At last I'm writing a blog. I've been aching to do it. I have not written one in ages, even wondering if there is any point. But perhaps one needs to believe that there is a purpose. Maybe this is one of the characteristics of faith. In the time that I've not written, so many, many things have happened in the world that would cause us to lose some aspect of faith. And yet if we give in, then it will truly be all over. And in spite of lockdown, with all that time to write, many of us have not written. I think we are just overwhelmed. If you have written please tell us your secret.
I hope you can find this blog. Between my old blog address and the computer being determined to give me a new blog location, I'm not sure what will happen One of the things that technology does to you whether you want it or not. Yes, you can ask for help, but they are all robots so there is no recourse.
The posting below is just to remind us that we missed Calabash this year. It's clearly a long time since I've been but this post helps me, and hopefully you, to recall the joy of being with other creatives.
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.
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 then) 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 is my fault, and not that of the writer to whom the comment is ascribed.
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. ( September 2020 comment: I have to look at that again, investigate it; turn it this way and that, especially at this time of chaos. There is a story here.)
The interview with Salman Rushdie was a surprise for me. I had no idea that he had as many interests outside of what we might consider writers are interested in – whatever that might be. Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley, a part of his past, his youth, like ours, others all over the world. I liked his statement ‘that fiction is a journey to the truth’, I liked that in his writing he has tried ‘to look at where private lives intersect with history’, my favourite type of story, ‘man is a story telling animal; helping us to understand what sort of creatures we are’, with reference to Toni Morrison, ‘magical realism is another way of telling the truth’.
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, it’s quiet and restful (perhaps the genetic memories of the ancestors). The sea, the breezes? Ah the sea! Perhaps that is it. Just writing about it brings back the desire to write, to create.
From a 2019 post: I heard both Olive Senior and Lorna Goodison, at Talking Trees, 2019. Two of my favourite authors at the same literary Festival. My cup overflowed.
Ann Margaret Lim was also there: a powerful performance: I was fascinated by her reference to her Chinese grandparent(s). We are indeed an island of Out of Many, One People, in spite of some wanting to change our motto. I would say to those who want to change the motto: Never judge others. You do not know what is in their hearts, what they hold dear. Do not attempt to erase other people’s ancestors. They are not yours to erase. For myself: All the people who went up into the making of me, I value; I celebrate the me that has survived throughout history. You know I feel strongly about this, don't you? I can be quite a little warrior. And now I have a beautiful new granddaughter (one year +) and she is part Chinese, and I am in love with her. Don't ever fool with me guys when it comes to our motto and who it represents. Sorry, clearly I've been under lockdown too long.
Photo: Velma Pollard, Ann Margaret Lim, Raymond Mair at Bookophilia
(Change of font size in body text one of the mysteries of technology)