Friday, November 22, 2013

Random thoughts #3 God created . . .

One Christmas morning, many years ago, my mother and I missed the bus which would take us to the 5 a.m. special service at our church some distance away. We then decided to visit a small church within walking distance of  home. We had never attended this church and I found their order of service a bit strange, but they were singing the usual Christmas carols so it seemed all right. What I remember most about the service was the sermon in which the pastor argued that there had only ever been one conception - Mary's, and that word should never be used for any other woman's pregnancy. I am not sure if his mostly female followers understood him but they all heartily agreed with their amens.
I was about fifteen at the time and couldn't follow his line of reasoning. But, recently, I have come to realize the limitations of our vocabulary in certain respects, because we often use the same word for both spiritual and secular ideas sometimes diluting impact.
I have been thinking, in particular, about the word 'creativity', which, according to the Oxford English dictionary,  'involves the use of the imagination in order to create something'. This applies to a multitude of human activities. Like the pastor, I am wondering if we shouldn't use that word only in relation to God's actions and find another for our man made accomplishments. Then this 'sort of' poem came to me

   God Created . . .

Our most harmonious music only mimics that of heaven
Our most profound words are inexact records of God's thoughts
Our most beautiful pictures are but shadows from Paradise
In the beginning God created . . .
God created . . .
God created . . .
The best of us fall short of creation
Producing distant echoes of that which
God created
I'ma just saying. Whatever that means

 Then I saw this picture of an albino peacock on facebook. Nothing more to say

My ebooks
When Times are Strange
My Darling You
Mr King's Daughter

Monday, November 18, 2013

Changing my ebook cover
One of the good things about ebook publishing is that it is easy to change things which are not working.

My ebook When Times are Strange has not been getting much notice, so I decided to  change the cover which was rather dull to a more dramatic one. 

There are six stories in this collection with strong entertaining characters - very colourful Jamaican characters facing strange times and strange happenings.

Here's a quote from an interview with Jacqueline Bishop.
"Hazel Campbell, a 2011 Silver Musgrave medalist, is a marvellous writer. Her characters literally jump off the pages and you get fully immersed in their worlds" Read the interview here
Hop over to my amazon page and take a look inside, and buy a copy please

 Previous cover for comparison.What do you think? It's all experimental

My ebooks
When Times are Strange
My Darling You
Mr King's Daughter

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Red Dress—1946 A Story by Alice Munro – and me

Old Singer treadle machine

Extract: from Alice Munroe's story The Red Dress

    "My mother was making me a dress. All through the month of November I would come from school and find her in the kitchen, surrounded by cut-up red velvet and scraps of tissue-paper pattern. She worked at an old treadle machine pushed up against the window to get the light, and also to let her look out, past the stubble fields and bare vegetable garden, to see who went by on the road. There was seldom anybody to see.
    The red velvet material was hard to work with, it pulled, and the style my mother had chosen was not easy either. She was not really a good sewer. She liked to make things; that is different.
     Whenever she could she tried to skip basting and pressing and she took no pride in the fine points of tailoring, the finishing of buttonholes and the overcasting of seams as, for instance, my aunt and my grandmother did."

This story by Alice Munroe, recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in literature, struck strong memory chords for me. My mother also sewed my clothes during my early to teen years.She used what may be the first Singer machine ever made. I don't know where she learned to sew but she certainly took no pride in the finishing process and the finer points of dressmaking. Once the dress went over my head and fell to a certain length she was satisfied.
 This wasn’t so bad until my puberty years when I started growing breasts and hips which made it necessary for the cloth to  be cut a certain way to fit my expanding curves. She had a few mysterious phrases which I still remember. One was 'cutting on the bias' and the favourite when fitting me – 'las it off'.  My mother was a creole speaker, and I never did find out exactly what 'las it off' meant .She would use it whenever the bust part of the dress didn't fit. The darts on either side which were supposed to allow for growing breasts were never the same height or length, and never fit, being either too tight or too loose. So too the darts from the waist down which were supposed to allow for my new curves. They always ended in a pucker and never looked right. She would tug at the cloth and say she could fix it – she would just 'las it off'. Eventually, I gathered it meant tapering off the dart to prevent the pucker, but I could be wrong. Invariably, 'las it off'  never really worked.

But, she meant well. We didn't have money to buy readymade clothing or pay dressmakers, and that was a big part of the problem. Once, she even made me a bathing suit for a school picnic – these many years later I still cringe at that memory. Perhaps one day I will write a story about it and get that out of my system.
Another post I will tell you how this 'las it off' mentality still affects our not very well trained workmen in the building industry in particular.

My ebooks
When Times are Strange
My Darling You
Mr King's Daughter