5 Things I liked about the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of the Caribbean Beat (because apparently I can’t read anymore without taking notes)
1. The article on Neila Ebanks was easily my favourite read. Wish I could see her dance. If I had to pick one or two things from the article that stayed with me…one would be the story of how she started dancing. Painfully pigeon toed as a child, when American doctors suggested to her mom that they break and re-set her leg bones, the Jamaican doctor suggested she take up dance instead “to re-orient her legs.” How cool is it that a less invasive approach opened up a whole new world? “Every time I dance,” she said, “I have to give thanks for the act of dance because it changed my body.” I knew the arts were good mental and spiritual therapy and as her story proves it can be good physical therapy. Then there’s also the part of the story where, while studying at the UWI, she had an epiphany “I decided I don’t want to do this I want to dance” – its’ a scary and yet exhilarating thing for a Caribbean artist especially to realize that because everything about our environment tells us that while art is life it is no way to make a living. I can relate to this struggle and the realization that follows it as a writer, right around my UWI years too.
Neila Ebanks talking dance on youtube
2. I’ve never met Shakirah Bourne but I’ve read and enjoyed her writing and via her blog and social media posts her spirit as well. That comes through in her Caribbean Beat feature. You’ve got to read the whole thing but the part that stuck with me was how clearly definitive she is about her writing (wish I had that level of clarity); and the part that speaks to the Caribbean perspective,the importance of that perspective in Caribbean literature – why it matters: “Art should never be restricted. All I ask is that our stories be ours. If we don’t tell them, who will? It is important for Caribbean people to have characters that reflect their identity and culture.” I agree with this 100 and 1000 percent and reflect it in everything from my own writing to the mission of Wadadli Pen. “I want that when an audience hears or reads my story, they hear my Caribbean voice.” Exactly!
Shakirah’s Tedx talk
3. “Carnival is one of the few times we let down our masks more than we put them on.” – This is one of the quotes from Fédon Honoré in the Midnight Robber article; interesting article and a revealing insight.
4. The new poems by Kei Miller – I liked his book (Fear of Stones) and really liked the way he manipulates words in these poems and the sharp bite of lines like “Here, landmarks shift;/they become unfixed/by earthquake/by landslide/by utter spite” and the built in humour of lines like “the long and short/to Three Miles, Six Miles, Nine Miles, Eleven Miles, whose distances, incidentally are unrelated”. Really need to read more of his stuff. Read the full poems here. And see Kei read from the collection of which these poems are a part while it was still a collection-in-progress
5. And how much do I love it whenever a little Antigua and Barbuda gets in (not as often as I’d like)– read my article Need for Speed about female drag racers in Antigua and Barbuda.