Sunday, February 23, 2014

Despatches: More painting, running a writing workshop for children and a guest blog

Quite a lot has been happening really. I completed two more of my paintings of illustrations for Things I Like. I really like the one in the bedroom at night with the light from the moon on the curtain. The one eating . . . Hmm. I think maybe I’m running out of inspiration. Interestingly enough though, I found the artist after all these years (1984) and he has seen my paintings on my blog and thinks I have some talent. I’m very pleased. Mind you, he hasn’t seen the breakfast one yet.

So why I was distracted  from my painting? Here are the reasons.
First, Brown Bookshelf, a group of African American writers who seek to promote  the work of black writers  and illustrators of children’s books,  asked me to write a blog about my journey in writing,  publishing, and  the back story to a recent publication. I am, of course, honoured that they asked me. Although I’m not an American, they also select people from the Caribbean and the UK . They are highlighting a different person for each of the 28 days of Black History Month. My blog came out on February 19. For the full text please see the link:

I hope that this exposure will help us to form links in the USA, and might I say, bring our Caribbean books to their notice. I know it’s a dream. But who knows, eh? I didn’t know that this group would contact me.  So you just never know. We go forward in good faith, making links with one another on our journey.

Very interesting also, I was asked to facilitate a writing workshop for children by the Observer newspaper. It’s their Learning Corner Junior Writers’ Club. We had our first workshop last week Saturday. There are 8 children around age 10, selected from both government primary and private prep. schools. They are so keen, keen to write and to read. When we had break for snacks or for lunch, they could be seen reading the books I’d brought with me while waiting for the next session to begin. I’d forgotten what it was like to be a child and to read books in recess.  I am delighted to be working with these children. I’m very pleased that the other sponsor, National Baking Company has joined with the Observer for this initiative. Stories written by the children will be published in the Jamaica Observer’s Learning Corner.

One of the most wonderful things is to be still open to learning. What have I learnt so far? I have learnt yet again that this gift for writing is a gift to be shared over and over again as much as possible, and that children, each generation comes fresh to the excitement of the world; they are not jaded by the mistakes made by previous generations. Everything is new again and it is a blessing to be able to help with this newness. What else have I learnt? This idea for the workshops/club came about because one little girl wrote in suggesting it, and one of the facilitators  at the Observer thought it was a good idea, and the rest, as they say, is history. This little girl is taking part in the workshop. And we grown-ups sometimes think that it’s a waste of time sharing ideas because now one will pay us any mind. Let us never forget the power of one (this little girl), which can lead us to two, and three, and . . . I’ve learnt this anew.


  1. Diane, Please alert us when these stories are published in the Observer. Thanks.

  2. Hi Helen
    The first ones were published in the Observer this week. Keep looking out for them.