It was an Orange Day


Thanks to Arts. Culture. Antigua, who organized the event with the Directorate of Gender Affairs for Antigua and Barbuda and Intersect, for the image.

I want to thank the organizers of the Orange Day rally against gender violence (held in Antigua and Barbuda on November 25th 2015) for inviting me to participate. And I’d like to share with you, readers of the blog, a bit of what I read.

An excerpt from the excerpt of Genevieve (which can be found fully in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings):

With the music up loud she doesn’t even notice the beat up pick-up until it swerves in to her as though it means to hit her.  She hops out of its path, tugging the bud of the ipod from one of her ears. She opens her mouth to give the driver a piece of her mind then pauses. She feels like she should know his face from somewhere, but she can’t place it.

The man, having brought the pick-up to a stop at an angle in front of her, looks her up and down in an overly familiar way, lingering on the juiciest parts of her, before saying mildly, “You ah buss wid fat.”

Her body jerks, as though hit.

She kind of just stands there, staring at him, and maybe he thinks she doesn’t hear him, because he repeats it, “You ah buss wid fat. Na put on no more.” He laughs then and drives off.

She’s standing there, at the crest of Garvey Hill, tears stinging her eyes, when it hits her, who he is.”


Pausing there, you’ll have to buy the book and read the story for the who.
And here’s an excerpt from Corporal Punishment (which I read in full and which can be found in full in Womanspeak – the 2013 edition)

“I remember
It rocked us
Like a wave
At Fort James
In hurricane season
Only it was night and
Early summer still
And it came
Without warning
Her body crashing
Against the glass

I remember
It broke up our talk
But the window didn’t break”

And now for some important information (from the 16 Days of Activism Domestic Violence Information manual by Intersect in Collaboration with the Directorate of Gender Affairs) – this is specific to Antigua and Barbuda and yet not as this is a problem everywhere:

“Domestic Violence is the abuse of an individual that is perpetrated by another in an intimate setting for the purpose of power and control. It is usually a systematic pattern of abuse that can occur in any relationship dynamic.

(A human rights reports on Antigua and Barbuda) noted that domestic violence is a serious problem in the country…the human rights report also noted that many victims are reluctant to testify against their abusers for fear of retaliation and social stigma. Women are disproportionately affected by domestic violence in Antigua and Barbuda”

For abuse survivors of any gender, they note that there is a referral system in place at the Directorate of Gender Affairs where counselors can be made available; and that the Crisis Centre can be reached via the DoGA hotline – 463-5555.

I will end only by saying, be an advocate against domestic violence wherever you are.

For more images and information from the rally and the full 16 Days of Activism programme for Antigua and Barbuda, check my other blog.

DBS Takes Flight

I have to add my sister to people out here stepping off of limbs and freefalling, hoping to fly – i.e. out here doing their own thing professionally. As a freelance writer these many years, I know from experience it’s not easy to make that leap from safety, security, certainty to one risk after another. But I also know that those moments when you catch the wind, or even when it hits you that you’re still flying, though scratched and wind-burned, and tiiirrrred, can be exhilarating. So, welcome, Dianne Hillhouse of DBS:

Sophia at her birthday lunch at non such bay

DBS is Dianne’s Brokerage Services – Herbert’s Estate, P.O. Box W187, St. John’s, Antigua, W. I. – (268) 720 DIAN(3426) – –


I’ve provided some writing-and-editing services to DBS (“I know you’re busy but that thing I’m not paying you to do, I need it today!”) so I thought we’d do a bit of cross-promotion – an honest review from her for my performance review page (because the word of mouth of a satisfied client is still the best recommendation) and an interview from me right here (because what good is a platform if you can’t share it with fam?) Okay, so shameless plug alert and what-not but I do think there are insights here which may be of value to others thinking of taking the leap – as artiste or entrepreneur or some hybrid of the two; plus read to the end and you’ll get to read what my sister who doesn’t give compliments lightly (because little sisters must not get above themselves, probably) had to say about my services.

Me: Tell me about your business?

S: Dianne’s Brokerage Services is first and foremost a customs brokerage business but our aim is to offer general services, giving our clients that concierge type effect.  Presently, we offer brokerage services, procurement services, vehicle licensing services ( For those persons who are too busy to do so), shipping logistics, and administrative services. One area I would love to venture into is consolidated shipping – giving our clients that option to purchase within the US and landing it at their door for a favourable cost.

Me:  What makes you uniquely qualified to do what you’re doing now?

S: For the past 18 years I worked as a coordinator at Raeburn’s Generator Services; my job included customer service, administrative management, procurement, customs brokerage, accounting (book keeping, inventory control, cost accounting) -bottom line ensuring that  our clients had that personalized touch in all facets of the  business.

Me: What took you so long? and how’s it going?

S: What took me so long… I must laugh because I entered a business which is now so saturated with brokers, but I guess its my time now.  I think in a way i was forced into doing something for me but I embrace it.  Business is slow and that is based on the economy, but I am getting business and what I aim to do is make all my clients satisfied; this way they will refer me to their friends and associates.  Recently, I got a client from the US and upon completion of my service to him his words were “You made this process very smooth — I appreciate the attention to detail and the thoroughness of your service.” Thanks Michael Henry Events for your kind words.

Me: Finish this sentence…anyone thinking of becoming an entrepreneur should…

S: Study the market, but bottom line it has to be a venture you would be happy doing.  I chose brokerage because it was an area I knew I was good at but it also encompassed other fields I wanted to venture into – shipping and procurement.

Me: You used my writing and editing services in creating the communication and marketing items for your new venture… was it good for you? Would you recommend this service to other start-ups…if so, why?

S: Yes, it was definitely good for me.  Your skills as a writer and editor helps to bring across the positiveness in words.  Any business needs marketing and marketing is built on words- words that someone who is not trained may not be able to bring across to the populist in the right way; hence the use of your services.  Jhohadli! Which represents Joanne from Wadadli says a lot and your devotion to writing from a tender age tells me there is no other person qualified enough to bring those words on my flyer to life.

Thanks, S. And good luck and good effort and success cyaarn dun with DBS!

Zombie Apocalypse 268 Flash Fiction Challenge

Originally posted on Random_Michelle:

The Apocalypse is here! The Zombie Apocalypse, that is.

Zombie in Paradise
Weave a tale within the setting, anywhere along the time line whether it’s at the very beginning, at the dystopian middle or the gory end. Your choice, your view. Be adventurous, be creative, be unconventional. Tell us what cooking is like with the walking dead. Or the stress of finding a good guy whilst fighting for your life in 1000 words or less

Blogger? Link back (place the following links in your post) &


Deadline for entries November 20th 2015

For more details
Call/whatsapp: 268-722-2932

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If at first you succeed…try again

It’s a bitter-sweet feeling to have to close certain chapters, even if the book as a whole remains open. There’s a story of mine which like so many stories of mine has taken a circuitous route to publication. This story was initially submitted to and rejected for an international story prize. It was subsequently short listed for another. I did some intensive therapy (read: extensive workshopping) on it, which took a long while, and some back and forth with a writing partner I’d met at said workshop. Then years after the original birth of the story but still believing in it, I decided to include it as an original piece in a collection of my published and unpublished short stories. And as fate or murphy or whomever would have it, just as I’d signed with a publisher for that collection, a process which took upwards of a year – finding a publisher, negotiations, yada yada yada – I get an offer of publication of this same story from a journal I’d long tried and failed to get into. Because God has a sense of humour like that. I was torn. I was like that dog with the bone in his mouth and the reflection of the bone in the water, wanting both. I kept the lines of communication open with the journal, hopeful that if we could just time it right, it would be doable; but fearful really that having waited so long to be tapped by then, I would never again produce anything deemed worthy of publication – assuming I worked up the nerve to resubmit and risk a return to rejection after this bit of acceptance. That worthiness issue rearing its damn puss-y head again. Eventually the fact that the rights of the story were no longer up for grabs settled it and I had to let go of that opportunity, and accept that yeah maybe I may never again be tapped. But meantime, the story went on to be published in my collection, and, assuming people buy said publication, people would get to read it. This was a good thing. So why was I feeling wistful about the one that got away?

In the end, though, there was nothing to be done as far as the journal went but what I do when rejected. Pick myself up and try again. Pep talk it. Glass is half full, I was accepted for publication by a journal I had to skin my knees and scraarpp up my hands to get into. The story was accepted. Don’t turn a double acceptance into a rejection because you can’t have the bone in your mouth and the bone in the water at the same time. Don’t be that stupid dog. Want all get none.  Celebrate what you have, a publication bearing not a single story but a collection of stories bearing your name…and, as for what you had to let go of, to reference Aaliyah “…if at first you don’t succeed, dust your self off and try again.”

Yep, this bit of baring of the soul of the writer journeying is ‘sponsored’ by “try again”…and not just because it’s a good excuse to pay one of my favourite Aaliyah videos.

Post note: the starring story  in this post is called Genevieve, short listed for the 2012 Small Axe prize, workshopped at the Callaloo Writers workshop at Brown Univerisity, and now at home in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings.

Dancing 10 cover
You can read a sample here.

“It’s giving them a little bit of Antigua”

Earlier this year, I did an interview with a Swedish producer. It was a TV interview which I understood was going to air on Swedish public television, so I was a bit surprised to find this audio version online but the producer informs me that this is just a little something extra…the TV interview debuts in November. It doesn’t always go well…these interviews…but I remember I enjoyed chatting with her so I’m glad she found enough to use for the main programme and…apparently…and then some. Click and have a listen.