Monday, January 5, 2015

Writing Full Time Again

Quitting is never easy.
There are many things that go through your head when a decision is taken to leave what is known and hop into the miry unknown. Last year I did just that. I knew in my heart where I was, was not where my spirit wanted me to be. 

Yes I have commitments, the bills, the payments and all those expenses that cloud us and weigh us down and keep us in the land of 8-4 slavery, working at making someone else's dream become reality and not really providing us with what is needed to fuel our own dreams and aspirations. I chose (wisely or otherwise) to rely on God. Let Him provide! 

 I reached a point where I surmised that I had given enough of my time and effort into making stupid ass politicians look good, and it was time for me to convert that energy into making a life for me. 

I started writing novels and short stories way back in secondary school, when writing and journalism was not the career path one would suggest for a black skin, deeply independent, Trinidadian girl child.

Try as I may, my deceased mother could not get me to 'go into nursing'. I point blank refused and in many ways, as far as she was concerned that was her cue to write me off completely. No sweat, I took my knocks and smiled through many hurts as I worked my way up, from reporter to correspondent to Press Officer 1 to Communications Officer to Communications Specialist to Manager Communications and Director of Communications. Along the route and through some of the most controversial events and people in Trinidad and the Caribbean, I've worked with Presidents, Governor General and Prime Ministers and Members of Parliament and Cabinets and feeling quite comfortable, but never really awed that in many instances, these people sought my advice on communication matters.

Now things are so different. Partisan politics has overtaken the independence of the profession and created persons unwilling to stand-up and command respect. At one time the problem was isolated to my own country Trinidad and Tobago but I'm finding in my travels, that this practice is widespread across the Caribbean. 

Persons of integrity no longer step forward to serve and in so doing have abdicated that civic duty to party favourites who continue to belittle the profession and cause consternation to the bona fide public sector communications professionals. 

I don't know of any public sector communication professional who will condone utterances that are completely imitable to the political balance of a country.

We used to say ‘if the fish head rotten, the whole fish stink.’ When a Prime Minister infers that it is correct to let the country know, in the interest of transparency that she doesn't know who made donations and contributions to her annual Christmas toy drive and that the country should not be concerned about the source of the funding for the event, then we know there will be no improvement in the perception of corruption in Trinidad and Tobago.

When the average citizen believes, that in order to obtain public housing, you have to be doing ‘well’ with a member of parliament, a member of cabinet, or pay a hefty bribe, then we know we are not changing for the better in a hurry.

Saying that we need to change the thinking of our people is like spitting in the wind.

The average Caribbean person is not concerned about changing, their thoughts are occupied by getting a piece of the action on the massive amounts of money that will filter through Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean islands as they move into election mode. 

They don’t want to go to school and study (for free) and gain accreditation. Why do that, when your politician 'pardner'  assures that the job is , especially with your well-padded resume, that the HR departmentwill not verify? We in Trinidad have added another stanza to the old ‘Sparrow’ classic “Children go to school and learn well, and graduate with degrees and still ketch hell!” unless of course you are ‘loyal’, a pretty young boy or a pretty young girl from rural areas who like 'never see-come see'.

Off course, there are loyal people and then there are those who are loyal. The difference is evident but only to those who understand the true meaning of loyalty. Those people who question your ‘loyalty’...are normally the first people jump ship when it no longer becomes economically viable for them to stay. It’s sad because people like that, have no business in the cabinet of any country. 

We are too small a population for this type of divisiveness to engulf us and sooner rather than later we will be forced to join forces against politicians who continue to use our differences to divide us.  


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LE NOIREAU- Prologue

There was chaos in Scotland Bay Village. Everywhere, everyone was busy; packing, unpacking, leaving burnt bare lands for the Americans.

Away from the noises and confusion the aquamarine Caribbean waves played a soft calypso rhythm, strumming, rippling, kissing bare toes, feet and ankles dug deep into the cold, clammy sand.

The air was laden, ready, thick with the rancid scent of seaweed, salt and smoke carried in the spray; pushed by angry, crashing, foaming waves against a stony coastline up and around the Bay’s end.

She was misted; creating an eerie appearance as she sat back hunched on a fallen tree trunk embedded in the sand; knees tucked under the wide folds of her skirt. Damp grainy sand and the sea waters rushed up; bubbling in between her fingers and feet. Gently she rested her chin on her knees and looked out at the fading horizon, watching the day in its brilliance and splendor of death at sunset. The fiery gold of the sun’s rays; fingering, shimmering on the aquamarine canopy of the sea, dazzling blinding and ever so slowly, churning to taunting, tangerine orange and saffron reds; cascading into purple, violets and royal blue of evening time with ballet like precision. And later as stars peeping first play hide and seek with the naked eye, streaks of charcoal gray strut into midnight black, shadowing the earth into illusions of peace-fullness, as twinkling jewels finally sparkle in the phosphorescent gleam of a splendid Caribbean moonlight.

The gulf steamer disregarding war time surveillance orders; tugged by, alerting Astral Le Noireau to the lateness of the hour. She sighed lifted tiny hands from the sand and stared as the grains quietly trickled back into their places on the seemingly un-rumpled shore. The signal light of the streamer as it passed by and answering flashed from the lighthouse, momentarily blinded her as she turned huge tear filled almond shaped golden eyes up and then out, taking in the silver-ness of the long familiar Scotland Bay coastline, now bathed in the beauty of a full Caribbean moonlight. The gentle breeze blew her blue black hair into her eyes and face, as one hand rose gracefully to whip the unruly strands back into place. Silently a figure standing in the shadows of a coconut palm tree observed her.

Astral stood crying silently, watching the village she so love fade into the night shadows as the steamer padded laboriously out into the first Boca. Every inch further way from Scotland Bay felt like a fist clenching around her lung, stifling her, killing her. She stood rooted until Chateau le Noireau was no longer visible as they rounded the bend at Delgada Point. Until tears of frustration overwhelmed her and she crumbled to the seat on the almost empty steamer. Astral Le Noireau and her precious possession were some of the last things to evacuate from her village.

The Marines had put her on the ferry.

(c) 2006 Cecly Ann Mitchell

I Write Like

I write like
Anne Rice

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