One of the great aspects of travel is meeting people. In fact, it is my favorite part. While on my book tour last month, I met Geoffrey Philip at the Miami Book Festival. Geoffrey knew (through blogs) poet January O'Neil who I was reading with and he also knew my friend, novelist, Debra Dean, who I was staying with. These intersections seemed to portend that we would like each other. I'd have to say I felt an immediate connection. Geoffrey's daughter had attended Western Washington University so our three geographies: Washington, Miami, and Jamaica all lined up as well. OK. My Jamaican geography consists of a week in Negril in late August to celebrate finishing graduate school -- but I think it still counts.
I'm writing about Geoffrey Philip today for two reasons. First, one of my New Year's resolutions is to read new blogs. Nothing wrong with what I read now, but I have not been exploring and I know there are many blogs out there that I've no idea about. Geoffrey's essay on Top 5 Reasons Why I Blog is inspiring to me and I've included a link here as well as the beginning of the essay below.
The second reason to include an introduction to Philip's site today, is that his blog is up for an award: the Jamaica Blog Awards for a writer writing in the diaspora. Take a look at his site and then how can you help but vote for him?
Also, check out his excellent article on the Top 10 Things A Writer Should Know.
Blogging and storytelling go hand in hand.
Just below the masthead of my blog is the phrase, “Every blog is telling a story. What’s your story?” I really believe that, and blogging is definitely a part of my storytelling.
My blog is an extension of the non-fiction narratives about my identities (husband, father, son, brother, teacher, writer), my life within my communities (Jamaica, South Florida and the Caribbean) and my concerns (the dilemmas facing fatherless children in the Caribbean, the disruptive effects of the Jamaican Diaspora on family and community life, and the spiritual and political dimensions ofReggae and the Rastafari movement). And I apply the same principles of writing as I do when I am working in other genres: inspiration, selection, distillation, and revision.
I also practice three important parts of storytelling:
Capturing the reader’s attention
Maintaining the reader’s interest
Creating a resolution
The main difference between blogging and other forms of storytelling is the openendedness of blogging. At least for now my blog does not have an ending, so the narrative (while it does have certain themes) is episodic. This is an idea that I have been pursuing in my hypertext novel, Virtual Yardies, which uses a series of connected blogs to tell a story about a group of Jamaican bloggers who are being murdered one-by-one by a religious maniac who threatens to “kill all battymen and fornicators.”
Blogging is merely another means of expressing ideas, some of which should only be expressed through a non-fiction narrative.