Linking up

I’m linking this post up to Talk of the Town at Jera’s Jamboree.

ETA: Post name change as I’m also linking this one up with the Caffeinated Reviewer’s Sunday Post which gives me the opportunity to remind you to check out my last posted review – Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers
– [review excerpt: ‘ Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers is a damn good read…glad I stuck with it.’] 

Outliers

Got some story writing done today (finished one story, did some plotting on another) and made little little progress on other reads, namely Elaine Spires’ Singles Holiday and Tananarive Due’s Black Rose (been reading the former way too long but finish line in sight, and the latter I’m into it’s just time, man). Final update of the update, the post after this is a bookish one – a share re one of my childhood favourites Charlotte’s Web (check it out).

CharlotteWeb

(end ETA)

It’s been a weird week, the week of catchup  and trying to catch the rhythm of life, in as much as the freelancing life has any steady rhythm, after even a short trip usually is. Balls were dropped. But also writing was done (I do give thanks to the workshop I recently blogged for stimulating new writing and new focus); and overall the dance between being productive and being had its moments (even if I was somewhat very scattered).

Here’s a moment. A new review, this one from the Caffeinated Reviewer’s Nonna’s Corner which called my picture book Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure (audio book version) “a charming, honest narrative about friendship and adventure.” Thanks, Kimberly! Read the full review at the Caffeinated Reviewer and this and other reviews of this particular book here on Jhohadli.

NFF2018_Kids zone_Danielle Boodoo Fortune_Lost_2

Here’s another moment. An interview I did with the Caribbean Literary Heritage website has gone live. Among other things I was asked about books. Here’s a sample: in response to the question about what writers I wish I knew more of (which I interpreted as which Caribbean writers I wish I knew more of), I answered: “No single writer in particular; just continuing to ‘discover’ the canon – classic and contemporary – in general. I’ve recently read or re-read, I’m not sure which, and reviewed Wide Sargasso Sea* and given that I’ve liked the other two Jean Rhys books I’ve read, and find her life interesting and mysterious, and her writing in some ways very modern and feminist for its time, I’m game to read more. I think Caryl Philips has a new biography of her, A View of the Empire at Sunset. I’d be interested in reading that.” Read the full interview.

rhys

New book-ish announcements (Talk of the Town being a book blogging meme and me doing next to no new reading this week – only a little peek in to one of my reads in progress, Faye Kellerman’s Straight into Darkness) on my other blog included announcements re Marlon James’ new book Black Leopard Red Wolf (which, okay, take my money!), awards for Edwidge Dandicat and Earl Lovelace (two writers I love; read everything!), and Zomo: the Rabbit (it’s not a review but the children’s book features  in one of my week’s experiences and this blog)… oh and a reading buddy teased the new (or new to me) Lestat/Anne Rice (so add that one to the TBR).

lestat

I have had to make peace as far as TBRs go with the fact that the journey not the destination is the thing – I will never finish every book (as a conversation just last night, reminding of all the Chimamanda Ngozie Adichies I haven’t yet read, reminded me) but I will savour every book I finish. Hope readers have the same relationship with my books.

And finally, congrats to the comic book duo Gambit and Rogue. couple

I haven’t read this one (as far as X-Men goes, I still have to get to the Storm collections I recently acquired first) but you can read my review of GamRog’s Ring of Fire mini-series here.

It’s weird, whenever I start one of these book meme posts, I’m sure I have nothing new to report (I just don’t read as fast as the rest of the community seems to – I mean my deepest read this week was a participant submission to the Jhohadli Writing Workshop Creative Writing Workshop Series, which I facilitate) but there you have it, looks like I had a word after all. Now hopefully more words will spill unto the page (not here, off line) as I keep writing.

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My Favourite Thing

This post links up with the My Favourite Thing To Do Next To Reading Meme.

This is a bit of a cheat since this Favourite Thing intersects with things bookish. I’m just back from a writers’ workshop. DfItCrWWAAITc7VA full week at Ocean Spray Apartments in Barbados where each night I fell asleep to the sound of the waves bashing against the rocks of Bim’s south coast and each day I sat half the day, with the rest of the day for my own pursuits in between one-on-ones with our tutors, with other writers under a gazebo alongside those ocean waves immersed in writing related learning. As I said in the review at the end, a Commonwealth sponsored, writer/editor Jacob Ross and sci-fi writer Karen Lord facilitated opportunity to re-learn things I know, learn new things, and be a part of a community of writers from across the Caribbean (St. Lucia, Grenada, Bahamas, Bermuda, Jamaica, my own Antigua-Barbuda, and, of course, Barbados) – learning together, drawing strength from each others’ experience, reading (yes, we had a joint public reading at which I made the last minute decision to read from my children’s picture book With Grace, the three copies I took with me now on shelves in Barbados and the Bahamas), laughing and eating (the food at Ocean Spray was so good and fresh, a rare blend of healthy and tasty) and beachcombing (though like Antigua, Barbados is currently having sargassum troubles) and shopping/window shopping and dancing (soca music for we soul) and eating (there was also a pizza night at author Ingrid Persaud’s beautiful home that was muah) and hiking (my legs are still mad at me for this one but they did enjoy traipsing up and down Coco Hill Forest – lush and rich with diverse plant life, just beautiful; again a side of Barbados I’ve never really seen and it is one of the Caribbean islands I’ve visited quite a bit, comparatively speaking). As I always say with my own small islands, there is always more to discover; it will take a lifetime and then some.

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I return home feeling energized and motivated re my writing (having received specific feedback on works in progress, re-affirmation re my writing, and reminders that though it may often feel that way, re our experiences as writers/artists/creatives in the Caribbean region, we are not alone) – though already real life is starting to insist on my time (doesn’t it seem sometimes like life is trying to punish us for taking some us time?). I did take the day, on returning, to go to the beach with a friend – and there is no better way to recover from a sleepless  night and an early morning flight.  I will try to hold on as much as possible to the energy of the week that has been so far one of my favourite adventures of 2018.

This being a book blogging community, I will end by sharing that I finally finished Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers – what an interesting read. Check out my review.

Let’s try to stay positive, and pain free, motivated and energized. You and me both.

(re photos – I hope to have more soon[ETASee more photos in this post on my Wadadli Pen blog] – these were grabbed from various participants’ social media – one for sure is Nailah Imoja and the other I don’t remember, so apologies to them for that)

Haven’t checked out any of my books yet? Children’s picture book to teen/young adult fic to adult novels; read more.

Because Rounding Up Beats Rounding Down

33403333_10155321700632633_3227424024636162048_nSo this is a quick-ish round-up of recent posts of mine that you might have missed. You’re welcome (lol).

Ten times I thought a female emcee was fire! (this is in Joanne’s Picks which is just for fun and changes with the mood so catch it quick and get your rap on)
I added a single page author kit in pdf format to my BiO page (because it’s another of a million ideas I’ve come across for authors to boost their brand and … it’s not like I was writing, right?)
CREATIVE SPACE update (I’m still excited about this series and hopeful that businesses in Antigua and Barbuda will embrace it as an opportunity to boost their brand while boosting local art and culture)
CREATIVE SPACE #4 of 2018 (…in which I make a credible case that tennis qualifies for this series)
The Writing Life (it sees, it saws; and every now and again someone lifts you up)
Appearances (this page hasn’t been updated in a while so take a look to see what I have coming up, and see you there)
Re Beach Access in Antigua and Barbuda (how many years in to this blogging thing I’m still trying to find the right balance tone and content wise. I’m clearly in my zone talking about my own journey writing, discussing books and TV shows/movies, sharing music I like and other things that grab my interest…and that latter category is the bug because I could literally rant about a million things a day…I don’t but I could. Yet this is my second rant about beach access on my islands)
More Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop Series (An invitation to register interest in future sessions by sharing what the experience was like for the last round of participants in their own words; to be clear this is a paid workshop series on the craft of fiction writing open to anyone whether based in Antigua-Barbuda or not)
Reviews – Dancing Nude in the Moonlight (this book, relative to my other books, has never had the kind of sales it merited based on the reader and critical feedback; so every chance I get to remind you to check it out, pass it on, even if due to only a minor update to the reviews page, I’m going to take it)Dancing 10 cover
Blogger on Books Vl (2018) (I had a reading burst right after finishing A Brief History of Seven Killings, the latest addition to this page review here, almost like I’d been backed up…this book and I have been trapped in it for a while #notaquickread In fact, I shared my linked review with a friend with whom I’d been discussing the book and she confessed that she’d tapped out a while ago, and I sense some side-eyeing on her part in my #bothsides approach to the review…but this is what I really thought). ETA: Oh the reading burst has seen me make progress on The Black Rose by Tananarive Due (loving it), Straight into Darkness by Faye Kellerman (getting into it), Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal (slow start compared to others in the series but okay so far), Rogue and Gambit (one of my favourite comic couplings) – ETA: read the review, and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (which is still blowing my mind); and two new books came in the mail Wartime at Woolworth’s by Elaine Everest and the Nakedness of New by Althea Romeo-Mark. Yay!

wartimenakedness

You still there?

Any interest in updates to the other blog?

Real quick, and not just because I’m loving the new banner, which features Antiguan and Barbudan book covers randomly selected and rotated every quarter, and want to show it off.

Current Caribbean Controversies – Linked (just keeping you in the loop)
Reading Room and Gallery 28 (where I share short stories, poems, interviews, vids etc. that grabbed my interest; this is number 28 in the series)
Mailbox – Dame Nellie Robinson Scripted! (a dope woman who did dope things in a very oppressive time for marginalized groups…no not 2018, 1898…she is Antigua and Barbuda’s lone female national hero)
Mailbox – Commonwealth Short Story Prize (I keep it all the way real!…nah not 100, more like 98, but close enough)
Also peep the additions to the Antigua and Barbuda bibliographies (the record I try to keep of books published by and about Antigua and Barbuda), so be sure to check those out as well. Let me start you off, here’s the non-fiction page.

ETA: Link-ups (because all of these won’t be of interest to everyone but I haven’t done a link up in a while and, *shrug*, all it takes is one thing and one person to make a connection): Sunday Salon, the Caffeinated Reviewer’s Sunday Post, Tynga’s Staking the Shelves, Mailbox Monday, It’s Monday What Are You Reading?, and probably some other ones (so many memes, so little time, like this one I found recently but haven’t participated in yet)…which reminds me, is there a link up for Caribbean book bloggers (books being blogged by Caribbean people but not necessarily limited to Caribbean books…you know, like me)? Maybe I should look in to how to do one some time if there isn’t…hmmmm (pauses to consider if she’s ready for that kind of commitment when she doesn’t even blog on a regular schedule). We’ll see. Anyway, on TV I’ve been watching The Chi (uneven but engaging) and on film, though I haven’t felt driven to watch anything since Black Panther, recently re-watched Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet (his fun and mildly angsty take on forbidden love pre-Brokeback), and watched both Avengers Infinity War and Deadpool 2 (the latter did what it did before but with a bigger budget – so it was funny but also felt a bit been-there; and the former had a lot more heart than I anticipated…so, team…Avengers?) hope you read + enjoy one or more of the links.

Site Updates

This is an update re site updates.

Jhohadli

In the pages section there are two new reads in the CREATIVE SPACE series.

“The National Tennis Centre was abuzz with activity on Labour Day weekend 2018 –  the squeak-squeak of sneakers, the chatter of onlookers, the smell of barbeque (there must always be food right?), the exclamation of a player who has managed to one up another, the thwack of ball hitting court in the back and forth of a match engaged. Amidst the rituals of the game, the fist pumps and the tears, because there must be winners and losers and where passions run high there may be tears, I couldn’t help but reflect for a moment on the impressive transformation of the courts located at the area known as Campsite. It was my first time attending an event there since the 2016 opening. What a transformation!” – from CREATIVE SPACE #4 of 2018 (uploaded May 12th 2018) – It’s Game, Set, and…Win for Tennis Antigua-Barbuda

“The vibe at open mics varies – the venue and the host have something to do with this. Heads up, Barbara, the host of the Tannins open mic, dubbed Rhythm and Rhyme is big on audience participation. So amidst the planned readings by special guest London Rocks author Brenda Lee Browne and another scheduled performance – more on that in a minute – Barbara was prompting people hanging out to participate. A couple of jokes from one, impromptu speaking by another, a group chain writing exercise – by which I mean random strangers stringing a story together just because.  The story went something like this. Carnival, a churchy but rebellious teen, the revelry and excitement, an angry dad, and just when things were about to come to a head – or, literally, blows – Carnival worked its magic…and the gathered laughed their belly full. That is to say there was a fairly loose, near weekend, after work vibe about the whole affair.” – from CREATIVE SPACE #5 of 2018 (uploaded May 12th 2018) Opening the Mic

As a reminder to local businesses, the CREATIVE SPACE series which is also syndicated on Antigua Nice – one of Antigua and Barbuda’s earliest and biggest online platforms – for wider reach, features sponsored posts; an opportunity to boost your brand while boosting local arts and culture.

I also did some tweaking to the Blogger on Books pages – I hadn’t realized that all weren’t open for comments, which discourages engagement; that’s been fixed so feel free to engage at Blogger on Books lV, Blogger on Books V, and Blogger on Books Vl.

Blogger on Books Vl has a new book review. Yes, I’ve finished Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings (whew!). Here’s an excerpt:

“The immersive nature of the novel – plus the fact that it jumps around in time, between its multitude upon multitude of characters, vivid action to quiet contemplation, shocking violence to quiet beauty, straight up reportage to dreamlike effect… forever keeping the reader off guard – can have a disorienting effect. When it was intense it was powerfully so, but, if I’m being honest, there are times when I felt like I was slogging through seaweed. But it is overall an impressive literary feat and I completely understand how it copped the Man Booker prize and many other major literary prizes.” And go here to read the whole thing.

Finally, a reminder about the Barbara Arrindell & Associates new workshops starting next week. I’ll be doing the written communication sessions. Still time to register.

JWP #Onthehustle

The first of my workshop series for 2018 has wrapped and I’m getting ready for the second in early March. If you’re interested in being put on the mailing list or registering, or need more information, contact me.

March 2018 workshop
One of my favourite moments in my final of four sessions in the first series earlier this month was just watching a woman who had to fight her instincts to make the first draft perfect. During a writing assignment, she said, “I swear what I’m writing doesn’t make sense” and I replied, “It doesn’t have to make sense, just write forward”. This is the first draft, I reminded her; there is more drafting and editing to come; let go of the need for the first draft to be perfect; give over.

She put pen to paper again and I noted when she stopped over thinking it, when the pen was flowing because she was not trying to control and constrain it anymore. I felt happy and in my purpose in that moment – after our weeks of looking at the writing of others and how they explore and reveal setting (the focus of that first series); weeks of me testing her grasp of what I was trying to teach,  coaxing her writing out, nudging it forward.

When I called time on this last in-session writing exercise, in the groove, she didn’t stop right away. When she did stop so that we could share and discuss, it was clear she still had a lot of writing left in her. Considering that pushing past writers’ block was the main reason she gave in week 1 for taking the course, I’d call that progress.

I was keen to see her evaluation of the workshop series to see if she felt progress had been made.  She wrote that her favourite activity was “reading the assignments and the discussions which assisted with writing my own settings”. She wrote that she learned what she’d hoped to, how to create settings (the focus of the first series), why they matter, how to write them, how to evaluate their effectiveness as she tried to move her story along.  As for if she would recommend the Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop series; yes, she would: “Yes, I would recommend this workshop. This course is designed specifically for anyone with an interest in creative writing.”

The next series begins on March 10th 2018 like I said. You can participate from anywhere (that’s right, you don’t have to be in Antigua and Barbuda to participate). Contact me to find out how. Moving forward.

ABOUT ME
ABOUT THE JHOHADLI WRITING PROJECT
PERFORMANCE REVIEWS

Dope!

What’s dope? When you’re named (unexpectedly) on an article on LitHub as one of 10 Female Caribbean Authors you should know (and add to your American Lit Syllabus).

Gerty Dambury writes in an article headlined ’10 Female Caribbean Authors You Should Know (And Add To Your American Lit Syllabus)’ and published at Lit Hub, “When I was studying English and American literature, I was struck by the fact that not one black woman—American, English or Caribbean—was included on any of the syllabi. It […]

via Writing Triumphs (Yay!) — Wadadli Pen

East Coast Sunset

On the West Coast, the sky explodes like a five alarm fire; all showy reds, oranges, and yellows parading across the sky. Like Revelers storming up Market Street Carnival Tuesday. You feel it in your chest. Beauty too; too beautiful to be true. And new every fucking time, like the Great Artist saying, hey, check me out. No cliché, no two Caribbean sunsets are the same. And Antigua westward facing sunsets, they’ll make a believer out of Bill Maher. Because as the sun dips toward the horizon, some contemplation on life – its endings, the tomorrows after the endings – is inevitable. Not always as conscious thought maybe but somewhere in your soul where truth lives.

Sunset as viewed from the East Coast though is hazy like movie magic. Unreal. The East Coast is the place of sunrises. So at twilight it enters its dreamy phase. First you notice the moon phasing in, an apparition, like new love. From Here to Eternity. The waves at Half Moon are a raucous riot, all urgent and loud. But the sky is quiet. Moon hanging there like a night light turned on too early. Colours slide in, soft; the shy side of all those showy reds and oranges and yellows. Moon might be full but you feel a half smile coming on. As the wild waves and the quiet night sidle up to each other and the world slows its spinning. Not ready to go to sleep yet, but heavy in its bones as the burden of being lifts.

Now how do you capture that?

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Neither West Coast nor East, but an Antiguan Sunset.