October 2, 2006

Results: Can Blogging Effect Change?

I didn’t know how to begin this post. Should I begin with “Everybody Dance Now” or “Now That We Found Love (What are we gonna do with it?).

The results of the poll (Can Blogging Effect Change) are over at Quimble and as of today (October 1, 2006) at the official close of the polls, Yes has 39 votes, and No has 5 votes. The results have been, to a certain extent, predictable, but some of the Comments have been very interesting.

But let’s face it, we are bloggers and we will vote for blogging every time. That’s like asking humans if they are smarter than donkeys. I will vote for humans every time. Although I’ve seen some humans do some things…I’ll leave the rest of that story to Guyana Gyal or eemanee.

So, now that we know or we think we know, what are we going to do? There is no returning to Eden after you’ve eaten the fruit. We are now responsible for our actions.

Which leads me to another story—The Hundredth Monkey. Whether the phenomenon is factually true or not, it does demonstrate that behavior can be changed either by “critical mass” or by “learned behavior.” Now that we know, what are we going to do? What is the significance of our actions? We are a privileged minority, especially those of us who originate from the Caribbean.


For me, the information means more digging, searching, and spreading the wonder/joy that I have found in writers from the Caribbean. And why do I continue? Gratitude. Many of the writers I’ve featured made a path (in the case of the Guyanese writers, cut through bush and bramble—literally and figuratively—some went to prison), so that I and many other writers from the Caribbean could follow in their footsteps. Of course, we will all have to make our own way, but they have demonstrated that the choice to become a writer from the Caribbean is viable. Blogging has helped me to celebrate their lives.

How else has blogging changed me?

I’ve learned that blogging can be fun.

Blogging can create transnational communities. Check out Mad Bull’s blog roll, Cariblogrs, Nalo, and Stephen Bess .

Blogging can get you published when everybody else has turned you down. See Comments on “Calabash Poem.” I’m hoping lightning will strike twice since the negotiations for the French translation of Benjamin, my son and a Parisian publisher have come to a halt.

Bloggers have taught me things, I’d never thought about, and they turn me on to other books. I’ve also learned to manipulate HTML so that the Featured Caribbean Poet rotates on a daily basis and the Random Links to Hits from the Past is really random. In learning to do this, I pushed myself beyond my normal boundaries. I could have said, “I’m an English major, so why am I bothering with learning HTML?” But I’ve also learned the more I say I can’t do something, the more I won’t do anything.

Blogging can begin conversations that are of regional importance. For example, here’s a question that I think we should be asking: What is the state of Caribbean literature? By Caribbean literature, I mean writing that plays with, mash-ups, looks at indigenous Caribbean images, stories, & narratives.

Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve realized that the world of Caribbean writing isn’t as lonely (“Me one way out in the crowd”--“Valley Prince,” Mervyn Morris) as it seems sometimes. There are many other bloggers and aggregators out there (check out Irie People and Places) who are equally committed to Caribbean literature. To all those who have supported me by linking, buying my books, leaving a comment or sending me private emails, I give thanks I-tinually.

Through blogging, I’m learning how to make better polls. On Wednesday, I’ll be running the poll on Rastafari. I hope everyone who reads this blog regularly will put in their two cents. The poll will have a section to make comments. It won’t be a long poll, but it’s a question that I’ve often wondered about: How has Rastafari influenced our lives? I really want to hear from the bloggers from Africa because of the link of Rastafari and Africa, but everyone is invited to the party at my place. So spread the word.

PS. One of the difficulties in putting together the poll is the number of questions. I’d like to make it a maximum 7 questions, but I’d like to know the country of origin of the blogger vs. his/her country of residence (I’m assuming that many bloggers belong to the highly mobile “creative class”); male or female (gender gap), and age (generational issues). I also realize that some bloggers may not (for very practical reasons) want to give out that information because they want to guard their privacy (especially the females and I can understand why) and remain as anonymous as possible. I mean, if you are from Tortola and you say Rasta is bunkum, everyone will know who said it because you are the only blogger from Tortola. And I know who you are (just kidding). Not!

Odds and Ends

I will probably be cutting back on the number of posts. I am currently doing three per week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Instead, I’ll be running two posts per week (Wednesday and Friday) so that I can concentrate on finishing a book of short stories and a larger project that if certain people would send me profiles (no names—I’ll just let the guilt sink in), then I could start on that too. Of course, you can always check the Featured Caribbean Poet and see who’s up for that day, and I’ll always run the birthday livications even if the information is from Wikipedia.

Oh yeah, if you don’t watch it, blogging can eat up your life.

, , , , , , , ,


Stephen A. Bess said...

lol! Yes, blogging is eating up my life. I may have to designate days as well or at least begin a pattern of days. I've learned so much from reading your page and others. The funny thing is that my list of readers/comments has changed from when I first started in April of 2005. It went from domestic to imported. :)There are many that are in or from another country. There are also many educators. I didn't plan it that way, but...
However, I did set out to learn more about writers from the Caribbean. I've learned a great deal about Caribbean literature from reading you and Nalo. I cannot express how much it has enriched my life and my personal library. It's wonderful!
I'm looking forward to the next poll. Take care and enjoy your day.

Many Blessings~


Geoffrey Philp said...

Dear Stephen,

It's very strange how blogging has crept into our lives and made them so much richer. My eldest child had been blogging for years, and she was the one who got me started. Since then...

Yeah, it will take over other parts of your life if you let it. I've been blogging while working on some other ideas and now that they are ready to be born, I'm shifting the days. It's a pattern I'm used to. When I used to be a full time teacher, I'd write during the days and teach at nights. Alas, that is no more...all I have is lunch time to answer my comments


FSJL said...

we meet here with our peers and with our friends
to learn to argue sometimes to inspire
each blog has its own following which tends
to lead us all to preach just to the choir

a blog may have a giant audience
or be read by a small well-chosen few
what it must avoid though is pretense
to know what's written is by nature true

this verse written so swiftly lags
where it should lead or show us all the way
the conversation starts and stops in jags
we write our thoughts we eagerly have our say
we set our thoughts in rapid jigging rhyme
because in these swift days we have no time

Anonymous said...

I wrote this at the beginning of the year, and forgot to mention it in my previous comments here about blogging and change.

Geoffrey Philp said...

Rethabile, I think the future is bright, but the dark clouds still hang over us because the anti-democratic forces have guns and the "law" on their side.