On the Move Again

It’s been a while since I have added anything to this site. A few events that occurred recently somewhat threw a wrench in my routine and  slowed or stopped some of my activities. This edition is hopefully the start of getting back to doing what I have been enjoying lately.

However in the midst of life’s turmoil, there is usually a shining light. We celebrated our son’s graduation from Temple University with a Civil Engineering Degree. We look forward to him doing what Bill Cosby asked the graduating class to do that day at the Commencement Ceremony … Get a job! And with God’s guidance we know he will. But things have somewhat settled down and I am getting back to allowing the creative juices to flow once again.

As the warm months approach, (I confess, I don’t enjoy the cold) I am looking forward to embarking on the 2013 Geejay Arts and Photo Road Tour which, in effect, is my attendance and participation in a number of activities from now till December, especially those with a Dominican flavor. No, I am not getting on a bus with all my stuff although I really wished I could and have the opportunity to tour other states. But my car will do, with all my work crammed on the back seat and in the trunk; sometimes solo and other times accompanied by my wife or my son or daughter.

So far I have tentatively planned to be at CODIA’s Father’s Day Dinner and Dance in the Bronx; Tropical Hawaiian Party with Patorah in Mt. Vernon; the Dominica United Cricket Club’s picnic in Somerset, NJ; DOTSAC’s Flag Raising Ceremony and show in CT, DEONJ’s Madam Wob Dwiyet in N.J.and one of my favorites, DARDA’s Independence Gala in NY.  I am also looking forward to once again participating in the Collingswood Book Festival in Collingswood, NJ which I attended for the first time last year. There are a few that I have heard about but no confirmation yet.

These events give me the opportunity to showcase and sell my work while interacting with other artists who are present, especially one like the Collingswood Book Festival which gives you the opportunity to see others like you trying to reach out to the public offering what we’ve created and hoping to get their support. My first experience was a good one and I look forward to be there once again on October, 6th.

I am working on plans to have an exhibition later this year in my hometown of Union, NJ. Plans are still being worked out as to venue, date, and time, and I am hoping that this is not just a dream, but becomes a reality. I had previously held such an event a few years ago, but I want to make this one much better and possibly a little grander. I will see how things fall into place as we move along.

This month marks two years since the publication of Ma William and Her Circle of Friends and I can say that I have been extremely pleased with the feedback and support I have received though, like many self–published authors I would have hoped for more support in terms of sales of the book However it is a work in progress and all one has to do is keep stoking the fire. My other two books continue to find their way into people’s homes and I am pleased about that…Mesye Kwik! Kwak! a collection of stories based on life in St. Joseph and, The Island Man Sings His Song, a collection of poems.

I recently heard from Mrs.Vinna Royer of St. Joseph, my home village in Dominica and the setting for “Ma William and Her Circle of Friends”–who told me that she reads chapters of Ma William and Her Circle of Friends to the seniors who meet at the Matthew’s Hall in St. Joseph and they have enjoyed it so much that they would like to know what happened to Ma William and her gang. Needless to say, I was very happy to hear about it. Another friend, Dominica’s grand lady of song, Ophelia, sent to let me know that she was present at one of those sessions and she was proud to tell the seniors present that she knows the author. Hopefully, one day I can grace the gathering and read a chapter to them.

But, oh, oh! Do I hear a call for a sequel? I have heard that call before though, however, at this time, I am working on two projects so the sequel is some time in the future.

It is said that variety is the spice of life and hopefully some variety will add some spice to my site…though I pray not too spicy…and I have invited three fellow bloggers and writers to be my guests on subsequent editions. If all goes according to plan, the next edition will be by one of those individuals. Something interesting that we can look forward to.

Finally, as we approach Fathers’ Day, I want to take this opportunity to salute my dad, Mr. Shaden John. Daddy recently celebrated his 84th birthday and we’re hoping that he can celebrate many more still with us, God willing. I did not pick up my artistic skills from him; that came from my mom’s side—painting influenced by my uncle Ronald Julien, and photography, by my late uncle, Frank Julien. I don’t know where the writing came from—I guess a God-given talent, though I wished I had dad’s penmanship. He writes very well. It would have saved me a caning from Br. Sullivan when I was in First Form at the SMA…yes…believe it…my handwriting was not up to snuff on three occasions, so I paid the ultimate price. Never got caned again though!!!

But what my dad has left imprinted within me and which I have admired and respected over the years, are: his love for his family, his hard work and dedication, his easy-going attitude, and his friendliness. Yes, he was a strict dad and made sure I did what was right, as did my late mom, but I don’t hold it against them. My dad has had a strong commitment to his community; to his church and God—dad has been singing on the St. Joseph church choir for over 50 years. I am proud when so many see him in me, especially my wife, who thinks the older I get the more I am like him. I’ll take that compliment.

My annual backyard garden is a tribute to him and what he instilled in me in terms of agriculture and gardening from an early age, although I have to confess I was not fond of going to the “garden,” except when I was going to have fun. Banana reception days were not my favorite. I rather stayed in Senjo and be out on the playing field with my friends. But as I became my own man, I saw what drove him and I am now guilty of being like that sometimes.

So Daddy, this is for you. Happy Father’s Day and though we have not spent one together in over 27 years, the respect, love and appreciation for all you are and have been, have not waned and the older I get the more I believe I am truly my Father’s son. God’s richest blessings, Daddy!

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