The 10th Northern Winter Solstice Epistle

For most of us, what is worth celebrating is the fact that we are here, that we against all the odds exist ... We are part of an endless circle, the daughters of Anacaona. We have stumbled, but have not fallen. We are ill-favored, but we still endure. Every once in a while, we must scream this as far as the wind can carry our voices.
~ Edwidge Danticat ~
"We Are Ugly But We Are Here," The Caribbean Writer, Volume 10, 1996
in Wisdom for the Soul of Black Folk

Mark appraising my new book

I know i've missed the solstice but that's what calendars and schedules are for: to be broken. What's the point of consistency and dependability if you can't falter once in a while, establishing the exception that proves the rule? My Holiday cactus is fully in synch with me, just now signalling any intention of blooming.

I had good reason to defer since "adopted son" Mark Ramsay was coming for a Christmas visit and i didn't want to write about it a whole year later. I hadn't seen him since 1996 when i visited him in Montreal where he lives. He's much larger now and reminds me of no one so much as a young James Earl Jones. We had a wonderful two days together, catching up and reminiscing, having stew peas with Christmas pudding and cake with sorrel. Ferron, who had introduced us so many years ago at Gallery Way in Kingston, and has lived here in DC for years, joined us Christmas Day, part of which we spent walking The Mall in Washington's crisp fall weather. He took us to the airport next day for Mark's early flight back to Montreal.

Mark and Ferron

The second book, Wisdom for the Soul of Black Folk, also an anthology of quotations, came out October 20, the release date timed to coincide with best friend John Scott's birthday. I had done the first one to coincide with my mother's birthday, September 24. These dates are totally arbitrary, just for the bibliographic record, so one can pick any date that is easy to remember.

Black Folk has done reasonably well so far, with fair orders from the wholesalers and having been picked up by a number of libraries. I introduced it at the Miami Book Fair early November. Though i was offering two titles this year as opposed to one last year, sales were half what they were. Attendance was good, but spending was down, perhaps due to the effects of the economy. After the capital expenditure and investment in these books, financed from savings, cash is short, so i'll have to curtail my travelling come next year. These books are my bread and butter so if you haven't bought yet please do so and support a struggling self-publisher. They're widely available from booksellers and online, but if you order directly, i benefit a lot more and you can have them autographed. I'm in negotiations with Novelty Trading Company to distribute them in Jamaica.

I've already started work on a third anthology, Wisdom for the Soul of Queer Folk to come out next year, hopefully in time for Pride in June. I'm also planning a series of Jamaican language titles under their own imprint, Chuu Wod. If you're not aware of my patois website, or haven't visited in a while, check out Langwij Jumieka.

Wisdom for the Soul of Black Folk


Langwij Jumieka

In Miami, i stayed at my niece's, Gillian and husband Bert. This time around, they weren't around to ferry me but loaned me their car so i got to drive around Miami by myself for the first time. Bert's written directions were very clear. While there i visited with Colleen who has divorced nephew Ric and has custody of the kids. When your dreams turn to dust, vacuum.
~ Desmond Tutu ~
To create a life is to create a life out of what the world has given you. Self-construction is a creative response to circumstances.
~ K. Anthony Appiah ~

Earlier in the year i met up with Bryan Feol from New York at DC Black Pride. He had been very supportive and encouraging in my asylum application process.

I should have received my green card already, my application batch having been processed in February. When the card was not forthcoming, i had called CIS to enquire the reason for the delay and if i needed to take a medical since their website is unclear on this. I was told a medical was not required. The day after Christmas i get a letter from CIS requiring me to submit a medical report. This will be a priority in the New Year.


I've been keeping busy with my usual pursuits, still reading four papers each day online, maintaining eight websites, networking in the spiritual and LGBT communities, in addition to the publishing and promotion activities. I've spoken on two campuses this year, SUNY Binghamton and Oberlin, and i've done a couple radio interviews.

Many of my efforts are now consolidated under the banner of SoulVentures and i'm in the process of organizing my influences and approach under the label I-sight. In September i initiated a weekly satsang and conducted several classes over the course of this year in Spiritual Marketing and applied graphic design. I've resumed daily meditation practice and i'm paying more attention to exercise in a bid to keep pounds off and aches and pains at bay. A pinched nerve and occasional symptoms of acid reflux are about all that beset me. I self-treat both conditions naturopathically and have curbed them considerably.

Yes Strings Attached The romance department is as bleak as ever. Since leaving Jamaica over seven years ago i've had no attachments. So i've decided to help the process along by creating a social network for guys to date. The commonly heard refrain is "no strings attached" so i've opted for the converse, Yes Strings Attached. If you happen to be a single guy or know of any looking for a male partner, this is an invite to sign up. The more the merrier. Contact me for the address. There is no beauty but in relationships. Nothing cut off by itself is beautiful. Never can things in destructive relationships be beautiful. All beauty is in the creative purpose of our relationships.
~ Ayi Kwei Armah ~
  That about brings you up to date. Keep in touch when you can. Let go of whatever you don't need in your life. Smile, even to yourself. Just remember, whatever is bugging you, thinking makes it so, so just change the thought. May 2008 be your best year yet.  
  Talk about it only enough to do it. Dream about it only enough to feel it. Think about it only enough to understand it. Contemplate it only enough to be it.
~ Jean Toomer ~

Year-end 2007

These annual epistles have been archived for ready retrieval:
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006

Quotations from Wisdom for the Soul of Black Folk

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