Sunday, 18 March 2012

Respect for times past through folklore, short stories and a biography

Respect for Times Past through folklore, short stories and a biography

Part 4

The brisk sea breeze that whipped through the Cassia Trees shook the frame of the main tent at the Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta on February 25, and added drama to the stories being weaved by the writers. Inspiration came from times not so long ago in the presentation by Fern Leucke and writing of Roland Watson-Grant and Mark Thomas.

In the segment, Best of St Bess, folklorist Fern Leucke, transformed by full makeup and costume into an indomitable district Ma’am, reminded all why the cultural objects of yesteryear such as the wash hand basin and carbolic soap, hand sewn embroidery, and the coconut brush allowed people to live in dignity.

Of the calabash, now replaced by Igloos, she said, “Packy, calabash, gourdy it was a very important chappy in them days…have plenty use.”

She ended her segment by reciting lyrics “Mek we pull togedda and no pull gainst one anneda. Unity is the power to build a better Jamaica.”

Roland Watson-Grant
Roland Watson-Grant
Roland Watson-Grant brought the house down when he read from his short story, Bad Bad Habit, which also harked back to times, now past.

“Sister Bernadette was tall but each year her back bent a millimeter or two, like one of the ancient, arthritic trees that stood brooding in the churchyard. Her roots went way down. Some say she was there right after ‘Let there be Light’. Church members feared her next to the Most High and I used to imagine that even terrible angels sucked in their bellies or shifted to one side when Sister Bernadette came barreling down the creaking mahogany corridors.”

In his opening remarks, Watson-Grant, who received a short story award from Lightship Publishing International said that at an event in the UK a poet laureate reeled off the names of Jamaican writers. His short story, Big Carrot Coloured Alien Machines, was a tribute to the imagination of children.

Mark Thomas
Mark Thomas
Public Relations Practitioner, Mark Thomas, selected segments from the childhood memories of Winston Chung Fah as written in the unpublished manuscript Football Revolutionary: Biographical Accounts of the History of Jamaican Football through the life and times of Winston Chung Fah.

“Lucas, Kensington and Wembley, the chief of the cricket clubs in Kingston and St Andrew. Thirteen bastions for the gentleman’s game within a three square mile radius, that’s a lot for any part of the world, more than rum bars. There were only two clubs in West Kingston, which was far more populated than the East. The biggest, Wembley, named after the famed London soccer stadium, was the most gentrified….I would never be accepted in one of those clubs, but I never stopped trying.”

Thomas said that the book was almost complete and he was presently seeking to collaborate with a good editor.

The 2012 Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta was held with the special partnership of Jamcopy (, the Jamaica copyright agency.