On the Making of My Convent Novel

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When my friend and poet, Angela Consolo Mankiewicz, told me that my second novel had to be about my life in the convent, I balked at the idea. To embark on a journey back to a time and place that caused me grief would require some meaningful purpose. The 2012 documentary film, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, exploring the first known public protest against clerical sex abuse in the US, gave me the impetus I needed.

My convent novel, inspired by real events that took place in Guyana in the 1970s, had to be relevant to the present. To bash the nuns and priests would be unjust. Most religious men and women that I lived and worked with had devoted their lives to their God and strove to live according to His teachings. I have long forgiven those who had betrayed or abandoned me when I needed them most. Continue reading

“Destination” – Poem by Guyanese-Canadian Poet Janet Naidu

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East Indian Indentured Laborers

In commemoration of the centennial of the abolition of Indian Indentureship on March 12, 1917, my Poetry Corner May 2017 features the poem “Destination” by Janet Naidu, a Guyanese-born poet, writer, social activist, and life-skills coach. She migrated to Canada in 1975, at the age of twenty-two, where she obtained a BA in Political Science and Caribbean Studies from the University of Toronto and, later in life, an LLB from the University of London (UK).

With the abolition of slavery in 1834 and the end of the apprenticeship scheme in 1838, the mass exodus of ex-slaves from plantations across the British Empire created a dire need for a regular and reliable supply of labor. On May 5, 1838, the first group of about 400 Indian indentured laborers, on a five-year contract, arrived in British Guiana on the sailing ships, Whitby and Hesperus. By 1917, their numbers totaled over 238,000 Indians, comprising 42 percent of the colony’s population. Only 65,538 returned to India on terminating their contract. Janet Naidu’s grandparents from Tamil Nadu were among those who arrived on the SS Ganges on November 8, 1915.

Sailships Whitby and Hesperus arriving at Port Georgetown - British Guiana - May 5, 1838

Born in the village of Covent Garden, East Bank Demerara, Naidu was the seventh of eight children. Like his parents, her father was a cane cutter. Her mother sold home-grown, green vegetables in the market.

In “Destination” from her poetry collection, Rainwater (2005), Naidu conjures the immigrants’ fearsome voyage across the ocean for an unknown destination. Continue reading

Earth Day 2017: Environmental & Climate Science Literacy

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Earth Day 2017 - Adopt the Planet - NASA

Saturday, April 22nd, is Earth Day 2017. The theme is: Environmental & Climate Science Literacy. The three-year campaign begins with a March for Science rally on the National Mall in Washington D.C. It will bring together scientists and supporters to demand that our leaders recognize the scientific truths across all disciplines, including climate change and other environmental issues.

“We need to build a global citizenry fluent in the concepts of climate change and aware of its unprecedented threat to our planet,” says Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network. “Environmental and climate literacy is the engine not only for creating green voters and advancing environmental and climate laws and policies but also for accelerating green technologies and jobs.”

Earth Day Network is publishing Earth Day and Teach-In toolkits online that lay out steps for holding a successful event. To learn more about Earth Day Network and March for Science go to www.earthday.org.

Mother of All Bombs

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Mother of All Bombs

 

I am Mother.
Created by Father.
A complex scientific birthing process, they say.
I weighed over twenty-one thousand pounds at birth.
Father spared no expense;
he happily paid the $314 million.

I carried you for nine months
in the womb, my child.
I almost lost you, you know.
They closed the clinic
where I used to get healthcare.

I am Mother.
Created by Father.
My over-pressure waves obliterate
everything & everyone within a one-mile radius.
Look at me with awe & trepidation.
I am Death.

Where is Father?
I am cold & hungry, Mother.
He abandoned us, my child—
to pursue his dreams
of dominating the world.

I am Mother.
Created by Father.
He dropped me from the sky
to plummet to the earth.
My body detonated into gazillion atoms.
My soul became a black hole.

I am beautiful.
I am strong.
I am invincible.
Created in Father’s image.
I am Mother of All Bombs.
Continue reading

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

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Bombed-out Street in Aleppo - Syria

On Thursday night, April 3rd, our president unilaterally and without congressional approval launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on a Syrian airbase, the alleged site of a chemical attack that targeted innocent civilians. The dust had not yet settled. No United Nations investigation of the heinous crime was conducted to determine the type of chemical weapons used and the perpetrators. But we – the defenders of democracy, peace, freedom, and humanitarianism – know, beyond all doubt, that Syria’s brutal dictator was responsible.

After killing innocent children and beautiful babies, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had to be sent a strong message. Military power is strength. Money is no problem. Continue reading

Angela Consolo Mankiewicz: Her Magnificent & Eternal Obsession

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Richard & Angela 1972

 

My Poetry Corner April 2017 features “Another Love Poem: Even in Hell” by American poet, Angela Consolo Mankiewicz (1944-2017). Born in Brooklyn, New York, she moved – against her will – with her parents to Los Angeles at the age of fourteen. But the gods had other plans for her. In 1968, her path crossed that of Richard Mankiewicz, twelve years older, and altered the course of her life.

In “Writing Down the Words” (Istanbul Literary Review, September 2011 Edition), Angela ruminates:

I wonder if I will curse my father
for the even fewer words he said to me
of any value: have you considered the age difference?
Yes, I said, but nothing can be done about that.
No, he said, and it does not matter today,
but may when he’s older. Yes, I said,
but nothing can be done about that either.
No, he said. The end of my father’s wisdom,
the end of his words.
Continue reading

CEO President Donald Trump: A Really Terrible Idea? | Fusion

For those who don’t yet understand the difference between a business and the government, I recommend that you watch this video.

JoAnn Chateau

Businesses and governments have different goals. A business exists in order to make profit. A government exists to protect and serve the citizens…


CEO President Donald Trump: A Really Terrible Idea?

“Having Donald Trump run the government like a business sounds good in theory but may actually be a terrible idea.” ~ Fusion


Be aware. Be fair.

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Healing Ourselves, Is Healing Our World | Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary

Some light in the growing darkness. As we change our own relationship with others, we change our world. In much the same way as the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps are melting from below, profound changes in human awareness and enlightenment take time to become manifest. Thanks, Martha Beck.

JoAnn Chateau

Just when I’m convinced the world is beyond repair, I visit Sue Dreamwalker’s site, Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary, regain clarity and get back on the right track. This is what Sue shared yesterday: Things are better than they seem. And she posted a video that shows us how to slowly dissolve the worldly power structure…


“While browsing posts Leigh [a blogger friend] had recently posted, I came across a video upon her post entitled Hold the Loving Space. The video, as the lady clearly says may sound Woo Woo, but she echos my own thoughts and I know those of us who think along these same Woo Woo waves, will readily agree, that what she says is possible. That we turn around the negativity, and things are not as bad as they may seem.” ~ Sue Dreamwalker

The Pyramid and the Pool: Why Things Are Better Than They Seem| Martha Beck

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