Still at work but pace is a bit slower, so have had a few daily coffee/book breaks. In the evenings there’s neither ferrying of kids to and from school/activities nor homework and having 7 days off work at the end of June to the beginning of July for Eid-ul-Fitr have helped.
I love my Kindle,yet, there is still nothing like cracking open a paper book – the smell, the feel, the look of the cover and a personalised inscription by the author. Having heard the author read from the text in your hand and give an insight into their writing alchemy heighten the thrill.
Last March, I attended the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature, just as well given the …but that’s another post…maybe.
After every talk I attended, I had to know the fate of these characters, I bought the books and lined up to have the authors sign them. I was on a high for days after. Months later and reading the books, I’m having multiple highs as I lose myself in their words and worlds.
In the last few weeks I’ve read:
- Coming Home by Annabel Kantaria
- A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale
- The Kindness of Enemies by Leila Aboulela
- Me, You and Tiramisu by Charlotte Butterfield
- The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange
And though this writer was not at the festival, I got her book because the title and the cover intrigued:
- A Cupboard full of Coats by Yvette Edwards
They are all strong contenders for my recommended read to our book group when we reconvene in September.
In a couple of weeks, we’ll be heading to Blighty and I can’t wait to lose myself in Foyles in Westfield, Stratford and in the charity shops’ book sessions. I’ll treat myself to a few ‘real books’.
Until then it’s back to the Kindle.
What are you reading this summer?
7 years, in which I have:
- Doubled the number of my sons
- Realized that as my friend Chris says, ‘a place changes you more, than you change a place’
- Lived the longest at the same address
- Reckoned that home is where you make it, preferably with your family
- Said more hellos than I have ever done in my life
- Bade farewell more than I have ever done in my life, with the exception of when I left my twin-island birthplace
- Overcome many preconceptions yet developed a few more prejudices
7 years since I landed in my desert place, I’ve learnt so much and am still learning more each day as this experience constantly amazes, thrills and infuriates me.
7 years today, my husband, son and I started an adventure… to be continued…
What are you celebrating?
It saddens me that I learn so much more about some people after they have died
Things I wished I’d known while they were alive
So maybe just maybe I could have met them and had a chat about them
Still reeling from Derek Walcott’s passing, I am confronted by that of Darcus Howe
Two men who through their lives proved that the pen could be mightier than the sword
That discourse, ongoing, changing and cathartic was a human ideal
That poetry and politics, which often people say they don’t do or get, have a firm place in our lives
Rooted in the Caribbean but international in their presence
Blazing trails and inspiring
By no means neither good nor perfect but that was never the intention
As spirits as in body, their legacy echoes
To thine own self be true
Do you dare?
The first time ever I heard … Al B Sure’s version of ‘Killing Me Softly’, I swooned over the song…and him… rolled my eyes at my parents’ protestations that the Roberta Flack version was superior. I was young enough in the 90s to appreciate the Fugees take on the same song.
Once, and then several times more, in a lifetime, you may find yourself steupsing (sucking your teeth in disgust/despair/disagreement) at a diluted, less vibrant version of a tune you once rocked/cried/loved to.
There has been many a crime perpetrated against the ear masquerading as music. A single arbiter is inconceivable as we are so wonderfully diverse in our taste. After all some of the best insults are those pelted by one ‘great’ to another: Ballet composer Tchaikovsky said that the lullaby-writing Brahms was ‘just some chaotic and utterly empty wasteland’ – proof that this is not a recent phenomenon.
For the most part, I’m tapping my feet, nodding my head and thinking the music is in good hands. I’m especially sweet-eyeing (winking at) Ray Blk and Abra.
This post was inspired by listening to http://music.britishcouncil.org/the-selector.
Who’s got you grooving?
Thanks to a friend’s 30th birthday party, I had the chance to relive my teens. Decked in lace, acid wash, mismatched-more-is-more jewellery, neon green nails, fuschia lipstick and a big gold hoop with a key dangling a la Ms Jackson and I was the ‘illest’. In classic role reversal my older son asked me where I was going dressed like that.
It may be the decade that the Style Police would like to give a life-no-chance-of-parole sentence. But while bopping along with MC Hammer, Madonna a la ‘Like a Virgin’ video, Princess Leia, one of the models from the Robert Palmer videos, Elliot and ET and a Rubik’s cube, I concluded that the 80s gave great grooves.
Wave after nostalgic wave washed over me. When the DJ rocked ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go’ and ‘Thriller’, I couldn’t help but be saddened by the loss of so many amazing artists.
If you haven’t listened for the longest while to Loose Ends’ ‘Hanging on String’ or Soul II Soul’s ‘Back to Life’ or Duran Duran’s ‘Say A Prayer’ or Lisa Lisa’s ‘Lost In Emotion’ or LL Cool J’s ‘I Need Love’,go get your youTube on. I’m giving you a prescription for your current woes. Side effects may include the sudden desire to wear spandex and leg warmers, flowered jeans and jackets with lots of zips.
You’ll remember a time when life was a bit more complicated because you were a teenager but with the excellent vantage of hindsight, you know it was a lot simpler as well because you were a teenager.
What songs were you grooving to back then?
It’s just about 2 weeks into the new year..
How are you faring with your resolutions?
- the list is too long
- you need to prioritize
- you need to choose 1 or 2 things max
- if you succeed at this 1 thing you may feel motivated next year to do the other things on your list
- you need some help and some accountability – talk it through with a friend or a professional
- you need to represent your resolution with pictures and words (cue cutting up old mags or endless google searches)
- it’s too cold
- you’re broke
- there’s left over cheese and sweets
Give yourself a break. The year is 12 months long.
You could make a new month’s resolution next month as they say it takes 21 days to form a habit and Feb only has 28 days.
Or you can make a 3 months resolution at the end of April and have achieved your goal by the time you go on holiday at the beginning of August.
Or you can wait until September and follow the academic year but do some research and planning in the in meantime.
Could your January resolution be to take time to reflect on what you truly want to achieve this year?
I gave up making New Year’s resolutions a while ago as like many I did not manage to keep them a few weeks past the beginning of January.
Yet add some friends, the sea and some gentle pressure about camping and before you know it I’ve declared that I will camp overnight in the desert, possibly near the sea in 2017.
Allegedly, having someone keep you accountable is one of the recommendations for sticking to your resolutions. I made this announcement in front of 2 camping keen buddies, their hubby, my older son and my other half.
So I guess it’s time to add a tent, blow up bed, torch, etc. to the shopping list.
Who’s keeping you accountable for your new year’s resolution?
I recently transferred to work in the Mental Health Service. Unfortunately like most parts of the world, Cinderella would feel at home. Fortunately, never mind a prince, there’s a team of clinicians and managers primed to change the fables that surround mental health care.
Like all good tales there are and will be advances and setbacks, villains and heroes, hopes raised, dashed and resurrected, tandem comedic and tragic moments and idealism balanced with a pragmatic approach.
I once had the experience of hearing from a recently appointed Department of Health policy advisor. He was addressing a crowd of people with over a thousand years of aggregated mental health experience without any deference or recognition of their experience or knowledge. My nurse colleague and I regarded each other with incredulity and sympathy. Why hadn’t they listened to the real experts during their ‘consultation’? Why would I have to try and convince the workers at the coalface to implement something they knew was doomed to fail?
My personal Brexit was spurred on by being one of the maligned managers manically trying to implement ill-conceived ideas of politicians. And if I hadn’t already left, Hunt’s statement that introducing a general “manager class” in the NHS may have been “an historic mistake” would have had me considering claiming asylum in a foreign land.
It’s great to be in a place where my skills are desired and sought; my arrival to the department was greeted with joy and relief; and within days colleagues were asking for my help with getting things done.
In the desert, the West is often touted as the vanguard from models of healthcare to press freedom. I’m not a fan of blanket neo-colonialisation especially after seeing the front cover of an American magazine emblazoned with ‘Trapped With A Madman’ and a headline inside declaring ‘Kim’s Nightmare: Trapped With A Madman.’”
I guess the whole world has a long way to go when it comes to our mental health.
At this hectic time, how is your mental health?
Thanksgiving – that’s so American
Black Friday – that’s so… wait orgiastic mindless buying overpriced things we neither need nor want made by underpaid people in countries we’d struggle to place on a map… bring it on!
I find it fascinating how we can be so dichotomous in our thinking.
Got me thinking about what I was grateful for while filliing my online baskets …for the kids, Godchildren… maybe one or two for me.
I must say having had my bro and sis in law over in early November, made me more cognizant that:
- Its great to have siblings by birth and by law and by extension family
- distance need not weaken bonds
- where I live and how I live is amazing as I saw it afresh through their eyes
- sometimes you need visitors to encourage you to do or see things you just never get round to doing or seeing– so finally after 6 years we went sand dune bashing and saw the inland sea
It was wonderful to tune into the spirit of this holiday, thanks to Mohadoha and family with whom we had dinner on Thursday night. And without getting into the ever reducing circular conversations about Christmas and national day celebrations in my part of the desert.
…my sister’s birthday. Aww! There’s lots to say about my younger-but-taller-always-stylish-recently-become-a-mum sister but not today… (Sorry sis). Because the majority of the world (sorry sis) celebrates Halloween on 31 October. Or do they?
Before kids, I happily ignored this holiday. But now, there are so many questions and viewpoints. Whether religious or not, many parents have differing views on this holiday.
My fundamental concern about Halloween is its apparent one-sided-ness: celebrating the dark and the dead while shunning the light and the living. It’s great this year that it falls around the same time as Diwali – the Hindu festival of light – which unless you are a strict (insert name of your faith) if you’re a Trinbagonian you lay claim to. But I digress…
This is further complicated by guilt, having grown up Catholic in the Caribbean, I have memories of vigil mass as the 1st of November is All Saints Day (saints are those who are in heaven whether beatified or not according to Catholic dogma) and the 2nd November was about going to the graves and/or praying and lighting candles for the faithfully departed who were in purgatory. But I digress…
Instead of being mired in the merde (excuse my French), this is what we’ll be doing:
• dressing up – Superman or fireman – super-heroes or ordinary day heroes
• lighting candles in remembrance of those no longer with us
• stocking up on sweets
• distributing to anyone who knocks
• discussing difference, tolerance and acceptance
• decorating – not – the house
• making memories with friends
Wishing you light, love and blessings whatever you’re celebrating …