Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blog Research

I find a lot of information about Jamaica Kincaid through internet sources, though some of it is just book sales. I have an idea about using the blog posts and commentary ‘of the people’ in my writing, but I worry about how to incorporate it in a way that it is considered appropriate. Not that I won’t try anyway, but I want it to work as research. I see it as field writing research. When I look at blogs and other informal writing, I think now these are the people who actually read Jamaica Kincaid and practice in varying degrees autobiographical writing- these are the people who are involved in the dynamics I’m writing about.

Some of these blog writings are formal as they are written by scholars, or literary type people, while others are written by students, mothers and interested readers. I’m trying to think about how to include and reference these people. I have their blog name. I have their addresses (urls). I’m just concerned that people who don’t understand what I’m doing will think the work lacks rigor, namely the dissertation reading committee and my adviser. People are not writing about blogs here in academia in Puerto Rico. It’s not a form of publishing that has caught on and/or is respected.

Many people look away when I say I write a blog, I think they think it’s equivalent to Facebook in its substance. (I think Facebook is a great way to write mini-blogs, and I know that people use it to their own purpose so I am not criticizing the forum at all. I am able to reach more people through Facebook. I love sharing my Oasis blog with them.) I have five blogs I participate in, including this one- one I author for the general public about life, art and living in PR; another I write for myself that has all of the research about Jamaica Kincaid and autobiography, and the next two blogs are in public forums where I publish so that I can connect with other writers. I started this one to learn wordpress and to have a place that was semiprivate to freely write about my writing project. As is my habit, I am thinking about how my own writing behavior is shared by others-or not. I’m thinking about the autobiographical quality of blog writing, and instant publishing. What does it do to the author? What impact does it have in any direction. Recently, I saw a movie where the main character, a newspaper writer, made disparaging comments about his younger colleague because she wrote and published in a blog. I gleaned from his comments that he thought blogs were not serious writing because they talked about non-serious topics and didn’t use the same rules for publishing or research. Blogs were kind of a tabloid newspaper in his mind. I understand his opinion but I think there are many kinds of blogs that are written by various people.

The blog writer has more control if she creates and writes in the blog, but if it’s sponsored by a newspaper or connected to an organization, it follows the rules set up by their arrangement. Blogs can be seen on a continuum in level of seriousness and quality but that is not the point. Some people just want to connect with others by sharing ideas and hearing from their readers. Others write without much exchange. Some are informal while others are informal. However, they are part of the social interplay that we all are engaged in life, only this part is done on computer instead of paper or in person. It’s an entire world of literary exchange that has merit just because it exists and is growing, Lately, I have read about some academic conferences that address the blog as a writing medium. one was a woman’s writing conference in San Diego. I also saw a requests for submissions for a publication in another woman’s book. I think the blog literary landscape is changing.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Caribbean Anthology; Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root

A New Caribbean Anthology:

Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction

Posted by NJ News on Jun 27th, 2010 and filed under Book Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry from your site

Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction
The lushness of language and the landscape, wild contrasts, and pure storytelling magic abound in this anthology of Caribbean writing. Steeped in the tradition of fabulism, where the irrational and inexplicable coexist with the realities of daily life, the stories in this collection are infused with a vitality and freshness that most writing traditions have long ago lost. From spectral slaving ships to women who shed their skin at night to become owls, stories from writers such as Jamaica Kincaid, Marcia Douglas, Ian MacDonald, and Kamau Brathwaite pulse with rhythms, visions, and the tortured history of this spiritually rich region of the world.

Friday, June 25, 2010

KIncaid's Impact on a Young Reader

A young writer dreams of learning to write. She describes Kincaid as the writer capable of whipping her writing into shape; in Autographs and Pen Pals
By Olena Jennings posted at 4:56 pm on June 23, 2010
I once lived for furthering my collection of autographed books. Getting a book signed meant going to hear the author read, waiting in line with other fans, and then, finally, being presented with the chance to utter words of praise. Sometimes it meant getting teary-eyed with envy, worrying over whether I would ever write anything so poignant. This happened when Amy Tan walked by in purple velvet with her lap dog trailing behind her. During middle and high school, at the height of my obsession with autographs, I spent a lot of time writing letters, poems that exhibited the same longing for impossible love, and short stories that revealed I was fixated on the same themes of displacement and loneliness that I am now.

I heard Jamaica Kincaid read twice. The first time she read at the local university from her novel Lucy. I was in seventh grade and inexperienced in matters of love. She read a passage about sucking on a boy’s tongue and I was mesmerized. She stood before a large audience and I couldn’t help but see that she was someone important. The second time I went to hear her read, I got Lucy signed by her before she spoke. My father told her that I wanted to be a writer. She didn’t say anything, only proudly signed her name. Later, during the Q & A, she asked in perfectly enunciated words, “Where is that girl who wants to be a writer?” I shyly raised my hand. She went on to recommend Gertrude Stein to me. Following the reading, I began to imagine Jamaica Kincaid as my writing teacher. With her intimidating stature, I divined she would be just as intimidating of a teacher. I thought only she would be capable of whipping my writing into shape. I wanted her to treat my writing so harshly that my only option would be improvement.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Brother; Another Blogger's Reflection

My Brother, is a memoir that triggers profound feelings. Read about this reflection.

Gender Blog mentions Kincaid's "Girl"

A woman's conference, Oprah's Life Your Best Life, in New York and Kincaid's, Girl is mentioned.

Copy of Dale's blog: The Gender Agenda
Live your best life
Bonjour all,

Vous allez bien? I know summer has officially arrived in Belgium as I only had to wear a light trench coat yesterday.

Below are a few nuggets I gleaned from Oprah’s Live Your Best Life Weekend, which took place in New York City recently. I’ve tried to cull the content that links to women and career.

For those of you outside the U.S. and South Africa, let me clarify why I admire Oprah. Her magazine is one of the few periodicals mass marketed to women that does not insult our intelligence. It covers politics, spirituality, careers, food, health, volunteering, literature, and culture with both an international and female lens. Fashion and celebrities are footnotes, not focal. It’s a magazine that expects more of us (watch this space for a blog on how expectations shape self-belief and performance).

I first read interviews with two of my own role models – Nelson Mandela and Richard Branson – in O Magazine (side note on Richard Branson – I also read his hilarious and informative book of life lessons, Screw it, Let’s Do It after watching him on a BBC segment last year. He was leaping around the camera frame with great alacrity as he discussed Virgin’s development of environmentally-friendly airplanes. In other words, he was fired up about the work he was doing. That is one man that I would definitely follow into battle – but that’s a whole other blog on inspirational leadership).

Back to LYBL. Not since the Women’s Forum have I seen so many women in one aesthetically sumptuous place. No detail was overlooked. The stages were illuminated in neon pinks and purples; luscious murals abounded. Regular columnists for O Magazine held both plenary and informal sessions in which they shared wisdom and engaged us in Q&A; there was a discovery hall featuring interactive booths where you could be filmed sharing your point-of-view (on anything) for Oprah’s Network, join a live Wii Fit training session, get made over by L’Oreal cosmetic experts, or do some book shopping (I bought Ken Follett’sThe Pillars of the Earth for my summer beach read).

The LYBL weekend focused on empowerment and authenticity. Here are a few morsels to chew on.

Oprah on work, passion, and vision

“Let passion drive your profession.”

Oprah shared a childhood story with us about her grandmother teaching her to do the laundry in rural Mississippi (for me, the vignette invoked my favorite short story, Girl by Jamaica Kincaid). Oprah says she remembers even at that young age, thinking: No, grandma, this isn’t going to be my life.

Elizabeth Gilbert on women, choices, and self-forgiveness

“Every day, women live their lives as if it’s a final exam for their entire grade.”

Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, framed the conundrum of modern day females by pointing out that:

we are the first generation of women who have had an education, freedom, autonomy. We have more choices than the women who came before us. That’s why we live in the age of memoirs. We’re trying to seek role models, see how other women have ‘solved it’.

Gilbert’s grandmother lived through the U.S. depression. She had an absence of choices, was a ‘pioneer of continuing on’ – she was in a constant struggle for survival. “But,” Gilbert pointed out, “she wasn’t neurotic like me.”

According to Gilbert, these neuroses come from an embarrass de richesses of sorts. Gilbert believes these abundant choices can lead to women harshly beating themselves up in the manner of: I should have [taken that promotion/not taken that promotion; married Bob/not married Bob; spellchecked the email before I sent it; gotten my PhD in Shakespeare; learned to speak Spanish; bought the red not the blue; moved to the country instead of the city….] You get the idea.

“I am not often kind to myself when I fall short,” Gilbert said. She encouraged us to mitigate our high aspirations with a little self-forgiveness.

I can get on board with that. I’ve discussed women and perfectionism in this space before. It’s something that I struggle with. This blog is one antidote to my own perfectionism. Sometimes, you’ll see grammatical errors and inconsistent British / American English spelling because…wait for it…I’m not perfect. Sadly, writing this blog is just one small and fun part of my job, so I can’t spend hours perfecting it. I have to let go. I practice self-forgiveness.

Gilbert closed by saying that there are four types of women in modern society:

Those who choose career over family
Those who choose family over career
Those who choose both
The Mystics – those who listen to a deeply resonant inner voice and follow it wherever it takes them

Suze Orman on women and money

Money isn’t the most important thing in life. “Oh, yes it is,” said Suze Orman (after marching on stage to Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life”). When mothers show her photos of their children (the most important thing in their lives), she reminds those women that they must nourish, clothe, and house those children. With money.

Research shows that (despite making up 50% of America’s workforce and 40% of its primary earners) one of the reasons women still make less money than men is because women don’t ask for what they’re worth in salary negotiations (check out this toolkit for women seeking a raise).

Orman said, “You undervalue who you are, so the world undervalues who you are.”

Donna Brazile on taking risks

“I’m from New Orleans where Santa Claus rides an alligator, and we cook with grease and spices.”

Brazile told us to “cook with spice” – to take some risks. “Your attitude determines your altitude, “ she said. “Don’t let anyone put you in a little box…and never take NO for an answer. When people say it won’t be done, I say: It shall be done. And done well.”

Martha Beck on the voice within

“Whatever you’re supposed to learn, your soul will latch on to.”

(Love that. It rings true, n’est-ce pas?)

Beck also had wisdom to share on decision-making. “Are the animal and the angel inside of you leaning towards the decision or against it? Your body gets stronger as you move towards your inner truth.”

She had us do an exercise where we laced our fingers together and tried to pull our hands apart. We had to state a lie about ourselves (this made pulling our hands apart very easy) and then a truth about ourselves (this made pulling our hands apart very difficult – our muscles and joints ostensibly cooperating with our inner truth).

The “animal and angel” in me were FULLY in favour of me throwing caution to the wind, taking a vacation day, and flying across the Atlantic for LYBL and a visit with my best friend (see Carolina and I with our “O Glow” and SWAG bags, below). And yes – it was worth it.

à bientôt,


P.S. – Have you been watching the World Cup in South Africa? Europeans take football/soccer very seriously (“Football, Vacation, God – in that order,” a European once told me). Whether or not I watch the game, I always know who won by the large, impromptu mob that congregates outside the Brussels Bourse, afterwards, which I can see (and sadly, hear) from my living room. So far, the Brazilians have been the most coordinated – they had a marching band AND a choreographed fan dance. Very impressive, indeed.

Posted on 18 June 2010 in Current Affairs, Events, International, Networking, Women mentors Permalink

Jamaica Kincaid's Humor?

Can you believe that Jamaica Kincaid has a chapter in this book, Humor Me, ed. by Ian Frazier?
Her participation in this book could be explained by the long time friendship with the editor, Ian Frazier. She worked with him during her years at The New Yorker.

Check out the NPR review where Michael Schuab highlights Kincaid's piece:

Although Jamaica Kincaid and David Mamet might not be the first names you think of when someone mentions comedy, their short contributions are standouts, and their inclusion proves that comic writing doesn’t have to be zany and punchline-oriented.

I'm going to check out a copy at Borders' Library, soon.

Jamaica Kincaid in Israel; Interview Profile of RUTH

Published 11:43 18.06.10
Latest update 11:43 18.06.10
'An improbable story, my life'
Jamaica Kincaid left her home, name and culture behind, and embarked on what was to be an illustrious writing career. During a recent visit here, the Caribbean-born author talked about her complex relationships with Judaism - and the English language [Photo by: Daniel Tchetchik ]
By Maya Sela Jamaica Kincaid is surprised that many people still wonder at the fact that she converted to Judaism. It seems natural to her to be Jewish - and even to have served as president of her synagogue in Vermont. "Yes and I'm black and I'm a woman. Oh boy, it keeps piling on," she laughs. "I don't even think about it anymore. I haven't talked about it in a long time, no one has asked me about it. I forget that it might be interesting to anybody."

Kincaid was born Elaine Cynthia Potter Richardson in 1949 on the Caribbean island of Antigua. At 16, her mother sent her off to work as an au pair in New York to help support the family. In 1973 she changed her name to Jamaica Kincaid, published her first article, and began writing for various publications. In 1976 she began to work at The New Yorker, where she was a staff writer until 1995. She married Allen Shawn, son of William Shawn, the legendary longtime editor of The New Yorker, and they had two children, who Kincaid says define themselves as both black and Jewish. She divorced Shawn - but adds that she certainly did not "divorce" Judaism.

Jamaica Kincaid.

Photo by: Daniel Tchetchik
Kincaid, who was in Israel last month as a guest of the Jerusalem International Writers Festival, is among America's prominent writers and a central figure in the world of Caribbean literature. Works that have been published in Hebrew translation are "Annie John" (originally published in 1985 ) and "Lucy" (1990 ) - two novellas about female adolescence, in which she revisits her own youth and the circumstances of her leaving Antigua and relocating to the United States. In subsequent books, not translated into Hebrew yet, she depicts her mother's life ("The Autobiography of My Mother," 1995 ) and her brother's death from AIDS ("My Brother," 1997 ). In her most recent work of fiction, "Mr. Potter" (2002 ), which was translated into Hebrew by Yaarit Tauber Ben-Yaakov , Kinkaid writes about her biological father, with whom she had virtually no contact.

Her recent visit was not her first to Israel. This time, she says, she was struck when visiting Bethlehem upon seeing a new Jewish settlement across the way.

"I wondered what they thought of each other when they looked across, two reflections," she says, adding: "I understand the impulse to put up the separation fence, but I also find that the imagery of the separation is so reminiscent of other images: the walls, the barbed wires. You think: Here's the thing about human beings and bad things - we do it again, but in a somewhat different form. The same thing doesn't happen twice. The same thing happens, but differently. Everyone would like to be the only victim. We don't make room for the fact that the other people are capable of narratives, that they are people."

Israel is going through a difficult time in terms of identity, Kincaid continues: "You can't have a democratic state and a privileged group of people. But it will work itself out. The bad guys in this story are also the good guys of another story, so it's very confusing. I think it is fascinating to see such confusion - you don't know whether you are bad or good. Sometimes you think: 'We have been treated so badly,' and then you turn around and do bad to others. I don't know if I have ever seen a country like this."

When it comes to taking a clear stand on Israeli politics, however, she has reservations: "I hesitate because I shouldn't come to someone's country and talk about them as if I know what to do. I want to make it clear that I didn't come here to preach to Israelis. We come from a country that's done horrible things and is doing horrible things in the world even with a president that I love. I love Obama, I think he is a great president, but he does things that I cannot agree with. He is a president of a country that is a pretty horrible country, and I don't think Israel is a horrible country."

She believes it is easier for Israelis to criticize Israel than for Americans to do so: "If we Americans say what we think, we go home [afterward] and meet American Jews who are really willing to do everything to destroy our lives. We meet American Jews who are devoted to Israel in their way - and I don't think it's in Israel's interest - but they will attack us and paint us as anti-Semites or self-hating Jews. It's very difficult to say anything critical of Israel. For instance, if you make an observation that some of the ways in which Israel has organized itself are awfully familiar and the familiar is apartheid, well, there might be a campaign to fire you from your job or not hire you."

Kincaid says she is sometimes astonished at her fellow Jews: "You'd never have thought the Jewish people were ignorant. I mean the admiration for someone like Sarah Palin - it's not widespread among Jews, but [is felt] in certain circles. And you think: How did Jews become ignorant? It's like one of these biblical moments where 'they all fell into a pit.' I think power is blinding. And then, you know, you have idiots from the other side who would say 'boycott Israel' ...

"The Israeli situation is not South Africa. It looks like it sometimes, but it's not. When you see the separate roads, it's shameful. When I was in Bethlehem yesterday and saw Rachel's Tomb - that's pretty hard, you know. The worshiping of the existence of it was for me so disturbing. Haven't you heard: 'Thou shalt have no graven images'? The tomb is a graven image."

This interview took place before the Gaza flotilla affair, but in a piece that appeared afterward, in the special Haaretz edition marking Hebrew Book Week, Kincaid wrote about American television coverage of the incident: "To go from channel to channel is to hear from the same people, the same words and phrases: We were set up; they had weapons; they had slingshots and metal pipes and marbles; they used our guns against us; we were defending ourselves; international waters; a provocation; the fight against terror is not an easy choice; a hard choice; we had no choice; Israel should; Israel should not; Gaza, Egypt and Hamas; these people are not peace loving; we are a peace-loving people.

"It's the Israeli ambassador to the United States [Michael Oren] who is really fascinating. He does not falter in his defense of his country's right to do anything. Right after the 'incident' (a word that I think goes well with that other word, 'situation' ) - when I first saw him on the air, he looked shaken. But then later, he was in full-throated form. He seemed to me to be saying that, in a world full of bad actors, why wasn't Israel allowed to be one of them."

Bronte fan
When speaking about her illustrious career, Kincaid explains her decision years ago to change her name: "I didn't want my parents to know I was writing. I didn't know if I would succeed at it, but I wanted to be a writer. In fact, I thought I would fail at it, and if I failed under another name they wouldn't laugh at me.

"I was very young when I did it. I was interested in style, I had cut off all my hair, bleached it blonde, and I had no eyebrows. I wore very odd clothes. And so I picked a name that was a combination of an island name and a very English name. Havana was one choice and Dominico was another, but I liked the combination of Jamaica Kincaid.

"I came from a background where to be a writer was unheard of. But I always wanted to write. I loved Charlotte Bronte when I was little, and I wanted to be Charlotte Bronte the way people want to be a princess. I had no idea what it meant, that it would be something to be responsible for, something that would have a meaning."

Kincaid's mother never accepted her new name, nor her profession, even when she became successful. Yet nothing changes in her singsong tone of voice as she explains: "[My mother] always thought that my becoming a writer was a form of putting on airs. She always thought I wanted to be something that I wasn't, that I was pretentious. She was never proud of me.

"She did see my success. People would go to Antigua to interview her about me, and she would charge them [money] and would give them the impression that I didn't support her, and would say: 'Well, you have to pay me.' I never minded it because it allowed me to write more. She would say she didn't read [my work] and I thought: Good! I can say anything."

Do you really think she never read your work?

Kincaid: "She did read it. She was jealous of me. She just simply couldn't believe it. It really is an improbable story, my life. I mean, I grew up in this poor place, with very limited circumstances, at about 16 years of age was sent by my family to work, and instead of remaining in the position into which I was sent, I somehow worked my way out of it without any help from anyone, just luck. You know, I met someone who said: 'You should meet the editor of The New Yorker.' The editor said: 'Could you try to write something and I'll see if you really can write.' I wrote something, he published it, and that was that. But it's all luck. It's improbable.

"I was in despair that my mother could have sent me out into the world all alone. I thought: How could she do that? How can I survive? I had no family, no friend. I went off to college in New Hampshire. I left my job as an au pair, spent a year in college, left because I wanted to be a writer, moved back to New York and in a year I was writing. And it's not because I'm especially brilliant: It's really [a case of] one of those fools going where angels wouldn't go."

You made decisions that most people do not make. You changed your name, you converted to Judaism.

"You mean my Hebrew name?"

You have a Hebrew name?

"Of course! Doesn't everybody? It's Ruth, what else?"

Of her decision to convert, she says: "It seemed so natural. It's not that I didn't give it a thought; there wasn't any reason to be thoughtful about it. It had become such a part of my life. I was trying to get the children to integrate all the different strands of their ancestral memory - that my family came from one part of the world through a certain set of historical events; their father's [Jewish] family, through a certain set of events, came from another part of the world and had its own ancestral memory. So I tried to say: 'This is who you are or who you could be,' and would take them to synagogue from when they were little. I realized they wouldn't stay if I just dropped them off and picked them up, so I began to stay and help out. Over time I became so involved in the synagogue that it was just clear I was a part of the life of the people [there], so I converted and never looked back."

Her husband and his family were actually disconnected from Judaism, and certainly did not ask her to convert, she adds. "I like the truth, and it was a true thing for my children that their father's family had a long attachment to the Jewish people through blood and memory. My children's grandmother grew up in a kosher home, so I didn't want them to wonder, you know: 'We find ourselves not being able to eat meat [in other places] and don't know why.'"

Not sentimental
Kincaid has a tendency not to let the reader identify with or like the protagonists she writes about.

"First of all, I think I'm writing very autobiographically, and my experience with the people I'm writing about - including myself - is not sentimental. It's very ... I want it to be true, to be real, and I think that romanticism interferes with what is true. And I think you should love the naked thing and then you can dress it up."

In general her work reads like a historical study of her own past, yet it also has the repetitiveness of prayer. She repeats sentences that create a feeling of emotional detachment . For example, in "Mr. Potter": "[A]nd he drove along the road almost in a stupor and said nothing to himself and sang nothing to himself and thought nothing to himself, Mr. Potter drove along and nothing crossed his mind and the world was blank and the world remained blank."

In a review of the Hebrew translation of "Mr. Potter" in the Haaretz literary supplement in 2004, Omri Herzog wrote: "Kincaid's writing stems from a wound - a wound that is as natural to the body as breathing. Kincaid attests that she wanted to write to forget the wound, in other words to forget herself and who she was 'then': a teenage girl in Antigua, present in the hall of mirrors of colonial, familial, class and gender oppression. The option of being a writer was perceived not as a medium for political liberation, but rather for suspending the physical pain. Thus writing is not a means for self-knowledge or self-awareness; it is the refuge from all these."

Kincaid says her relationship to the English language is likewise complicated, since it was the language of the British colonizer in Antigua until 1981, when the island won independence.

"My relationship to it is not an easy one, but it's what I got. What I got was English. My consciousness is influenced by Shakespeare, Milton, the Brontes - you name it. Franz Fanon writes about this thing called the double consciousness. Yes, I'm someone with it, and now I have a triple consciousness. But actually it turns out that that's a truly modern existence - you have more than one consciousness. It started out [as something that] was imposed, the colonialism and so on, but the more [people] meet each other, the more conscious we are of each other.

"The English language started out as a distortion in my life, but nothing remains the same, and so the distortion is now just normal. That is one of the things that will happen to all distortions: They become normal and turn into something else."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Jamaica Kincaid - Letteratura, Festival internazionale di Roma

Jamaica Kincaid - Letteratura, Festival internazionale di Roma: "JAMAICA KINCAID

Participates at:
15 JUNE DESTINY - Life forms: choice and chance
Read: Il Decano e Mrs. Hess - Unpublished
Of: Jamaica Kincaid"

Jamaica Kincaid's theme for her June 15th reading was Destiny- Life forms: choice and chance. She read an unpublished work: "The Dean and Mrs. Hess."

Festival delle Letterature in Rome

Festival delle Letterature in Rome: "Festival delle Letterature
The Roman Forums - site of the Festival delle Letterature. Rome's Festival of Literature takes place every year in the Basilica of Maxentius in the Roman Forums. It features a wide range of international and domestic writers, who present a piece of work specially written to the theme of the festival - previous years' themes have included 'fear, hope' and 'real, imaginary' . Entrance is free, but limited by the number of available seats.
The range of authors appearing is always an unusual one that caters to a wide variety of tastes - in the past Banana Yoshimoto, Paul Auster, Salman Rushdie, Susan Sontag, Doris Lessing, Jonathan Franzen, and Gore Vidal have all appeared."

Festival Letterature di Roma 2010

Elaine Cynthia Potter Richardson (Elaine Cynthia + biological father surname + step-father surname) changed to writer's name = Jamaica Kincaid

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Impressions of a Travel Writer

Jamaica Kincaid writes autobiographically. Whatever and whenever, Kincaid writes, she writes autobiographically. Recently, I reflected about her time spent in Dominica. Her mother is from this island, though she left home at 16 years old and never moved back. Kincaid was sent to Dominica when she was 9 years old. She was in trouble. As a young girl, her mother, Anne Richardson (Potter), had a strong personality. She fought with her father. She fought with her sister. Her mother was Carib (Indian), and was seen in a more friendly light by Anne. Jamaica Kincaid also liked her grandmother particularly well. (Ma Chess?) She writes in The Best American Travel Writing (2005) that she traveled to Mahaut from Roseau (Port) on the ship called "The Rippon". She said she was sick the entire trip and upon her arrival, no one was there to greet her. As a matter of fact, her relatives were not expecting her because her Dominican aunt would not open letters from Anne as they were having a fight and not opening letters was a family form of "the silent treatment". The description of the taxi drive from Roseau to Mahaut involves a dangerous trip near steep cliffs, however, when I traveled there, I did not see steep mountains in the Mahaut area. In other parts of the island, it is very steep. I wondered if I had gotton the location wrong. I still wonder about that. Maybe it's technically in Mahaut, but actually in the inner more mountainous area. Kincaid's family had a plantation there where they grew coffee and other plants. I found all of this detail in the introduction of the book. Most editors of a book within a series write about the contents of the collection. Afterall this is what the purpose of the introduction is generally understood to be- to spark your interest in the essays by telling you a little bit about each one. Nevertheless, Kincaid writes an essay about her self; about how she became a travel writer. I thought that she would have an essay in the collection, which would explain why she has gone into such detail about her own experience, but it is not there. She writes about the feeling of displacement that all travel writers experience. She explains that most of the writers feel comfortable with there circumstances and that's why they want to explore other places. She claims that they think there vision of the world, how much better they have it and how they want to share it, is universal. She also says other travel writers may not agree, and that she's fine with that, however, she will not change her mind about their reasons.
The description of Dominica is lush, green, steep and it rains most of the time. She said she learned to walk in the rain while there, and that in Antigua no one went out in the rain. People would cancel plans because of the rain, but in Dominica, rain was taken for granted. When I reflect upon the land, I see her grandmother, squatting down, and cooking on an outdoor stove. I see her independence. Her ability to not talk with her husband and even her own daughter. I see her sleeping on a low bed with Kincaid curled up next to her but both in there own space. I think of Kincaid and her life in Dominica. I think of her rejection by her own mother, and even upon her return, I see her mother too busy to notice her girl. I also see a girl writing angry lies on notes, and placing them under a rock- just like the scene in Autobiography of My Mother.