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Payment Chronicles

My latest addition to the Resources page on this blog will be about freelance rates. Some of you will know that I am a freelancing artist so this issue is personal to me but so are many of the issues on the Resources page not personal in an in my feelings way, but in that they deal with issues I’ve stumbled across in my time as a writer, as a freelancer, as an author seeking to get published, as someone on the hustle, as a published author.  I just wanted to use this posting as a reminder to you that that page exists (I add links to it as I can) and to do the following PSA (speaking as an independent artist and freelancer).


We need to be paid.

We need to be paid on time.

Not being paid for any use of our time affects our ability to pay our bills.

Not being paid on time for any use of our time affects our ability to pay our bills and sets us back in unpredictable ways (yes, even when you allow yourself a financial cushion which you should try to put in place when money is flowing and hope it doesn’t empty out before things unblock).

We all have bills to pay, not just people with 9-5s.

Unlike people with 9-5s, our next cheque is not guaranteed.

Think about this the next and every time you ask an independent artist and/or freelancer to do something.

Yes, this includes brain picking.

Think about it before you approach them.

Keep thinking about it until they are compensated. Every freelancer and many artists (I won’t say all because some are not working independently) have had issues with payment and/or timely payment. It affects your ability to sustain yourself and retain whatever goodwill you’ve built up.

Stop acting like a grown adult who needs to be paid for their services doesn’t care about their community; many have the receipts of community involvement to show, but the banks and the APUA don’t care about that.

So, pay and pay on time.

Just be fair.

This, of course, does not negate and/or preclude trade exchanges, community service, mentoring, or favours where one is able to do any of the above but these cannot be the default options. Do not…stop…do not say the word “exposure”. I told you not to say that word. Yes, doing it for exposure is a thing, but it’s not the only thing and after a time it’s not enough.

Pay artists.

This PSA is not directed at anyone in particular (though I have my share of stories) but the new link on the Resources page prompted some reflections on this vexing issue. And it is a vexing issue.

The post though is not about not getting paid but the not unrelated issue of rates. I thought it a necessary share because of complaints I sometimes see related to rates and the posting of rates. I’ll excerpt it but it’s worth reading the whole thing.

‘Rates change per industry, company, writer, location and project (and many other variables) …When asked the question “How do you charge?”, freelancers overwhelmingly responded that “it’s a mix – it depends on the client.” In fact, nearly 60% of respondents vary their rates based on different clients, while 12% charge per hour, another 12% by word, and nearly 16% charge by retainer (or per project). This is good news for brands, as budgets and payment terms vary from business to business.”’

I myself have to consider the particulars of each project and estimate (based on my experience of past projects, what this particular project needs, my best guesstimate of how much time it will take to serve the project and the client fairly and thoroughly, what is the value of that time and/or the value of the time lost, what value I bring to it, industry standards v. what the market can practically allow, client size vis-a-vis individual budgets, and other variables). It sucks when after all of that and bending over backwards to deliver, you’re once again feeling around in the dark re pay. It ripples in to your ability to keep up with your obligations or even get ahead of them. So that was the trigger and the connection.

The link will be on the resources page and I encourage you to check that out because feeling around in the dark can be a lonely thing. I’ve learned some things in hard and soft ways, in some ways I’m still learning, and in more ways than I’d like I’m still feeling around in the dark, but I try to light a candle for someone else when I can (consider it part of my service to my community…if you want…either way I’m doing it).

But here’s the link, directly, as well.

As with all content on, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen, my books, and my freelance writing-editing-coaching-workshop services. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.


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Lit News (Whaaaat!)

I got an invite to the Miami Book Fair. Big up to Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure Lost Cover Front 4which landed me a spot on the ReadCaribbean Presents Adventures for Kids panel. Grateful for the opportunities #TheWritingLife affords me now and again to go somewhere and talk about my books and share the worlds and characters I’ve ‘created’. Plus my life (both my actual life and my writing life) could use this little reprieve right about now; so I look forward to being there.

There is Children’s Alley at the Miami Book Fair on November 18th at 4 p.m. I’ll be sharing the stage with Trini-American Marjuan Canady (Callaloo: The Trickster and the Magic Quilt), Jamaican Paula-Anne Porter Jones (Sandy, Tosh and the Moo Cow), and Haitian-American Francie Latour (Auntie Luce’s Talking Paintings).

My book is, of course, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure. If you’re in the Miami area (and especially if you hail from Antigua and Barbuda), I’ll be looking out for you.

Shout out to Caribbean Reads Publishing, the Caribbean/US indie which has published not only Lost! but Musical Youth. And shout out to the organizers of the MBF; looking forward to it.


Also, be sure to check out Antigua and Barbuda’s own Asher Otto jamming with international star Joss Stone on a beach. I write all about it (my love of Joss’ series and Asha’s music) in CREATIVE SPACE 11 – be sure to check it out – and anyone out there wanting to sponsor a future CREATIVE SPACE post, contact me at jhohadli at gmail dot com

Annnd shout out to Kimolisa Mings on her new book Into the Black Widow’s Web.41688072_10155549848492633_5636677081694732288_n I’ll be adding it to the Antigua and Barbuda bibliography here on the site as soon as I can. Meanwhile don’t sleep on it. Still forthcoming, I believe, is another book, this one, The Flowers in her Hair, by Linisa George39861953_691690201194663_8050367295236603904_n; so keep an eye  out for that. Already here, shout out to the Barbudan sister, is Asha Frank’s Dreamland Barbuda. Asha was scheduled to be a panelist at the Brooklyn Book Fair (a panel called Force of Nature – Writing a Hurricane) earlier in September and her book is on local bookshelvesAsha; check it out. Also a New Daughters of Africa is cominguntitled…and I have some news about that but for now that’s all the tease you get.

Finally, a reminder to check out the updates in Reading Room 30, Opportunities Too, Antiguan and Barbudan Writing, and Writing Antigua Barbuda ; and remember Support the Arts and, it should go without saying but sadly needs to be said, PAY ARTISTS!

As with all content on, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Classic: in Conversation with three Caribbean Authors (2010)

I actually just found (re-found?) this one. It’s one of the interviews I did in 2010 in the lead-up to the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival (remember when we had one of those?). It’s a bit dated – and given that the literary festival is now defunct, some of the commentary is sadly ironic – but I thought I’d share it for your reading pleasure.


This is a photo from the first Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival in 2006. I don’t believe this ran with the original piece but it includes two of the interviewed authors – Elizabeth Nunez and Verna Wilkins, 2nd and 3rd from left. I am at the far right.

One-on-one with three regional authors
November 3, 2010   Joanne C. Hillhouse  Arts and Culture, Specials

Daily OBSERVER caught up recently with three authors slated for this year’s literary festival, November 4 to 7.

All esteemed award recipients, they are: Belizean Zee Edgell, author of Beka Lamb, In Times Like These, The Festival of San Joaquin, and Time and the River; Trinidadian Elizabeth Nunez, author of Anna In-Between, Prospero’s Daughter, Bruised Hibiscus, Grace, Discretion, When Rocks Dance, and Beyond the Limbo Silence; and Grenadian Verna Wilkins, founder of Tamarind Books in the UK and a children’s.

Each was asked the same questions; here are their answers.

Daily OBSERVER What can people expect from you for the 2010 literary festival?

Zee Edgell: I hope to participate in workshops, the panel discussions, do readings, meet with students and the general public and do book signings.

Elizabeth Nunez: Reading and discussion of my latest novel, Anna In-Between, as well as the story of my development as a writer. I will also talk a little about the state of publishing fiction today and directions for the future.

Verna Wilkins: People can expect (me) to share 23 years of my experience in the UK both as founder and publisher of the well respected multicultural Tamarind Books list and as an author of 35 children’s books.

DO: …what, if anything, in your view sets the lit fest in Antigua apart?

ZE: Visiting schools, and meeting with students in Antigua were the outstanding features…

EN: What sets this Festival apart is the easy accessibility to writers and the informal atmosphere that encourages interaction between emerging and established writers.

VW: What sets ABILF apart for me is the fact that it makes contacts with schools and teachers possible. The discussion forums are enlightening and meaningful.

DO: …has it evolved, in your view?

ZE: I’ve attended one literary festival in Antigua, so I’m not able to comment on this evolution.

EN: What is extraordinary is that the organizers have managed to continue this festival in spite of the financial challenges of the times. The festival continues to seek out popular writers but at the same time is committed to giving voice to new writers as well as literary writers who have not enjoyed a wide reading audience. Participants get introduced to books that they would not ordinarily have known.

DO: Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to this year?

ZE: I am looking forward to the activities listed…also to seeing more of Antigua.

EN: I am looking forward to hearing Lorna Goodison, whose poetry touches the heart and opens windows to the Caribbean world both known and unknown.

VW: I am looking forward this year to discussing ‘The Reluctant Reader’ with teachers and carers with a view to putting in place strategies for re-engaging with books.

DO: You’ve seen the festival line up, is there anyone in particular you’re hoping to engage – and why?

ZE: I am hoping to engage as many participants as possible.

EN: I love the line up and can’t wait to hear all the writers.

VW: I am looking forward to engaging with the writers who do grown-up books in various genres; hopefully an enabling process to write for adults and to get started on my autobiography.

DO: …Can you speak to why festivals of this nature should persist in these tough economic times?

ZE: I am not able to answer this question, especially as so many people are in economic difficulties.

EN: All the major movements in the world have been propelled by books. The great works of writers such as CLR James and George Lamming set the foundation for independence in the Caribbean, and writers such as (James) Baldwin, (Richard) Wright and (Zora Neale) Hurston helped usher in the civil rights movement in the U.S. We need writers not only to entertain us with stories, but also to mirror our societies, give us a sense of who we are and who we can be.

VW: Festivals should persist through these financial times so that we can continue to share ideas which might take us to a brighter future.

DO: What do you think of the lit fest’s emphasis on youth?

ZE: I think, where possible, a love of reading should be encouraged from the cradle. A literary festival focused (on) Caribbean youth is a great contribution to the present and future development of the Caribbean.

EN: This is an excellent idea. Young people need models so that they have living proof of what is possible for them to attain.

VW: The emphasis on youth is dear to me. I write children’s books because I firmly believe that children who engage with books in the early year, the years in which the personality takes shape and attitudes are formed, tend to achieve academically. They also acquire a good vocabulary and can tap into various types of reading…for study or for pleasure…(also) the interaction with published authors gives them invaluable opportunities to speak with role models for success.

DO: Who would be on your wish list for a future ABILF?

ZE: My wish list would include reading and writing workshops for small groups of interested students.

EN: More Caribbean writers from the region and the diaspora.

DO: …in what directions would you like to see (the festival) grow and how do you think it could begin to do so?

ZE: I think a greater emphasis should be placed on obtaining funding for the festival. In general, most writers do not earn very much from their writing. Although airfares and accommodation are provided to writers, attending a festival without honorariums or fees is quite expensive for most writers, at any time. Funding for fees and/or adequate honorariums would assist writers to more easily participate in the Festival. Perhaps experts who may be economically able to volunteer could be recruited to write grant proposals to funding agencies, the business and professional communities, and individuals who might wish to contribute as partners …

DO: …what’s your favourite memory (from past ABILFs)?

ZE: I enjoyed meeting the students, fellow participants, including the Festival organizers, and seeing something of Antigua.

VW: My favourite memory of the festivals is meeting other black authors from the US and sharing their wide range of writing. I learned a lot and my confidence as a writer grew.

As with all content on, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Antiguan and Barbudan Authors in New Photography Book: Author

You might be interested to know that three Antiguans-Barbudans are included among the 200 images in the new book Author: the Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan.

This collection features multi-award winning, critically acclaimed darlings (Salman Rushdie who also wrote the book’s foreword, Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood whose Handmaid’s Tale is itself currently an award winning, critically acclaimed darling, Jonathan Franzen, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jamaica’s own Marlon James, Claudia Rankine, and Ishion Hutchinson, Wole Soyinka, Jacqueline Woodson, Colson Whitehead), commercially successful heavyweights (David Baldacci, J. K. Rowling whose Harry Potter series is its own sub-industry, Neil Gaiman, Walter Mosely, John Irving, Irvine Welsh), authors known for pushing the conversation forward (Noam Chomsky, Malcolm Gladwell, Gloria Steinem, Charles M. Blow, Masha Gessen, Roxane Gay), authors of note who have passed to the after life (E. L. Doctorow, Chinua Achebe, Edward Albee), the uncategorizable (John Lewis, Joe Biden), and (for me) personal favourites (Tayari Jones, Edwidge Dandicat).


The three Antiguan and Barbudan authors are Jamaica Kincaid (born Elaine Potter Richardson in Antigua, now US based and one of the most celebrated authors out of the Caribbean) – author of At the Bottom of the River, Annie John, Annie Gwen Lilly Pam and Tulip, A Small Place, Lucy, The Autobiography of My Mother, My Brother, Mr. Potter, My Garden Book, Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalayas, See Now Then; Rowan Ricardo Phillips (who is technically American of Antiguan-Barbudan descent, which counts in my view) – author of The Ground, Heaven, When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness, The Circuit: a Tennis Odyssey, and a translation of Ariadne in the Grotesque Labyrinth; and (yours truly) Joanne C. Hillhouse – author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure.

I don’t have the images but I can try to describe them – Ricardo Phillips, for instance, is wearing a blue striped suit and lying on his stomach, legs crossed and raised behind him so that his soles are in view, posed with a book – Lustra by Ezra Pound; Ms. Kincaid is in close up, wearing black on black, red lipstick, one of her signature head scarves, eyes meeting the camera head-on; while my (JCH) eyes are closed, face – and mouth- open in laughter, with red hair and zebra stripes. My picture was not a posed or commissioned portrait so much as a candid in the green room of the Westbeth Centre, where I was in 2014 for a reading as part of the PEN World Voices Festivals’ Literary Safari.

I got a copy in the mail just last week and have been reading it over the weekend. The author shares his stories of how some of his photographs were made and a bit of his own journey as a photographer – in the introduction. The stories make me curious to go back and read what he said about each photo. That’s Donna Tartt on the cover by the way, author of The Goldfinch and The Secret History, whom he asked for her poise and grace but by his own words didn’t really need to since she brought it. Wild to be in this collection with so many lions of literature; humbled to be in their company.

A couple of launches are scheduled for New York in the fall. Visit the photographer’s page for details.

As with all content on, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Wanted: Offspring, Talent, Inheritance and Assets Management

I told you I’d be reaching out to Lawrence Jardine for permission to re-publish the paper he originally published in the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books 2018 edition. Before that, the paper was presented at the University of the West Indies Open Campus Antigua and Barbuda, the Antigua and Barbuda Studies Association, and the National Youth Enlightenment Academy hosted 12th annual Antigua and Barbuda Conference in 2017; specifically on the African Caribbean Liberation Movement (ACLM) panel on Friday 11th August 2017. Now, it is presented here for your dissection and discussion; hope you find it as interesting a read as I did. Author bio at the end. – JCH


This image was not part of the original article but you know we need visuals for the blog; so what better to open with than the game that opens the piece – the African-Caribbean game of warri.

In Antigua and Barbuda we play a game called Warri, which is our national game. This game, which was played by kings, was brought here by our African ancestors. In the 1980s, I often stopped at the Bata Shoes Store pavement to watch Warri masters play. I can recall Dagon, a soft spoken character when compared to his peers, masterfully playing stump, which is the local name given to Warri’s endgame. It is at stump time – the endgame – when players concentrate most fiercely, displaying craft, patience and foresight, trying to acquire the final decisive seeds. During this battling period of stump – the endgame – players repetitively tally their seeds – doing the math. The player who captures the most seeds wins. Instructively, seed is a synonym for offspring. With that connection made, we could say that Warri is an African game for dignified men, engaged in meticulous offspring corralling and management. However, in 1997, Antigua and Barbuda’s Miss Saklie Richards became the World Warri Champion. From 1998 to 2002, it was Grand Master Trevor Simon, and in 2006, Grand Master September Christian won the World Warri Championship. On their journey to this prestigious title, they defeated players from Europe and our Motherland – because of their mastery of the endgame. We have not yet converted this achievement and talent to an industry. An endgame not envisioned, not realized.

Saklie Richards, Trevor Simon and September Christian, in collaboration with students at the Antigua and Barbuda International Institute of Technology, could have been commissioned to develop the definitive Warri software and smart phone app. That is, a computer Warri program against which local students and international players would compete. Of course, this would include a database to track the performance of top local students, thereby providing useful statistical information for STEM planning. My question really is, could Warri – our national game – an old gift from Africa, in a computerized version, as a component of an organized software industry in this electronic age, increase our foreign exchange earnings and directly employ one hundred (100) persons? Could these, what I call Talent and Tech industries, diminish the effect of Sandals Resort International’s punitive decision to close for five months, thereby affecting seven hundred (700) employees? In his book, Black and White The Way I See It, the visionary Richard Williams, father of tennis super stars Venus and Serena, illustrated the potential of sports, and, perhaps more importantly, the art and wisdom of stump as he managed his offspring to fame and fortune. What if Mr. Williams was an advisor and honorary director of the Antigua and Barbuda Sports Economy Board? Mr. Williams could also be a member of our Citizen by Intelligence Program (CIP). Preoccupied with the old relationships and developmental economic models, we fail to see, to believe and to invest in our own and the talents that we possess. What if we had Sir Vivian Richards International School of Sports, a state of the art Sports Academy? This institution would showcase our finest sport performance professionals – nutritionists, educators, historians, therapists, psychologists, strategists, etc. They would converge to produce the finest offspring. In addition to its positive effect on West Indies Cricket, probable direct employment one hundred (100) persons. But we have Crossroads and the American University of Antigua, among others. Why don’t we believe and build industries around our offspring and their talents? The anxiety and economic hardship that workers of Sandals will experience are nothing new; they are repetitive fouls from the capitalist’s playbook. It’s just a re-run of the same old sequel: episode 1, starring Moody Stuart; episode 2, starring Allen Stanford; episode 3, starring Butch Stewart.

All these re-runs have the same ending; the workers lose. But when will we start taking full and collective responsibility for our economic destiny? Continuously, our intelligentsia refuses to invest meaningfully in Antigua and

Barbuda to provide employment for our own. By intelligentsia I mean the top 20% of our older academic achievers. In fact, this class is prominent in the brain drain exodus, sometimes flaunting education for prestige and personal development, but not for local economic production and our collective liberation. Metaphorically speaking, this class has learned to fish, but it is not fishing. It is looking for the bottom 80% to be entrepreneurs. In my view, it is time that the top 20% envision an economic endgame to produce, and to recapture the landscape. I am not letting the politicians off the hook, but it is also my respectful opinion that the economically delinquent top 20% needs to pitch in to assist our desperate and wit-exhausted politicians, who are left economically stranded, genuflecting to foreign investors – even on the Sabbath. Endgames are the embodiment of vision and mission statements. For example, Walt Disney’s previous mission statement: Make People Happy. Or the woman who was so intoxicated by Carnival spirits and revelry that she told Calypsonian Stingray, “Do as You Like with Me.” Perhaps a more sobering, uplifting and dignified endgame is: “Never Again.” But let me continue with an economic relationship between the top 20% and the bottom 80%. In the last fifty (50) years virtually every major and minor enterprise created by the bottom 80% of African Antiguans, in and around the city of St. John’s, has disappeared. Here are some of my time: John I. Martin, Keith Edwards Wholesale, Dicky Lake’s Supermarket, Daniel Bakery, The National Bakery, Mary King Bakery, Laurent Drug Store, Mark’s Restaurant, Brother B’s Restaurant, Bailey’s Store, O’Neil Pharmacy, Shannon’s Upholstery, Wallace, Graham Supermarket, Alexander’s, Masses House, Stanley R. Walter Store, Cornwall Supermarket, Chelsea Electrical and Refrigeration, Outlet Printery, Benjies Department Store, H. C. Grant, Christian Windows and Doors, Food City.

And the list is increasing…

With few exceptions, the offspring of these early commercial pioneers have received tertiary education and have become members of the top 20% class. As the above closures would suggest, the economic and entrepreneurial baton was not passed, received and relayed. There has been no transition from a merchant class to an educated productive class. As such, when compared to our ethnicities, our top 20% has not acquired as much capital by the means of local commercial activity to create meaningful employment, and to financially assist our artists: musicians, painters, sculptors, poets, etc. As this trend is indicating, the typical African Antiguan family enterprise struggles to endure the second generation. Is there a communication gap or a philosophical divide between generations? Do the parents not trust their offspring? Is it offspring envy? Do the offspring scorn its parent’s business model, not understanding that assets are generally accumulated across generations, starting from very humble beginnings? What is the reason for this generational dissonance? Is it that African Antiguan businesses are poor at succession planning? This is perhaps a phenomenon that requires in-depth research and analysis. This economic discontinuity also means that acquired entrepreneurial wisdom and intelligence are not significantly transferred to or inherited by the offspring.

This creates an undesirable disruption in the continuance of economic enterprise and culture, as the nation struggles with the unemployment problems. Generally speaking, this IT generation, which is arguably void of the cultural moorings of its parents, is starting economically from scratch, again. Economist, Professor Thomas Piketty, in his book CAPITAL in the Twenty-First Century – a discourse on wealth, capital and income distributions, highlights the significant contribution of inheritance in related economic mobility. Do the African Antiguan offspring tend to prefer education as prestige – climbing a perceived social ladder, as compared to inheritable enterprises that require vision, discipline, sacrifice and frugality to successfully manage and expand?

As an example, I know of a successful organic farmer who cultivates a sizable acreage, and who has an aversion for artificial preservatives. To his resignation, his offspring is off to study AI – Artificial Intelligence. This disconnection between generations appears to be a pervasive African Antiguan problem, affecting our abilities to develop long-term enterprises and to transition to secondary production. So far, I have been sketching an observed generational disconnection in some Antiguan Black family enterprises and talents over the past fifty (50) years, and the fact that during that very same period, the offspring of Freed People have acquired unprecedented tertiary education. I have not discerned a comparable increase in corporations or co-operatives to suggest that our offspring have moved on to adopt those business models. In fact, I know that in the IT sector most are jobbing and freelancing – doing their own little thing on the side. Let me share with you one of the inherited dilemmas of our newly educated offspring. I am in the software development business, so I have met a few accountants, HR managers and IT professionals. Their “abundance” has led to this new trend; they are all working on contracts: twelve (12), eighteen (18), twenty-four (24), or thirty-six (36) months – if lucky, mainly in the hospitality and food supply sectors. There is basically no full and open-ended employment for these young qualified offspring anymore. One actually told me that because of this, they have become very proficient in writing resumes and job applications. Needless to say, they can hardly acquire a bank mortgage to construct a home, or start an enterprise. However, they can – and often do, purchase used cars online. We need to create new economic models and relationships for our offspring, by looking at other linkages between their managerial, technical and enterprising abilities.

For example, take a look at my neighbor of the 80% class, a road-side master automobile mechanic, who desperately needs administrative and technical assistance. What if Kebra the accountant, Marsha the business major, Deon the Information Technology wizard and Joyce the HR manager, harmoniously and respectfully rallied around Roy, the master mechanic? Just imagine the LED sign… Roy’s Professional Auto Repair Shop – the Trade-in Killer. We need to incentivize this entrepreneurial convergence and model for our offspring.

I have borrowed the term Freed People from Natasha Lightfoot, who used it in her book, Troubling Freedom. To my mind, Lightfoot used that term and wrapped it in a very creative narrative to zoom in on the predicament of a people in limbo – freed but still not free. As such, she mitigated some distractions of racial labeling, thereby moving a human struggle to the fore of her discourse. However, shouldn’t Freed People – even when they are celebrating, be always suspiciously looking over their shoulders, in perhaps a phobic and relentless pursuit to secure and extend freedom? Shouldn’t that be a primary agenda item of our curricula from kindergarten to university? Isn’t that what our education is also for – never again, but freedom? Are we just laid-back, with eyes wide shut, counting chickens, waiting for the Reparations bonanza, which from current projections, our offspring will most likely squander – one way or the other? Professor Hilary Beckles, in his book Britain’s Black Debt, which I believe should be compulsory reading in secondary schools – here, said this: “The British state believes that the longer the reparations case is denied, the more remote it will become. These officials seem to believe that as each generation comes to maturity, the less concerned they will be with matters of history. Playing the time game is considered their best strategy. Future generations of black youth, they believe, will have less interest in the experience of their forebears and are unlikely to commit politically to matters such as reparations.” Having recognized Natasha Lightfoot for the classification, Freed People, it appears to me that as Educated Freed People, we are losing our way; we are to some extent off course. So far, I have mainly looked at disconnections on the merchandizing side of the enterprise equation. Now, I would like to reflect at the consumption patterns and preferences of our offspring. If the world is a stage, then our offspring are members of the supporting cast, playing the roles of walking mannequins, spiritedly – but unaware, displaying our trade deficit.

Smart phones from China, leather shoes from Spain, ankle chains from Switzerland, tattoo ink from Japan, respectfully I will not numerate the items between the knees and the shoulders, gold chains from USA, lipstick from France, and false hair from India – all mainly acquired online, circumventing local brick and mortar enterprises. This deficit will be paid, if not by trade and foreign exchange earnings, then eventually by the currency of land. As the Russians say, the only place you can find free cheese is in a rat’s trap. Our offspring are offline, disconnected from our Troubling Freedom, schooled with a curricula that is history neutral, consumption loaded, pride insensitive, production indifferent, past experiences submerged, future blind-sided and liberation aborted.

When will the Educated Freed People rise to the occasion and eradicate this recursive pathological indifference in our offspring? To elevate their minds, straighten their posture, and sharpen their sense of justice and worth… Perhaps the success of the African Reparation Movement hinges on this. An Englishman, with whom I worked, once told me this: “Do you know what’s wrong with you guys; you don’t nip things in the bud.” Micro biologist, Ernst Mayer in his book, What evolution IS, said this: “Indeed, the selection event is to favor individuals that have succeeded in finding a progressive answer to current problems. The summation of all these steps is evolutionary progress.” In one of the most disturbing books I have read, Childhood Under Siege, Joel Bakan explains how corporations assemble the finest psychologists and marketing experts, who use concepts such as the Nag Factor – how children nag parents to purchase products – and addiction, to influence the youth, who internalize the subliminal suggestions of about thirty thousand (30, 000) video commercials per year. Incidentally, they also use racial factors when marketing to Black communities. Among other things, here is a fact Bakan investigates:

“A massive and growing kid marketing industry is targeting children with increasingly callous and devious methods to manipulate their forming and vulnerable emotions, cultivate compulsive behavior, and addle their psyches with violence, sex, and obsessive consumerism.” Brothers and sisters there is urgency to design and rollout new curricula of enlightenment for our offspring. As I have tried to show, the lack of formal education is no longer our major problem. We have the tools and the talents. But our mindset – the pregame – is wrong. This new curricula for our offspring must focus on pregame requirements to execute the economic endgame strategies as our celebrated Warri Grand Masters do – as they tally seeds. The Indians are doing it, the Chinese are doing it. They have moved homework to the classroom, and the Chinese are teaching mathematics at the rate of the slowest student. That is, they do not move on or change the topic until every student masters it. We must teach our Troubling Freedom and history at the rate of the slowest student, until they all understand. This too is a prerequisite and beginning of a new economy. As the Chinese are demonstrating, patience with our offspring could be a most rewarding virtue… I thank you.

Lawrence A. Jardine is the founder of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy. He is a Software Developer and, the founder and manager of DMS – Data Management Solutions Ltd., which is the leading payroll software solutions developer in Antigua and Barbuda. Lawrence is a graduate of the Humber College of Applied Arts and Technology, Ontario Canada, where he studied electronics and developed his love for computer programming. He has worked for two parent companies, the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Voice of Germany, for over twenty-five (25) years. He has also been the national champion in two (2) disciplines: Pocket Billiards and Dominoes. In 2006, he won the National Independence Short Story Competition. Lawrence is a Professional Billiard Instructors Association (PBIA located in the USA) Certified Pocket Billiards Instructor. He is also the chairman of the Leonard Tim Hector Memorial Committee (LTHMC).

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F is for Friday

Trying out Nomadic World’s F is for Friday meme for the first time.

To participate, apparently, I need to do the following.

F – Feature your latest book obsession (it doesn’t have to be your current read)
I – Indicate which book/s you are looking forward to reading this weekend.
F – Favorite quote of the week/day
F – Five things you’re happy or grateful for this week.

Here goes.

F – Feature your latest book obsession (it doesn’t have to be your current read)

Today while waiting for the bus I read all of Lawrence Jardine’s contribution to the 2018 Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books – Wanted: Offspring, Talent, Inheritance and Assets Management – and I found myself engaging with it and wishing to share it here. So, I’m going to reach out to the author for permission to … share it here. As with the Antigua Conference itself during which the Review is launched, I wonder if the people who do need to read it (the people in a position to act on its challenge) ever will. I started reading Paget Henry’s Entrepreneurial Socialism Vs Pragmatism: Reflections on the 2018 Elections in Antigua and Barbuda. Interesting so far. The Review started off slow for me, I admit, but six articles in I’m finally engaged. Did it have anything to do with the fact that article four was Joanne Hillhouse’s Iconic Stance Through Her Works by Valerie Knowles Combie (click the link to read)? Well I wasn’t uninterested in that but  reading about yourself is always kind of weird and disorienting so not as much as you might think.

I – Indicate which book/s you are looking forward to reading this weekend.

Well, the Review aside, my active reading pile has been mostly untouched all week. It’s been that kind of week. Plus I expect to re-start my Jhohadli Writing Project workshop September 2018 bthis weekend so I’ll need to re-read the stories I’ve selected for the workshop. Besides that I’m hoping to finish the Review and possibly Faye Kellerman’s Straight into Darkness. It’s been long enough and it really is an engaging mystery.


F – Favorite quote of the week/day

I don’t know if this is my favourite quote but reading the photography book Hidden Secrets of St. Croix by Clarice Clarke (review to be added to the Blogger on Books series on my other blog soon), this was something that jumped out at me:

“On July 2nd 1848, enslaved Africans assembled at La Grange and other plantations. On July 3rd 1848, they gathered in Fredriksted and demanded their freedom. Fearing the destruction of the towns and plantations, Governor General Peter Von Scholten proclaimed emancipation. After the enslaved Africans were freed Budhoe (leader of the action taken by the enslaved Africans) was jailed and then sent to Trinidad…Emancipation, however, did not live up to the freed slaves’ expectations. Low wages, restrictive labor laws and regulations kept workers in unending servitude. In October of 1878, their dissatisfaction erupted in what is known as the ‘1878 fireburn.’” (pgs. 87-88)


F – Five things you’re happy or grateful for this week.

Keeping it books, I’m going to share 8 books I revisited this week courtesy of the Seven Book Covers Challenge on facebook. Check them out.


Yes, the week was trying, but I definitely had fun with this one. Beyond that grateful to be a writer journeying (see recent developments in the journey here) and hope to continue to be so. And for the view outside my window today. You know somedays you look up and the thing that’s always there suddenly looks so beautiful to you, well that was the green hills dotted with houses of various colours sitting there like a framed picture beyond my window. How many does that leave? beer and pizza and good conversation with not one but both of my sibs. Oh and mischievous monkeys.

As with all content on, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.




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Happy Pub Season to Bernice L. McFadden

Dope African-American sister with Bajan ties whom I actually met when we jointly facilitated a workshop at the BIM Lit Fest in 2016 in Barbados. The Image Award winning author and Professor (in one of my favourite cities, New Orleans) continues to do dope things, and one of them is the release of her latest book Praisesong for the Butterflies. Interesting (and unfamiliar) topic. Let her explain:

Shout out to the African American Literary Club which continues to amp up authors of colour.

We’ve covered Bernice here on the site before in Reading Room and Gallery 20 (Interviews section where she’s talking about her last publication The Book of Harlan).  Wadadli Pen participants received copies of McFadden’s Glorious back in 2016; thanks, to Pamela Arthurton. I’ve only read one of her books so far, though, and that was Sugar, which I also reviewed here on the blog. Look forward to reading more. Congrats, Bernice.

As with all content on, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, Musical Youth and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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