My Mind

Personal website of M.G. Daniel. Sharing poetry, my writings, snippets from my life and whatever's on my mind.


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Hello sir

I think the ongoing courtroom saga of another (once?) elder statesman actor made My Mind drift – comparatively – to Sir Sidney Poitier and of course, with that came flashbacks to “To Sir With Love.”

If you wanted the moon
I would try to make a start
But I would rather you let me give my heart
To Sir, with love


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You have a right to be here

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Whatever happened to the Desiderata – ever so popular in a time back then.  I saw the title line of this post in another context and it reminded me of the days when there were Desiderata posters prominently displayed for sale in just about every bookstore you went into and, it seemed, on the walls of every friend’s home or apartment you visited.

desiderata1


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Happy Mother’s Day sweet mothers

Did you grow up with a culture of ‘Sunday School’ or similar community dances? Or  the regular joy of going to ‘a dance’ – day, nighttime events where everybody danced freely with everybody and people of all ages mixed, unless it was a teen dance for teens? This song had a long dance hall run in my community and was played all day long every Mother’s Day.


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Music is music

Whether it’s religious or secular, good music is great for health of mind and soul. May is the month of Mary in the Christian church, especially for Catholics. Maybe that’s why I wanted to hear Schubert’s Ave Maria over and over today.

 

 


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To self-publish or to perish

One more dissection of the growing ‘a la mode’ factor of self-publishing, by the CBC:

‘It’s no longer about the vanity press’: self-publishing gains respect — and sales
Shifting marketplace means self-published authors no longer automatically banished to literary outskirts

Scribd_Books

 

Once the laughing stock of the literary world, self-published books are increasingly establishing themselves among the publishing heavyweights, spurred by the ease of online distribution and companies offering works tailored towards specific niches.


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Islandness

For anyone into things Caribbean, Repeating Islands is a good blog that features the
literature, culture and arts of the Caribbean. It is run by two US-based academics. Given the recent passing of Derek Walcott and the season of carême, I anticipate forgiveness for taking liberties and posting a big chunk of an article that is itself a repost on Repeating Islands.

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THE NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING POET ON OPERA WRITING, MUSIC AND CARIBBEAN SPEECH MELODIES. THIS ARTICLE BY DEREK WALCOTT ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE OCTOBER 2008 ISSUE OF GRAMOPHONE.

Classical music was there when I was growing up in Saint Lucia and there was a pretty high level of experience. Some people would perform it privately; in particular traditional English songs were sung. And classical was not strange to any of us because it was played a lot at school and college and many of us were exposed to the strong choral traditions in the Caribbean (though I didn’t sing).

The context for all that though was a great mix of all different kinds of music. There were the local rhythms, calypso, zouk music. A great deal of Spanish and French-influenced music. That was the background. I learnt to move between different musical styles.

When I went to university in Jamaica, the professor asked me what I liked, and I replied, “Dance of the Hours, and Les Sylphides.” I thought I was talking on a very high plane! So, as I quickly discovered, I didn’t have any thorough knowledge at all. Even if my knowledge is limited, in terms of appreciation, Mozart swings! We understand that in the Caribbean. The brightness, vivacity – and that goes for Bach too. We assimilate this music into our own traditions. To hear a steel band playing these classics can be terrific.

Beyond music itself, though, melody in speech in the Caribbean is very strong – at times so strong that it is incoherent. It is felt very deeply and has its own melody in me. In the Caribbean we often parody that speech melody in our music, simply by following the tunes of the language. I’m a Caribbean writer and everything that goes with the Caribbean Islands goes with me – strong melody, a deep sense of rhythm, all this is part of my nature. Some allegedly “advanced” cultures look at these traditions and shun them. I’ve had students in the US, for instance, say that they don’t want to work with ideas of melody because it can’t work for them. So they don’t use rhyme in their writing, structure as an idea borne out of rhythm they see as old-fashioned.

In the Caribbean, being “old-fashioned” is considered a good thing. Harmony, rhythm, shape, they are all there in our novels and plays as well as our music. What has happened culturally elsewhere seems to me almost disastrous – when I see two squiggles and am told it is a painting. Many of my students find it very hard to write a sonnet, again because they feel that ideas of structure are old-fashioned.