Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sleep: A Creative Aphrodisiac?

Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity, Visualized
“In both writing and sleeping,” Stephen King observed in his excellent meditation on the art of “creative sleep” and wakeful dreaming, “we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives.”

Click here to blog on to Brain Pickings for more on Famous Writer's Sleep Habits.

From About Brain Pickings:

"Brain Pickings is the brain child of Maria Popova, an interestingness hunter-gatherer and curious mind at large, who has also written for Wired UK, The New York Times, Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab, and The Atlantic, among others, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow. Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are.

The core ethos behind Brain Pickings is that creativity is a combinatorial force: It’s our ability to tap into the mental pool of resources — ideas, insights, knowledge, inspiration — that we’ve accumulated over the years just by being present and alive and awake to the world, and to combine them in extraordinary new ways. 
Brain Pickings — which remains ad-free and supported by readers — is a cross-disciplinary LEGO treasure chest, full of pieces spanning art, design, science, technology, philosophy, history, politics, psychology, sociology, ecology, anthropology, and more; pieces that enrich your mental pool of resources and empower combinatorial ideas that are stronger, smarter, richer, deeper and more impactful."

Friday, December 20, 2013

Anansesem: Broader, Better Conversations for Caribbean Children's Literature

Article Link:
Broader, Better Conversations for Caribbean Children's Literature

Featured on as a part of a, Anansesem round table discussion, I comment on the theme by noting the top eleven things I think editors can do to have broader, better conversations that will positively influence Caribbean Children's Literature through publishing.

# 3...stop trying to motivate publishing and/or sales by lording a sense of moral duty towards readers who share, or don’t share our genre, culture, gender or ethnicity.

# 9. Understand our Caribbean markets are made up of reluctant readers of all ages, and determine to address cultural change in that regard; looking to the value of high concept, low text density and writing that conveys potency with brevity.

Blog on for more:
Anansesem is a biannual (formerly triannual), "online-only" children's magazine. It was established in 2010 to encourage the writing and illustration of Caribbean literature for and by children. Anansesem is run by a dedicated team of volunteers from various Caribbean countries. The ezine invites submissions of Caribbean short stories, poetry and illustrations for children irrespective of geographical location. Submissions by Caribbean citizens get first priority. See our Submission Guidelinespage for more information.

Great Stocking Stuffers and Mail Out Gifts - Also available in e-book

Island Fiction available - Montego Bay, Jamaica
(thanks for sharing this pic "Billy Elm" author of Delroy)

Island Fiction makes for an unexpected gift/ stocking stuffer for kids, 9 to 15.

The series is designed to appeal to both boys and girls and will captivate even reluctant readers. Each title makes for great family read aloud moments and the grown ups may sneak off to enjoy these page turners when the kids are done.

Delroy in the Marog Kingdom and Legend of the Swan Children are a great IF start for readers on the younger end of the range.  As they leave behind the world of picture books, and aren't yet ready for some of the 'big books' out there, these titles strike a happy balance between reading skill and high interest level content, without sacrificing any entertainment value.

Follow with The Chalice Project, and then graduate to Escape from Silk Cotton Forest, Night of the Indigo and Time Swimmer.

If you've got a boy who's a reluctant reader, kick start the series with the cinematic and entertaining Escape from Silk Cotton Forest. I bet he'll ask if he can get the game too. (Of course, there isn't one, yet.)

Accomplished readers, tweens and YA, especially those who love the genre but are bored with the stereotypical contemporary offering, will thank you for the speculative fiction of  Time Swimmer. If your teen loves the poetry of rap, rapso and spoken word delivery of Kanye West (US) or Freetown Collective (T&T) he/she will love the lyrical passages of this one.

In Night of the Indigo, teen angst will find a way through to self empowerment and reliable decision-making. Then follow with Delroy to discover that bullying animals can take a frightful turn and in the end, just being yourself is all you ever wanted.

Which ever way you mix them up, Island Fiction novellas make great stocking stuffers and mail out gifts. (Also available as a digital gift - now on e-book).

Happy Reading
and Merry Christmas,

Sunday, December 8, 2013

George Orwell on Writing

20 Quotes on Writing: George Orwell from
Luis Azevedo started Azevedo's Reviews since the beginning of 2012, covering his interests in film, literature, writing, directing and stand-up comedy. Excerpted:

George Orwell (1903 – 1950)

1. “If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them.”
13. ”Good novels are written by people who are not frightened.”
17. ”The actual writing would be easy. All he had to do was to transfer to paper the interminable restless monologue that had been running inside his head, literally for years.”
18. “A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?”

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Wishing For Wings: With this book Jacob makes hope soar for Trinidad and Tobago

If you haven't purchased this book yet, please do. Gift others with it as well. This book is so worthy of your investment. Don't borrow it. BUY IT.

This is my Amazon review for Debbie Jacob's 
WISHING FOR WINGS published by 
Ian Randle Publishers in Jamaica:

4.0 out of 5 stars I am at once Silenced, and full.,
December 1, 2013
This review is from: Wishing for Wings (Kindle Edition)
I am reluctant to write anything about Wishing,
simply because I am stunned and humbly in awe
of the work.

If I could wish something for the author and her
young charges, I would wish for this to be a
bestseller at home in the Caribbean, and
especially in Trinidad and Tobago.

On completing it, I am at once silenced
and full.

It is not without flaws.
Yet is is emotionally flawless.

(e.g. I wished the chapter "Decisions" was an
introduction that assured me before diving in.
I did worry protectively about the boys privacy
as I read. It proved distracting for me, as
I consider myself a sensitive reader. 

The relief on reading Decisions where it 
is now placed, did not feel like
a literary device that should not
be tampered with.
It would better serve as a preface.
Other than that, some minor proof reading
support, and more care around poetic 
moments with potential resonance that 
felt cut-short or 'rushed' ; 
small tweaks that could have been 
helped by a good editor/ reader 
prior to publishing.)

I am deeply grateful and respectful specifically
that Jacob addresses the use of religion as a 
way of 'white washing' in our local culture 
especially in this reform context. What a relief 
that this may be voiced  from a place of such 
authority and to witness the direct 
experience in the young men's responses once
they were granted this clearance. Surely this 
should provide evidence enough that she is 
right on target with this observation. 

In trusting the absolute benevolence of each
prisoner-student, the worthy potential of each 
failedboy-man, Jacob expresses more faith 
with "Wishing…" than any religious tome.

Kudos must go to Ian Randle as well -
this is exactly the kind of honest, practical 
and immediate response our regional 
publishers need to have when they encounter 
such a work and an opportunity as this.

Listen, this work is so insightful it is heroic.
Jacob facilitates pure genius, unearthing 
gold from within hearts and minds that 
society must by necessity, exclude for a time,
but where most would never deem to look.
That such potential would otherwise just be 
dashed, save for this kind of work, is 
profoundly worth our anger and our grief .

Jacob reveals all this without lectures, guilt-
tripping or moralising, on either side of the 
prison fence; the true purpose of literature
is fulfilled.

"Tear a page" , then turn a page.

The genius expressed by the prisoners
is at times tender, classical, even. 
It is never cushioned in the trappings
of the young men's masks i.e. 
rap culture and
bad-boy gang image.

Wishing for Wings is a phenomenal break 
through in consciousness, way beyond the mere 
technical act of "writing" - for Jacob and her 
young writers and for their readers as well.

Thank you for your brave work Debbie Jacob -
not only in documenting and publishing it,
but in the week to week journey you made 
within yourself and alongside
those so easily cast aside.

My prayers of gratitude and respect 
to the brave soldiers of YTC too.

My hope for our nation soared as I read.
Each page turn revealed a nugget, more 
and more worthy of another turn of 
the page.
I couldn't help but pause to marvel,
to allow a tear free reign for the 

This read just kept on giving and giving
and did not let up!

If I had my way, I would make it mandatory
for every adult, leader, steady-incomes,
merchant class,
professional, teacher individual who calls
 themselves "Trini",
who laments this or that here,
who shakes a cocktail
after work to pontificate with opinions of
this or that 'other'…'or them',
'over there'.

We must call on each other and make this
book a true, one-buy-one purchase, 
national/ regional best seller.

P.S. Jacob's is one qualified Trini- voice
I would like to hear
advise our nation's leaders on what can be
done to help "the youth today".