Friday, 28 August 2015

What to Expect When You're Expecting to Be Published

Yeeaah. I don't know what other soon-to-be-published authors feel with mere weeks to go before their first book is published, but, right now...

Ohhhh myyyy Godddddd! My first book is coming out soon and people, like, real people, are gonna read it!! What if they do read it??!! Uggghhh! What is that rumbling in the pit of my belly??!! Wait. What if...oh no! What if nobody wants to read it??!! What if people don't read it?! Or, what if they read it and they think it's crap??!!

What is that rumble?

Ah, yes. The fluttering of so many butterflies. And I'm constantly whipping them into V-formation.

Neither my image - nor my butterflies.

Seriously, it cannot be that others are as cool as a cucumber in times like this. No way. There must be a heavy dose of adrenaline coursing through the veins on any given day - and twice on Sunday.

Now and then I think, "I did it. I really did it." It may be crap, but it's my crap. (Umm, that didn't come out the way I had it in mind.) Point is, we are constantly bombarded by life-affirming and ability-affirming quotes and memes and books and speakers and influencers and and and... We hear and read so much about moving forward against the odds; facing your fears; winning; taking a leap; go for it, etc., etc. Inevitably, though, after we reach our goal, or, if after much effort we fall short, as night follows day, some will find something to pick at. It comes with the territory.

This is not to say that as creators, and humans doing, we should not be open to getting frank feedback about our work. Very few get it right the first time around. So, we "tek telling" as the Jamaican expression goes, and work toward better. It is to say, rather, that the naysayers we have always with us. "It's what it's" - as a funny tweep wrote the other day. Lol!

Fear. The fear of not getting it right. The fear of people laughing at what we've created. The fear of what people will say. Fear in some shape or form is what keeps us from starting, doing, finishing. Know what? Do your dream because: (1) It is yours to do. No one else in the world can do your dream like you. (2) Some people will always have negative things to say. It's like it's in their DNA. Plus, they don't matter. (3) You will feel good, real good, after beating the fear and doing what you set out to do! I promise.

This book is rather personal - and telling. As one reviewer had said, by the end, readers will feel like they know me. Still not sure whether I'm ready for that reality. But, it is written.

They will know this book is about life and love and heartbreaks and that...that I dared to get back up. Every. Single. Time. And hope. They will know that, although it often feels like Love has kicked the crap out of me, I'm still here. (I feel a voice-over coming on: We the unbeatable, do the "impossible", and remain hopeful "in the face of aridity and disenchantment.") I've made the choice to embrace the good and be inspired by the joy of those close and not so close; to hope that, come what may, I will always choose to live fully in each moment.


I hope in God to lift me and set me up upon a rock; to make my feet like hinds' feet; to make me mount up with wings as eagles; to restore to me the years the locusts have eaten... Hope is a good thing. Where I place it is even more important. Many don't mix their creative work with worship. I do. I am, after all, blessed and highly flavoured. Chocolat. To God be all the glory for His favour and His hand upon me and this writing journey and this new book. And the new website. (It's getting there.) His thoughts and actions toward me are terrible, awesome, wondrous, and beautiful. He is about to blow my expectations of success - millions of copies sold worldwide; published in several languages - and my dreams of positively touching lives, out of the water! #ExceedingAbundantly. He loves me, and if I knew nothing else, that would be enough. But, I also know this: He is holding my heart. 

Funny, at this point in the post, I don't feel as anxious as when I'd started. :-)

Here's the thing: If I'm not gonna dream big, then what, pray tell, is the point of dreaming at all? I dream big (and in colour) to the point where it sounds ridiculous - and scary! And, I put in the work, too, and continue to do so. I'm not just referring to the decades of putting pen or pencil to paper. I'm talking about the more recent writing, and editing, and working with the publisher who said they'd like to work with me. I'm talking about finding... no, making time to write. I have a full-time job which, occasionally, has me travelling. I've whipped out my phone and got to writing during my morning and evening commute on the GO Train; at lunch; at work (shhh); on vacation; on the plane en route to my vacation destination; on staycation; at the park by the Lake; in the bathroom (don't ask); in bed... I have even been awoken by a vivid thought and scribbled notes while half asleep, and, come morning, tried to decipher what the heck I had written on the post-it pad.  But still I write. #writeorsuffocate

I learned to reach out for help. I even know what it feels like to woman up and ask a complete stranger for their take on an excerpt. Why? I try to keep my focus on that which cannot be seen by the naked eye. I keep telling myself, it's going to be beautiful. And, I want to leave behind something bigger than myself; something relatable; something new.

One of the reasons I'd wanted to publish this anthology at this time, is that I wanted to...make room, if you will, for the new phase of love in my life. And, the new phase of me, too - ready to be loved thickly in return. Pretty brave of me to come right out and say that, but, given that this book is a go, well, I must get used to the idea of allowing those words to leave my lips. Plus, as I've learned, love alone is not enough. Deciding to be with someone for the rest of your life takes, among other things, courage.

Another reason is: I wanted for my mom to behold this completed work. She has been one of my main cheerleaders, and it would give me joy and pleasure to see her reading my book. Tee hee. And, just so you know, all my birth family and close friends have been supportive. They rock! Muahh!

Yet another reason: For one, or two, or three people - a girl can hope - who will be able to say, "I can relate." Yeah. Relatabilty.

Today marks the 7th anniversary of my blog. I've said it in this space a few times before, Usain Bolt's performance on the track at the Beijing 2008 Olympics helped to light a fire within. On Sunday, August 23, he sprinted to victory in the 100m at the World Championships - again in Beijing. He wasn't in top form, physically, and there'd been much talk of a Bolt/Gatlin face-off. At the finish, he came through in 9.79s to his main rival's 9.80s. Someone made the point on Twitter that he is mentally strong. I agree. One needs to be able to silence the demons and the negative voices in one's head; rise above the fray, and persist to succeed. I smiled in agreement and admiration as Bolt articulated this bit in a recent Puma ad: "...when he says, "On your mark," and I take a deep breath, look down the lane's time to go." Love that. Live that.

In the end, I did it for me. It was time to share this part of myself. As I've said in the intro to my book, I do not have a story. I am a story. I have a voice.

Fourteen to Fortyish: The Formative Years speaks volumes. I truly hope that you will give a listen.


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

All of Life is Happening

Among other reasons, I decided to make my website ( a "real website", as my first book is about to be published. The author's bio for Fourteen To Fortyish does make reference to my website, and, well, I did not relish the thought of readers heading to a starter page on Yahoo!

So, this past June, I made the leap! I asked around and went with the strong recommendation from one of the IT guys at work. I bought a template from Template Monster. The Live Chat guy was very good. He knew his stuff, and he was patient. Over three hours later - I had to choose from hundreds! - I was all sorted out. We'd narrowed it down to a WordPress theme, given that the flagship feature is going to be about the book and, a close second, my blog. Yes, this blog. Plus, he'd also walked me through purchasing hosting services from Blue Host. They're pretty good, too.

Thanks to help from sis, @MizDurie, who refused to have me languishing in the throes of copy and paste, I learned there was a plug-in to transfer blog posts from Blogger to my new WordPress-themed website. The transfer took about five minutes. It might've taken less time, had I not stopped to read and take screen shots of the instruction pages. Y'know? For my files? (Like I'm asking.)

Let's move on.

So, that's where I am now. I've changed the title of the home page; done some font changes; added photos, and populated the home page with starter copy. I recently referred to the write up/rationale for cyopro in its genesis. The words I'd written in my notebook back in 2010 still hit home: "...a vibrant place of engagement where stories are told and experienced...where authors go..." Okay, that's enough of a sneak peak. :-) The plan is to tighten it up here and there. I believe it will speak to someone. Relatability, right?

It's all coming together. Some days it feels like baby steps, and on others, I look back and think I've taken a leap. Annette did appear! :-) The timing of all this is something else, too. It has been an extremely busy year - so far!  I expect that the pace will not slow down and that things will be better. I've changed jobs; left the country a couple times; sold and bought new homes; moved; unpacked. Correction: I'm unpacking... During all of that, I finished and submitted my manuscript; provided write-ups; worked on the cover, and did the first revision of the interior file. And now, I've taken to work on my website. Yes, it does feel like all of life is happening - at once! :-)

You remember that saying, right? "Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different." - C.S. Lewis

Yeah, it's kinda like that.


Saturday, 8 August 2015

Unphotographable Beauty Is A Thing

Unphotographable beauty. I came across that term for the first - and only - time in Toni Morrison's Tar Baby. Its use has been warranted more times than I can recall. For, who among us has experienced a pang of disappointment when, upon reviewing a photo of a majestic scene, realizes that the picture simply does not do it justice?  Go on. Raise your hand. I'll wait.


The term came to mind - and use - again, during my recent visit to Jamaica. Reuniting with family and friends was a joyous experience. The highlight of the trip was the wedding. Sis, Durie, got married to her fiance, Ric. I was honoured and humbled to have been asked to be her Maid of Honour. Their special day was a beautiful one in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.

The visit yielded hundreds of breathtaking photos. Hundreds, for, as you know, while there's storage, there will be pics. And that was just from one camera (read: smartphone).

Here are a few I thought I'd share. Again, that term comes to mind. Unphotographable beauty.

Approaching (the dreaded) Flat Bridge, Bog Walk, St. Catherine


Almost there...

Over it!

The rather popular "vaggie rock". You can see why. In colloquial language, it goes by another name. 

View from the North South Highway.
(If yuh want good road, toll haffi run.)

The folds of the rolling hills, the dramatic suspension of the clouds...

Panoramic view.

Making our way through the curves and turns of Fern Gully.
Yes, it's two-way traffic. #GotSkills?

Heads up! Fern Gully.

Clean, clear, cool (I guess), and inviting.
As far as the eye can see...sea!
Ackee and Saltfish (the national dish) with fried bammy.

Polly did not want a cracker. Well, we didn't offer one. And, I don't know whether her name is really Polly.

The clouds were striking! Look! There's a cartoonish character chasing a small dog.