Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Met Luke and Govinda in Chaguanas - Time Swimmer in Trinidad!




Last Friday, 26th, June 2009, I was invited to facilitate a career guidance workshop at a SERVOL LIfe Centre in Chaguanas in Trinidad. SERVOL provides alternative education for our teens, teaching them a trade (welding etc) and helping with finding on the job training, apprenticeships etc.

Island Fiction was a hit as before and Time Swimmer is so culturally relevant RIGHT NOW (see Ch. 1 Time Swimmer) since results for the new SEA exam (once the Common Entrance) were published on Thursday, the day before the workshop, and was/ still is on the tip of every tongue and in the media.

Two students in the audience of 45 teenagers (14 to 19) were named Luke and Govinda - just like in the book!
It was a stroke of serendipity that I wanted to share - as life, with such moments, authors our delight.

It is easy to think that reading aloud for 'children' old enough to grow beards and bear children themselves would be a waste of time - NOT SO! The students were awakened it seemed during the two hour presentation: Finding the Hero in Me: Faith & Fiction.

After an introduction to my own children's books (www.caribbeanchildren.com) we explored the issue of "Character" through the hero chracter in each of the Island Fiction novellas in order to discover that in Faith & Fiction we are all more alike than not. Through the surface Matter we easily found ourselves discussing that which is Essential - pointing us to the hero in ME.

After my power point presentation: Writing as a Career? You Must Be Mad! (with insights that apply to any creative/ self-employed endeavor) each of the young men and women received a copy of one of the Island Fiction novellas courtesy Venture Credit Union.

And the news gets better!!

Yesterday one of the Servol tutors, Mtima Solwazi,(also Editor-in-Chief of ROOTS - Reflections Of Our Oral Tradition S; dspokenword@yahoo.com) called to say he has never seen young people so excited about books or reading: (Keep in mind these kids would be considered reluctant readers - )

"....some of them have already read the book they received and are swapping with others to read series - The green one for the purple or blue and so on - The place is buzzing still. I thought they would have forgotten all about it by now." (Three days later!?!)

I have asked for the kids to send feedback and this will be a helpful and necessary part of gathering reviews for the books as we meet and greet with Island Fiction fans - and I encourage each of the authors to do the same. The book trailers are also a great way to spark some adrenaline and I look forward to seeing what else the authors come up with as we go...

Based on the reception, response and wonderful serendipities along the way there is a feeling of flow with these Island Fiction books- that they are 'right on the money' in terms of relevance and appeal. They energize the kids about our Caribbean world and the worlds within our Caribbean imagination - and for all our Lukes, Govindas, Alejandros, Evans, Adas, Dominos, Marassas and Delroys that's gotta be a good thing!

No comments: