Tag Archives: Imam Baksh

Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid November 2021)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here).

Happy Independence, Antigua-Barbuda

November 1st 1981 was Independence Day in Antigua and Barbuda which makes this our 40th birthday. The 2021 Independence season was launched on 22nd October, scaled down, as was last year due to the ongoing pandemic – and our vaccinate rate still not at the levels required – but still including a number of arts activities: e.g. festival of choirs, pan competition, and student art mural unveiling at Antigua Recreation Grounds.

This art adorns the southwall of the ARG. It is not a single mural but a series of images – more a montage on the theme of national iconography – completed over a two week period by students and art teachers from the Sir Novelle Richards Academy, All Saints Secondary School, Glanvilles Secondary School, Trinity Academy and St. Mary’s Secondary School. The initiative was sponsored by State Insurance and Paint Plus and spearheaded by the Ministry of Education.

Independence season ends November 1st with the ceremonial parade which is typically followed by the food fair but, while, local local food cravings are high at this time, we will have to go searching for our fix as gatherings of the size of the food fair are still off the menu. ETA: The National Awards were announced during the ceremonial parade and, in the arts, Halcyon Steel Orchestra is one of the recipients. They receive the institutional honour – the most precious order of princely heritage (gold) for contribution to culture through the development and advance of steelband and steel pan music.

(Source – Facebook)

Independence related: check out my special Independence themed CREATIVE SPACE (written for the Daily Observer newspaper Independence issue) and the related playlist which is on my AntiguanWriter YouTube channel. Another list in the issue is by veteran media broadcaster Dave Lester Payne.

Opportunities

The last Bocas workshop for the 2021 season takes place this November 27th, plus there are two noteworthy fellowships for emerging writers, one from Bocas and one from UWI among other opportunities with upcoming deadlines in our Opportunities Too database. Don’t forget to check in with the page from time to time, so you don’t miss anything. Here’s the link.

Wadadli Pen News

Wadadli Pen is legally incorporated as a non-profit, something I’ve wanted for some time and activated when I pulled our team together a few years ago (2016) to work with me toward laying a foundation for this project I started way back in 2004. It is no longer a project. It is a non-profit. I need to let it settle and then, with my partners, figure out what happens next. But this is a major goal achieved. Thanks to Henry and Burnette, and especially E. Ann Henry for the pro bono legal assistance and to Juneth Webson for her financial contribution to the registration process. (Source – in house)

Accolades

Derron Sandy is the 2021 winner of the First Citizens National Poetry Slam in Trinidad and Tobago – it was his fifth go at the prize. His winning presenation was an ode to food vendors during lockdown restrictions entitled ‘The Real Warlords’. Past two-time back-to-back champion Alexandra Stewart placed second with Michael Logie coming in third (they won TT$20,000 and $10,000, respectively). Derron’s prize is TT$50,000. More in TnT Newsday. (Source – N/A)

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The shortlist for the first Bocas Lit Fest Children’s Book Prize has been announced and it includes a member of the Wadadli Pen family, past patron and judge, (and, as the owner of Caribbean Reads publishing, publisher of two of my books), featured here on the blog several times over the years, US-based Nevisian writer Carol Mitchell. Mitchell’s summer 2021 release Chaos in Castries, book 5 in her Caribbean Adventure Series, is one of three short listed books.

It features characters familiar to readers of the long running series in a new-to-them Caribbean setting where they meet new people and have new adventures with historical resonance. “When Mark’s mother sends him and Chee Chee to St. Lucia to experience the cultural festival of Jounen Kwéyòl, Mark is thrown into another action-packed, time-travel adventure with one of the festival dancers. Mark and his new friend Danielle get caught in the middle of a cultural struggle between the British and the Afro-Caribbean people at a time when participating in creole festivals could land you in big trouble. Many of the events in Chaos in Castries take place in the Derek Walcott square, a public square located in Castries, St. Lucia. It was established in the 1760s and was named Columbus Square in 1892. In 1993, it was renamed to honour Nobel Laureate Sir Derek Walcott who received the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature.” (book summary) The book is illustrated by Mitchell’s longtime collaborator Ann-Catherine Loo.

The other shortlisted books includes one of the hottest trending books since its 2020 release, and especially so since receiving the boost of being named to Oprah Magazine’s best Caribbean books for your 2021 reading list and winning the Rebel Women Lit’s Reader’s Choice award for best middle grade/tween novel earlier this year, When Life gives you Mangoes by Jamaican-British writer Kereen Getten. “Inspired by the author’s childhood experiences, When Life Give You Mangos is a celebration of island life as well as a rich, lyrical mystery.” (book summary)

The other shortlisted book A Different Me A Better You, like Chaos in Castries (Caribbean Reads), is publishedby an indie press based in the Caribbean region, Blue Banyan of Jamaica. Mangoes is published by Delacorte Press, a division of America’s Random House and Pushkin Press in the UK. Janet Morrison, a Jamaican and veteran media worker, is a BBC award winning playwright, who collected her most recent prize, the Jean D’Costa Prize at Jamaica’s Lignum Vitae Awards, for Better You. Its five short stories “is a celebration of difference where five young heroes share their dreams of dancing, adventure and being seen for who they really are, and we are all a little better to know them.” (book summary)

The winner of the US$1000 prize will be announced on November 28th 2021. (Source – Facebook)

***

Writing Gender into the Caribbean by Patricia Mohammad (Hansib Books) is the 2021 winner of the Barbara T. Christian Awards from the Caribbean Studies Association. It is described as “vital scholarship”. (Source – Paper-Based Books bookshop in TnT on Twitter)

(New or New-ish) Books

Little John Crow by Ziggy Marley, Orly Marley, and Gordon Rowe (illustrator) dropped this November. In it, Little John Crow, a young vulture growing up in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, is abandoned by his animal friends and must come to terms with what it means to be part of a community when you are a vulture.

(Source – Akashic Books on Twitter)

***

Crucian Fusion by Apple Gidley is a collection of fact and fiction that speaks to the rich history as well as present day St Croix. Provoked by thoughts, good and bad, the essays tell of nearly nine years on island. The short stories are based on historical events and the Census of 1846. (Source – author email)

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I missed this one back in June, Caribbean American Heritage Month, but I’m posting right in time for you to add to your Christmas list. It’s Yahoo! Sports, yes Yahoo! Sports’, listing of must-read Caribbean books. On the list, Barbadian author Callie Browning’s The Girl with the Hazel Eyes, Jamaican author Maisy Card’s These Ghosts are Family, Alexia Arthurs’ How to Love a Jamaican, Trinidadian Caroline Mackenzie’s One Year of Ugly, Elizabeth Acevedo, an American of Dominican (Sp.) descent’s Clap When You Land, Trinbagonian Tracey Baptiste’s The Jumbies, Maika and Maritza Moulite, born in the US to Haitian immigrants’ Dear Haiti, Love Alaine, Bermudian Florenz Webbe Maxwell’s Burt Award winning Girlcott, Virgin Islander Cadwell Turnbull’s The Lesson, and TrinBajan Londoner Ingrid Persaud’s Love after Love. (Source – N/A)

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Guyanese born, UK based Pauline Melville released The Master of Chaos and Other Fables in summer 2021. (Source – JR Lee email)

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My Time at the Door by Dean Fenton has been aded to the Antiguan and Barbudan Writing and Antiguan and Barbudan Poetry databases. This is his second book and was released in summer 2021. (Source – social media)

Community

Trinidad and Tobago born Canadian poet M. Nourbese Philip is protesting the Italian translation of her book Zong! An online petition has been set up calling for the destruction of the work and a public apology. The author explains her grievance on her website, and brings receipts. Apparently, the book’s publisher Wesleyan University Press sold translation rights to Benway Series Press without the author’s knowledge for $150. “WUP did not inform me that the rights had been sold nor did they put me in touch with the translator Renata Morresi or Benway Series Press,” the author writes, also calling out the Canada Council which funded the translation. “…and yet no one thought it necessary to consult with me, the Black and African-descended author of the said work, which engages with the transatlantic slave trade and which, as plainly stated on the cover—as told to the author by Setaey Adamu Boateng—involved Ancestral voices.” Beyond this, Philip takes issue with the actual translation which reportedly changes the organizational structure of her poems, and argues that this is in breach of the international translator’s code. She said her concerns have been ignored by all parties; though with one seemingly positive outcome (so far): “In response to these events WUP has changed its policies concerning informing authors of sale of licenses and has set a minimum fee of $500 for print runs under 1,000 books.” Review all and support the author’s cause if so moved by signing the petition or sharing. (Source – JR Lee email)

***

I just googled Blackout Cultural Park and Fitzroy Brann and couldn’t find anything to speak of, not even in the waybackmachine and that didn’t sit right with me. So, google, this one’s for you. Brann is primarily renowned for his work in sports development and when he died in 2019, that’s what was highlighted. But I remember some of the first regular poetry sesssions I participated in as a local writer when I, and others, like Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau, who shared some of her first works there (usually through her sister’s voice as she was still hesitant to use her own), was at Blackout. It was a long trek out of town but we gathered there on a weekend night, many a weekend night, Fridays, I think, to discover and share our stories – it’s there that I started slowly gaining confidence as a writer in a public space. Blackout was Fitzroy Brann. As someone noted in this article by his daughter Mickel, Brann “was a community activist, a sports enthusiast and an ardent lover of culture and the arts.” Blackout Cultural Park and those open mic literary nights (which in addition to poetry, included singing, instrumental solos, and comedy as people felt inspired) in the (I think) late 90s/early aughts deserve a paragraph in the story of the evolution of Antiguan and Barbudan literary arts. Those scenes don’t last forever and I remember we migrated from Blackout to Traffic, a club in town, after a time, and then that fizzled and other things popped off and fizzled (Expressions etc.), and on like that. (Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

***

In the last CREATIVE SPACE, I referenced a death in the Antigua and Barbuda media fraternity, and perhaps for the first time in this space did some very minor mask, social distancing, and vaccine activism. It’s become such a fraught space and Wadadli Pen is not the space for my personal missions. But, I’ve found a loophole, because Wadadli Pen is a place for creative, and especially literary arts, and this article I’m about to link comes by way of lithub.com – a valuable literary arts resource. The article is an excerpt from the 2021 book The Plague Cycle: The Unending War Between Humanity and Infectious Disease by Charles Kenny. I’d like to share this part (because too often I hear people say, I’m good as though we don’t exist in a world with other people, as if our actions don’t affect other people):

It isn’t just the vaccine deniers and their unfortunate children who’d be harmed: some people really can’t be given vaccines and they’d suffer the consequences from circulating infections. When she was two, Ashley Echols had a kidney transplant. As part of the transplant procedure, children are given drugs that suppress their immune response so that the body doesn’t reject the transplanted organ. As a result, she couldn’t complete the standard vaccination regimen. Had Ashley taken the chickenpox vaccine in her weakened state, she might have contracted chickenpox from it. And because of her suppressed immune system, the condition would have been life-threatening. But in June 2017, eleven-year-old Ashley was exposed to a child with chickenpox in Atlanta. So she was rushed to the hospital emergency room to be injected with immunoglobulin. Camille Echols, Ashley’s mother, shared the story on Facebook. She ended her post saying “She has been through so much already. And this was avoidable.”

You can read the whole article here. (Source – LitHub newsletter)

Readings + Events

The Bocas lit fest has a series of virtual conversations with authors known as Bios & Bookmarks. Season Six kicks (or, depending on when you’re reading this, kicked) off with author Barbara Lalla. Tune in November 14th 3 p.m. AST via the Bocas facebook page. I have to say between the book awards, fellowships, workshops, conversations, and, of course, the literary festival, while I would like to see more…resonance… in underserved parts of the Caribbean, Bocas is doing a impactful work developmentally and promotionally re lit arts in the broader Caribbean region.

***

The first British Virgin Islands literary festival was held this November, 2nd to 13th. It was a semi-virtual collaboration between the H. Lavity Scoutt Community College and the BVI department of culture. Announced writers included Andre Bagoo (TT), Amanda Choo Quan (TT), Amilcar Sanatan (TT), Anthony Anaxagorou (UK), Cadwell Turnbull (USVI), Canisia Lubrin (SLU), Des Seebaran (TT), Eugenia O’Neal (BVI), Tiphanie Yanique (USVI), Tami Navarro (USVI), Traci O’Dea (US), Raymond Antrobus (UK), and BVI poet laureate Richard Georges (BVI). Activities included a series of workshops, film screening, and panels. (Source – JR Lee email)

***

Patricia Tully will be having a signing of her book Pioneers of the Caribbean, co-authored with Ingrid Lambie. Venue is the Best of Books, St. Mary’s Street, Antigua, on November 20th 2021. This book was one of the Wadadli Pen 2021 Challenge prize.

(Source – Best of Books on Facebook)

***

Jamaica Kincaid is the honoured guest at the City College of New York’s 2021 Langston Hughes Festival on November 18th 2021, and here’s where you can get tickets to view online. The Festival describes the Ovals, Antigua born writer’s work – which includes novels Annie John, Lucy, Autobiography of My Mother, Mr. Potter, and See Now Then – as “original and essential” and I (Ottos, Antigua writer Joanne C. Hillhouse) am one of the people slated to speak on the writer and her work. For my other recent appearances, go here.

Here we are together at the 2015 US Virgin Islands Literary Festival at which she was the keynote speaker and I was a presenter.

Other speakers at the event will be Linda Villarosa, an American author and journalist, and former executive editor of Essence magazine; Laura K. Alleyne, a Trinidad born, award winning poet and author; American musician of Ecuadioran descent Helado Negro; and professor of french and Africana studies Kaima L. Glover. (Source – in house)

***

Guyanese writer Imam Baksh is part of the IWP panel discussion series alongside Salha Obaid of the UAE and Candace Chong Mui Ngam of Hong Kong. The topic, Imagination <> Computation. The time, Friday 5th November 12 – 1 p.m. CST. The stream can be viewed at the Iowa City Public Library, The Library Channel. Read more about Baksh (Children of the Spider) and other IWP writers-in-residence for 2021 here. (Source – Twitter)

***

Dominica-UK’s Papillote Press continues its reading series featuring its authors, the latest installment ‘What do I know’ by Dominica’s Celia Sorhaindo (watch the video in our Reading Room and Gallery). The Bocas longlisted poetry collection Guabancex, where this poem and others in which Sorhaindo processes life after hurricane Maria can be found, has amassed many positive reviews including one by me. For Sorhaindo, it was life changing – both the 2017 storm and the collection. A Papillote release quotes her as saying, “Hurricane Maria was a very traumatic time. We saw the worst side of nature, and the best and worst sides of human nature, and went through incredible mental and physical challenges. Writing the poems for this chapbook was a therapeutic exercise, a way of trying to make sense of, work through and process all that happened.” (Source – publisher email)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, 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 and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Reading Room and Gallery 23

The Reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artistes by rippling the water together. For earlier installments of the Reading Room and Gallery, use the search feature to the right. This is the 23rd one which means there are 22 earlier ones (can’t link them all). Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one.

NON FICTION

“It wasn’t as bad as I make it sound now; it was worse.” – Jamaica Kincaid’s essay On Seeing England for the First Time

MISC.

‘We must never for a moment doubt that it is absolutely vital that a nation should foster and honour its writers. The good writer devotes his energy to searching for truth. And in the love of truth, straight and unvarnished, lies not only the hope but the safety of a nation. “The people need poetry,” the great Russian Poet, Osip Mandelstam, wrote, “to keep them awake forever.” The good writer, the true writer, as Cyril Connolly said in Enemies of Promise, “helps to unmask those pretenders which distract all human plans for improvement: the love of power and money, the short-sighted acquisitive passions, the legacies of injustice and ignorance, a tiger instinct for fighting, the ape-like desire to go with the crowd. A writer must be a lie-detector who exposes fallacies in words and ideals before half the world is killed for them.”’ – Ian McDonald

FROM THE BLOGS

“People think writing children’s stories is some simple, easy thing. You’ve heard that, right? It is not; children deserve that as much attention be taken with their stories as would be taken with an adult novel. The child doesn’t need to recognize the many layers in a story. The layers of meaning will come later, or not, but the layers create the finished picture. The child just needs needs to enjoy the story, just needs that satisfying feeling of reading a story where the ending spreads like joy from the tips of the toes to the tips of the fingers and creates a bubbling-up-joy in the heart and mind.” – Caribbean Children’s Literature Diane Browne

***

“he dipped his toe in the puddle
of her first words” – SimplyNatural1

STORIES

“Being a migrant is like living in a limboland where you never fully belong anywhere, the positive perspective being it also gives you a wider and deeper empathy and universality.” – Maggie Harris interview

***

Commonwealth Writers site

***

“In the lateness of the night, she rises from the table. After these many years, she has become attuned to the restaurant, and to her beloved. They work in tandem. She can hear the eaves sigh in the wind, feel the dining room chairs sag with relief as the frenetic energy of the day finally draws to a close.” – The Woman Who Lived in the Restaurant by Leone Ross

***

“Across a field of short, sparse grass, she spied another group of aliens, facing each other in silence as usual, with their silver-stones piled in the center. Some were young—short with thick fur. Others were old—their scaly skin showing where hair had fallen out in patches about their body. She wondered if they considered this planet theirs. The family parrot, Rupert, considered the bell on his cage to be his property and pecked anyone who tried to move it. And the aliens of this world were certainly smarter than Rupert. Clara remembered her father’s stories about Columbus invading the Caribbean a thousand years before and declaring himself its discoverer. Maybe Clara and her family were the invaders now.” – from Clara in the New World, 2492 A.D. by Imam Baksh – See more here.

***

“Placing one slender, manicured tip on the backspace key, she erased every word, every trace of what she’d been feeling. It was four in the afternoon, and Laurie was beginning to feel suffocated. She needed this meeting to end. The only consolation was that she’d chosen a seat with her back against the wall, so her screen was not easily seen. Today was not her day to present, nor did she have the energy to rebut the statements being made, so she blindly allowed her mind to wander – a dangerous pastime.” – The Looking Glass by Zahra Airall (also posted to A & B Writings in Journals and Contests)

INTERVIEWS

“I would say to young writers be true to yourself and go for what is deeply meaningful for you, ask yourself over and over: What do I want to say?   Be as authentic to yourself and your subject as you can be.  Write every day.” – Lawrence Scott

***

“It’s scary out there, man. It’s so scary.” – Kendrick Lamar with Rick Rubin

***

“My mantra is definitely slow and steady wins the race. I apply this mantra to a lot of things, but I think in terms of my business I really avoid the sensation of being overwhelmed.” – Holly Wren Spaulding

***

Several Caribbean writers sharing their work and insights, including Jamaica’s Tanya Shirley – “Matter of fact which women really needs a head unless she’s proficient in giving head and keeping her mouth shut when she’s not”; St. Lucia’s Vladimir Lucien – “…no land, not enough last name to get the loan…”; and Barbados’ Karen Lord – “It appears that war, when deprived of one reason, simply seeks out another; we are still a people divided.” – listen to the full thing at the BBC.

***

“…if you have just finished writing your first story, you may want to take some time honing it and your craft and ensuring that it is truly ready for publication before approaching publishers. Completing a draft for most writers is the first step in a long journey of becoming a published author.” – advice from agent Anna Ghosh

***

“Every day I learn to write a better sentence.” – Ingrid Persaud and other Caribbean Commonwealth short story finalists interviewed by Shivanee Ramlochan

POEMS

“Bob Marley doesn’t know
His song has been hijacked
And drummed into heads
Knees weak from fear
Do not allow us to stand up.” – Althea Romeo-Mark’s Revolution and Reggae (Liberian Coup 1985) in Calabash

***

“light      smoke      how to dance

disco ball blocked by bodies

the sun eclipsed by moons

men growing like trees

in this club we leap

we do not look” – After Oliver Senior, ‘Flying’ by Andre Bagoo in Cordite Poetry Review 

***

“I think of you like a storm remembered—a marker in my life

Stalking my dreams and my memories like a phantom” – Stormy Night by Damian Femi Rene in Cordite Poetry Review

***

“when I was eight, a priest came and flicked holy water

into the four corners of this wooden house

that kept my parents, two sons, a daughter,

and a darkening forest in its mouth.” – Exorcism/Freeport by Richard Georges in Cordite Poetry Review

***

“Their point guard calling an illegal pick

as we double teamed, breathing like dogs

on a leash. I was staying in the spare room

of your house. Living below the line

like denominators until I learnt Algebra;

from the word Al-jabr – the reunion

of broken parts. Your nephew the third man,

floated by (a silver shadow) and drained

a three crunch through the chains.” – Pythagoras Theorem by Nick Makoha in Adda

***

***

“Nennen’s toothless smile

Granny lifts her skirt high

before plunging them back between her thighs

and a laugh from deep within bellows joy

Another aunt tears streaming from her face

thumps a table and gasps for air

and a laugh escapes

peeling sorrow away from the wooden walls

of the house

in Salem” – Chadd Cumberbatch, Norene’ s Laugh

***

“Beautiful man, you are

the ocean churning inside a skull. Every cuss

a broken piece of bottle. You never left

the island but long to. Fingertips smelling

of tobacco or herb, always ready

to fight someone or something.

Thrusting a gun finger

into the air, rigid—

a brown beacon; I will you

to life: fuse sinew, blood

tendons, bones, memories.” – Poem for a Gunman by Soyini Ayanna Forde

***

“I am the last in the line of the man Massa bury.

My great- grandmother run to the hills

same day, with Papa in her belly. Papa

was a wild one, kill plenty backra. Each time

he kill one  him say, ‘Massa me no dead yet.’” – Penny Kill Shilling by Monica Minnot 

***

“Because to him
Giving in
Is the only real sin” – Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Differences (also posted to A & B Writings in Journals and Contests)

***

“Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart.” – Love after Love by Derek Walcott (read by Tom Hiddleston)

***

“I felt sleepy, bored by the mundane,
the usual conversation and the continual beauty
of sun and sea” – from The Day The Sea Turned Brown by Tania Haberland in Adda

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“I had this image of a woman grieving the illness of her lover, but yes, the lover is not-quite-human. He’s a construction or a creation or a person who has been made in our own image. I was thinking of love as a double helix between attraction to the other, the opposite; and attraction to some unarticulated part of ourselves that we recognize in another. And then, out of the blue, I could see Jin and Naomi dancing together, and the perspective was that of child, a neighbor, watching this love affair unfold, and interpreting that otherness, that not-quite-humanness, in a very different way. So that was the beginning.” – Five Questions for Madeleine Thien

***

“You learn about the objective art of rhetoric, more specifically about the structural choices that bad and good men have made in speeches to lead us down certain garden paths – not by magic, but by repetition and specific diction and verb choice.” – Leone Ross on The Answer to that Question: Where do I get Ideas from

***

“The reason an inciting moment matters is that it determines what the story is about. It’s like a snowball that is pushed down a hill. It will gather it’s own momentum, and direct the story to its conclusion unless you put obstacles in the way (like a rock) to throw it off track and into another direction. If you don’t want your story about Cinderella to hinge on the prince’s ball, you might not want to include the invitation in the plot in the first place.” – Andrea Lundgren

***

Solange Knowles jam sessions and creative process for Seat at the Table.

***

“When I sat down to write Ashael Rising, I knew very little about KalaDene. In fact, it didn’t even have a name until the third draft or so. My world-building was all done as I went along. I once heard an excellent description of the process; it explains just what it feels like to me so I’m going to share it here. World-building is like walking through a tunnel (the world) with a torch (the story) so I can see as much of the world as the story shines a light on and a little bit around the edges but everything else is just fuzzy shapes in the darkness, with maybe a puff of cool air indicating that there might be a door to somewhere else off to the left.” – Shona Kinsella talks world building

***

“Here’s the catch: More than one type of character arc exists. Our characters can change for better or worse. Or, perhaps they might not change much, except in strength of resolve. So, how do writers determine what kind of arc a character is following, or which arc fits our story best?” – Fantasy writer Sara Letourneau blogging on character arcs

***

“People think writing children’s stories is some simple, easy thing. You’ve heard that, right? It is not; children deserve that as much attention be taken with their stories as would be taken with an adult novel. The child doesn’t need to recognize the many layers in a story. The layers of meaning will come later, or not, but the layers create the finished picture. The child just needs needs to enjoy the story, just needs that satisfying feeling of reading a story where the ending spreads like joy from the tips of the toes to the tips of the fingers and creates a bubbling-up-joy in the heart and mind.” – Jamaican author Diane Browne blogging Children as Heroes/Heroines of Their Own Stories

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon 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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Reading Room and Gallery 19

I’ve counted as high as I can in Roman numerals (not as high as they go, just as high as I can go using them…because, math). So, I’m using English numbers now (still math but in a language my brain understands) and this is the 19th Reading Room and Gallery. The reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance and beauty, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artists by rippling the water together. For earlier iterations of the Reading Room and Gallery, go back to XVlll and follow the links for the previous ones from there. Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one.

ON PUBLISHING

“The goal of the query letter is not to tell the addressee what you want or need; the goal of the query letter is to convince the addressee why they might want to work with you.” – Jeanne Kisacky with tips for writing an effective query letter

***

“There are any number of reasons why a piece may not make the cut. A few of these are…” – Dan Burgess

POETRY

“Try to think bigger than you ever have
or had courage enough to do:
that blackness is not where whiteness
wanders off to die: but that it is
like the dark matter
between stars and galaxies in
the Universe
that ultimately
holds it all
together.” – Alice Walker – read the full poem at Afropunk.com

***

Annotated lyrics for Coming of Age (Da Sequel) by Memphis Bleek and Jay Z from Hard Knock Life (the Jay CD I listen to the most because it’s the only one I bought and have). Jay Z’s Decoded is on my To Read list but until then, there’s this

***

“Eventually, one becomes—either as a psychological fail-safe or simple breakdown—numb to the repeated experience of loss.” – Kyle Dargan

***

“Britney Spears doesn’t have to prove to us that she is not a robot.” – Megan Levad on “Auto Tune”

***

“I stand above the angry sea,
above the gulls that circle me.” – The Lighthouse by Damian Balassone in Anansesem

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“If you want to write 140K words from the perspective of a tree, go for it. Write a prologue. Hell, write a prologue for your prologue. Fill your prose with adverbs. Write all your dialogue in italics without dialogue tags. Have your characters speak in emoji. Use profanity in exposition. Describe every square inch of an ordinary dining table. Do whatever it takes to get your story out of your head and on to the page. Do it without doubt or censorship.”  – Jo Eberhardt

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“She said that when a writer is in the midst of drafting a new story, everything that happens in their life in those writing months is filtered through the writer and into the story. Some things pass through and some flow into the fictional realm. I used to think of this process as a writer being a human lint filter. But I like Hoover’s more elegant word.” – Karen Harrington

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“Don DeLillo is a serious reader of American history and JFK’s death impacted his formative years, Vonnegut’s wild writing strategies were informed by existential trauma, Patricia Highsmith was by most accounts a very dark-minded, hedonistic, and guilt-ridden woman, while JK Rowling’s passion is the golden age of children’s literature and, she happened to write her Potter novels while experiencing the trials of single-motherhood.” – David Savilli on writing what you know, among the popular writing tips he unpacks (not debunks) in Five Lies Creative Writing Teachers Tell

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“You’ll notice in the images there is a tiny version of one of Glaser’s book design covers. I kept that image right next to my illustration in Photoshop the entire time so I could constantly check and see if my work was Glaser enough. It was really helpful, especially when it came to creating the pattern on the dress. I used the colour picker to pull colours from the cover design.” – Bryanna Chapeskie

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“In some cases, my setting would surely fall short of reader expectations. What’s a writer to do?” – Adria J. Cimino on creating settings when reader expectations are high

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“As part of our approach to the revision process, my students and I developed a sort of checklist, expanding on one in Writing Fiction, that may help some people with rewrites. These are the questions we finally decided on as being the most useful…” – Cary Groner on Revision.

INTERVIEWS

“I didn’t think about being Antiguan, what that meant, how that made me special until I went off to college.” – Cray Francis

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“I tried to show the Guyana that I know without being critical or without being worshipful.” – Imam Baksh, Burt Award winning author of Children of the Spider, interviewed by Petamber Persaud

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“2. Some anthologies are tied together by a genre, and others by a theme. I love that this one—“Stories of Love and the Great War”—is both. Was there ever any concern that some of the contributions would be too similar to one another? Was there anything you did to be sure each writer was focused on distinctly different characters or themes?

I knew this might be an issue early on, so I sent all the co-authors the main pitch and set a deadline. Once they submitted their individual story pitches, I put them together and forwarded them to the group so we could ensure there wasn’t a lot of overlap. We did a little tweaking—there were two nurses at first—but surprisingly, each of our pitches was quite unique. The only other overlap is the Armistice Day theme, as intended, and also we included some sort of visual of poppies to tie in the title.” – Writer’s Digest editor, Jessica Strawser interviewing Heather Webb on How a Fiction Anthology is Made

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“Everything I write is autobiographical, but none of it is true in the sense of a court of law—you know, a lie is just a lie. The truth, on the other hand, is complicated.” – Jamaica Kincaid

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“There is a new crop of writers based in and writing from the Caribbean that is starting to gain notice beyond the region. How can publishers support these new writers and develop literature in the region?

Karen Lord: Before they can support, they must listen and learn. Don’t overlook our excellence because you can’t recognise what it looks like. Gain exposure and training in the region’s existing literary tradition and do not expect carbon copies of Western works. Let go of stereotypes – there are many different stories being told by our writers, and not everything takes place in the village, on the beach or at carnival. Understand the flexibility of West Indian standard English and its various dialects and respect their validity in dialogue and narrative. Develop in-house expertise that connects to our literary communities, festivals and conferences. We have a rich source of story and many talented writers who would be an asset to any publishing house. We are not a charity project.” Read More.

MISCELLANEOUS

“I decided to come to Canada to become a writer. You can’t be a writer in Jamaica. You can’t live as a writer in Jamaica. … Everybody used to ask me: ‘Why are you still here?'” – Garfield Ellis as quoted in Annie Paul’s column in the Jamaica Gleaner, on the plight of the Caribbean writer. Read more.

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“From an early stage, he took his inspiration from film and animated media to produce unorthodox story-driven visual novels.” – Arts Antigua writes about local artist and animator Nuffield Burnette whose work you can see in some of your favourite animated films out of Hollywood.

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“As people from the Caribbean, we inhabit a spectrum of language, and you actually hear it when you go into the cultures,” Philp says. “You can hear somebody code-switching. You might start off saying something in Standard English and midway switch into the dialect or the vernacular.” – Pidgin, patois, slang, dialect, creole — English has more forms than you might expect on The World in Words, produced by Nina Porzuchi

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Paule Marshall.

I wasn’t sure where to put this but I wanted to shout out Paule Marshall, the Barbados-descended American writer who received a lifetime achievement award at the BIM Lit Fest. She wasn’t there but her son accepted on her behalf (as you can see in my Festival blog here) – and this is her when it was finally presented to her in the US. But I also wanted to take the opportunity to re-introduce you to an author you probably already know and if you don’t you should. I was introduced to her work in university through Praisesong for the Widow and have since read Browngirl Brownstones, Daughters, and her powerful essay ‘From the Poets in the Kitchen’ in which she wrote “The group of women around the table long ago. They taught me my first lessons in the narrative art. They trained my ear. They set a standard of excellence. This is why the best of my work must be attributed to them; it stands as a testimony to the rich legacy of language and culture they so freely passed on to me in the wordshop of the kitchen.” Read more about Paule Marshall.

FICTION

“You had to place what was placed on your back for you to tote.” – Zora Neale Hurston’s The Conscience of the Court

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Feeling depressed about your latest rejection letter, consider this, all the greats have been turned down at some time or other. I wanted to share this story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of the American classic, The Great Gatsby, in part because (as explained here) it was rejected by the New Yorker back in 1936 finally earning a spot in the venerable publication in July 2012. The name of the story is Thank You for the Light. And I quite liked it.

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‘The hall was flooded with people every evenin now. But it wasn’t meetings no more. It was battle royales. The hall was an accusation chamber, a kangaroo court. People screeching out names like crazy, convince that they know who is the ones that bringing the rain.

Grampa get to decide on the first name: Dr. Rahamut. Dr. Rahamut had a room set aside in his house, that Grampa call the Slipslide Office—where the doc could pull out babies from wombs. “It have a metal clamp he like to use!” Grampa proclaim. “When he have to remove the baby, he pull it limb by limb! And he use the clamp to crush the skull! Then he would piece together the baby on a table, like it is a broken doll, like it is a jigsaw puzzle! Tell me what kinda sick village would allow a man like that to practice his business here?”

The next night, somebody damn near torch Dr. Rahamut’s practice to the ground. Grampa never tell anyone to do that, but you coulda depend on somebody doin it, anyway. We rush out of their house to look at the tendrils of fire fastenin to the house, even as the rain pelt down on it. Thing is, the rain didn’t stop. So the people needed another name.’ – Midnight in Raintown by Kevin Jared Hosein

BLOGS

“My passion, my joy, my enthusiasm about the books I bring into my classroom sends a message to the readers who join me there.” – Mindy Rench: Third Grade Teacher and former junior high literacy coach

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“He offers no panaceas for the messy present and pasts of the Trinidad he represents in his fiction: his eye is as clear as that of his famous contemporary, Naipaul, but his vision is far less bleak and punishing.” – a blog posting on Earl Lovelace

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“…his world-building skills are and always will be second to none. He makes Middle-Earth seem so real, as if the stories are chapters from its history.”  – Tolkien Talk at Pages Unbound by Sara Letourneau

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Fish Outta Water, Oh Gad!, and Musical Youth). 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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