Sunday, September 7, 2014

Whose folktale is it anyway?

Bookends in The Sunday Observer of August 10, carried a piece by me on Ebony and the Auntie of the Starlight, a Caribbean Cinderella story. The content  was much like my blog of August 6, for those who want to see the local elements I introduced into the story.

The piece in the newspaper got me to thinking about folktales, the desire to rewrite some in our own image, the recording/rewriting  of our own.  There are many Cinderella stories, most, it would seem, originating from the societies in which they are located. Amazon has a  number of them,  including another Caribbean Cinderella by Robert Sans Souci (wonderful artwork), which I think is set in the French speaking Caribbean. I have not read it recently, and regrettably, do not own a copy.

When I was doing my MEd. research (not that long ago) I found that the teachers I interviewed had not been exposed to many Jamaican/Caribbean children’s books, which was distressing, but not that surprising. Interesting however, was one teacher’s response to my question about what she perceived to be our cultural heritage of children’s stories/material ( as well as Anancy). She said that Bible stories were part of our heritage because that’s what we grew up with, and so were traditional European fairy tales/folktales, for the same reason. I know, many of you are cringing. However, perception is reality.

Consequently, this could be a case for rewriting some of the traditional folktales in 'our own image'.  Cynically, I suspect that any rewritten ones would  not catch on. What can compare with the folktale characters, renamed as the ‘Princesses’ by Disney, with massive marketing of everything that can possibly be connected to them?  I have  attached to this post  covers  from two books written by  author /illustrator, the late Fred Crump Jr. (American)  in the 1980s/1990s. They are traditional fairy tales  with Black characters for African American children. These are from my collection of children’s books. I wonder how well these books did; he wrote a number. I googled him and found that he had one called Ebonita and the Seven Boys (my Ebony and his Ebonita). And no, I did not read his Cinderella  when I was writing Ebony and the Auntie of the Starlight. I haven’t looked at it in years. Moreover, I never read anything similar to what I’m writing, at any given time.

We, as minorities/majorities, depending on where we live,  may wish to rewrite the traditional fairy tales/folktales in the hope that  some children will read them and be inspired to greater self confidence, or even be moved to rewrite some themselves (perhaps  modern ones with 'lego type' figures). However, I suspect that any such endeavour would  not meet with much success, except for the exercise itself.

Clearly, it would seem that writing our own folktales would be the best way to go. And indeed at a workshop I facilitated with an overseas YA writer earlier this year, it was suggested that we have so much folklore (and by extension, folklore figures)  that we can create all sorts of exciting stories waiting to be discovered. This sounds wonderfully simple.  The problem I see with this is that many of our folklore figures are extremely malevolent.  Here in Jamaica, rolling-calf with eyes as red as coals dragging his rattling  chain; three-foot horse, which even with that handicap, or perhaps because of it,  will surely catch you;  Ol  Hige, shedding her skin;  River Mumma, at whom you shouldn’t look because  she could drag you down into the river; these are not the stuff of delightful children’s stories. And these are only the ones from Jamaica. Some of them from other territories in the Caribbean are even more frightening; soucouyant,  a shape-shifting blood sucking creature, or douens without faces and feet turned backwards, who lure children into the forest, for them never to be seen again. I think that our folklore is still too threatening, too close to us. European folklore was no doubt just as terrifying; witches and dragons, and wolves and beasts, but over the years they have been sanitized, and are seen as being from a very distant past, with no ability to frighten us anymore. In addition, they seem to lend themselves to being overcome by knights in shining armour, brave woodcutters, clever children and magical kisses. I know of no story of ours where anybody has been able to overcome anything, because ours speak to the supernatural, which one cannot overcome without a priest/parson,  calling on the blood of Jesus,  or some other religious activity. And I’m not being at all flippant.

This leaves us with good old Anancy and his comrades in mischief/deceit, Brer Tiger, Brer Rabbit, Brer Alligator, and so on. I enjoyed Anancy stories as child; the week overcoming the oppressor. These served the slaves well. However,  Anancy was also not averse to tricking his wife and children. This trickster side of Anancy, this ‘samfie’ side, may well be out of place as we move forward. The first time I heard this proposed (some years ago) I was horrified. What! Our precious Anancy! Never! Now, I’m not too sure. Time for samfie to be over and done with as a national construct? Never mind, guys. Calm your fluttering hearts. Anancy will probably always be with us.

It is against this background that I created Auntie of the Starlight, and she makes her second appearance in Ebony and the Auntie of the Starlight, a Caribbean Cinderella story, as a benevolent ‘fairy godmother’, although one that is somewhat annoyed with  silliness, like you not realising your worth. I must also point out that Helen Williams, (Bill Elm) made wonderful use of River Mumma in Delroy in the Marog Kingdom (Macmillan). Note however, that that book  is for an older child, and not for the Cinderella/Snow White generation. (Yes, I know the Cinderella story has lent itself to teenage movies, but you guys, know I’m not talking about that.)

I’d love to get feedback on this, the use of our own creatures/folklore in stories for younger children. I plan to follow this post with others on multicultural children’s literature, so we might find a connection. There have been recent  articles on this topic of children needing to see themselves in books, by Malorie Blackman in the UK and  the late Walter Dean Myers (USA) and his son.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Despatches: A successful upload; another endeavour disappointing: Rethinking endeavours; to do or not to do

Now why should you read this post? It may be much ado about nothing. Aha, maybe that’s why you should read it; in case it isn’t.

Successful upload. As you know (those who may follow my blog) Ebony and the Auntie of the Starlight, a Caribbean Cinderella story was uploaded to Amazon. Then  on Sunday, August 10, the Observer newspaper highlighted it in Bookends. I was very pleased.

Disappointment: I saw the PDF of Things I Like. I did not like my painting of the illustrations at all. At all! They looked lovely when I painted them, even when I put them on my blog, but stand alone in a book. No sir! I saw every miss-stroke of the brush, every distortion of an image.  The idea was to  produce the PDF  and get a corporate sponsor for copies for basic schools. Well, I’d be embarrassed to own these images. My designer did  her best. I was so overwhelmed (not to tears, or anything like that), just so astonished, that all I could say to her, is ‘stop there while I think about this’.
There are lessons to be learnt here.
1.       A Level Art does not make you an artist or illustrator.
2.       Four hours of painting lessons year before last, does not get you back to A Level standard, which does not  . . . anyway.
3.       There is a reason why they have illustrators for children’s books.
4.      You may never be able to turn yourself into a painter or illustrator for your own books. Accept that!

So what do I do now?
1.       Clearly I should ask my designer if she can just colour the pictures with Photoshop or something.
2.       Give up the idea of the book and feel ‘pale and wan’ (check the literature we read in school for explanation of the term) about any such endeavour.
3.       Perhaps ask about new illustrations for the text. What a frantic thought!

Well, clearly, I’ll go with #1 first. The fact that I have not done it yet speaks volumes although I cannot hear what is being said.
This post would seem to be all about my angst; much ado about nothing, indeed. However I think it speaks to some very important concerns, none of them new,  but the ability to self-publish underscores them.
The most important is how do you get the money to self-publish what you want to publish, or in my case, republish? People have been asking me why I don’t seek crowdfunding. To show how up-to-date I am on the concept,  I was about to write 'cloud funding' (naturally, things are stored in a cloud, so clearly, .  .  .  ) when a little voice said, “Look it up!”  Eh! Eh! But is a whole world out there of crowdfunding. So many sites. I would of course be shy/too proud/can’t wrap my head around the concept of people I don’t know supporting me, and on and on into further  angst.

I think one of my biggest challenges right now is do I want to continue to try to  break these new barriers, of this new digital  world, and I really hate this being in the spotlight of doing things, doing them differently (no doubt, that is why I write a blog, eh!), or do I want to retreat into the dignity of the ‘pure writer’ who must always be published by a well know publisher to be considered to be a serious, pure, mature writer? To do or not to do; to be or not to be.
This is a case of pure confusion. I’m going to put it down and come back to it another time. Any ideas would be welcome, guys! 

Next post will be about more mature matters.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

And independent Caribbean Cinderella for Independence, as promised

 Ebony  and the Auntie of the Starlight, a Caribbean Cinderella story has made it for Independence, August 6. In fact, she was up and ready for Emancipation Day.  The significance of Independence was that instead of Ebony meeting the prince at a ball, she meets him at the Independence Parade.  I do not know if there is any symbolism in Emancipation. I would not ascribe such links between the story and the symbolism  of Emancipation Day. It might even seem somewhat disrespectful. However, in all seriousness, there is the emancipation from mental slavery that Bob Marley sang about.
I have  sent out notices to all the people in my address book, which you guys know I hate, because it seems so pushy, so I’m glad that’s over. I have to develop a better marketing strategy. For one, very few people on my list will buy the book as an e-book. We are not into e-books yet for children.  For two, it’s not a targeted group. Many of the people on my list may not even be interested in children’s books.  
So come with me as we step awhile into the creation of Ebony  as a Caribbean Cinderella.

Differences and similarities are interwoven; they go in and out like maypole dancers (which are both European and part of our Jamaican heritage, as you may remember).
First, Ebony is in the Caribbean, and is an orphan in a children’s home, not related to the stepmother figure/villain figure as in the original fairy tale. However, the evil villain character, Mrs. Redeyeness still has two  mean daughters.
The fairy godmother has been replaced by the Auntie of the Starlight, and her transforming of Ebony from the kitchen to the parade, mirrors Cinderella, even as it creates humour at what is different. Ebony it seems, remembers the Cinderella story,  and wonders if the steps to her transformation will be the same. ( I love to do this by way of showing that the old folktales can make links with our stories today. I did it in Cordelia Finds Fame and Fortune, but just a mention.) So back to Ebony.

“Oh, Auntie of the Starlight, thank you, thank you!” she cried. “But are you sure I can walk in glass slippers?”  

“They aren’t glass, chile. Everybody knows glass would break,” said the Auntie of the Starlight. “I don’t know where you get that idea of glass slippers. Pure foolishness! They are plastic.” 

“Oh,” said Ebony, “I thought I heard it in a story. So should I have a coach made from a pumpkin? Or maybe not. . .” 

“A coach! No! What would you do with a coach? If you wished for a car. . .  but you didn’t,” said the Auntie of the Starlight. “So run, chile! Run and catch the parade before it pass.”  

The prince is not a prince, but the son of the owner of a spice factory called the Spice Kingdom,  therefore  prince-like as far as the people in the district are concerned. 

 Symbolism and Character in the Story:
Ebony is an orphan in a children’s home. This beginning has never been auspicious for anyone anywhere. Ebony rightly concludes she has no future. This is what she has to overcome in the story,  if she can.  I clearly describe Ebony’s physical  appearance and hair (that which we do not wish to mention) as  celebration of the African part of us.
Mrs. Redeyeness: the fact that she is not related to Ebony by marriage makes her behaviour all the more dreadful. The term ‘red eye’ refers to someone who is envious, grudgeful, jealous and has pure 'bad mind'.  She so dislikes  the fact that Ebony has grown into a lovely woman and that she is genuinely a sweet person, that she goes out of her way to be unkind to her, by inviting her into her home to become a drudge.  See how Mrs. Redeyeness  rejoices as Ebony’s  beauty seems to fade under all the hard work she has to do:

 “Ebony will just look like a poor bedraggled butterfly.” Every time she thought of it, she laughed, “Ha ha! Ha ha! A bedraggled butterfly! Ha ha! Ha ha! A bedraggled butterfly!”

Auntie of the Starlight: we first see her in the Christmas story I wrote light years ago, which I usually put on my blog ever Christmas. I developed her in place of the traditional fairy godmother. Auntie is a term of respect here, and I love starlights, such excitement when I was a child.  Such magic. Perhaps she is also partly the wise old woman who features in our stories, mine included, the mother-female/the grandmother-female.

The song sung by the Auntie of the Starlight, celebrates our trees, links to the fact that Ebony’s name is that of a tree, and so perhaps that allows for extra magic; who knows? for additional help for this daughter of the island, daughter being a respectful term for a  young  woman. Perhaps I got the term from Rastafarian speech. I don’t know. Things seep into the psyche and reappear in stories.

The spices celebrate our spices, that I think we could really develop and access niche markets.

Alfred ‘the prince’ is noble and handsome and good, and sees who Ebony really is. He will respect her, we know. That is very important. His character rather than his position, indicates why Ebony could love him.

Plot: Aha! By the time I’d got to the part where Alfred  has done his ‘some day my prince will come’, asking for Ebony’s hand in marriage, and then Mrs. Redeyeness and daughters cling to Ebony, declaring their love and need for her, and Ebony is wondering if they really love her after all, and maybe she shouldn't leave them, I was pretty fed up with the ‘too-good’ Ebony.  She redeemed  herself in my eyes, however, by working at the spice factory, gaining shares in the spice factory as part of her wedding settlement, along with the ring. Mercenary? Not at all. Modern little girls need to know that a certain amount of security is important, especially when they work for it. In addition, she brought other girls from the orphanage to work there and was training others to do so. Female empowerment, sisterhood, and yes, girls from children’s homes can have a future if they can work for it - independence.
After that Ebony deserves the wonderful wedding with dancing to reggae and soca. ( a nod to the ‘Caribbeanness’ of us all) and in describing  the dancing, I chose words which to me give exactly that feeling, that movement of the feet and body.  . . . sway, sway, sway, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle  yo, yo yo . . . I hope that they succeeded.
There is no ‘happily ever after’  statement (which has fooled up all us females, all our lives) except that which Ebony can make with her life. “And Ebony realized that she had a bright future after all, and she smiled to think how happy she was.”  

Many of the old-time fairy tales/folktales were morality tales of a sort, warning tales, even if today they have been so sanitized and changed  that we have forgotten whatever that was about. Does Ebony and the Auntie of the Starlight have any  of these elements? Yes, although I did not set out for it to be so. I think that 1) the message (especially for ‘sweet people’) is do not let people take advantage of you, under the guise of love and affection, and 2) stand on your own two feet even when you think your prince has come.
The  main purpose of the story is enjoyment, the creation of our own Cinderella facing one of our possible realities.  Children know the original Cinderella story and so I hope they will also enjoy these differences, and claim this as their own. One does not expect them to understand the symbolism, but for our present-day girls, I hope the modern twist resonates with them as they are growing up.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Despatches: from the year of putting my children's books on Amazon as e-books

Here is the cover of my new children's e-book. Gorgeous illustration by Rachel (Wade) Moss, eh. Magical, as a friend said.

Yes, we are still working to get it up by Independence. Ebony goes to an Independence Day Parade instead of a ball. This will be a delightful present for any little child, especially your little relatives overseas.

 I'll let you know when it's available.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Despatches: from the year of putting my children's books on Amazon as e-books

My last post told the story of Cordelia Finds Fame and Fortune, now on Amazon. What is fascinating is that I remember the days, not that long ago, when some of us would sit around at authors' meetings asking each other, ‘Do you know how  you get a book onto Amazon? in awestruck tones, as if it were the promised land. We would send out scouts to find a way (assign it to someone to investigate). Well it is not the promised land. However, we are way past wondering. I have a friend who can do it for me. How wonderful is that, and how quickly technology has moved that mere mortals can now access this place.  So from time to time my posts will tell you about  the latest book I have put on Amazon.

Remember what my plan is: to put as many of my books on Amazon as I can, between those that were published under the auspices of the Children’s Writers Circle, self published (one), and done by other publishers where the copyright has reverted to me. It’s a place for them to be since I can't afford to reprint them. I just discovered that others are doing this in other countries, so I am not alone.  Oh yes, I’d love  my books to sell,  love to make lots of money (sound of hysterical laughter), be discovered by MGM lounging on Amazon while drinking a soda, or more appropriately,  coconut water from the shell. Ok, hush my children, you have to be from our vintage to understand. Hint: in the olden days in Hollywood, starlets  were discovered . . .

The next/latest book is in fact a new story. It’s called Ebony and the Auntie of the Starlight, a Caribbean Cinderella. So yes, it is a sort of kind of version of Cinderella.  Ebony is, however, abandoned, no one knows who she is.

"Once upon a time in an island with deep green forests and rushing rivers and waterfalls, there was a little girl, called Ebony. Ebony lived in a children’s home, which is like an orphanage, called Ebony House,  in the district of Spice Mountain. Ebony had lived there from she was a baby. Nobody knew how she came to be there. Nobody even knew her real name. That’s why she was called Ebony, after the name of the home.
Ebony had one possession, and that was a tortoiseshell hair clip.  Perhaps it could have been a clue to who Ebony was, but nobody knew anything about the tortoiseshell clip either."

Ebony has a bit of a hard time from  some real 'bad-mind' people who pretend to befriend her , taking her out of the children's home (led by Mrs. Redeyeness  - you know how she stay, right), using wood stove, coal pot and sad iron (because of high electric bills it seems) . . . Does her prince come along? Well yes, he does, ‘some day my prince will come’ and all that. And in the end Ebony becomes a modern miss with some modern ideas.

The artwork! Oh the artwork! It is gorgeous! It’s done by artist, Rachel Wade. I just  love her work and you will too.


The plan is to have it available by Independence as that’s when Ebony meets Alfred, at the big Independence parade. I’ll keep sending you despatches.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Can Cordelia find fame and fortune again - as an e-book?


The story of Cordelia Finds Fame and Fortune:
There are people who will swear that Cordelia Finds Fame and Fortune is the best book I’ve ever written. One person says to me after each of my books comes out, 'I like it, but it’s not Cordelia’. Cordelia, is admittedly, without being too modest, a really good book. It was first published by Heinemann Caribbean in 1990, along with other children’s books. It won the Book Industry Association of Jamaica's best children’s book award. In 1994 it was chosen by Harcourt Brace in the USA to be part of a collection for school libraries in the USA, called Passports, and appeared in a gorgeous hardcover edition. This was a publisher to publisher agreement, so no, I did not get rich. That version was translated into serious Standard English. The original was in English anyway, with just a hint of Creole structures (except for the folksong, which after all, is a folksong). In their version it was interesting to see that the folk song, ‘Cordelia Brown whe mek yu head so red?’, became ‘Cordelia why is your hair so red?’ Oh, my goodness! Nonetheless, it was pretty cool to have an American edition,( which it seems can now be found on Amazon without its cover?)

Possible symbolism/meaning in Cordelia Finds Fame and Fortune
 Many of my children’s books contain a bit of a folksong or reference to a folksong. This is because I want our children to recapture the magic of the folksongs I loved as a child; to preserve our culture. ‘Cordelia Brown whe mek yu head so red?’ is one of my favourite folksongs. 

 Even when we do not plan it, there is meaning. Stories come out the author’s reality and often may be related to the time in which they are written. Cordelia is being teased, gets the idea of leaving home for fame and fortune from Puss in Boots, (although that story is not called by name), in the hope that once she has achieved success, no one will tease her anymore.

 Cordelia reflects the time when people were leaving or had left, and I wanted to reclaim the idea that fame and fortune need not be found only abroad, or in ‘foreign’, as we say. This is not in any way to diminish the reasons for that migration, nor negate the fact that Jamaicans have always migrated, and can be found  all over the world. But perhaps at that time I may have realized that that migration might have lasting effects for our country. Family and friends left and were missed. Cordelia, then becomes the magical link for us all, even when we cannot change the way things are.
 The old lady she meets has been all over the world looking for fame and fortune. She lists the countries, Cayman, Panama, etc. This  reflects the Jamaican higglers (traders), mainly women, who were then going all over the region/world and bringing back goods to sell. These were/are intrepid travelers, many of whom, to their credit, made enough money to create a new life for their families and themselves.
One day at a workshop someone said to me, ‘This story is about your younger daughter, isn’t it?’ I felt as if  I’d been punched in the stomach. That’s when you know a nerve has been touched. I was in shock! I had always said to prospective writers in workshops, ‘Know yourself, know your passions, etc.  because it will come out in your writing’. And yet, I had had no idea. No idea at all. My younger daughter, with light brown hair, lighter hair than her sister or any of our immediate family, was being teased.  In an ex-colonial territory, swept up in that moment of ‘let’s be against anything that remotely reminded us of the past’, that was enough.  She would weep over being teased at school. And we could do nothing about that. You just have to learn to deal with that sort of thing.  And she did, eventually, just as Cordelia finds she can. I had no idea that it hurt me so much! So Cordelia is the flag bearer for all children who have been teased for whatever reason.
I was invited to the Miami Book Fair  to be part of its Student’s Encounter Programme and read Cordelia in a number of schools, where she was well received, and we sang ‘Cordleia Brown whe mek yu head so red?’ exactly as it is. ( I can’t sing, but it seldom matters in situations like this). Cordelia went on to have many reprints here in Jamaica, even when the publisher went out of business and the copyright reverted to me. However, the thing about printing is that you have to be pretty sure that you can sell most of your print run if you are to make back the money you put out. Bookstores usually ask for 6 or 12 copies maximum, at a time, which  cannot a print run make. If you go through a distributor, which solves all your distribution challenges, it’s 50% right away (overseas, I think it may be even more). So we are caught in a spiral or vicious circle of economies of scale - small print runs, therefore high print costs and selling prices higher than overseas books, small disposable income amongst the buying public. Gone are the days when the libraries would take enough copies for all their outlets – they have no money. And now with a falling dollar, everything is tight, tight!  But how could I just let Cordelia wither away into nothingness.

Some of us had put books on Amazon. I had put on a collection of adult short stories, just to see what happened. Nothing much has, except for some lovely reviews, for which I’m very pleased.  In spite of that, I was playing around with the idea of putting a new children’s book on Amazon since one of the effects of Amazon, as we all know, has been the challenge to bookstores and publishers. But I was stuck in my mind, stuck in this massive change that has overtaken books and publishing, like a deer caught in the headlights, as they say; or perhaps in the Caribbean, like a crab crossing the road with car lights bearing down on it. Will it reach the other side? Then one day, my friend, Hazel Campbell said, ‘Why don’t you give me Cordelia and let me try to put it on Amazon?’ I was astounded! I had not thought of that. ‘You think you can do that?’ I said. ‘I’m going to try,’ was her reply. And so she did! And that’s how Cordelia is on Amazon.  I had the flash drive with Cordelia for about a week before I uploaded it. Fraid like what! Afraid of what? Oh please, it’s technology! And I view technology like I did Math at school. What you know, do; do not venture into the unknown.

And now Cordelia Finds Fame and Fortune has a new life. I have received many good wishes and one great review. (Thank you, thank you!) I have not fooled myself into believing that I’m going to make money from this book on Amazon. But I think you will agree with me after reading Cordelia's story, that she must be located somewhere, where those who want her, the 'one-one' copies, can find her. Of course, I’ll be using her as a test case for others to follow (books and other writers also).  I think I’ve decided to put as many of my books as I can, where they can be found. And who knows, if we all have enough books on Amazon from the Caribbean, they might see us in this enormous ocean of books.

Marketing is,  of  course, the challenge! I put the info on Facebook,  and I sent it also to all the people in my address book, and felt somewhat embarrassed, because you really should not promote yourself  to your friends and acquaintances in our Caribbean world. So 'boldface'! (One step from being out of order). So I have not solved the marketing aspect of the whole Amazon business. Therefore,  maybe it will really just be a place for my books  to be. We’ll see.



Saturday, June 14, 2014

Despatches: Memories of Calabash, 2014


Calabash was, as usual, a feast of emotions. You come away from Calabash full of writing and determined to write, even if you don’t. But yes, I have, in spite of my Capricorn spirit which insists that work should be completed before everything else.

The last time we had Calabash and I did my blog on it, I focused on things said that I thought could be applicable to children’s literature. This time I think I’ll just share what moved me, what contributed to that gorgeous feeling of fullness to overflowing. And I must declare that regretfully, I only stayed one day – Saturday.

Because I so admire the craft of writing and writers, just being in their presence can make me joyous. (Yes, I know I’m one too, but I don’t seem quite mysterious enough to myself). So to hear and see Mervyn Morris - our poet laureate - and Velma Pollard, although I know them personally, is still a delight for me. Hearing Zaidie Smith -  a feast of words. I love the voice in her work, the voice in her voice.

In the following, if anything is a direct quote, it would purely be by chance. Consider everything reported speech, and anything not quite right, my fault, and not that of the writer to whom the comment is ascribed.

Christopher Farley read from an adult work as well as from his YA novel. I don’t know if this means that YA has made a transition to Calabash. Probably not. We’ll see. He said kids need to see books with children of colour. We’ve been saying this for so long, and yet . . .

Karen Lord from Barbados pointed out that ‘choices lead to change and opportunity, and are the cutting edge of chaos, but even chaos cannot overcome choices’.  Fascinating! I’m still thinking that through. It’s as if this should after all be quite obvious, and yet there are depths still to be fully understood - implications.

In the interview with Salman Rushdie he spoke of  ‘fiction as a journey to the truth’;  ‘man as a story telling animal;  helping us to understand what sort of creatures we are’. And then I remembered our own Derek Walcott saying at another Calabash that  'in the Caribbean we still tell stories, which is what the human heart craves'.

What is it about Calabash? It is in itself magical; the venue combined with the auras of the people? No, I don’t think  it’s the camaraderie, although that is certainly there. It’s a quietness, a resting; even with the music drumming and throbbing into you, it’s quiet and restful. The sea, the breezes at Treasure Beach? Ah the sea! Perhaps that is it. Just writing about it brings back the desire to write, to create.

So this is a short post. Perhaps the effect of  football World Cup.
And now I’m back at Calabash and I’m just going to upload my photos. Perhaps I should take way from Calabash that work does not have to come before everything else. About time!