In 2021, Andre W. became my first intern. I did work with one back in 2017 when former finalist Michaela H. interned with the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize of which I am coordinator. But I was more hesitant to take on someone in my personal capacity. As it happens, Andre is also a former Wadadli Pen finalist (2018, 2020, 2021) and it was in that space that I believe I mentioned taking on an intern and Andre emailed me expressing interest as early as 2020. It’s a testament to many things, including my uncertainty, that we didn’t meet up to discuss it until summer 2021, thanks to follow ups from Andre who was keen on the role. We’ve worked together for the past year, and the internship has just come to an end; my last assignment was to invite Andre to reflect on his experience of what we call our menternship. I’ll share some of his response:
“[Our] initial meeting gave the sense of you initially feeling me out and allowing me to express my expectations of the opportunity… It felt more like a mutual agreement than a job interview.
“Communication…wasn’t consistent on both ends but at the same time I didn’t find it lacking per-say…I liked that you gave reasonable space …[If] You needed me to do something, I did it; [if] you saw an opportunity, you did your role as a mentor and passed it on…I was able to see what it was like to be a writer and some of the steps/negotiations that would take place …[Our interaction was] straightforward with reasonable pressures and expectation….It happened when it happened and when it hadn’t for a while you would check in…We made it work.”
During the internship, he said, he won his first regional award, received “a constant stream of writing opportunities – some which I actually took advantage of”, got some “business insights that I would need in the event of publishing my own books”; and, he concluded,
“I got out of it what I put in and then some.”
He said, “Overall this mentorship experience changed my writing perceptions for the better and made me understand the author’s world.”
& yes, the menternship had its ups and downs (communication lags on both sides mostly) but I too enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to work with Andre (who still owes me a chess lesson). He was helpful to me with research and communication on my writing and other work projects, following up on things I couldn’t get to, as needed, especially, and I tried to be helpful to him with feedback, opportunities, projects promoting skill development, guidance, and access to the writing and publishing process. The internship was unpaid and he knew that going in, but it had value for us both, and that’s what I wanted.
I’d do it again, with the right intern; if you’re an aspiring writer in Antigua and Barbuda, who thinks that could be you, contact me.
One of the things I’ll need help with as I continue to build is my art and culture column which is currently on three platforms – in print and online in the Daily Observer newspaper, online here on the Jhohadli blog (extended edition with extras), and on my Antiguan Writer You Tube channel (vignettes and full interviews).
This week’s edition finds me Arting Around with stops at a local school’s genre day, an art show with a friend, and an open mic night. Since then, I’ve taken in a student-teacher art show with one of my nephews and I have another art expo coming up with one of my nieces. It’s always been nice to share these experiences.
So let me end by sharing the most popular CREATIVE SPACEsss of 2022. That’s right, you’ve stumbled upon a top 10 list.
#10 is CREATIVE SPACE #19 OF 2022: THE “HEADKERCHIEF”; HERITAGE, FASHION, CELEBRATION, AND RESISTANCE, a headwrapping lesson and history which turned out to be one of the more fun outings of the series – and timely.
#9 is CREATIVE SPACE #7 OF 2022: THE PAN PROGRAMME AT CULTURE: WHAT HAPPENED…? which I’m glad I got to do for the opportunity to give one of the people instrumental in the revival of pan in Antigua and Barbuda her flowers – even if writing it revived my frustration with our (and by our I mean the powers that be’s) lack of continuity and commitment when it comes to the arts.
#8 is CREATIVE SPACE #11 OF 2022: MINING NUGGETS OF HISTORICAL GOLD – just a bit of living history.
#7 is CREATIVE SPACE #12 OF 2022: CUT AND CONTRIVE which is a piece I wish I hadn’t had to write (hoping that the government would deliver what it promised – it still hasn’t).
#6 is CREATIVE SPACE #5 OF 2022 – IS PRESS ON SHORT SHIRT’S GREATEST ALBUM? – A CASE COULD BE MADE in which I argue that this forgotten classic may be better than my favourite album by Antigua and Barbuda’s calypso legend.
#5 is CREATIVE SPACE #15 OF 2022: THAT CARNIVAL FEELING which is just me reflecting on *sings* the most wonderful time of the year.
#4 is CREATIVE SPACE #22 OF 2022: ART PLAY – MAKING ‘USELESS’ STUFF AS A FORM OF SELF-CARE in which I connected with some St. Lucian sisters to practice the art of collaging; maybe I should have done this course before tackling the project I did for the top entry in this series.
#3 is CREATIVE SPACE #14 OF 2022: DO YOU KNOW THIS MAN? which began with an email from a researcher in America and sent me down a rabbit hole about forgotten parts of my own cultural history.
#2 is CREATIVE SPACE #2 OF 2022 – THE CII™ OF PUBLIC SECTOR DRESS CODES in which I critique dress codes in Antigua and Barbuda and the Caribbean; it all begin with a trip to the Transport Board to renew my driver’s license.
#1 is CREATIVE SPACE #6 OF 2022: THE STUFF THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF (A WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH FEATURE) in which I created a collage of Antiguan and Barbudan women for Women’s History Month and hard as it was to settle on the women to be included, creating the collage itself renewed my appreciation for graphic artists.
Thanks for reading.
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