Thursday, August 12, 2010

My books/stories: Key to a history of publishing? Could be!

Well, first thing: the last post, dated Aug. 9, was actually completed today, Aug 12. Forgot to work on that date. The whole process is a new thing for me, you know, man!

So I've quickly taken the opportunity to share a few things. I think the list of my books/stories shows how challenging publishing has been and still can be in the Caribbean. We can see that:

1.We writers have to grasp all opportunities to have our stories published. We have to write, don't we! You guys, know that we simply have to write.

2. We'd like to share these stories with all our children; another reason for grasping all opportunities for publishing. We believe passionately that all our children must 'see themselves in books'. Yes, I know we also have to eat, so that's why we never give up our 'day jobs'.

3. Some of the groups publishing/publishing houses at one time, are no longer around. However the good thing is that some valiantly carried on for some time. The Children's Writers Circle is one of those; a group of authors who worked together to encourage all of us writers, and with editors from the group, and sponsorship from the private sector, published for quite a while. Some even wrote plays/pantomimes which were produced. Lord, we sound ancient, eh!

4. Although this aspect sometimes gets people very heated about who should play the role of publisher, the Ministry of Education should also be noted as giving many of us our start, then, (and also now, by the way!), and because they give the books free to government primary schools, made it possible for a whole generation of children to get to 'know themselves' in books.

When I first worked on a Ministry of Education project in the 1980's and went into schools, the children were convinced that all writers were 'foreigners and/or dead'. What do they think in 2010? Have to check that out and tell you.

So fast forward, I went to a recent seminar where a foreign publisher gave an interesting session explaining opportunities for suitable local material to be taken up by her company, as in perhaps some of the material may be able to travel. Perhaps some of them will. Who knows. Technology and all that! And I think some of the multi-media productions might indeed cross over. Anyway, that's merely the setting for the following:

I'm talking with a talented young artist who worked with me on a recent project. He introduces me to another young talented artist, and says, "You remember those books we read in school long ago. Well she is the writer."

Yes man! I hear the 'long ago' bouncing through my brain like shock waves. (And it was long ago, in truth.) However, I was very gracious, and I trust that I behaved in a suitably modest way while also claiming the 'respect due elders' sort of thing. Anyway the young man appeared impressed, I think. Not sure if it was proof that all writers are not 'foreign nor dead', or he actually remembered the most memorable stories.

Giving thanks all the time.

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