Tag Archives: Las Cuevas

Trini Kids Can Write Contest Launch

On Thursday May 19th 2016, I began one of my milestone projects. Together with Mario’s Pizzeria and Paradise Pulse, I launched my first children’s short story contest. The event is a joint initiative to encourage literacy and creative expression through the written word.

Fifty children between the ages of 9-12 attended the launch at Mario’s Pizzeria, St. Augustine. As you will see from the photos, the children were very active and to my pleasure, even the teachers and Mario’s staff participated in the activities. We had several fun games and prizes and a mini contest for the children in attendance.

The winners of the mini contest were Abigail Pierre, a student of the University School and Jervon Lashley of ROSEC Private School. Both students were surprised at their schools last Wednesday with:

  1. A voucher for a Mario’s Family Lime
  2. A Selima and the Merfolk book
  3. A Selima and the Merfolk t-shirt
Nichelle Grey-Smith, Abigail Pierre, Mr. Mario's and Vanessa Salazar

Nichelle Grey-Smith, Abigail Pierre, Mr. Mario’s and Vanessa Salazar

Mr. Mario's, Jervon Lashley and Nichelle Grey-Smith

Mr. Mario’s, Jervon Lashley and Nichelle Grey -Smith

At the end of the program students and teachers were served a variety of Mario’s pizzas and drinks, and four students were delighted to learn that Movie Towne passes were hidden under their seats.

Several students have already submitted their entries and a lot more are expected. Please be reminded that the submission deadline has been extended to June 17th 2016 and all information about the contest can be found on the contest page of this website. I advise that you subscribe to get real-time updates on the contest and other events to come.

To view the pictures please click here

#TriniKidsCanWrite

#ParadisePulse

#1lovemarios

Things All Trini’s Should Know – Folklore

Corruption by Jason Jarvis. www.jarvisarttt.com

Corruption by Jason Jarvis. http://www.jarvisarttt.com

Camp NaNoWriMo – First Check-in, Day 6

camp-participant-2015-web-bannerThis challenge didn’t start off positive for me. To be honest, I only got my feet wet today. Yes, I started on July 1st but I didn’t put in significant work until today. I got stuck very early in the game because I was unfocused. Then I remembered that I have a major part of the story figured out, almost from beginning to end. I don’t like to skip ahead of chapters; that’s why I was stuck. Incidentally, the style I am using for this book allows me to focus on two different storylines before they merge and continue together, so it is safe for me to proceed with what flows smoothly, for now.

I changed my word count goal from 50,000 to 30,000 words after I corresponded with a few other participants and realized that I set the bar outside of my comfort zone for no reason (hence why I’m behind). November NaNoWriMo is a 50,000 words challenge, I guess that’s where I got that figure. This July challenge allows participants to set their own limits.

I wish I could say this challenge is a warm up to November’s, but I know I won’t be able to participate. Nevertheless, I’m glad to attempt this challenge because I’m starting to feel that feeling I had when I was writing Selima and the Merfolk – Absolute pleasure.

Bocas Lit Fest 2015

Yesterday was the last day of the Bocas Lit Fest. I didn’t attend as many events as I wanted to, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ones that I did. Friends and family came out to support, and I even sold a few books, so all is well in Vanessa land.
Being that Selima and the Merfolk is my first novel, it was quite an honour to be featured on a panel (DIY Lit Panel). It was a great experience, and I am very encouraged to work on my second book.

These are a few photos from my Bocas experience.

DIARY POST 24: FRIDAY TO FRIDAY

20140721_090005[1]

For the last couple of days, life has brought me several new experiences. I received the preliminary copies of my novel, and I witnessed my cousin having contractions, and my water tank exploded.

Preliminary Copies

Days had gone by since I was emailed the notification that my package had been shipped. I went online to check and saw a message that there was an incorrect phone number on my package, so the delivery person was unable to call for directions.

It was a rainy Friday and half the day was gone. To wait until Monday would have driven me crazy, knowing that my books were somewhere on a shelf, just a few miles away. My boyfriend drove me to collected the books about an hour and a half later. I was nervous and excited at the same time because I had been going back and forth with the publishing company for several weeks, refusing to compromise. Almost three years of work has gone into Selima and the Merfolk, it deserved to be perfected.

As I sat with the package on my lap, I struggled to open the simply glued flap, industrial strength glue I thought. Carefully, I pulled the books out of the envelope and saw that they were as perfect as I had hoped. “Oh my God!” I shouted, “They look so good.” I quickly browsed through the books, making sure the layout was what I had approved. I couldn’t complain. My books looked great.

I am still grinning. Like most writers I have always known that I wanted to write and now that I have seen my hard work in print, I am humbled. Now that I have accomplished this goal I should set a few more that is twice or three times as challenging.

Baby Cousin

I don’t have any children. I saw what happens when a woman has contractions.  … ouch! and ouch!

When my time comes please:
1. Don’t stand or sit close to me.
2. Remove any sharp objects from my reach.
3. I welcome drugs, any kind and lots of them.
4. I apologize in advance for everything I say.

However, family is everything to me. When babies come along, I think of the contribution they would make to their generation.

We have a brand new, healthy baby girl who is an incredible addition to our family. She was born last Friday to one of my closest relatives. I can’t wait to start spoiling her. That’s the great thing about being a cousin or an aunt; your job is just to spoil them rotten and not get blamed if they act up.

Water Tank Explosion

Yes! My water tank exploded and split down the middle. It sounded like a wave crashed on a rock and when I ran to the back of the house that is what it looked like. I knew something was brewing because it sprung a leak for the second time this year. Thank God I was at home.

I can take the approach of ‘everything happens for a reason’ or ‘why did that happen to me.’ By nightfall, I had a new tank and new plumbing (Thanks babe). I guess I’ll count myself lucky.

SHINE ON SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS SERIES – AUTHOR KASI SENGHOR

KasiI joined the Writers Union of Trinidad & Tobago in the early 1980s. There I met many poets some of whom were already published or on the way to seeing their work in print. My humble offerings of hand-written poetry were severely critiqued and wise suggestions were made for improvement. I had no favorite poet nor any best poem at that time but simply listened to the popular bards and read the works of local masters.

The Black Power revolution of a decade earlier had brought me into contact with men and women who wrote for the “masses” and I was influenced to do the same. While opportunities arose for me to read in public I always felt as though I had to do more to be accepted into the ranks of the popular. Even though I was following the themes of Black consciousness I was aware of other urges to write about my vision of myself and the values that I thought important.

So I penned for “public consumption” and also for myself and poets in the union who showed interest in other work. For many years I continued to write between “blackness” and “values” such as family life and spiritual beliefs. I was running out of topics and the feeling that I would repeat myself. However, I continued to write and read and discuss poetry.

In 2007 Anson Gonzalez who was a great inspiration over the years published my first book entitled Poems. . . I’m Afraid to Say” in which the mixture as previously described took shape. Having ventured into this realm, I thought that the time had come to embolden myself and write the variety that tumbled inside me. But I felt dumbstruck and guilty about writing anything that could be considered “not black”. This dichotomy lasted until I was introduced to AllPoetry in 2011.

There I found poems about everything under the sun and contests inviting me to write. I read the poets who hosted contests as well as the poems that were entered. I felt capable of expressing myself in this mix and began to challenge myself daily. At that time I began to write my poems on the screen because contests were filling up fast and I needed to know how my pieces stood up to the competition. Early successes and encouraging comments made me dive fully into writing poetry and before long I found myself writing up to five poems a day.

I wrote to their challenges mostly and discovered a world of what I call “form poetry” in which I was called upon to not just write but to do so in disciplines such as alliteration (which I had tried before), acrostic, nonet, haiku, tanka, brevity, sonnet to mention but a few. I was intrigued with the way some poets appeared to master their lines and create images with metaphor and rhyme. “I could do that” I figured and simply kept on writing, receiving comments, reading, discussing until I felt I could show off my new-found ability to fellow poets at home, in the union and elsewhere.

As my confidence grew I started to attempt styles that were uncommon and to use poetic devices with more certainty. I was not always clear and often lines were not what I really wanted to say, but I persevered anyway. Such persistency has paid off over my years of “study” and although I know that in becoming a poet one has to internalize many seemingly contradictory emotions without attaching oneself to them, it is doubtless very stressful to conjure ideas, images, and feelings that one may feel inimical to personal way of life.

Such is the task the of bringing to life what is hidden, forgotten, unimportant, ignored and neglected for the world to take notice, learn from or be joyfully reminded of.

Overcoming my fear of writing what I truly wish to express brought me to the point of wanting to publish a second book.

I read pieces in the union, offered manuscripts to fellow poets and critiqued myself. I am thankful for the many responses I received at manuscript stage and wondered how varied in views people can be about a single poem, far more a manuscript. I read their critiques and comments and tried to answer their questions in my own mind. This helped to bring clarity where images and thoughts blurred and to firm up what it is I truly wanted to set down.

Of course my reading of other poets broadened. Each visit to the library would see me taking away sometimes all the permitted six in poetry books. I consumed local, Caribbean and International poets. I judged and took notes; wrote over lines to capture moods; read aloud; and spent extra time on the ones that appealed to me.

Is Like ThisSelecting poems for my second book Is Like This was not easy as I thought that themes varied too much and that this would make for poor reading. Having submitted my work to my editor, Dr. Yvonne Bobb-Smith, I waited to see what she thought. Surprisingly I began to get edits that had little to do with style, expression, theme, but instead got comments that pointed positively to rhythm, language and communication.

Here was a different outlook on the work once again and even if a few pieces did not meet her criteria I was happy that the majority did and that poems I was timid about found favor in her reading of them.

Is Like This was self-published in November of 2013 by Xlibris and everyone has commented on the quality of the publication, found the content is worthy of the effort, congratulated on the varied themes and found it to be a wonderful collection.

I wish to thank all who supported throughout and those who made sure that there was a launch. I look forward to continued meaningful writing while assisting poets who desire to publish, running workshops when and where necessary and reading the works of fellow poets who like me want to “find their voice” and share that voice with the rest of the world.

Copies of Is Like This can be purchased from: amazon,comXlibris.com and from the author himself kasi_senghor@yahoo.com

1 2 7