But I beg to differ. Because the more I think about it, the more I read the blogs of my fellow Caribbean writers (Marlon James, Pam Mordecai, Nicolette Bethel, Tobias Buckell, Kwame Dawes, Nalo Hopkinson)--their ongoing narratives unraveling before my eyes--the more I realize their persistence to write poems, stories, and novels in the face death, rejections, ignorance, and racism while preserving a sense of freshness and hope, the more I know that these writers have the hearts of warriors.
September 5, 2007
"Boy, you soft!" It's one of the worst things that you can say to a Jamaican male. "Softness" in Jamaican implies a lack of sexual potency or lack of masculinity which is a serious character flaw in the macho Jamaican world. But the word also carries the connotation of a lack of courage. I've used '"soft" several times in stories such as "Softers" (Uncle Obadiah and the Alien) and in "The Day Jesus Christ Came to Mount Airy," where the gangster says that Jesus is "soft" meaning that Jesus lacks courage. "Soft" is a word that has haunted me and that has been used against me from the time that I'd decided to become a writer, and the persons who said it were bolstering the stereotype that all writers were "soft."