goal? Most emphatically not. Do I want the frenetic soul wrenching burden of being yoked to someone else’s schedule and whims as an employee? Or even doing something day after day for which I have no passion? (Please understand that not only do I have great respect for people that do this, there were times I had to do it myself. It takes tremendous fortitude.) Been there, done that and posed by the life-sized cutout character.
However, I must confess many times instead of producing regularly and being much more organized, I coast. (or get lost in a game or catch up on Facebook or watch a movie or take a nap or read). Inconsistency will not yield the money that I could be making. So, I made a renewed commitment to earn more income from my writing. After my pledge, I made a list of areas – some which I’ve started on already – that are sure to expand my writing: