I’m now officially three weeks into the University of Iowa’s How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women course, but I’m a few days behind as I just submitted my second assignment this morning. The focus of week two was desire and point of view. The task was to establish a female character who experiences a strong desire, who acts on said desire, but may or may not get what she wants. The point of view used in the narration should be picked based on which one best articulates the character’s desire, and the things she thinks/feels/experiences in acting on it.
I’m sure Wednesday started out as a pretty typical day for Nicholas Francis and his family. Get up, shower, have breakfast, brush teeth, leave for school. Oh, wait. Lunch money. His father tells him to take what he needs from the money on his dresser. He leaves the house, heads to Jamaica College, goes about his day. School is dismissed, he probably stays back a few minutes to hang out with his friends or go to a club meeting, then it’s off to the bus stop to get transportation home. Only he never makes it back home. Some depraved member of the dregs of society spies the cell phone in his hand and decides he is entitled to it. But Nicholas refuses to hand it over, so he is stabbed in the arm and chest, then thrown from the bus, breaking his arm. He dies at the University hospital.
I recently signed up for a free online creative writing workshop being offered by the University of Iowa called How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women. (It started on October 11 and ends November 21, but you can still sign up and see what you can accomplish.) The University of Iowa has one of the top rated creative writing MFA programmes in North America, so when my friend Janeth tagged me on their Facebook page, I signed up so fast my fingers were smoking.
There’s a saying that if something appears too good to be true, it probably is. It’s an adage I used to live by, before I decided that I was an optimist and I would stop looking for the bogeyman around every corner. Well, as it turns out, I shoulda gone with good ol’ pessimism in the case I’m about to relate to you, because this newfound “glass half full” foolishness cost me almost J$10,000.
If you’re a local social media addict, you might have seen the Youtube video ‘American Learns To Speak Jamaican Patois‘ making the rounds on social media about a year ago, featuring my girl Donalee Curtis teaching her friend, makeup artist JKissa, some current patwa (that’s how I like to spell it) phrases. Their hilarious patwa experiment even made its way to Smile Jamaica, It’s Morning Time on TVJ. “My family and friends were calling me and sending me videos of themselves watching it. That was such an amazing feeling. All I want to do is make my country proud, even if it’s just through a fun video. As for JKissa, I think she is just as shocked as I am,” she said.
I witnessed it during the recent Rio Olympics, when some folks complained about the silver medal won by our hard-working women’s 4x100m relay team, instead of being thankful that our ladies didn’t leave the race empty-handed. I heard it in the murmurs about our medal haul – why didn’t we get more? If only So-and-So had done this or that differently or better. And now, I’m seeing it in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, as people grumble and complain that they were “forced” to spend money on groceries and emergency supplies, only for the storm to bypass us yet again.