What I Don’t Miss About Being A Girl

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I loved being a little girl. It is still hands-down the happiest period of my life.

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Everywhere looked like this to me! Neverland!

My imagination ran wild then, and the world was a magical, beautiful place. Being a teenager… not so much.

So, looking at some young women crossing the street yesterday, I found myself very happy to be done with that part of my life. Which is strange because since Saturn has returned in my cycle, I’ve found myself mourning the loss of my 20 somethings to working at unfulfilling jobs, not having nearly enough fun, and just being too frustrated over life and my future in general.

Like most people entering their 30’s, I started to wonder that if I had been braver back then and just went after stuff that I wanted maybe my life would be more fulfilling now. However, despite any fleeting wish to get that time back (heck, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing anyway, so let be), I do NOT miss the confusion and the drama of it all.

amen atlanta

Can I get an ‘Amen’?

It upsets me though when people belittle young girls for their choices, as a matter of fact, young people in general. Stop being so hypocritical. None of us were perfect at that age and made all the right choices, so just stop. And even if you were baby Jesus reincarnated, you probably had the right influences in your life to keep you on the straight and perfect!

Whether the skeletons are hidden behind a closet door somewhere or laid out on the front yard for everyone to see, we ALL had our teen-aged angsty years and early 20’s lack of judgment, what was I thinking?!, dies 100 deaths, can’t believe I did this or wore that moment(s). Some peoples moments were worse than others, but we all had something!

However, possibly the most popular critique I hear is about their clothing. Should I even mention the fact that half the people who frown their faces at these same young people and how they dress now, used to dress in clothing that would have seemed scandalous and inappropriate in their day? By all means, ’60s and ’70s party clothes might be proper today, well, unless you’re Cher or Wrathchild anyway, but back then, maybe not so much! They were defying their elders and the norms of social dress codes with flying colours too!

I don’t care for skimpy clothes or trousers hanging off my ass either, but here’s the thing that a lot of people don’t realise, or seem to pretend not to remember, your perception of your body changes drastically when you hit your teens. So I think it’s safe to expect some kind of drastic behaviour on their part.

Perception, it refers to becoming aware of something through your senses. I can’t speak for boys, but as a little girl, you come from a world where pretty clothes are the only physical perceptions you measure yourself by.brandy dress cinderella

That other girl is prettier because she has nicer clothes than you. If you had a pretty outfit too then you would also be pretty! So, a pretty outfit automatically makes you prettier no matter what your body looks like. It’s all about the Cinderella transformation moment and once you have the pretty ensemble your business fix!

Your body and how it looks are of little consequence to you and not a cause for concern or worry. Or at least that’s how it used to be, and should still be.

But then you get breasts, and your hips widen. You may even put on a little weight in certain areas below your waistline and your facial features get more womanly. All of a sudden your body is different than it was before, shaped much like some of the pretty women you watched from afar in magazines and movies. To the point that it almost feels like you’ve undergone a mind swap to a new body. And then the confusion starts.

Because nobody helps you with this. Of course, you get introduced to your first bra, and the wonderful world of what a period is which literally attacks you out of nowhere (NO ONE truly explains just how bad a period is, unfortunately, so I tried to once).

People who never paid attention to you before suddenly start to, like boys and men and, other girls trying to accept their new bodies as well and measuring themselves up to you. And you know that all of this, the ‘mean girl’ behaviour and unwanted male attention, is because of how your body looks, NOT your clothes, your body that you can’t simply change the next day like your wardrobe to stand out less.

And that’s not even the half of it.

You have to cope with all of this change while dealing with the myriad number of opinions going around about your body. Seriously, everyone around you seems to think that, ‘oh, she’s at that age now, maybe I should tell her about this and that‘. And then Mary, Jane and her mother-in-law all have something to say about your body. A body that you are still getting used to and frankly don’t appreciate people making into the topic of the day!

Or suddenly people who used to laugh and talk normally with you begin to speak to you more ‘carefully’, more politely, and look at you in a discomforting way. Because you’re a young woman now, and interactions that would have seemed innocent when you were a child may lead to misunderstandings now.

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You also can’t play ‘kid games’ anymore, though I applaud the girls who put on their sports bras and go for it anyway. But most of the time, after being pushed just one time on your very new, very tender breasts, by one of your counterparts on the playground, sitting out the rough play becomes the norm. Yeah, those breasts stay pretty darn tender for a solid decade. More awkwardness!

And yes, most parents suck at helping you with this. As I said, they’ll get the bra and hand out the ‘first menstrual cycle’ pamphlets but they absolutely suck at preparing you for the drastic shift in social dimensions, norms, and perceptions when your body finally breaks the hormonal growth curve.

They do not tell you that it is apparently completely fine for a man to glare at you like he wants to eat you for an hour in a line at the bank. They do not prepare you for the double standards of walking down a street and having several people be very verbally appreciative of your figure in an outfit only to then have the same said outfit be used as a reason to justify harassment, should you get harassed.

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For a young woman, trying to absorb all of this and love her new body despite, it is the most confusing shit EVER! Enough to make you hate yourself and your new body. Because at the end of the day, you didn’t ask for any of this to be shoved onto you overnight, and you don’t see why things have to change. Or why you have to be herded into circles with other girls that you don’t know, might not even like at all, but are expected to get along with because you ‘belong’ with them.

The point is, I am not surprised that some girls dress the way they do, or even act the way they do. It’s a confusing time! And you get to a point where you can only do two things. Although you are still very uncomfortable, but at the same time very fascinated with your new body, you still don’t know WHAT TO DO WITH IT!

So you can either say, ‘hey, I look like these pretty women now, so maybe I should dress like them’, and try not to be too creeped out with the response. Or you can cover up because of how uncomfortable the unwanted attention is making you feel. And if you look around, girls are always doing one or the other.

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Now I know a lot of women are probably going, “no, there are other options. Just accept yourself!” But that comes with time. And trust me it takes years, years, and more years, to truly be comfortable with your body. And when I say comfortable I don’t mean comfortable showing it off. Because some women who choose this option many times are hiding deep insecurities about how they view themselves, and the skimpy outfits are just a show, a retaliation against the feeling of being insecure and not pretty enough.

When I say comfortable I mean completely content and relaxed in knowing who you are, and what you are not and being okay with that, whatever it may be. To the point that you do not care about fitting the perception of beauty that you think others expect of you which is what makes you feel uncomfortable anyway.

You’re just over it! Men are men, if they want to stare they’ll stare, no matter what you wear. Boobs are boobs, every woman I know has at least one. They are no longer fascinating to me! Your ass is just a welcome seat cushion, and hips are just another fact of life, lot’s of women have them. At some point, you’re just done with worrying and agonising over your body and how it is perceived.

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That is the stress that I do not miss. AT ALL! But I know the smallies have it. I can see it in their eyes! Every time I stand by a traffic light and there’s one next to me with something too tight and short on and she’s constantly fixing herself and glancing around to see who’s watching. Seeking that validation, “am I doing this right?”

And I want to hug her and tell her, “Yes, if you are comfortable with yourself you ARE doing it right!” But I know she hasn’t fully accepted herself yet to understand why. I just pray in my heart that somebody she trusts enough to believe will have the sense to ease her mind because she IS confused!

I see it in my niece’s eyes too, when she has to check herself in the mirror a dozen times before she leaves the house. She then proceeds to take two dozen selfies, I KIDD YOU NOT! Every angle she can think of! And I get it! She’s enamoured with her new self and how beautiful she’s become! Like, this is me? Really?

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When did I get so fabulous?!

Her body is so new and different than it was before. Part of her wants to show it off and another part doesn’t because she’s slowly learning how fast having the body she has can turn creepy and uncomfortable. But she’ll figure it out, I know she will because she has people to help her.

So be kind with your words. Don’t judge and criticise. Let them know that they’ll have a lot less anxiety if they pay less attention to what they look like and to what people think of how they look. That their life will be less burdened, and much happier.

They may not have to worry about feeding a family and paying a mortgage, and I know these ‘chirren’ don’t always listen even when your intentions are good. But they have things to work out too, anxieties and fears just like everyone did at their age. You wouldn’t be a fair adult if you didn’t help them become good ones as well along the way.

Don’t just be a critic, you know, sometimes they lie. 🙂

-Written By Travesaou

Copyright © Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved

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Liane Spicer – Café au Lait

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This is an official Caribbean Books Foundation review http://www.caribbeanbooks.org/

Every time I do a review or have to write something not solely because I feel like it, I suffer a bit. I want to write what I want to write damnit!  pouts like a 5-year-old

But every time I hit this wall I remind myself that I am an adult (puts on my big girl pants), and more importantly, I’m a professional or at least I would like to be taken seriously. This isn’t about me, it’s about letting you know the deal so you can make an informed decision. It’s about building up my rapport, finding my own unique writing voice, learrrrrning.

If you’re wondering what I’m babbling on about, this month’s review is… drum roll, please…

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Oh boy.  sweats

A romance novel. sigh

I like romance. I like novels. But somehow when the two mesh together… not so much. Most of them make no sense to my mind, but by God, I’ll do this review justice if it’s the last thing I do! I am happy to say that I started off reading this book with no hesitation though. I was a little excited getting into it. I liked the cover art and wanted to know what was behind the knowing smirk and raised eyebrow on chérie’s face.

So let’s get into the review. Yes. Spoilers. Listen. I never say anything critical about the plot, so no worries.

This story is about Shari Zamore. A woman born out of the Windrush generation in the UK, looking to figure out her life after a long-overdue ‘breakup’. So during her holidays, she jumps on a plane and heads to the lovely Caribbean on the islands where her parents were born, Trinidad and Tobago.

She arrives with little luggage ready to sightsee and shop and indulge in a quintessential island get-away. She wants to relax and clear her mind and hopefully make some decisions about where she wants her life to go after her vacation. Her cousin Wanda, who acts as confidante and regularly spirits her away to all the sexy events, is bent on hooking her up with someone while she’s there. She introduces Shari to Gaston…

I didn’t know you were in this story!

… the french Martinique lover boy who literally sticks to Shari like glue.

Yes, Gaston! In the flesh. While Shari enjoys his company and his playful demeanour she’s not really interested in getting involved with anyone so soon after her breakup. Or so she thinks! Until she ends up completely bewitched (I don’t know what else to call it) by a man who loathes her… no, that doesn’t sound right. Let me try again. Instead, she ends up completely bewitched by a man who insults her every chance he gets… wait, what?

You know what, I’ll get back to that.

WARNING!

This story hits all the points of a romantic novel. The rollercoaster of emotions, the eye candy, the hate that I love you conundrum, the warm, masculine aromas breathes deep, the perfectly unblemished skin tones, the glistening muscles, the wonton abandon to ecstasy, the sweet, beautiful girl who fixes the brokenhearted man with passionate love, and the sultry, long-legged, busty beauties. Grrr. Everyone is gorgeous in this book by the way! Period. Is this a compliment to Caribbean people? I- yes! I’ll accept that! Very accurate.

This book is incredibly sexy. That much I can guarantee you! Read it for the hot, steamy love affairs, the gyrating bodies at the parties, the rigorous love-making in rose gardens! I said rose gardens, people! The horniness is palpable.

But what else is there? I also really liked how the sights on the island were represented in the book. Shari did so much during her time there and most of it was described beautifully by Spicer. No need for a travel or events brochure just get this book and hit all the spots. Hopefully, you’ll get stalked by a gorgeous Adonis specimen everywhere you go too. You never know.

I must nitpick on a few things here though because even though the author talked a lot about where Shari went on the island and gave lots of beautiful descriptions I can’t say that everything is entirely accurate. For instance, we all love calypso, but at a fete today or even ten years ago which is when this book was written, 90% of the songs played are soca, old school dancehall, international dance hits, and reggae.

Then there’s getting a taxi to and from Port-of-Spain. Most taxis in the Caribbean are unmarked. Which is why we have specific locations or ‘taxi stands’ where you can meet taxis that go to specified areas. If you take any one, especially on a main road, you might end up somewhere you don’t want to be. As for taking taxis in Port-of-Spain, there are so many taxi stands going to different areas from there, but the book made it seem like you can just put out your hand on any road and get a taxi. It doesn’t work like that.

The author probably didn’t want to go into all that detail. While I would love that every tourist has an easy time getting around, it just felt unrealistic that on her first day in a country she’s never visited before Shari was able to move around with no problems on her own. Had she asked for directions every now and then, taken a wrong turn here an there, it would have seemed more realistic.

The description of Frederick Street was also iffy. Cars are allowed down it but not maxis. The sidewalks there are also essentially for pedestrians, not vendors. You may find one or two vendors, but the sidewalks are more packed with people than people selling, and on slow days it’s very empty. The description of the street just felt very general, like it could have easily been a crowded shopping street in Bali or Mexico. There just wasn’t anything specific about it that stood out to say ‘ah, yeah, Port-of-Spain is really like that!’ Like I said, it’s a nitpicky thing. Wouldn’t burn the book over it.

The story itself was not bad. When it comes to romance novels I try to take out all the romps and if the story is still compelling without them, then we have a success. So where the plot points and the tone are concerned, in that aspect it was a well thought out story. I do feel like the story overplayed the ‘destiny’, ‘meant to be’, ‘instant unexplainable attraction’ cards a bit which made Shari and her lover boy feel and act crazily over each other even though they barely knew each other.

Did I mention Gaston was featured in this?

Sing it with me! “Nooo ooone’s slick as Gaston! No one’s -” Okay, I’ll stop.

As for the other characters, they were well developed and engaging. They made an impact. Descriptions were well thought out. This book was very visual. The characters weren’t monochrome blobs in my mind at all. They had personality and backstories that made them make sense, well, most of them.

Shari, however, well… At a glance, she made sense. But then the author tried to make you believe that she was supposed to be this rational person that didn’t do impulsive things and never took a chance. But I’m not buying that she was bitten by some intoxicating Caribbean dream love bug and was acting outside of her normal behaviour.

Nowhere in her back story is she rational. Her previous relationship was anything but rational. She comes off as open-hearted, a little naive, forgiving and definitely reserved, but rational? Nah. The only thing I agreed with is that she’s clearly confused.

Let me talk about this Caribbean Eros specimen now who according to the description in the book must look like the male model in that Mentos Gum teaser video. Watch at your own risk. You have been warned.

Now, the reasons for him acting the way he did wasn’t that bad. People CAN get bitter and angry when they go through a bad relationship, but I just hated the fact that Shati made it so easy for him. It’s fine to feel passionate, sensual need for someone. I’m not even concerned with the fact that he was being an ass to her. Not all characters need to be nice! My problem was her reaction to his disgusting behaviour.

This man showed Shari nothing but contempt and dislike since the first time he met her. He actually likened her to a bad penny once (ouch!) and she’s upset about his behaviour, she’s hugely miffed at the ‘bloody sod!’. But she succumbs to his forced interactions anyway which are clearly misguided by his own messed up feelings and she allows herself to get even further mixed up in his manipulation of her even though she knows that’s what he’s doing! I just…

It’s a little bit messed up, right?

She’s just completely mystified by his hotness and then feels bad about being an idiot and playing into his hands later on. How, just HOW does his sexy voice and immaculately toned body make up for the fact that he is judging you according to his own standards and is bent on using you to fulfill his own twisted needs? Is it that, ‘made for each other’ thing again? It seems so nonsensical to pin it down to that. I mean it all turned out fine in the end and I guess all’s well that ends well, but she didn’t make him work for it AT ALL after all his shit! And I was really pissed about that.

But you know, when you’re horny, I guess all’s easily forgiven. Neither of them could stop thinking about ripping each other’s clothes off even when they were at odds with each other. So I guess maybe they are meant for each other! I’m done!

There were a few fun cliché things in here! A jealous crazy ex, a misunderstanding over trust issues, wait, spoilers, must not say more! There was even a ‘I’m a woman and scared of small animals’ moment and he saved her. sighss And then she saved him from a life of misery, resentment, and heartache through the power of love. Doesn’t quite seem even, but the drama!! I tell you, if you’re a romance junkie you WILL love this book!

And I didn’t miss certain references to a classic romance we all know. Let’s see… woman perceives man to be rude and arrogant and he makes it clear he’s not interested in her. He’s much more well endowed financially than she is and is revered by society. Every woman thinks he’s a great catch but she’s determined not to like him but they keep meeting in the same company and eventually realise they’re made for each other. There was even a scene where he asks her to dance out of the blue and she accepts because it was so unexpected. I mean, this man doesn’t like me, right?

Wow, I’ve seen this movie a million times and never realised just HOW uncomfortable Darcy looks here!

Yes. Café Au Liat seems to follow the Pride and Prejudice story notes A LOT but instead of conversation while dancing (Geez, I sound like Mary) trying to figure each other out, our leading man INSULTS AND ASSAULTS the leading lady! And she’s putty in his arms because she cannot resist his foine-ness! Damnit, girl, get it together!! I even remember the chapter (seveeen), I was so frustrated.

I can never understand suddenly losing your common sense, and to an extent dignity, in the presence of someone mind-blowingly attractive. Have I ever been completely taken off guard by a pretty face? Of course! But I get even calmer in situations like that cause fools of myself I will not make. Nobody is that mesmerising. What can I say, I’m a sphynx. But attractive people are just people at the end of the day and the last thing I want to do is come off as utterly desperate. He’s seen it before. Trust me.

There were some questionable things, but there were also soft, beautiful, honest and funny moments that had merit and it was very well written. As I said I had no problems with the actual plot. It flowed well. Please give this book a try!

Check the author’s Facebook page for updates on other projects and her blog page!

As well as the Café Au Liat book page on Caribbean Books where you can find purchase links. And I’ll see you next month for another review!

– N. Gomes, Caribbean Books Foundation

It Doh Wuk So Down Here

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Now in order for this post to make sense, I need to tell you a few things about myself. You may already know but for the sake of those reading for the first time…

I live on a Caribbean island. NOT South America. NOT Central America. The Caribbean. Close by, but a different region.

Somewhere inside the orange line…

My grandparents, and to an extent my great-grandparents, owned their own land and built their own house. My parents did the same and I have older and younger siblings. We all still live on the islands, have never migrated and most of my immediate relatives are here as well. I don’t particularly care to tell foreigners where I’m from or my background because there are far too many misconceptions that I’d rather not deal with.

But back to why this is relavant, and I’m sorry if this becomes a semi-rant. I took the bus home the other day. It was the first time I took a bus in a long while and while I have no problem taking the bus, once it’s on time, I always meet up some characters there that make me… sigh …wonder.

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Truth.

Now there are the comical ones with the loud stories that by all intents keep the ride entertaining. There are the talkative old people, the harmless but ardent political debaters, and the rowdy school children. I can take them all, even the people who complain about the bus service from the time they get on the bus to the time they get off.

However, there’s only one group of people that drive me absolutely mad every time they open their mouth on a bus or anywhere else I meet them for that matter.

The ‘freshwater yankees’. Now, if you are from the Caribbean most likely you know what this term means. But for those of you who don’t…

A ‘freshwater yankee’ is someone of Caribbean descent who migrated to live in the U.S. of A for a short time, anywhere from a fortnight to a few years, and when they return they act as if they were born and raised in North America. After just a short time their accent and mannerisms drastically change to ‘resemble’ that of those who live in North America, and they suddenly claim to know more about the States than the people who were actually born and raised there.

The term ‘freshwater’ likens them to freshwater fish. Since Caribbean people predominantly get their fish from the sea, it hints at them being a fake, because they are not really from the ocean or the original source. They are pretending to be something they are not. Yankee, of course, is an old term for an American.

Now from what I understand this can apply to Caribbean persons who migrate to the UK as well but somehow the ones who go there tend not to return as often and even when they do their attitude is not as disgusting as those who migrate to the USA. I don’t know why.

The really annoying thing about this is that they come back to the islands, verbally proclaiming how wonderful ‘living abroad’ is and how great they are doing and how everything is 100 times better ‘up there’ compared to ‘down here’. All in a fake North American accent by the way.

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Now, I am not even going to entertain any suggestions or criticisms about if the USA is or is not ‘better’ than any other country. This is not about that. I also have no problem with someone moving abroad to seek new opportunities or take up permanent residence. It’s your life, and you’re free to live it wherever you want.

The thing is… MOST people in the world have some kind of loyalty to the land of their birth, even a tiny bit. And while each country has clear differences in economic growth and stages of development, home is where your heart is despite your circumstances, or where you may move to. Most people can attribute that to not just a particular place or people but to a particular country or region as well.

For me, my heart is in my country, which makes it the best place in the world to me, and I’m sure a lot of people in the US or other countries feel the same way about their own country despite where they may live. Statistics don’t matter, what matters is how you feel about the place.

So if you come into my country and verbally bash my homeland in my presence in the most hypocrical way possible with your fake accent and ‘better than’ attitude (like you would know, you’ve been abroad for two minutes!)… breathes That is cause to get knock down. Plain talk, bad manners.

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So there are going to be spurts of local twang during this post. I don’t normally use it while writing on my blog because I know people from different countries read my posts and they won’t understand what I’m saying. So I try to use the Queen’s English like I learned it in school but things like this make my blood boil and my only response comes out…. you know what, I’ll translate.

Freshwater yankees, hear nah, if yuh like de States, fine, me ain’ vex with yuh fuh dat. Buh stay dey, nah? If it so dread ‘down here’, whey yuh come back for? We doh like yuh head anyway so why botha come?

Translation: Freshwater yankees, please note, if you like to live in North America, that’s no problem. I am not upset about that. But if it’s so bad ‘down here’, why do you come back? Why don’t you just stay where you are? We don’t really like you anyway so why do you bother to visit?

pattilabellesmh

I know a lot of you feeling me right now on this cause holidays start and they on their way.

I always wonder about this because most people I know cannot stand their freshwater yankee family! You always hear them complaining during the holiday season about how their family from the US are coming back and they can’t stand their attitude.

Please. We want nothing more than to immediately put you on a plane and gladly send you back to the States you love so much. So why do you come down here to trouble the souls of those who are happy to be living here?

And you see them on the streets during July-August Vacation or JAVA (yes, that’s what we call it! NOT Summer!) always walking the streets talking loudly about how, ‘crime down here is so bad’. Yet still, your handbag swinging freely behind you and nobody attempt to grab it yet. You’re eating, drinking, partying and coming home late at night without an incident. But crime so bad down here, right?

Listen. I’m not saying the islands don’t have crime. Far from it. I’m not even saying you can’t have an opinion and talk about current events. However, it’s the state of the world! Why the need to lambaste everything here as if your precious USA doesn’t also have its share of problems? There’s crime everywhere! People still travelling to Europe despite all the terrorists attacts and still going China for trade despite the Communist Party. Feel free to come an go but why yuh hadda get on so disgustin’? (Translation: Feel free to travel anywhere you want but why must you behave in such an intolerable manner?) I don’t know what world these people living in? Jah, put ah han’! (Lord, help me to deal with these people!)

just tired

Just… ugh

How did this unfortunate semi-rant start? There was a particular woman on the bus, the freshwater yankee, who was talking about race. I hate the topic race. I am so tired of the whole twisted subject. However, I am especially tired of the way people in the USA dance around it, and between television, social media and the freshwater yankees, the North American do-si-do on race has permeated the soil of many a land outside of their borders.

Anyway, this lady on the bus was telling the poor senior gentleman who was probably regretting striking up a conversation with her that he is wrong for calling himself ‘mixed’ and if he did, it meant he was ashamed of being ‘black’.

accent

Sorry, I’m not following your logic.

Now I understand Americans have a different idea of what being ‘mixed’ means and it comes from their looong history of slavery. Now the Caribbean also has a looong history of slavery under their belt but somehow we managed to come out of it a lot less messed up than the States did. The backlash is serious like a heart attack over there, to the point that they are still paying for out-dated, never been true ideas of race and colour in the present generation who are trying to deal with all the mess.

But here’s the thing, the USA’s way of viewing race is not the right way or the only way. Countries have different histories, different backgrounds which would lead them to think differently and have different conclusions about their identity.

When someone says they are ‘mixed’ in the islands it’s because they ARE. Simple. It’s the truth! That’s all. They’re not hiding a deep seated fear or shame of being ‘black’, they’re just ans-wer-ing the question. And half the time they’re not going to be taking offense for you asking either. MOST people in the Caribbean are made up of more than one ethnicity or race. I’m sure there are people who aren’t but it’s so prevalent you can be someone like me who literally doesn’t know anyone who isn’t mixed.

That’s just the way it is over here. Everyone intermarries and is mixed up in some way or the other. It’s the norm, and there is nothing wrong with that. Most times the question isn’t if you are mixed but how you are mixed. But apparently saying that you are mixed is an insult in North America because this woman acted like it was!

I honestly wanted to tap her on the shoulder and give her a piece of my mind but I have long learned not to interrupt bus conversations, no matter how tempting and even if they are loud enough for the whole bus to hear! This woman had to be mad though! You have the nerve to tell off someone over how they are categorising their own ethnicity when you are misrepresenting your own nationality? You fake North American!

Who the hell said we have to believe or do as the UN or the US or any other organization or country does? This is NOT the USA. And just because you have issues with Caucasian America and insist on cutting them out of your ethnic background (her grandmother was apparently Caucasian) doesn’t mean you’re right. Go ahead and be a proud black woman if it makes you feel better but don’t try to force your ignorance down anybody’s throat.

The poor man took to telling her about what a nice man his Indian father was to try to convince her. It didn’t work. He even tried to change the subject but it only led to her talking about all the other ways the US is better than ‘down here’. I could see the venom in eyes rolling around the bus.

The man finally turned into a silent nodding robot. He was probably praying for her to get off before he did. But imagine that, having to defend the geniality of your father’s race to justify why you appreciate both your ethnic backgrounds because somebody’s projection of themself insists that you are wrong. I just wanted to…

And I see it all over American Twitter and Instagram. All the ‘biracial and proud’, biracial and beautiful’ hashtags and posts, and I am so confused. Yes, be proud of who you are but it almost comes off like they are trying to convince themselves that they should be proud which is madness! Why do you need to justify your mixed race at all?? You are what you are. But after listening to that woman I think I understand why. If there are people like her in North America who ‘race-shame’ mixed race people if they don’t conform to being labelled as just ‘black’ then… I don’t know. My head hurts. See why I don’t like this topic?

How about we make it simple. How about we recognise and salute every race and ethnicity that came together to make us? And then, how about we appreciate ourselves as a new whole, that exists because of and despite our parents varying backgrounds? Isn’t that a lot simplier? No headaches and going around in emotional circles and guilt traps.

I am just… thanking God she didn’t sit next to me.

Because I would have rightfully let her know that it doh wuk so ‘down here’. Here in the Caribbean, you are from the Caribbean. I know people who come from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds and races living here and we all understand the same jokes, eat the same food, talk the same way, honour our ancestry and appreciate the land of our birth because we’re all Caribbean people. It doesn’t matter if Mummy was Chinese and Daddy was Syrian or Daddy was First People and African mixed and Mummy is an Indian ‘gyal’. Or if both your parents are the same race! What matters more is if you genuinely identify with the unique culture of the island you were born in, and to being a Caribbean person first!

And I think that’s why freshwater yankees rub us the wrong way, even worse than an uneducated tourist. You are from here. You are supposed to know better! You just jump in the USA and take on the accent, the culture and the way they think about everything just so just so and suddenly everyone else don’t know what they talking about? Give me chance and take your ingenuine self somewhere else please.

Please note I am not referring to those who have migrated to the USA or elsewhere (my darling Aunt being one of them) and still love their old country as much as their new one and speak no ill of either. And for those of you who can’t wait for your ‘yankee’ family to reach to love them up, bless you, you have some nice ones. That’s the way you are supposed to do it!

The rest of you ‘freshwater yankees’ take salt in your veins and let it burn with shame for acting like such know-it-all fools in your motherland. AT LEAST have the decency to have some damn respect for the land that first bore your ungrateful soul, even if you no longer call it home.

Have a good day loves! Remember, critics may lie. 🙂

-Written By Travesaou

Copyright © Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved

 

Writing Update 1st July 2019

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Hello!!

First, let me say that I wanted to do a review on the books I read in the last few months, but as time would have it writing got in the way. YAAAYYY!!  throws confetti

 

Thank the Lord! I can finally say writing is the thing holding me back from being productive in other areas. And I’m very happy about that! I am well past the halfway point in editing and once I’m done I will put it aside and work on something else because it will need another edit before I decide to pass it onto any other editors.

But I’m taking a break to tell you that Camp NaNoWriMo is on, starting today! The first of July! So get into that if you can. I still haven’t decided yet if I’m joining as I’m in editing mode for the next few months maybe. But I do have a few projects I want to start so maybe I’ll stop by, set a low word count and work on a few. But you know what might get me into it? Writing partners!

So if you need a buddy to cheer you on, or ask how your day is going or just another wordcount to compete with, sometimes a little healthy competition is just what you need to keep writing, I’m A. Semog on Camp Nanowrimo. Let’s share a tent! I’m just a little sleeping kitten who appreciates a belly rub every now an then. I won’t be any trouble. I promise.

And now back to writing!   runs away

Excited!! Definitely excited!

Happy writing, my loves!

Travesaou fighting!

Copyright © Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved

W. St. Cyr – Fields Of Death

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This is an official Caribbean Books Foundation review http://www.caribbeanbooks.org/

First of all, let me just say that most reviews I’ve seen for this book have been glowingly positive but from the stand point that they can’t believe such a hard core crime novel came out of Barbados.

I find that a little insulting and I refuse to join in your amazement. There are incredibly talented people from that island who are capable of anything and I will not let this review be bulldozed by the low-expectations placed on a clearly talented author. Sorry but only honest reviews here.

When I chose Fields of Death to review, it really was the cover art that drew me, so kudos to the graphic artist, whoever they are. Cover art matters!

fields of death

It drew me to find out more about the story behind the book. The cane field murders in Barbados. Now I’m not going into the details of the actual murders. This book is not based on them. It is just inspired by them and all of it is fiction and unlike the real life murders has a more satisfying conclusion.

The story follows the ‘X-Man’, detective-inspector Neil Boyce, a top cop in Barbados whose team is placed in charge of solving gruesome murders of women that suddenly hit the island in March of 2013. Their bodies decapitated and cut open are left in cane fields around the island causing nationwide mayhem and frantic attempts to catch the killer.

This book is disturbing but in a thriller crime novel kind of way. It’s like you’re supposed to be having a good time but then things get very bad really fast.

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The author describes every kill in detail through the psychotic mind and eyes of the ‘Dragoon’. If you already have some kind of traumatic experience with being kidnapped, raped or abused, I suggest you leave this book alone. It may trigger you.

Traumatic experiences aside, if thriller, murder, horror crime stories are just not your thing, I doubt this book will scar you for life. After this review, if you still want to read it, go ahead. Ease into it and if it’s not for you, at least you tried. But if you do like thriller, horror, crime novels, you’ll be fine. It’s right up your alley.

So, on to the actual review. And spoilers, well, maybe. Do I have to call spoilers? Isn’t it obvious?

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The villain really drove the story. It wasn’t just all about the great detective solving a big case and finding clues. The author made you want to know why the killer was the way he was. What happened to him to make him such an unflinching psycho? And what was behind his call sign? I was not rooting for him but it was interesting to see his thought process and the story was paced nicely.

I also really appreciated how St. Cyr. handled the island life aspect of it. It wasn’t overdone. He didn’t try to fit all of Barbados’ customs and culture into his novel, though Crop Over did make an appearance in the very end.

What he did explore was the tendency for tourists to be given an advantage over locals because of the way they are viewed in Barbados. How strange that even under suspicious circumstances no tourists were suspected. The first thought for law enforcement and government officials towards them was to lower their guard and ask questions because tourists benefit the economy! Right? However suspected locals are subject to shoot first, ask questions later?

Just what? How? Why??

This book started off slow for me. It was frightening and did eventually get very exciting. But I think it’s more because it was inspired by actual events. So part of you feels like, oh, it’s all fiction, but then a part of you knows that this shit can actually happen.

However, with the exception of the killer, the other characters weren’t incredibly interesting. The protagonist was supposed to be this specially trained detective but then he didn’t do much. He was just there most of the time, thinking about his girlfriend and how she was ‘the sexiest woman he had ever met’, looking cool in a crime scene, or having meetings with other people who were actually forming conclusions and getting ideas.

Most of the supporting characters were also basically unmemorable. It was just a litter of names jumping out of cars with guns, going to raids and meetings. Very few of them really made an impact on me.

Please don’t neglect your supporting characters!

The book eventually did pick up from the shoot out in the cane field. I was reading a few pages here an there before that but after that part I needed to finish to see them catch this guy! So yay, to finishing strong! This is when detective-inspector Boyce started to really show his investigative colours as everyone had dropped the case by then. Months had passed and he was the only one still working on it. Only then did his character get interesting for me.

And like any good crime novel, it threw a wrench in the mix to distract the detectives which I always appreciate. I wouldn’t really call this a mystery novel, as the readers knew who it was from the start. There was nothing we had to figure out. Descriptions were excellent. I cringed as anybody with a pulse should when reading gore and macabre scenes but if it wasn’t well written it would have been less impactful. 

One thing really bugged me about this book.

I’ve found this book listed under murder thriller, fiction mystery, thriller suspense, contemporary fiction, mystery detective, and that’s all fine an dandy. But there are at least 5 or 6 semi-explicit sex scenes in this book. Why is it not also listed under erotic suspense or erotic crime thriller? Why, because it’s a ‘serious’ book? I almost feel like some authors avoid any labels to do with sex or romance because they want people to take them seriously. But yuh know what?

Genres exist for a reason.

I know some people don’t like labels, but practicality is sometimes common sense. You have to give the reader an idea of what they are getting into. Otherwise you risk them being terribly uncomfortable or unsatisfied with their purchase. Genre labels are not meant to be straight jackets for a novel. They should be fluid enough to express or suggest in a few words what to expect from the content of the novel.

Now I’m not saying that one or two casual flings written in minor detail warrants a glaring red flag! I just find it a little weird that nowhere is it ever mentioned on sites that promote and sell it that this is clearly an adult book. And half the sex scenes were just there for the sake of having them, they didn’t advance the plot at all.

Now nothing is wrong with that. Mr. St. Cyr can put as many romps in his book as he wants but then rate it accordingly!! If you don’t want the genre label at least give it an age tag so people understand that it’s an adult novel.

Crime stories and thrillers might be someone’s cup of tea, but not erotica. Then again there might be somebody out there looking for an erotic crime thriller along the lines of Basic Instinct or Eyes Wide Shut but they won’t know to try this book because it isn’t labelled as such.

This also could speak to the fact that genre labels are very restricting on some sites. You can either choose one or the other or the correct label is just not available. And then many authors probably don’t concern themselves with genre labels either. They write the book, put it in the publishers hands and let them figure that out. Either way, thank God for reviewers, now you know!

Also, I have to say, this definitely feels like a ‘man’s’ book. Like even a blind man can see it.

And by that I mean, every woman (except the fat one and the old one, really???) was painted as sexually attractive in some way. Officers would be having a thought and suddenly be watching their female co-workers ass. I mean… at least it’s honest. Asses can be distracting.

Each gun was also named in detail. Except where forensics is concerned, this was unnecessary. I know the author wants you to see all the fancy guns everyone is pointing, shooting, and walking around with in their belts, but if I don’t know what a .357 long-reach magnum or a glock 40 pistol looks like anyway, it’s just more reading for me to get through.

And did I mention how many times we had to listen to the protagonist tell us in different ways how sexy his girlfriend was? I’m saying it again because this is how annoying it was after awhile. We heard you the first time. We get it. She tickles your fancy. I want to know what you’re thinking about the murders though. -_-

This book was also so ironic in a way and if the writer meant to write it like that then, brilliant!

One character is seriously considering killing his girlfriend for cheating on him and he means it cause he slit the throat of his last one when she tried to leave him (oh boy! o_O )  but when she’s brutally murdered by the killer he’s devastated because she didn’t deserve to die like that?

Yeah, but, you were going to kill her though.

Ummm, okay.

And the main protagonist spends the first 20 something chapters exaggerating how sexy his girlfriend is and how much he loves her but one woman just whispers in his ear that she ‘likes him’ and he’s ripping off her clothes. hahahahah xD

So what exactly were you two doing for the first 20 something chapters?

Hmmm. You sure bout them feelings?

But I’ve come to the end. I read it. It was good. I hope I got you interested and I would recommend it if you like horror, crime novels with some erotica thrown in. Please visit the author’s Facebook page for updates and other projects they’re doing.

As well as the Fields of Death book page on Caribbean Books where you can find purchase links.

– N. Gomes, Caribbean Books Foundation

Movie Autopsy: Crimes of Grindelwald

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Hello. So I finally watched The Crimes of Grindelwald last week, no, two weeks ago! This has been saved in drafts for awhile. Yikes!

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And since it’s also been a while since I posted, I thought starting with something concrete, like a review-ish thing, instead of random thoughts, was in order. I feel like I have something to say about this movie and by extension Fantastic Beasts in general, being a Harry Potter fan an all.

I have to admit that this is one of those movies that has far too many special effects for the small screen. I honestly felt like my eyes glazed over a few times trying to take it all in on my tiny screen at home. So note to self, watch remaining Fantastic Beasts movies au cinema. It was a good movie. I liked it, I really did. A solid 3 out of 4.

I understand the struggles with this spin off and why so many critics and fans don’t like it. You have the obviously problematic issues with Johnny Depp’s personal life over-shadowing the initial release. I’m sorry producers but that is the truth whether you like it or not. I don’t care to take sides in his personal affairs. However anybody who hires him while this mess between him an his wife is going on WILL have to deal with negative feedback. Period.

The other even more important part of why this spin off seems to be falling flat has to do with the audience not being able to connect with the characters. With the Harry Potter series we had the books to get into way before the movies came out. The characters had already made an impact on us so the movies just rode that wave and built on it.

Fans may understand the connection that these new characters have to the Harry Potter series but we don’t really know them. Dumblydoorrre being the exception of course.

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Why Albus, what broad shoulders you have? *smirk*

So it’s either the characters made you feel a connection to them at that moment in the cinema or they didn’t. And I feel as if the creators of COG forgot that, and banked a little too much on these movies being successful because of the HP series. We still need to genuinely feel for and love these characters on their own and unfortunately some of them are just… there.

Now I accept that the first two movies are basically just an introduction to everyone’s arc with some important plot points in between, and that’s fine. Some people have a problem with that, I don’t. What else were the first three HP movies anyway? Shit really started to go down in Goblet of Fire when you think about it.

I feel however that they are treating some random characters like supporting/main characters, before their time. Meaning, if a character isn’t affecting the pace of the story AT THIS MOMENT it is okay to let them do what they came to do, and exit the stage.

And I think this is one of the reasons why many people felt they just couldn’t care more about the characters because they weren’t doing anything for you to care about! Some of them had very little substance but I guess they assumed we’d love them because… Harry Potter!!

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Yay! It’s Hogwarts! Excitement will ensue!

Let’s take it back a bit.

We all remember Lavender Brown. Which one, you say? Let’s not get into that. Lavender Brown the character from the Harry Potter series, alright! This girl was a random in the beginning of HP, and she wasn’t trying to be anything else but a side character who was vaguely ever mentioned or shown on screen until the sixth book/movie when she became Ron’s girlfriend. And at that point she affected the arc of the main characters which sowed seeds to deepen the plot between Ron and Hermione later on.

She even further played a part when she was mauled by a werewolf and died and it was heartbreaking for them and by extension us because they knew this girl! They went to school with her for six years and, despite the relationship they each had with her, she was counted as one of the dead in the battle at Hogwarts which helped move Harry’s decision to give himself up to Voldemort. We all know the story!

Point is, she played her part when it was needed. In other words, she remained random until it was time for her to step up and become a supporting character and move along the plot. Get what I mean?

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But let’s take Nagini in Crimes Of Grindelwald, for example.

Okay, so we know Nagini ends up serving Voldy eventually and this series will hopefully tell us how she got from being a circus act to the last surviving horcrux of the dark lord in Deathly Hallows. We all want to hear this story! Trust me. I just feel like they tried to make her a supporting character too early and because of that it felt like she was just thrown in with no real purpose but to comfort the forever depressed Credence who can’t figure out if he’s good or bad.

And don’t even get me started on Credence! They try to make his posters seem threatening and ominous but he really is just a sad man-child who is easily manipulated, can’t control his own powers ( understandably not his fault! ) and has zero will power. I get it, he has a tortured past and is volatile, at best! But then I don’t get it, because he’s not scary… at all, and seems like he just wants a family and friends.

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I just, he’s confused, I’m confused. I need Barebone to get some back bone before this series is over, that’s all I’m saying!

But back to Nagini.

She has a few lines here an there and a minor speech at the end trying to convince Credence not to go with Grindelwald, but why? We know nothing about her relationship with Credence. Does she love him? Did they know each other before? We don’t even know who she really is, what values and beliefs she has at this point while she’s still human. Why isn’t she for Credence going with Grindelwald if he really might know something about him?

If you are going to make someone a supporting character you need to give the audience supporting information about them. There’s just too much here that is implied. How was Nagini and Credence’s relationship supposed to impact us at the end? What was I supposed to feel about them parting? Nagini’s final speech doesn’t make sense. She seems delusional for thinking he would actually listen to her. It’s only been a few months, girl, you don’t know him. He doesn’t even know who he is! O_O!

credence and nagini

It’s feels like Nagini and Credence are here more for the cool special effects they bring, than to actually be interesting characters. I would have liked to see more from them, like how it started, how she came to trust and want to help him and how he feels about her.

At the very least this movie should give Nagini a solid beginning to her own defining arc as a character during the series. They could have done that very simply though. For example:

Credence meets Nagini at the circus. They form a bond over having who they are slowly destroyed by what they are and dealing with succumbing to a faith they can’t control. He ‘finds’ the address of his ‘mother’ and Nagini creates a distraction to help him escape from the circus. But then she leaves with the circus! She exits the stage until she moves the plot again or it’s time to continue her own character arc. Her introduction is made, which is the point, and we don’t have her hanging around doing basically nothing the entire show.

And Nagini is just one glaring example. Newt’s brother is another. I just don’t get him. Why does he treat his brother with so much indifference? Is it really just because he is a little different? It feels like there’s more there. It felt like a Percy Weasley situation but then it wasn’t. I don’t know but if we had taken Theseus out of the picture, nothing much would have changed.

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I actually think Leta’s character was written in very well. She was hinted at in the last movie as being important to Newt but her presence didn’t move the plot yet so she wasn’t needed. Not even a flashback.

This time around, we have all the flashbacks giving us more insight into Newt and Leta’s life at school, the reveal of Leta’s heritage so we understand more about Credence (or don’t) and her ultimate sacrifice to help the others which also allows her to be at peace with her own demons. Unless she suddenly comes back in the next movie her character arc has been neatly wrapped up. And her presence did help build the plot because it forced Newt to finally choose a side and willingly take part in the fight against Grindelwald.

So, yes, there are also characters who are wonderful and relatable and well written. Shout out to Jacob and Queenie!

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You tell him, Queenie!

I’m still upset over Queenie. It was a twist, but a good one so I ain’t mad, but… my heart. Our sweet Queenie, why?! This is not the way. cries long tears And my man Jacob! Finally a muggle as a recurring character who represents all of us, and the love we have for the wizarding world.

You know how muggles were in HP. Either it’s the random muggle parent that ruined your life by existing (I’m looking at you Tom Riddle), or the wizard-hating family of Dursleys, or the muggle parents like the Grangers who are cool with it but we never see them, or the worst, the randomly thrown in muggle just there to be killed off, e.g. Frank Bryce.

Jacob is contributing to the plot, questioning, accepting, being amazed and amazing and hopefully here to stay!

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I love this guy! He gets us!

But my favourite, and it’s the same for many people, is Newt Scamander. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. I have no problem with him, his weird quirks or rumpled hair. His character is growing and yet he still manages to be un-apologetically himself.

I know critics, not necessarily fans, have a problem with the character that Eddy Redmayne has managed to portray so wonderfully. They think he’s too awkward, is a minor character trying to be a major one (listen…) and some people have even found a way to say that he’s mocking persons with autism.

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I don’t get you all. Fans understand Newt Scamander. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Gryffindor or a Ravenclaw. Newt makes sense to you and I love the way Eddy Redmayne plays him and I want to see more of this character.

See here’s the thing. Hogwarts 101: The people that are sorted into Hogwarts houses are all very different in their own wonderful ways. Now the Harry Potter series gave us a very in depth look at Gryffindor house, and the Gryffindor attitude has even become a staple of J.K. Rowling’s magical universe.

But fans have been aligning themselves with other houses since the inception of the books, not just Gryffindor! No love lost, we’re all apart of Hogwarts at the end of the day. However, what Fantastic Beasts is, what Newt Scamander is, all that is being presented to you now is from the perspective of a Hufflepuff. That’s all!

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Sorry, a proud Hufflepuff!

And fans have been waiting for this! To get a hero from the house that they align with or to just see a story from the perspective of another house!

But Newt Scamander is not Harry Potter and will never be Harry Potter because he is NOT a Gryffindor. These two houses could not be farther apart. Well, maybe Hufflepuff and Slytherin are more unalike, but still, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw and even Slytherin share many more traits in common with each other than the patient and loyal Hufflepuffs. Which is why Cedric seemed like such an anomaly in the house even though he was a true Hufflepuff at heart to the very end. ( Cedric!! cries long tears!! )

So I find it very spot on!!! J.K. Rowling!! That a spin off would be with the almost polar opposite to Gryffindor. It’s brilliant! Let people readjust, nothing is wrong with Newt being who he is in these movies.

You won’t find Newt taking flying cars around London or sneaking into Slytherins camp to get information. His bravery is a different sort. A sort propelled by his love for animals that will make him face even the scariest of beasts to help it. He has a naturally caring spirit that can drive him to come out of his shy, awkward shell to help a friend. He’s kind, empathetic and unfailingly fair despite the consequences and although he has a hesitant disposition (when dealing with people anyway), he knows who he is and what he is about.

This is Newt Scamander and to me, a fan, he is perfect just the way he is. My new Hufflepuff darling (sorry Ced), awkward side glances an all. Ain’t it the truth, Tina?

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Tina agrees!

Now other than the COG review, I was prompted to write this post because more than once I have heard (since the first movie actually) that due to the negative reception by critics, Newt might be sidelined as the main character in the upcoming movies, or removed altogether.

So! To that I say… clears throat if you can keep Johnny Depp with all the bad press he’s been bringing to the franchise (yeah, I went there) you CANNOT justify moving Newt’s character because he isn’t the typical hero or dare I say ‘Gryffindor’ enough. glares

No way. You all mess with my Newt, see what happens. In the midst of all the gun blazing heroes in the cinema today, Newt is a different kind of hero that we need to see more of. He reminds us that if Hufflepuff can help save the day so can Ravenclaw and definitely Slytherin, you just have to give them a chance. By the way, we’re waiting for the other houses to get their own stories as well. Take note, Rowling. We want to get into their mind just like Gryffindor. Please do not listen to the critics and disappoint the fans, because critics may lie.

-Written By Travesaou

Copyright © Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved

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Links
In case you need help wrapping your head around why Hufflepuff is great
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And in case you still need convincing why Newt Scamander is the hero we need to see more of.

Writing Update 7th June 2019

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I hesitated to write the year in the title because, well, ah shame. But then I was like, what am I doing? You all know what date it is anyway. Can’t hide the truth.

It’s the 7th of June, yeah, 2019. Sigh.

A good three years later, I have a writing update! What was my last update about anyway? I swear I can’t even remember! Ha! How in the world…? I can’t even believe I took this long!

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Life! Life, that’s what happened. But if you noticed I didn’t stop posting, and I didn’t stop writing during those years either.

I got bulldozed with at least three long-term projects at work so for two years writing took a back seat to get those done. And then there was 2018. If you also noticed there are no posts, zero from that year because that was the year I took off from work to study. It was a course I always wanted to do, but working at it literally became a 12 hours or more a day task. If I had any idea…

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It was so hard not being able to write more. I think I wrote less during that year than when I was working!

So if I wanted to keep working on my books in any way during that year it meant that I had no time to blog. All my spare time went to my stories. But now that’s over with and, since April this year to be exact, I have finally found myself in a place where I can just write. I’ve given myself the time to get it done… God help.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not scared of writing. Neither am I like some writers who do everything else on purpose just not to write. I don’t understand that. Most of the time if I don’t feel like writing it’s because I’m just tired because… life! Let me sleep! But it’s not because I don’t feel like writing.

And writing itself is equally draining as it is amazing and invigorating. My brain does get tired from constantly ticking away at the plot even when I’m sleeping. Story, let me sleep! And my body does get tired from staying in one spot for so long. But that’s easy to solve if I stay active, rotate activities or move on to writing something else when I get stuck.

What I find myself concerned with now, now that I’ve decided to just write, is how just writing will affect the rest of my life. I have never had to consider this before. It’s always been the other way around, and it’s a little exciting to be committing to it like that. But at the same time, making writing the most important thing on the list and giving it that priority, even temporarily, means that something else that is important will suffer or have less of my time.

And I’m a grown-up, I can’t always just do whatever I want so…

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I can never win.

But I will figure this balance thing out! In the meantime, I think I’ll just calm down and enjoy it, and focus on what I need to do in order to do what I want to do. Which right now is writing.

So, here we go.

Travesaou, still fighting!

Copyright © Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved

God Is NOT A Trini

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Is it possible that for this hurricane season we can get rid of the “God is a Trini” term?

Let me put it another way.

Is it possible that for this hurricane season we can stop being so damn insensitive to the millions of people in the region who have literally had their lives destroyed because ‘God is a Trini’.

Now I know nobody really believes it. Every country has their own sayings that only make sense there. It is just our way of explaining why several times we have been directly in the path of a hurricane only to find that it suddenly changed its mind a few miles out and went in another direction. God must be a Trini. *shrug*

However, I don’t think my Trinbagonian brothers and sisters who raise this ‘nothing can touch us cause God is a Trini’ flag high every year understand the depth of their growing ignorance and again, just plain old in-sen-si-ti-vi-ty.

To say ‘God is a Trini’ means…

God doesn’t care about anyone else in the world but us, to the point that God will direct a hurricane or other natural disaster in another country’s path to destroy them instead because HE PASSPORT FROM HERE.

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Alyuh serious?

And people just keep saying it like it’s a joke. IT IS NOT A JOKE FOR THE REST OF THE REGION! Whole islands have been completely destroyed, death tolls are raising daily, and you sitting in a bar, thunder and lightening outside, place flooding all over and talking bout nothing going to happen here cause ‘God is a Trini.’

LOOK NAH!

Unfortunately there are no gifs in my repertoire to fully convey my frustration over this but it’s somewhere between this…

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and this…

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And then when time comes to assist our Caribbean brothers and sisters, it’s only excuses and complaints as to why we can’t ‘afford’ to. So on top of everything, we’re also stingy.

We’re like that one character in every story that everyone is bound to hate because they:

  1. care about nobody and thinks others misfortune are their own fault.  “Sorry, God’s not from your country so too bad.”
  2. thinks their needs are much greater than anyone else’s.  “We’re in a recession (um, so’s the whole world) we can’t send money for anybody. Salt.”

I am disgusted. By our lack of empathy and kindness. And I know that there are some people who are trying to help, who are signing up for Habitat For Humanity and are making donations and organising to get stuff to people who need it.

But the majority of us are largely doing nothing, are simply shrugging it off as someone else’s problem and moving on with our lives in a bubble of false reality that *JESUS* born here and has an ID card like yours. Just give me a break, please!

If we keep thinking like this, what happens when disaster finally hits us, and it will! God wasn’t a Trini in 1974 and 1933.

Okay, so our position on the equator makes us “immune” to >>most<< (not all) disasters but SO WHAT? I don’t know, maybe we’ve been placed in a position to not get hit so we can help others. If you can’t find the compassion in your heart at least give and help so that when our time comes, people will remember and help us too! Sense, yes?

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So simple to understand and people just… Lord

God is no respecter of persons (in other words Jesus ain’t no Trini!) and even if you don’t believe in a God, trust me, karma exists. What goes around always comes around and a hurricane looks a lot like a boomerang…

– Written by Travesaou

Copyright © Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved

This Is Not Writer’s Block

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via Daily Prompt: Adrift

The disconnect is real.

I can’t tell you how many times I came here to write and didn’t. It’s almost as if my brain has forgotten how to function as a writer. How to make plain the jumbled processing of words to describe a situation, or rather how it makes me feel. Either that or I just don’t care to.

Writer’s block, you say? This is not writer’s block.

My last post was three months ago. Three months since I’ve written here. Three months my heart has had nothing to say. But it has, because I’ve been here, opened the blog, sat down with the intention to write only to feel nothing. Only questions and doubts…

Do I really want to talk about this?

I don’t have much to say on this topic.

I don’t feel like doing this anymore.

Why are you staring at a screen? You have work to do.

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Adrift by fictionchick on deviant art 

My mind is lost in an abyss of tiredness and responsibility, never reaching any goals no matter how much I fight and struggle to move from the place I’m in. And my life line is getting farther and farther away. Maybe that’s why I feel so disconnected with myself and have been living like my mind is an empty shell.

But this is not writer’s block. I forgot that if I don’t write, I’ll die. Internally I will whither away and cease to exist.

I’m adrift in the open sea but writing is the dark secrets beneath the water that keeps me wondering, and imagining with fascination what might be there. It’s the buoy that keeps my head above the water’s of life that threaten to drown me. It’s the lighthouse that keeps reminding me, reassuring me that the land is near… it’ll be fine, the light says, just hold on.

This is not writer’s block. This is my soul’s desperate calls for help. To be revived on the brink of death. This is me forgetting who I am and why I’m here. Writing is how I survive in a world that threatens to kill my soul and steal my sanity.

So even though I have a million things to do today, or any day, I will stop to write something. A song, a poem, a plan for a story, how I feel about the world around me, how I feel about myself. It doesn’t matter. Writing is a part of me and I should not neglect it.

– Written by Travesaou

Copyright © Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – The Little Prince

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I’ve realised that I can’t be very good at doing book reviews because I’ve read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and can only say that it was a wonderful book.

Not much of a review?

Well. Let’s try again.

Of all the chapters I remember Chapter Nine the most, because it was heartbreaking. I actually pouted afterward a bit. Leaving his flower behind. It’s strange how the feeling and the idea of love and how much it binds you even if it hurts and frustrates you to the point that you want to run away from it could be so easily captured in so few sentences as the little prince and his rose bidding each other farewell. I particularly loved the flower’s words as he left.

I’ve been silly,” she whispered at last. “Please forgive me. Try to be happy.”

He was surprised by the absence of reproaches. He just stood there, quite bewildered, with the dome poised in mid-air. He did not understand this quiet sweetness.

“Of course, I love you,” the flower said to him. “If you were not aware of it, it was my fault. That is not important. But you have been just as foolish. Try to be happy…

How is it that life works this way? That we only realise how much we need and love someone until they go away. I guess what is important is that like the flower one at least lets them know. If we all were as honest as this before the fact, we might avoid less heartache.

Otherwise, I don’t understand why people think the book is, “really deep and philosophical.’ The exact words of the woman at the Logos Hope boat book fair who was ahead of me in the very long cashier’s line when she saw me reading it.

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Thank you Logos for taking all of my money. Does not include the CD’s I bought. 🙂 #broke

 

For me, The Little Prince was just truth and in some instances logic. I doubt I could recognise a drawing of an elephant from the outside or the inside but I have never understood grownups, when I was a child and now as an adult. And yet, at the same time I do understand them, if that makes sense. It is strange but we are strange in what we do and why.

I understand now why they placed the story in the setting that they did in the movie, although I’ve never seen the movie, only previews. Did the directors and screen writers think if they simply told the story of the little prince as it was without the added characters people wouldn’t get it? Maybe. Maybe they were trying to make the philosophy relatable but you know… I think the book speaks for itself the way it is.

The beauty I guess is in the frank simplicity of it. A drunkard drinking to forget that he is ashamed of being a drunkard shows precisely the dangerous addictive cycle of substance abuse.

A geographer waiting for explorers to come his way so he can write down their findings but never considering to be an explorer himself. And the business man, busy counting stars! Don’t even get me started.

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It reminded of a conversation I had with a coworker, far too many times frankly. He doesn’t seem to get what I’m saying but then, as the little prince puts it, he’s an adult and adults are strange. While he does what he can to climb the ladder of seniority in the company and is constantly up for achieving another pay grade I do what I am paid to do and go home. I am not bothered with anything else.

He always remarks on my ‘brilliance’ when I help him and keeps pushing me to be on projects with him, telling me I’ll be rewarded if I do as much as I can.

“Don’t worry, if you do the work, you’ll get promoted. You’ll get a raise,” he says.

He does not believe that I simply do not care for it. It is unfathomable to him! Why wouldn’t I? But then, why would I? Maybe it’s because I have so many other activities outside of my day job to care about, that part of me wants to keep this work simple so it’s easier to peel myself away from it every evening, but then it isn’t always that either.

His process makes no sense to me.

Should I wish to have a higher position, like him I will have to go back to school because despite my ‘brilliance’ and ability to get the job done the company will only promote candidates with the proper qualifications. It’s their policy. I’ve done higher education. It was the single most stressful four years of my life. While I was studying I was working days and sometimes nights at that time to pay for school as well (because heck I was brilliant, I could do it!), so you can imagine.

Basically what my coworker is saying is that I should go back to school, immerse myself in a stressful environment and the reward is to come back to work and qualify for a position… that will immerse me into another stressful environment? And increased pay is supposed to suffice for this?

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I don’t know, maybe he’s one of those inbred corporate types who thrive off of the daily burgeoning instability of their mental health, but still, what exactly is the outcome here? Because it feels like going in circles. Self-induced madness!

It makes me agree wholeheartedly with the little prince

Men,” said the little prince, “crowd into express trains without knowing what they are looking for. So they become agitated and rush round in circles…” After a pause, he added: “It is not worth the trouble…

It is not worth the trouble. I rest my case. Now I am sure there are many arguments about hard work and success that can counter this but frankly, there is only one thing that interests me about stress.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I am a diligent worker. I am a helper. Like the little prince I sweep my volcanoes and pull out baobab’s and do what needs to be done to take care of my tiny piece of the universe. And truthfully, there is inherently a little stress in everything but a lot of it is very, very unnecessary.

My endeavours at anytime must be of some use to me, and me of some use to my work, despite my need to pay my bills. It must be as the little prince put to the business man counting and recounting his stars, “an exercise of real importance’ and fulfilling (outside of monetary gain) at the end of the road.

There are some people who genuinely cannot afford to think like that and because I am an adult I know this! But some of us, most of us, are unnecessarily busy with things that make no sense and do not advance our happiness. If you are going to be ‘too busy’, at least be too busy being happy.

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The best thing that I learned from this little prince aka Antoine that I had not known before, was that of the fox. Don’t think because I left it for last or because I am spending so little time on it that it didn’t strike me.

I never thought of relationships like this before, like being tamed. Finding yourself like a wild animal that is now less frightened and more open in the presence of someone who you deem important, to you. Because the two of you have established a bond, and need each other. That’s exactly what it is!

Epiphany of the year! Yes, yes, the book came out in 1943. I’m late! Call it philosophy or call it life! Maybe it’s a little of both. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry gets me, and I get his Little Prince.

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On a side note, to the left of this page above my growing NaNoWriMo badges I will now be showing what I’m reading, or was reading, at any point in time. Feel free to join me!

– Written by Travesaou

Copyright © Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved