April 2011

To say that the month of April was challenging, is certainly putting it mildly. There were many moments of closed eyes, deeps breaths and admittedly, sporadic teary episodes when frankly I didn’t know what else to do!

On March 31 I went to an assignment for work. This followed a previous event I had covered, and it should have been a quick ‘in and out’. I wasn’t even there for two hours, however when I walked outside to leave, the spot where I had parked my mother’s car was empty. I’ve never felt such a feeling in the pit of my stomach… and it was with good reason, for in the trunk of the car were all my worldly possessions – netbook, camera (my livelihood… the way I make my living), my purse with my ID cards, credit card, ABM cards, too much cash, that I was to have deposited in the bank that day, and my passport (for my impending visit to Cowboy). *BIG sigh*

At this point it seemed that my world had come to an end.

But it didn’t.

And this was the reminder that was constantly drilled into my head, for in fact, the outcome of that event could have been very different.

In attempting to replace all my lost documents, I learnt several very valuable lessons. (You wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to get anything done in Jamaica by the way. I don’t wish the loss of of a licence, passport or visa on anyone!)

  1. Prayer calms you… when you feel like there is absolutely no one else to turn to, TRUST ME, HE is there!
  2. I am not alone – I am SO grateful for the great friends that I have, who were extremely helpful to me along the way.
  3. NEVER underestimate the kindness of a stranger. I can’t tell you the number of persons who have offered their assistance… people who don’t know me, are not my ‘friends’, who simply wanted to be helpful and asked for nothing in return.
  4. Faith is what gets you through each day; it gives you the encouragement to know that things will work out just the way they are supposed to.
  5. Never do anything in haste. You may not see the reason in things, but sometimes it’s best to let life run its course. Que sera, sera.
  6. Be patient – this is not my forte, but what else am I to do? Yes… I found solace in #1 🙂
  7. I am loved, and people care.
  8. Give thanks… ALWAYS.

Since my ‘heart-breaking’ incident, I’ve replaced all my documents. The final piece, my US visa should be ready for collection this week. A ‘friend’ bought me a new netbook, and all that I need now is to replace my camera so that I may pursue my new love, my new career as a photographer.

All was not lost when the car and my things were stolen. In fact, much was ‘found’ in the aftermath. I’ve discovered that I possess something more valuable that cannot be measured for its worth…

My sincerest thanks to Tara, Sharon, Kim, Kat and Gary. And Kurt, I appreciate you more than you know…

What began as a seemingly devastating moment in my life is now in the past, and the future offers nothing but promise.

People can take away material things, they can do all they can to try to hold you back and get you down, but they can’t take away your talents, your will to succeed. I am still in control… I have my hands, my mind, my heart. My boss said to me that the Lord never gives you more than you can bear… and now I’ve overcome this hurdle and I’m ready for the next.

Still Living & Loving…

Photo: Gary James

Creative Noize Pursues…

A few years ago at the Big Ship headquarters, Dougs approached close friend Stephen McGregor with the idea for a song.
He started singing the lyrics of the chorus, and with the recommendation to slow the pace of the song, McGregor took out his guitar, and began playing along.
Before he knew it, ‘Di Genius’ had laid down the guitar, bass and drums for his melody, providing the instrumentals for what was to be named the Pursue riddim. That same day, Dougs recorded the song  Pursue… however the system crashed and the file,  lost.
As if by fate, in 2010 the song emerged, on a CD found by friend Germaine Mason, who had begun playing it for a few people in England, where he resided. Among these was footballer-cum-music producer Ricardo ‘Bibi’ Gardner, who had nothing but good things to say about the track.
The decision was made to try to get a few local artistes to ‘voice’ on  the riddim. It was also time to register the company. Creative Noize Records was officially borne, with Dwayne ‘Dougs’ Douglas and Germaine Mason at the helm.
If you know how the music business operates in Jamaica, you can imagine and understand the difficulties the duo has encountered along the way… but still they persevered and ‘pursued’ (pardon the pun), getting the likes of Tony Rebel, Queen Ifrica, Shema and Ce’cile (to name a few), to share their musical talents. And already, Ifrica’s Pot Still Haffi Bubble is getting airplay, not to mention rave reviews among New York selectors.
This soothing one-drop brings about ‘feel good’ emotions, an element which is brought out in the lyrics of many of the artistes featured thus far on the riddim – a welcome change to the nonsensical lyrics of face-bleaching, hammering, and jumping up and down across a dancefloor trying to contort our bodies into different shapes. I personally identify with the lyrics from Ce’cile’s Gwaan Live Life which states, “keep your head above water, stay conscious”.
You know… sometimes all you need is simply to slow things down a little, in order to see its true beauty and worth.
With more artistes to come, I invite you to listen to the preview and share your thoughts.

::PuRsUe Riddim::
Instrumental – Stephen ‘Di Genius’ McGregor
 Never Love Again – Shema McGregor
Gwaan Live Life – Ce’cile
Don’t Fret Too Much – Tony Rebel
Pot Still Haffi Bubble – Queen Ifrica

Days 18, 19 & 20 – Family, Friends & Life

This is perhaps my final post in the 40 Days of Awesomeness… yes, I’m  only half-way through, however it all seems so shallow to me now, and recent events have shown me, that there is truly so much more to ‘Living & Loving Life’ than tooting my own horn, impressing upon people how great I think I am.

This post is really about things that make us ALL awesome…

FAMILY

I don’t know what I would do without my family. They have been there, supportive, encouraging… whether they agree with my choices or not, whether I’ve made good decisions or not, whether I’ve been successful or not. I give thanks every day for my parents, for my sisters, and for my aunts, uncles, cousins and extended family.

There is a little bit of each of them in me… and THAT is  what truly makes me awesome.

FRIENDS

My friends may as well be classified as my family… because they too have influenced who I am, and have been supportive of me in everything I’ve done – every smile, every laugh, every tear, every disappointment, every broken heart, every success… every experience. And to them, too, I am grateful. They are, as the saying goes, the family I choose.

LIFE

And lastly, I am awesome because I have life. Too easily we forget that this is our greatest gift… and too easily we take it for granted, only realising its importance, its awesomeness, its worth, when misfortune hits others.

This blog post is dedicated to my dear brother, Dave Marks. In the 12+ years I’ve known him, I’ve never seen him upset, angry or sad. He was in my opinion the epitome of happiness… of Living your Life. Always smiling, you could hear his laugh from a mile away… I can still hear it now.

Definitely a young, ambitious, good-natured, pure-hearted soul… gone too soon.

I pray for his parents, his family, his friends… who I know are all distraught by his passing. A special shout-out to my other brothers – Gav, Jabari, Boomsie, Dougie, Heath – be strong and remember the good times… for it is in those memories that his spirit remains with us…

Days 15, 16 & 17 – Look, Listen, Learn

I’ve been so busy the past few days that I haven’t been able to do my entries for my 40 Days of Awesomeness. Well, today I’m continuing with Days 15, 16 & 17, which I’ve labelled Look, Listen, Learn.
To be able to do any of the above, in my opinion, would make anyone awesome. And in fact, I think people should try to look, listen and learn a lot more. Instead of always yapping away, jumping the gun, talking before knowing what they’re talking about… Perhaps if we looked, listened and learned, some of us would sound less foolish.
Look – I’m usually very perceptive when it comes to things being awry… Whether with friends, situations pertaining to work, or simply general life experiences. Step back and look at the issue… from all possible angles.
Listen – It’s only after listening that you can assess or get a better understanding at what you’re ‘looking’ at. And I’m not talking about ‘hearing’… I’m talking about LISTENING! If it’s one thing that I am, it’s a good listener… perhaps it’s because I don’t see myself as much of a talker…hmmmmm
Learn – I like to KNOW things, to understand things, to ‘get’ it! And I’m not too proud to be taught a ‘lesson’ by another, be it a life lesson, a technical lesson or an academic lesson.
There’s so much to learn from each other.
If only we all strove to be more awesome than we already are by looking more, listening more and learning more…

Day 14 – Laff

My mother is always amazed at how Lizzy and I are always able to amuse ourselves… by ourselves.

It isn’t simply that we find joy or joke in everything… in fact, half the time, it is WE who are the subject of folly (as it may be).

What I’m getting at is that we don’t take things too seriously, and we’re definitely not afraid to laugh at ourselves. Whether I fall, make a mistake, slip up in my speech, do something foolish, have someone make fun of me in any way, it’s ridiculous to get angry about it, especially when it’s something completely harmless.

There are times when I simply ‘act the fool’… I can’t help it… neither do I care if people think I’m stupid, silly, have no sense or have gone mad (all of which my mother thinks, by the way).

Sometimes we need to just step back and realise that life is GOOD, if only we take a moment to dance in the rain, play one-two-three-red light at the beach, run around like children, though we’re grown adults, laugh… not just at ourselves, but at how we make a ‘big deal’ out of trivial things sometimes.

As Colette says in Chance Acquaintances, “Total absence of humour renders life impossible”.