CREATIVE SPACE #7 of 2021 (uploaded April 1st 2021)
CREATIVE SPACE is a series spotlighting local (Antiguan and Barbudan/Caribbean) art and culture. As a brand, it dates back to 2009, published in LIAT’s inflight magazine. It was revamped in 2018 and ran to 2019 on Antiguanice.com. Its publishing partner, as of 2020, is the Daily Observer newspaper. It continues to expand across other media platforms (which can be viewed on AntiguanWriter on YouTube). CREATIVE SPACE is created, owned, and written by Joanne C. Hillhouse – Antiguan-Barbudan/Caribbean author, journalist, producer, and freelance writer, editor, and trainer.
Here’s a link to the issue as it appeared on March 31th 2021 in the Daily Observer: CREATIVE SPACE Creating a Literary Space DO
Below is the extended online edition (not a duplicate of the edition with publishing partner Observer Media) with extras.
If you would like to be featured or to sponsor (i.e. advertise with) a future installment of the jhohadli.wordpress.com online edition of CREATIVE SPACE and/or CREATIVE SPACE on YouTube, BOOSTing your BRAND while boosting Antigua-Barbuda Art and Culture, contact Joanne.
CREATIVE SPACE: Creating Space for Literary Expression
The CREATIVE SPACE I’ve occupied these last few days has been the Wadadli Pen mailbox. So, not so much a creative space for me as the tedium of clearing the emails and processing submissions to the Wadadli Pen 2021 Challenge. Hopefully, though, the senders of said emails found that crafting and drafting their entries opened up a creative space in their lives. After all, that’s the point, the prizes and everything else are de brawta (a thick and tasty brawta, shout out to our patrons listed here, but brawta nonetheless).
Wadadli Pen was an idea that came to me while attending a literary luncheon in Canada in 2003. I had recently released The Boy from Willow Bend, my first book, and it was my debut international literary event as a published author. It was in many ways a thrilling experience; after so many years of doubt, here finally was a feeling of stepping in to my destiny. I almost wrote purpose there but purpose and destiny are two different things, and both have to contend with reality. I still think of writing as what I was meant to do even when I’m not getting much of it done. But I suppose I’ve come to think of purpose as something that serves others, and that’s Wadadli Pen.
What I felt in that luncheon that day, as award winning Guyanese writer Ruel Johnson lamented the lack of (sufficient) nurseries for writers in the Caribbean region, was the resonance that happens when someone speaks to you a truth you recognize. You feel it all in your body because you have lived it – the not knowing where to turn for advice, mentorship, role modelling, opportunities, stepping stones; the fear and restlessness of spirit that comes of destiny denied. Little did I know that day that I was finding purpose because the work I do with Wadadli Pen, encouraging others to tell their stories, has come to mean as much to me as writing my own stories.
That first year, the first few years, was rough and perhaps I thought it was the teething pains all infant projects must go through. I was so frustrated and burnt out, that within three years I put it down and took a hiatus that would end with the project’s return in 2010. Seventeen years on from the launch of the first season of the Wadadli Pen Challenge in 2004 (and I can hardly believe I’m saying that), I realize that, as with life itself, every year has its growing pains.
This year one of my frustrations bled over on to social media as I gave up my weekend – and continuing – to processing entries, a process slowed by a number of people not following the submission guidelines and me not wanting to eliminate on technicalities. I didn’t call anyone out but I did gripe a bit. And the truth is there are many gripable moments (along with plentiful gratitude) as you try to navigate the communication and logistics of securing patronage, promotion, and processing, and that’s before you even get to judging.
But there are reasons I still feel motivated to do this. It’s the stories I’ll eventually get to read, the reminder of what it takes to craft and send your work out with hope in your heart, the affirmation, per one note from a teacher, that what we’re doing is not just giving future writers a stepping stone, but giving any young person (any person of any age in 2021) who wishes it a space to express themselves on anything at all they have a mind to (and boy do we need it right now).
And since I still need some time to process the entries, anyone still holding a submission, consider this your extension. Get it in by the end of Friday this week and it will be counted.
All Rights Reserved. Sharing or excerpting with link and credit is okay. But for re-publication of CREATIVE SPACE or any other content on this site contact Joanne – also use this link to contact Joanne for appearances (reading, speaking, discussions), workshops/courses, writing, editing, or other offered service.