Friday, November 28, 2008

All appearances to the contrary

A dear friend asked me why I had put the term "all appearances to the contrary" in relation to being Jamaican. She said this was (a) giving in to stereotypes, because we were "out of many one people" and all that, and (b) somewhat apologetic. She's right, but I don't feel moved to change this phrase, because having my nationality being treated with disbelief is a great part of my daily life. Any stranger in Jamaica who engages me in conversation is going to ask me where I'm from. And they're all gonna be amazed when I say, Kingston. Yard. Yah so.

Really?? Fi true? Bawn yah??

Yup, I'll say. Eee-he. Fourth generation.

I have this other friend, who told me: The trouble with you, Diana, is you're too WHITE!
And a business colleague told another friend I was too RED...followed by, mi nuh trus dem kinda red people...
At a library reading of my soon-to-be-published novel - long story - the person who introduced me said: she's a Jamaican, don't watch how she look...
And when I went away to go to school a few years back, the folks who had been sent to meet a Jamaican at the airport didn't believe I was me until I fished out my passport...

But see, here's the thing: I'm definitely not from anywhere else...all appearances to the contrary.

The Gleaner discovers the sand issue!

The Gleaner has discovered that hundreds of truckloads of sand were stolen from a north coast beach, oh back in June sometime! Stop the presses! (I guess you can't stop the presses after they have run...oh know what I mean...)

For non Jamaicans, all millions of you reading this, the stealing of sand to "nourish" hotel beaches has been going on for decades. It has escalated recently, due to the building of massive hotels on the north coast in places without beaches. Duh... Anyway, there was this major sand theft from the property of "prominent young entrepreneurs" - read, rich people - and one of our newspapers, the Jamaica Observer, has kept the stolen sand issue on the front page. The Gleaner, our older paper, aka the venerable old lady of North Street, pretty much maintained an aloof silence. Sand, even missing sand, was not news. Until today.

The Gleaner reports that not only the young entrepreneurs lost sand, but other, less lofty Jamaicans, that the theft was carried out in full view of at least one police car, and that the environmental authorities, our beloved and impotent NEPA - the National Environment and Planning Agency - have declared themselves helpless. It is a police matter, they say. The police are still investigating and arrests are imminent and, the police say, their investigation will not be hurried or compromised! Meanwhile rumours fly - a police convoy (convoy!) escorted the sand to the premises of large, foreign hotels (wink, wink, what-can-you-do-it's-the-Rock shrug...), involvement of senior politicians of both political parties, interference at diplomatic level, down to the cancellation of a royal visit, for God's sake! Good stuff. Even the BBC has covered it.

So here's what I want to say to the GOJ in all its wondrous, varied and utterly fossilized forms - oonu tap (you guys stop - I speak Jamaican when agitated...) buildin hotel-dem in place whey dey is no beach, lessn you tell di hotel-dem dat dem cyaan get no beach! Argument done.

Critique of the photo

My husband just told me that the photo makes me look like I'm wrinkling up my nose at the snail theme...

But I like this photo. My son took it at the end of a long day at Niagara Falls - I do not need to go to Niagara Falls again, hot dogs, crowds and toxic waste delivered via spray...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Why Snail Writer

It's not the most appealing name, it's not even clear what it means - someone who writes about snails? Studies them? Writes very slowly? Anthony Winkler gave me the name, when he told me this: "A writer does not soar like a trackless bird. She crawls like a snail and leaves a glistening trail."

I liked that.

Plus I have a soft spot for uncharismatic creatures, the ones that people wrinkle their nose at.

Of course, it's not easy to find a name that hasn't been taken for a free blog, and I'm no good at names anyway.

Snail writer it is. People won't be surprised when there are not many posts...