Monday, November 16, 2015

Entertaining Read - My Three MOMs - A novel

 Love this review on amazon of my YA to NA novel: My Three Moms

 "This book is a really interesting page turner. What's going to happen to Destiny next as she tries to find out who is her mother, and evade very determined kidnappers. The characters she meets as she changes lifestyles are engaging. Some like Yahoo made me laugh. And as to that proposal scene at the end? "A girl could dream", Destiny says - of a more romantic one?  Really funny. I couldn't stop reading until the end and wanted more." 

Get your copy of this entertaining ebook here:

My Three Moms

Friday, September 4, 2015

I had been there before ........


An article on slave quarters reminded me of an experience I am sharing publicly for the first time.
   Many years ago when I was at CPTC in Jamaica, I went with a video crew to interview the owner of one of our old plantation estates Good Hope in Trelawny. As executive producer, I wasn't part of the production crew. I went along out of curiousity and was therefore free to make my own observations of what I saw. 
   The tour was intensive and extensive and our guide, Patrick Tennyson, whose family owned the estate at that time was very knowledgeable about the estate. 
   He took us all over the estate, some parts in ruins, but he give us the history of intriguing old buildings, the old slave hospital, old stone walls, beautiful landscape, the well preserved Great House.

   There was a section with just rubble with the remains of one or two rusty old iron implements. This was the slave quarters. I have no explanation of what I experienced on this site after he informed us that this was the area where the slaves were housed. There are a couple seconds of my life that time reversed and I 'met' a slave called Jacob who instructed me to tell his story. I still get goose pimples when I recall the incident. I felt as if I actually was transported into past time seeing huts and people dimly – everything ghostly. It could only have been a brief time because nobody sensed that anything was wrong with me.
   For the rest of the day I followed the crew and our guide around in a daze. But all that I saw burned into my imagination, so some time later I wrote Jacob's story. It was published, in1991, in my collection of short stories titled Singerman by Peepal Tree Press as Jacob Bubbles.  
   This is a very scary story for which I have absolutely no explanation. I re- read the story just now. It still scares me, and I am sad that so much of it can still be considered contemporary, for Jacob's story got mixed up with his descendant, Bubbles.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I was obsessed with my Trevor

Another short-short story

"Trevor!" I yelled.
    My sister and my niece who were just coming through the door looked around startled. As if they expected to see Neville Longbottom's toad jumping at them. They had promised me a plant for my birthday and I was so excited to see it. 
   I had read up on plants - how you should name them and talk to them like persons. I hadn't given a thought to the name I would choose until I saw the plant in my sister's hands. It was definitely a Trevor.

   It was frondy and curley-cued, some kind of plant which I didn't recognize, but I fell in love at once. I measured its water and plant food carefully and moved it around on the terrace until I found the spot it seemed to like best. Many evenings, while I relaxed with a cup of tea, Trevor listened to my woes from work, or problems with my other love. Trevor became my best friend.

   For a few months Trevor thrived, loving my attention, then disaster struck. Trevor began to look droopy. Some leaves curled up, grew brown and fell off. I was beside myself. What could be wrong with my Trevor?  I tried this and that. No Internet search helped. 
   My boyfriend (who I think was jealous of the attention I gave Trevor) said that maybe I had misnamed the plant, and it was not a boy plant but a girl plant. We had a nearly relationship-ending conversation about this. All plants have to be girls, he said, since they could reproduce other plants. He suggested that I rename my plant Trevilla or Trevina and it would recuperate. I slammed the door behind him.

   But, next day, he brought his friend who was a horticulturalist. He pruned Trevor severely, (I could barely watch) and revealed two new plants growing out of his roots. Some plants he explained, die down to make room for their offspring. I think my boyfriend had told him of my obsession; they both had sly grins on their faces.  
   When they left, I felt as if I had lost a lover. (Talk about gender confusion.) As if Trevor was an ex who had left me with two strange step-children. I felt very detached from them. I didn't even know their names. Perhaps we would have a healthier relationship. It hadn't really worked out with Trevor, after all. He had deserted me.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sista Bessie

Sista Bessie

© Hazel Campbell 2105

 ( This is exactly how the sister presented herself. She liked to laugh at her adventures.)

Jamaica has the most 'churches' per square mile of any country in the world. (Source: Guinness Book of World Records) Lots of churches. Lots of preacher men. Lots of followers, mostly women.
Sista Bessie was one of the followers. She was a card. A real joker card. If she got a lift to the crossroads after church, she would keep the passengers in the car laughing so much it was almost sinful. Mostly she talked about her exploits as a roving preacher woman. Her assigned role was 'street warrior'. She preached at crowded bus stops in the densely populated areas of the city, and woe be unto any lurking pickpockets hanging around. Her nose could smell them out like rats and if they gave her any lip, she would use her 'sword' to slap them. Her Bible-sword was large, thick and could give a good clout. A youth slapped by a Bible is hardly likely to carry out his plan to rob, sometimes at knifepoint. Her targets would slink away cursing (under their breaths). For Sister Bessie could call down fire and brimstone on them, she would plead the blood of Jesus against them and although many didn’t exactly know what that meant, it didn't sound like something they wanted to experience.
Regular commuters welcomed her presence and put up with her preaching and even humoured her by listening and nodding and murmuring amen and singing a chorus or two with her.
When the transvestites, who travelled in groups of four or five, exaggerating their eccentricities to annoy or disgust the people at the bus stops – when they saw Sista Bessie they tiptoed past on the other side of the road, hoping she wouldn’t get on their case, for her voice was loud and authoritative and self-righteous and shaming and always spoiled their fun.
And she was only five feet tall.

So, when a new hustler at the bus stop saw this tiny woman carrying the big bible, he ignored her. Nobody had warned him about Sista Bessie. Clive had no affiliations to any criminal group. He was just a disgruntled youth, out of work too long, and desperate to feel some money in his hands. He was passing Sista Bessie's bus stop and seeing the people, all of whom looked well fed and prosperous, a sudden wave of anger overtook him. He didn’t stop to lurk and stalk a victim. He just walked up to the nearest buxom woman and grabbed her purse.
The cries of "Tief! Thief" scattered the crowd except for a tiny woman who put out her foot and tripped Clive. He jumped up, pulled out his knife, flicked it and lunged at this audacious woman who held up a book to shield herself from his assault. The knife plunged into the book and Clive watched in shock as the blade broke off and fell to the ground leaving the handle in his hand. Only then did he see the words Holy Bible on the book Sista Bessie was still holding up. There wasn't even a scratch on it.
Clive threw away the purse. Clive fled. The people cheered while Sista Bessie did a kind of victory dance as she sang 'No weapons formed against me shall prosper. Halleluyah!'
There was a tent church near to where Clive lived. When the gospel music started that night, it seemed to pull him towards it. He crept into the meeting and sat in the semi-darkness in the back, which was empty. He hoped nobody would notice him. He didn't  know why he was there. He didn’t even see her until she was standing right before him singing and holding out her hand to lead him forward  - a tiny little lady not more than five feet tall. Sista Bessie was a regular visitor at the tent meetings on Sunday nights.