It’s more than a month since I updated Active Voice; I realize with mixed feelings that I’ve reached that point when you hit a plateau and blogging has lost the overwhelming fascination it once held. This seems to occur approximately five or six years after you begin (I started Active Voice in January 2008). At the time the blogs that inspired me were mostly Indian; I had come across them during the violent occupation of Bombay’s Taj Hotel in 2007. They had all been in existence for four or five years and some I noticed were beginning to taper off with a few like Sepia Mutiny eventually shutting down completely (A group blog, SM was my school for blogging, my role model that I looked up to and fervently wished to emulate). Sonia Faleiro moved from Mumbai to San Francisco and didn’t blog as often anymore (in fact her blog no longer exists) and the inimitable Sidin was updating his Domain Maximus much less frequently as well.
So I’m just saying…there comes a time when blogs succumb to the natural rise and fall dynamic and I doubt that Active Voice will remain immune to this curve.
But in the meantime we’re still here and just to show that there is still life in the old beast I post a couple of things that caught my eye.
The first is an awe-inspiring story about one of Jamaica’s celebrated athletes, Novlene Williams-Mills. After reading it I wondered why it had taken a British paper to break this news (or did I miss our local media’s coverage of it?). Especially in the wake of Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy, this story is relevant, inspirational AND its local. But alas, our media in general continues to fail at mining the gems in our own soil. Read on for the story of this indomitable runner and visit the UK Daily Mail for the full version:
On June 25 2012, Novlene Williams-Mills was diagnosed with breast cancer.
She told no-one apart from her husband of five years, Jameel, family and friends and then won the 400 metres at the Jamaican Senior National Championships that weekend in 50.60 seconds, booking her place in the Olympic team.
Williams-Mills finished fifth in the 400m at London 2012 and won a bronze medal in the 4 x 400m relay.Courage: Novlene Williams-Mills won a bronze medal at the Olympics after being told she had breast cancer
Three days after the Games surgeons removed a small lump in her breast. She then had a double mastectomy, a further operation to cut out the remaining cancerous cells and reconstructive surgery. Her final operation was on January 18.
Last week Williams-Mills lay on the track as the Jamaican 400m champion after qualifying for the World Championships in Moscow this August by running 50.01secs.
‘I’m back,’ she thought. ‘I’ve still got it.’
The first book that I read by Cyril Everard Palmer (popularly known as C. Everard Palmer) was A Cow Called Boy. It was fascinating to me, from the front cover until the last page. What’s not to like: Josh’s farm pet follows him to school, disrupts school, is sold, and then Josh and his friends organize to get the bull-calf (read the book to find out why the title refers to it as a cow) returned to Josh. We read it in grade four I think, sometimes taking turns to read aloud in class and always stopping to discuss what was happening and to learn new words. Then came The Cloud with the Silver Lining and on my own I sought out his other children’s books. Most of Mr. Palmer’s books were set in rural Jamaica, an environment with which he was familiar being born and raised in Kendal, Hanover. His parents – Cyril and Vida – were “subsistence” farmers. I’m a city girl, born and raised in Kingston and St. Andrew, so Mr. Palmer’s books exposed to me a side of Jamaica I knew very little about. Then, before talking the Common Entrance Examination and in between the Nancy Drews, Enid Blytons, and Hardy Boys, it was just fun to read about what other children my age in my country could be doing; to learn about how my Grandparents grew up — things they didn’t talk about and that I simply didn’t ask. I learned a good deal about what is probably now ancient traditional Jamaican life and living…people, things, and events about my country came alive on those pages to satisfy my growing appetite for reading. Later on I discovered The Broken Vessel (1960), a slim riveting novel about making life in hot, vibrant, dangerous Kingston (informed by his work as a Daily Gleaner journalist covering crime in Kingston?).For more click here.