First Impressions

Okay, so the book meme I’m participating in today is Road City Reader’s Book Beginning in which you share the first sentence of a book you’re reading and your first impressions.

“I am the shade
Through the dolent city, I flee
Through the eternal woe, I take flight”

So, yeah, this book – Inferno by Dan Brown – begins with a quote and I am 26 chapters in and I still don’t know what’s really going on. I have read two Dan Brown Books – Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons before – so I know this is his strategy – clues, misdirection, oblique, artsy references. The problem is I’m not really into it this time – it’s been diminishing returns to me; like with Da Vinci Code I was hooked and trying to decipher the clues as I went and boning up on my art history and halfway buying in to the book’s crazy(?) conspiracy theory; with Angels and Demons, I cared a bit less. The movies may have had an impact here – they just weren’t as dense or as intriguing as the books themselves…or maybe after you’ve read the books you’re spoiled for the movies…I don’t know. This time I am confused as ever but I’m also ambivalent, reading on without really feeling inspired to but because I don’t like to abandon books and it isn’t so bad as to be abandoned, I’m hanging in there. Maybe it’ll pick up; maybe I’ll care more – main character from Code and Angels and here again Robert Langdon is reading like one of those impossible Dans, like the male version of a Mary Sue.. Even with amnesia he’s perfectly sharp and unpuzzling things, and there’s a girl sidekick/love interest (it’s made clear that’s her role here) who you suspect might be kind of interesting if the writer would just shade her in a bit more – maybe he does as the story goes on. But that’s where I am; first impressions.

Because I don’t read a book at a time, I’ll mention that I have also been reading this week in order of levels of enjoyment/interest/engagement (most to least):

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
An unpublished thesis about Antiguan and Barbudan literature
An unpublished thesis about Barbuda
Fire and Fury by Michael Wolf

Inferno is somewhere between the Wolf book and the Barbuda thesis, depending on the day. But it has to its credit being an easy read, like junk food – which is not a diss, I like junk food, but it can leave you starved for real nutrients.

While you’re here, updates to the blog since my last meme participation include:

Moving CREATIVE SPACE 3 – Final Arrival (about people taking the Atlantic Row challenge that ends in Antigua and Barbuda and the history making Antigua and Barbuda team that completed the row) to make space for
CREATIVE SPACE 4 – on the Wallings Nature Reserve in Antigua.

Moving some of the Blogger on Books quick takes (for when I don’t have a full review but I still got something to say) to their own page and moving out the Blogger on Books on Tanarive Due’s The Black Rose to make room for a new Blogger on Books review, The Masquerade Dance.

The Masquerade Dance

Just This and Business Notes, musings and shares related to the writing and freelancing journey; a share on Buju Banton’s comeback concert in Jamaica (his first since lockdown) – wish I could’ve been there for that as he’s easily my favourite dancehall DJ ever (the lead-off video to this post is one of my favourites from his extensive catalogue), and another share inspired by my girl Dena Simmons’ newsletter – with a bit of Langston Hughes peppered in. laughterLangston Hughes is someone you should read at least once in your life, if you haven’t already by the way; him and others from the Harlem Renaissance period (like Zora Neale Hurston – Their Eyes were watching God, Claude McKay – Home to Harlem, etc) – dope stuff.

 

Blog Updates (11/01/19)

Blogger on Books 2019 has begun with a Storm.

CREATIVE SPACE has not but I hold out hope for its return – I’ve even been receiving suggestions re things to cover since the start of 2019, but to continue the Antigua and Barbuda arts and culture series is seeking sponsors. Businesses (operating in Antigua and Barbuda) are invited to sponsor a post, boosting local art and culture while boosting your brand. Posts are syndicated to Antiguanice.com to reach thousands more after its original posting on Jhohadli.

Another series on the blog, this one a limited series, is She’s Royal. In which I offer up some royal women outside of the two (or three) usual (usually European) options Hollywood prefers.

There’s a new Reading Room and Gallery (the 32nd installment in that series) over on the Wadadli Pen blog.

While you’re there, check out the in memoriam for Caribbean writers we lost in 2018.

New on the BlogS

CREATIVE SPACE has been updated. Here’s an excerpt from CREATIVE SPACE 18 – The Arbor Day Fair:

“This is a reminder to plant a tree…or buy a tree…or at least not to cut down a tree for no good reason. Go green!

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This reminder comes courtesy of the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Environment’s Arbor Day Plant Fair and Climate Fest, which was held at the Department’s headquarters at the Botanical Gardens near the end of November 2018. I dipped in for a little bit – as I hadn’t been to one in a while. True confession: I didn’t know it was happening (head in sand syndrome) but as I passed by, there was music, and dancing, and eats and fun, everything you want in a nature fair; even, oh yeah, plants, lots of plants.”

Read more.

If you missed CREATIVE SPACE 16 (Veronica Yearwood on the mas tradition connecting Caribbean people and Africa) and 17 (Carolyn Cooper on the unmasking of history), don’t forget to check those out.

And for companies with interests in Antigua and Barbuda, remember the CREATIVE SPACE series is an opportunity to boost your brand while boosting local art and culture. Email me at jhohadli at gmail dot com to find out how.

Meanwhile, new posts on the Wadadli Pen blog include this Did you know about Guyanese author Ian McDonald, this news about Antiguan-Barbudan author Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place on the London stage, and a reminder that you don’t have to be from Wadadli to vote for the Antigua and Barbuda Book of the Year.

In writing and publishing posts that caught my eye from other places, I’ll mention, for those who weren’t watching, in real time, this literary car crash/teachable moment (you can’t copyright titles, don’t accuse someone unless you’re sure, don’t be wrong and strong) i.e. the Nora Roberts/Tomi Adeyemi Drama (yikes!) and this blog Jamaica shout out re the release of the Spanish language edition of my children’s picture book Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure (yay! *waves from Antigua*). See my Media page for other shoutouts and news, and for other recent updates on this blog read about my review of The Hate U Give (I also just saw Widows and while I don’t expect I’ll be writing about it, let me just say it was so much more than I expected it to be – which was a straight up heist film – like this youtube reviewer said “it’s really more of a drama with the heist element mixed in”) and my share re my random discovery of Ignatius Sancho (and his place as a Black man in British history).

Hope you’ll check them out.

This Week in Site Updates (New Creative Space, MBF, More)

New on the blogs this week are two new CREATIVE SPACE posting here on Jhohadli and  a posting on my trip to the Miami Book Fair over on the Wadadli Pen blog. Below are some excerpts. I hope you’ll check out the full posts and, of course, engage, comment, holler.

Re the CREATIVE SPACE postings, I began the first saying “As I have two lecture type presentations to upload, I’m twinning them as part the Lecture Circuit as both are overdue for posting.” So, that’s just what I did. One, CREATIVE SPACE 16 – MAS’KING, was a lecture (Through the Eyes of the Masqueraders: the Intangible Bond of Caribbean Movement, Music, and Mas) by Antiguan and Barbudan dancer/choreographer Veronica Yearwood at a masquerade festival in Bermuda talking about the masquerade tradition in the Caribbean and its roots in Africa.

Antigua slide
(a slide from her presentation showing the Antigua-Barbuda take on traditional mas)

Excerpt from the post:
‘In her power point, Yearwood showed familiar examples of it in Ghana, Cameroon, Zambia; “The displaced African brought with them the intangible knowledge from their Land. During this era much of that knowledge was laid dormant or sometimes quietly practiced. Added to that knowledge was the forced information indoctrinated by the slave master. During this period there was much change and adaptation and evolution, though the basic knowledge and practices remained. However, what is noteworthy is that some practices had to evolve to accommodate the given environment they were exposed to. One such evolution gave rise to the Caribbean Masquerader.” That Caribbean Masquerade began to truly emerge post-Emancipation. She showed how adaptive it was in terms of the instrumentation – the fife and iron bands in Antigua for example – and how it varied island to island – the tuk band in Barbados for instance.’

To read the full post, CREATIVE SPACE 16 – MAS’KING, go here.

The second new posting, CREATIVE SPACE 17 – UNMASKING, was my attempt to share a talk given here in Antigua and Barbuda by a former professor of mine, Dr. Carolyn Cooper, seen here dr cooper with graceflipping through a copy of one of my two children’s picture books, With Gracewith-grace-cover, in Montserrat at the Alliougana Festival of the Word (in fact, she was passing through Antigua to go to the festival when the UWI Open Campus nabbed her to give a talk and those of us in attendance were thankful to them for that).

Excerpt from the post:
‘Her message was about unmasking history, true true history, bringing to light – per the poetry of Mutabaruka – the histories that have been deliberately repressed. And – I might add – our own repression re our histories by her insistence on writing her newspaper column in not only English but also Jamaican patois, freeing our tongue so to speak. Another link to the past and another way of redefining our present and future. We are, after all, as she noted, a folk who have already “from the centre of an oppressive system been able to survive, adapt, create”.’

To read the full post, CREATIVE SPACE 17 – UNMASKING, go here.

The final thing I want to share in this post is the posting at Wadadli Pen about my participation in the Miami Book Fair.

signing books 2
(ever thankful to anyone who supports with a purchase of Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure like this lady at my after-panel book signing)

Excerpt from the post:
“My event was Read Caribbean presents Adventures for Kids and I was delighted to share the stage and do a signing afterwards with co-presenters Marjaun Canady, who was a tough act to follow, Paula-Anne Porter Jones, whom I remember actually, as I reminded her, from my UWI years, and Francie Latour.”

To read the full post, go here.

That’s all for now. Remember to #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda

New on the Blog

ParadiseThe latest Blogger on Books update (Take Time for Paradise) is less a review, actually a throwback review, and more a memory with my niece whom I used to let practice her reading by reading aloud to me in the car…and apparently while watching cricket.

The previous review, also a throwback review, because reading-what-reading, is archived here.

#BookChat

 

Rick as Cotton on Dr WhoThe latest CREATIVE SPACE, CREATIVE SPACE 12, spotlights the art of the recently departed George Rick James. Here’s an excerpt:

Theatre on the Road and on the Stage: Rick James

With the passing of playwright, actor, and mas builder George ‘Rick’ James this September, I find myself moved to reflect on his contribution to the creative arts – as much has and will be said about his contribution to electoral reform and transparency through his Free and Fair Election League. Also on the need for us to archive our arts. And publish our plays! A question on my mind is what will become of his papers (i.e. his plays and any creative side work). Such items, depending on the artist’s impact, have been donated to or acquired by libraries, educational institutions, archives, governments (see the Caribbean Literary Heritage Project for more on the archiving of artists papers). In Antigua and Barbuda, though, who knows? So consider this, CREATIVE SPACE’s first obituary, a recording of sorts.

Read the whole thing.

The previous CREATIVE SPACE, CREATIVE SPACE 11, Musical Harmony, can now be found here.

The CREATIVE SPACE series remains an opportunity for businesses in Antigua and Barbuda to boost their brand while boosting local art and culture.

  1.  Sponsored posts – Your logo or other company image featured prominently on the post you’re sponsoring (your sponsorship supporting coverage of Antiguan and Barbudan arts and culture) with a link back to your web page or social media (your brand linked to that post as it’s syndicated on Antigua Nice, promoted on social media, and archived here on the Jhohadli site). For a fee.
  2. Brand partnership – for companies that have a creative/cultural product they want me to sample and/or cover and/or participate in, and write about. For a fee. I decide if the product is a good fit for the series and I retain editorial control of the content (I’ll be honest and fair).

October 2018

The Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop Series continues. New sessions begin in October as soon as the sessions started in September wrap. We’re going BACK TO BASICS.

Lost! first copies

Finally,  Lost! the Caribbean Sea Adventure and I will be in Miami in November for the Miami Book Fair. Details of that appearance here.

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Haven’t checked out any of my books yet? Children’s picture book to teen/young adult fic to adult novels? Read more. If you’ve read any of my books, please consider posting a review to amazon, goodreads, or other online space if you haven’t already done so. It makes a big difference. Keep in mind…

help writers.jpgThanks!

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One more thing. Here’s a link re my services as writer, editor, writing coach, and course/workshop facilitator if you should ever need them.

Site Updates

FROM The latest in the CREATIVE SPACE series – Watch Night: “My personal highlights of Watch Night 2018 include Dr. Lightfoot’s speech, singing along to Rivers of Babylon with the Nyabinghi Drummers, King Frank I calling out the names of the martyred heroes of the aborted 1736 revolt in Antigua as he does every year, King Zacari’s performance of his classic hit calypso Guilty of Being Black, and Kiyode Erasto rap-singing the reggae-tinged Strength and Power which, to my mind, has become the official theme song of Watch Night.”

Need to know: This series is an opportunity for businesses operating in Antigua and Barbuda to boost their brand while boosting local art and culture. Contact me about sponsoring a future post.

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FROM The latest update to the Blogger on Books series – The Hate U Give: ‘When the main character and her boy-friend are pulled over on their way home from a party (“get on the ground, hands behind your back”), if you’re a Black reader, you know what’s going to happen even as you hope you’re wrong, and there’s a part of you that is as frustrated with and worried about her boy-friend for not acting right as Starr is because you know he’s going to get himself killed because ‘not acting right’ has different consequences if you’re a black teen boy.  Of course, even this instinctive way of thinking about it is wrong as he didn’t get himself killed. He was killed due to someone else’s implicit bias and escalation of a situation that didn’t need to be a situation at all. It’s a moment that challenges you to challenge the way you think about these situations, and maybe think differently.’

Need to know: I’m still reading Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal, The Black Rose by Tananarive Due, Straight into Darkness by Faye Kellerman, Freedom Song by Amit Chaudhuri, and The Nakedness of New by Althea Romeo-Mark. Just started reading Home Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini. Will let you know how it turns out.

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FYI: The Jhohadli Writing Project continues on August 4th 2018 and registration is open for the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project which begins August 13th 2018 in Antigua.

Need to know: Both are creative writing programmes JWP for adults and JSYWP for teens and pre-teens. Contact information is jhohadli at gmail dot com

JSYWP promotional flyer

 

Creative Space #7 of 2018 – Carnival

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The Carnival schedule was the jump-off for this update to the CREATIVE SPACE series. The series is me jumping back in to something I’ve enjoyed doing over my many years as a journalist covering (reporting, providing commentary on – sometimes both), among other things, local art and culture across various media – TV, print, and online – but this time using my own platform (oh, look, I have one of those). To reach a bigger audience, I syndicate the series – so far to Antigua Nice. To enable me to continue doing the series, I am inviting local (Antiguan and Barbudan) businesses (and businesses with interest in Antigua and Barbuda) to sponsor a post, or two, or three…in the series. Boosting their Brand while boosting local art and culture.

Go back and read the posts about Playing to Inspire, the launches of Lovers Rock and Plantations of Antigua: the Sweet Success of Sugar, Tennis Antigua’s Labour Day tournamentopen mic, Barbuda’s Homecoming, and, of course, Carnival!

If you like the series share it, if you want to sponsor a post (and why wouldn’t you!), contact me.