Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Calabash Literary Festival


The Calabash Literary Festival.

Yes it was...

I was never prouder to be Jamaican, and pleased and tickled at what had been accomplished. Colin Channer, Kwame Dawes and others have blended their skills and commitments to create what is a unique and powerful annual event, and one that could only be held here in Jamaica.

Why only here?

The Jamaican spirit of rebellion came out as it only can in Jamaica. Stuff that sounds corny in New York, sounded revolutionary here. Overdone in London? Poignant here. Ridiculously religious in Toronto? Spiritual here.

Some combination of the setting by the sea, the flawless execution (almost), the smell of ganja in the air and the writers, poets and actors in attendance... plus the ordinary people who had come out to basically listen to other people read to them... it was all quite unique.

The effect it had on me is that I started to consider (quite seriously) whether or not I am a writer. As I was sitting there I thought about all the posting I had done over the past year, and started to wonder if that is also considered "writing." For some reason, I have always thought of writers as poets and novelists, not management consultants.

Real writers wear Birkenstocks, very tired-looking jeans and natural-fiber clothes made from hemp. Not quite the image I have created for myself (at least not more recently.)

But as I thought about it some more, I decided that I should say that I am a writer, and that the form of expression it takes is blogs and papers.

Maybe at next year's festival there should be a section or activity for bloggers, or as puts it, "citizen journalists."

But that does not seem quite right either. I don't consider myself a journalist, even though I keep a journal. Maybe I am not quite a writer, even though I kind of write.

This whole blogging business makes me feel like a square peg in a pack of the neat round holes I recognized at the festival, and makes me wonder if I am involved in a legitimate, serious activity.

I am not even sure of the answer to that question, as I am just plain having too much fun writing my 2 blogs to decide.

Now if someone were to pay me to do this... that would just about kill it, I am sure!

If someone were to organize a formal "blog" section at Calabash, would that have the same effect on my blogging?

Maybe I am just better off skulking around in the shadows hoping that no-one serious pays attention.

Not quite revolutionary, but subversive. Delicious.

(For more serious reviews of the Festival, check the and archives.)


At 7/08/2006 7:29 AM, Blogger Geoffrey Philp said...

Dear Francis,
Yes, Kwame and Colin have created a wonderful venue for writers and it has had many fruitful dividends including the recently released Iron Balloons.

And you are right,I'm not so sure paying me to blog would work. This is a whole new area of freedom that feels great.


At 7/08/2006 10:48 AM, Blogger fwade said...

There was a conference in Trinidad in which they had a "track" for bloggers -- maybe they are leading the way for us.

At 7/15/2006 8:16 PM, Blogger smallislandgirl said...

did you get to meet Colin Channer? i once sent him an email and he was nice enough to answer it i hope to come to one of the festivals one of these days it is such a good idea.btw there are people who gets paid to blog so its not so far fetched i know of one blogger in LA Tony Pierce.


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