Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Signing, Stories and Laughing at Devon House

I have had the hardest time trying to get the follow-up to my last post posted. Unbelievable technical challenges, which may stem from my ignorance of the intricacies of the technology. In ordinary language that could mean I did something to the computer. However we all know that the computer has a mind of its own and any time you 'cross' it (as old-time people would say, 'Doan mek fool and crawse me.' or 'If yu tink yu bad, crawse me.' - I'm still not sure of the spelling of 'crawse' but I can hear it now. It's a word that is powerful, carrying with it an abundance of doom. ) you're in big trouble. And you may not even know how you crossed it.

So instead I'll mention our 'sitting and signing' at Things Jamaican at Devon House. Things Jamaican is a fantastic craft shop with all things Jamaican. Devon House is a beautiful 19th century 'Great House', built in 1881 by George Stiebel 'a coloured Jamaican wheelwright who became a millionaire through gold mining in South America'. (Olive Senior, Encyclopedia of Jamaican Heritage, Twin Guinep Publishers, 2003, p.152). I love old houses and I wish we could restore the other fantastic ones that exist, smaller than this, but beautiful, each in their own right. A lot of these can be found in Allman Town and Kingston Gardens, where they fall bit by bit into sad abandon. That's one of the reasons I wrote the story Louisa Jane and the Street of Fine Old houses (in Every Little Thing Will Be All Right, Carlong Publishers, 2003).

So that's another thing I do in my stories, try to capture visible aspects of our culture that are fast disappearing.

But back to Devon House. The gardens are beautiful; leafy waving plants in greens of all shades, exotic looking vines and gazebos, flowers both vibrant and soft; the best ice cream anywhere, cakes, bread pudding, other pastries, patties, and an entire chocolate shop. It's clear where my love lies.

So the brain child of Veronica Carnegie (The Tie Came Back), Veronica, Hazel Campbell ( Bernie and the Captain's Ghost), and I (The Ring and the Roaring Water) went to sit and sign our books, and talk to people about our writing. It went quite well. The main thing is that unlike similar occasions where you sit by yourself, alternating between pretending not to care if not a soul comes near you, and trying to silently will at least one passer-by 'to tek shame out a yu eye', we had each other to talk to, and that led to lots of stories and laughter. Laughter always attracts people. Also I think they don't feel they have to buy (to tek shame out a we eye) since it's more than one person, and so they do buy. We said we might do it again. We'll let you know.

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