An Extremely Hot Walk
The sun blazes through the atmosphere turning the wet earth into a steaming bath. I was uncomfortable in the delicious way that Kincaid describes in her travel book A Walk in the Himalayas, and aware that I could be one of the tourist she cuts down in A Small Place. I’m so please that I was able to be in this tropical atmosphere for a while.
While at the Eastern Caribbean Cultures conference, I was introduced to the social activist and novelist, Marie-Elena John. She wrote her first novel, Unburnable in 2006, and was describing the writing and how it connected to her personal biography. (interview)Her talk was fascinating. I learned that she grew up in Antigua but her mother was from Dominica. She spent time in Dominica as a child but especially absorbed its culture through contact with her mother. She has this in common with Jamaica Kincaid. I asked her what was the double-edged sword of being compared to Jamaica Kincaid, which she had mentioned in her talk. She said that it is an honor to be compared to such a well known author, but that as a child her mother and other older Antiguan women were shocked by her tell all writing style. She heard them say, "How could she do that to her mother? She is still alive and walking around here!" John said that recently while conducting a writer's workshop at the University of Puerto Rico, she told the aspiring writers that they had to be committed to the writing and where it wants to go. You have to be willing to write about what might be considered private-even when it's difficult. (I will read John's novel soon.) John said that she was going back to New York (on a six month contract) to work on another women's grant writing project. Though I know her work is important, I hope she writes her second novel soon-while the trail is still hot!
November 21, 2009 Questing for a Literal Literary Home
Hi friends! I'm sorry that I have been a "lazy good for nothing" blog hostess lately but I have been held captive by career duties and research, enchanted by the Facebook fairy, and compelled by a family who wants their mom to be the Domestic Holiday Goddess-or at least cook. I appreciate your visits and comments so much! Thank you for staying with me. (I will try to do better, I promise.)
Here is a photo from my recent trip to Dominica. I am standing with my French friend, Marie-Annick, a professor from Bristol (UK).
I just love the way our world is growing smaller everyday.
Our brave little-soaked-in-humidity-group continued down George V Avenue in spite of the heat. Hotel Flamboyant (photo) called to us in all of its tropical but cool brightness but we were on a mission.
December 9, 2009 Dancing Traditional in Dominica
Oasis Dominica(n) Feature: A Hat Romance
(photo of Marcelle John)
I have heard that the points of this hat are significant: One point and the girl's single and available, two and she is married, three and she's a widow...so the folk wisdom goes...
~~~~In Dominica, the traditional dance costume is worn for special cultural occasions and is often made with great care. Marcelle's grandmother made this costume-the last one before her death.
Once all the pieces are put together, we are treated to a most festive and dramatic costume!
~~~~~~~~ A view from the window... imagine the family getting dressed for church and walking through town on a Sunday...only I think they wore a different outfit...a more formal outfit. We were shown one of these in the family photo
album...~~~~~(the long sleeved dress on the left would be worn to church.)
Marcelle and Irma for showing us your beautiful rich Dominican traditions, but most of all, thank you for sharing your warmth with us in your family home.
Bloggers, thank you also for reading about my visit to this unique island. If you missed the previous posts in this feature, please go back and read more about Dominica. (I just received my copy of "The Unburnable" by Marie-Elena John in the mail and have just read the beginning...these women are the author's aunt and mother.)
I'm sure we all agree with the "World Peace" sentiment on this Dominican building...and let it begin with all of us.