Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The social media cacophony

The world, the internet, full of so many people at the same time all wanting to be seen, heard, noticed, responded to, accepted, wanting to belong, wanting to find self, to find other, to be found by other, to find information, to find love, to create fame, to express, to promote, to connect ... an endless spectrum of reasons.

If people were pixels there would be a trillion kazillion billion million infinitillion many pixels. Each of us - no matter who we are - would be just one pixel, making up a big picture, but almost invisible on our own in comparison to the whole.

Sometimes it feels like rooms full of people, all talking at once - sometimes even shouting. We all add to the cacophony.

What are we saying and why? (Myself included).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Big Snake Kundalini & something to do with/for your new love(r)

Anna's outfit (Anna the rainbow boa)

Last night I had many intense dreams. In one of them, I was at the Queen's Park Savannah having a picnic with a friend. I can't remember now who she was, but in the dream we obviously knew each other well. We were sitting on the walkway, rather than on the grass, but no one was there walking. I was rolling around on my back, like dogs do when they're happy. At one point I rolled and my face met with the face of something looking like a large frog. Jumping up, I realised it was a large snake. I had never seen anything so huge. Its length stretched across most of the savannah.

Upon seeing me, it started to move slowly in our direction. I realised that despite its size and power, it was harmless and gentle. This being Trinidad, I knew that people would start chopping it and trying to kill it, so my first instinct was to protect it. To cut a long story short, a long line of people lifted it and were carrying it somewhere in the direction of the hospital. I went to its head, which was bleeding (I guess people had already started to attack it) and it rested against my chest, telling me something which I can't remember. That part of the dream ended there.
Dreaming such a large snake, I thought two things:
1. Kundalini
2. Those who play Play Whe would play Big Snake (also Dog and King) today and on Sunday 4 July. Why 4th July? Because a moko jumbie I met recently called to invite me and some friends to the Folk Fair on that date in the Queen's Park Savannah. There, the Prime Minister (Kamla) will unveil a massive pencil built by this moko jumbie. It is the longest pencil in the world and will go into the Guinness Book of World Records. (Long pencil ... savannah ... long snake). I feel this 4th of July will be a very important day on many levels.

In another part of the dream, I was visiting Chookooloonks in Texas. We were in a small, brightly-lit studio (lit by sun through the window), talking. At one point she offered me a drink and I chose herbal tea with one level teaspoon of brown sugar. Before she left, she mentioned a friend she had who is a hairdresser and who was there at the house. I asked her if he could give me a haircut and shave off all of my hair. She thought it was a great idea and returned with the tea, the friend and his machine to shave my hair.

In the time that they took to come, I made the decision to leave my hair long - remembering that hair is considered a great conductor of energy and also that "Kundalini" comes from the Sanskrit word Kundal - meaning "lock of hair from the Beloved". The awakening of Kundalini is the "uncoiling" of this hair, releasing the creative potential in each of us. In the dream I felt that cutting it would be cutting something that was coming into being on various levels.

As the friend of Chookooloonks walked in, from the look on his face I could tell his first thought: Why are you shaving off your hair? My first thought was that I knew he was gay even though he didn't "appear" so by societal standards.

I told him that I had decided to leave my hair long, but that I wanted to pay him anyway. I gave him two five dollar bills and told him: "Spend one to buy something special for yourself and one to buy something special for someone you are in love with - and share." As I said that, he looked at me and his face turned red, as though to ask: "How did you know that I had just met someone special?"

As simple as it was, I felt like what I had given him had opened a door to success in this new relationship. Maybe it is something to try. If there is someone new that you are interested in romantically, take two five dollar bills. With them, buy one special thing for yourself and one for the other and share.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Stay safe, dear Toronto

Watching a video like this is unbelievable when I think of my experiences with Toronto as a quiet, safe, embracing, gentle city. My heart broke when I saw the cars on fire, the youths dressed in black smashing windows and running rampant. It looks like a G20 warzone.

Then just a few days ago, there was the 5.5 earthquake that hit TO. To us in TT, even though an earthquake is disturbing because it's so sudden, we are not strangers to the shifts of the earth. For friends in Toronto, however, it was somewhat of a 'first' - and I'm still seeing blogs mentioning it days after.

So, somewhat of a shakeup is going on now for one of my dearest places on this planet. I am extending the below mantra to you (the city, the people - my friends and strangers) for protection. This mantra surrounds your magnetic field with a protective light.


Friday, June 25, 2010

TT National Clean up 27 June: what to do with plastic waste

Dear All,

Please note that Recycling in Motion will be accepting all plastics collected during the T & T national clean up on 27 June 2010.

Please bring all plastic to R.I.M. at 6 Maingot Road, Champs Fleurs
Sunday 27th June from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Weekdays at regular business hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Kindly put plastics into clear plastic bags, available from Rotoplastics; 674-8265 or Rope Works in Arima 642-1575. If for some reason you cannot acquire clear garbage bags in time for Sunday and must use regular black garbage bags, please ensure that they contain ONLY plastic and no other waste material.

Recycling in Motion accepts plastics 1 - 7 (including plastic shopping bags, styrofoam cups and plates, bottles for cleaning products, shampoo, yoghurt containers, toothpaste and cosmetic tubes, oven-ready meal trays, etc).

Recycling in Motion:
1. See attached map for directions
2. Telephone: 789-7945

Please circulate this as widely as possible via email, copy and paste into Facebook, blogs, twitter and your other social media networks, so that those involved in the clean up know of this option in time for Sunday. This way we avoid the plastics going into the landfill.

Please note that taking plastic waste to RIM is something that would be beneficial to continue. To find out more, contact a R.I.M. representative at the number listed above.

Thank you.

On behalf of Greenlight Network

What lasts?

Stone found on ground after releasing Sat Nam the turtle

When I am cleaning out and I come across old letters and cards, I am reminded that the past was once real, but no longer is. We have experiences that can never be repeated - or even if they are, they will never be experienced in the same way. People come and go, relationships transform, we lose touch, we become closer, we part ways and reconnect again - anything can happen over time.

There is an ebb and flow in all of life - the coming and going, shedding and growing. Thinking of it this way, I wonder why we (humans) hold on. The tree doesn't grasp at the leaf as it falls to the ground to serve another purpose. The river water doesn't stop and cling to the pebbles it passes over on its way to the sea.

This morning I woke up at 2:30 a.m. and decided to sleep for another hour before rising for yoga. At 3:30 (usual yoga time) Jasper woke me by pressing his paw into my heart, then lying on my chest, facing my face, purring. I could feel the vibrations running through my chest. He has done that about two or three times (press and purr into my heart). I remember in particular he did it once on a Valentine's Day and once on a Christms day. He definitely senses things - and that must be his way of opening the heart or saying "I love you".

This morning as I finished yoga, a clear question flew into my head: What in life has meaning?

The immediate clear answer was: Only Love has meaning.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Freedom of Sat Nam

Sat Nam

I met this turtle on the sidewalk yesterday during my morning walk after sadhana. The heavy rains must have washed her up from the river or a drain. I named her Sat - short for Saturday (the day she was found), but also "Sat" (meaning Truth). Her surname is "Nam" (meaning name or identity). Together they mean "Truth is my identity." This mantra Sat Nam is used a lot in Kundalini Yoga and refers to the Universal Truth in all of us.

Speaking of Universal Truth, the shell and underbelly of the turtle are used in some cultures as a tool for divination. Their markings are believed to be a map of the stars, as well as ancient sacred writings. The Chinese saw the turtle's four feet as four corners of the world, holding up the globe - hence the powerful, grounded earth energy that is associated with this animal.

The message they bring as power animals - slow down, be patient, ground yourself to the Earth's power, go within and seek inner knowledge.

The below video shows Sat Nam being relocated to the wetlands at the back of Spring Village south of the highway in St. Augustine.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tea & Readings: Daisy Chain

Later this afternoon (4 - 6 p.m.), Paperbased Bookshop will host a tea, with readings of extracts from Daisy Chain.

The above image shows one of the 50+ wire daisies I made yesterday. Each yellow centre contains a different random line chosen from the novel. These wire daisies are the "tea tickets" to be presented when each booked guest is receiving his/her tea.

The readings will take place in The Marketplace, the intimate space just outside of the bookshop, with tea tables arranged to accommodate the booked guests. I'm sure there will also be space for those who did not book tea, but intend to come and hear the readings.

Today's readers are:
Patti-Anne Ali
Angela Blackman
Elspeth Duncan
Carolyn Harnanan
Carol Hosein
Gabrielle Hosein

Friday, June 18, 2010

Flower Power

Roll of cutlass wire to make wire daisies

I'm about to make fifty wire flowers (daisies) - one each for those who are attending the Daisy Chain Tea & Readings, hosted by Paperbased Bookshop at Hotel Normandie tomorrow (4:00 - 6:00 p.m.)

The flowers are the 'tea tickets'. Each flower will have a yellow piece if paper inserted into its centre, containing a random line from the novel. As always, when people choose random writings, they usually end up with something relevant to them.

I just chose one at random from the pile. It says:

"Looking for something special?"

(i.e. an extract from FIONA)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Yoko answered my question

When I had my first solo interactive multimedia exhibition in 2001, a Venezuelan girl who was there said to me "Your work reminds me of Yoko Ono's work." (She later sent me a set of postcards made by Yoko). I wasn't sure what she had meant by her comment until I went and looked up Yoko Ono.

I love the fact that she does interactive work in the name of Peace and Love and spreading Positivity. Her concepts are extremely simple and powerful. I love the fact that she's just herself (what else can you be?) She's in her seventies and still making art and music, including dance hits that top the charts. Great also that even though she's "busy" and "famous", she is down to earth and takes the time to interact with people and personally answer questions.

Every Friday on Twitter, Yoko answers questions from people. I asked her one last Friday and she answered it!

(My questions)
How would you do your work on a global scale without having funding to manifest it? How would you spread it far & wide?

(Yoko's Answer)
You are doing it on a global scale. Hey, have you heard of the PEBBLE PEOPLE ? You are one of the PEBBLE PEOPLE. Just look up what that means.

The song Yoko topped the dance charts with is in support of gay marriage.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Heart-shaped stone in pavement on walk from market some days ago

This morning as I went for my walk I noticed a few men along the route staring at me with x-ray vision to penetrate clothing. This look is akin to a silent "pssssssssssssst". I kept walking, bought papers and began the trek back home.

On the way back I passed by the guard booth I pass every morning. The guard there has one of those faces with droopy, "bedroom" eyes and a mouth that looks like it's always ready to sweet- talk some woman. Kind of like how The Mighty Sparrow looks. He always says "Good morning" to me in a smooth, Cassanova-ish way. Nothing wrong with that if it's his manner. I always respond with "Good morning" and keep walking.

This morning as I passed by, he shouted out: Sexaaaaaaaaaaay!"

I walked on a few steps, stopped and wondered if to address it. A part of me thought "that's how he is and he didn't mean any harm by it". But the part of me that could not ignore it won over. I turned and went back to his booth. He came outside, smiling - maybe thinking I was coming back to chat him up.

"Hi," I said. "You know, I prefer if you just say good morning like you normally do."

He looked somewhat confused and said "Good morning."

"Not that anything is wrong with thinking "sexy", but don't call it out like that to women in the street. It doesn't show respect for us."

"Oh gorm, it does be in me from small!" he explained, a look of mild shock and embarrassment on his face. "But ... good morning. Good morning."

I told him good morning and went on my way.

Nothing wrong with looking and appreciating. Women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes, but we are not sex objects placed on earth for men's ogling and cat-calling pleasure. It's easy to ignore pssssssssssts and "sexaaaaaaays", especially as they don't hurt anyone physically, but at the end of the day, it's disrespectful and unfair. I've heard many women mention that they've stopped walking (basic right to exercise) because men along the way keep calling out to them and psssssssssssssssting. I myself have stopped walking at times or along certain routes to avoid this.

Recently some female friends of mine told me of things that happened to them when men "psssssssssssted" them and they ignored the men. One was chased by a man and pelted with stones for asking him to leave her alone when she was enjoying herself at the beach. One had a beer poured over her head for ignoring a man's "sweet talk", etc. And it really starts young, as evidenced by one acquaintance who was walking by some school children in a park and overheard one of the students say "Lewwe go play de rape game."

In response to what I'm saying here, some may comment: "Oh gorm, buh wha wrong wit she? Dat is how men does be!"

Others may say: "Be careful" or "You mustn't tell men things like that."

I think today is the last time I will say anything about it - whenever the situation arises (which it will, being in Trinidad). I'm not out on a crusade to transform men and I do understand that, due to the male ego, not everyone will take kindly to a female pleasantly requesting that they show respect for women.

As the guard said: "Oh gorm, it does be in me from small ..." This is the behaviour that many males learn as little boys, having had examples set by men around them who behave just like that or worse.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Extract from MRS. C.

Jamela Khan reads an extract from MRS. C. (from Daisy Chain, the stream-of-consciousness novel)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

For Sale: My Car

PAX = 'Peace' in Latin

Faithful B12 Sentra.

Call me for details: 786-2539

Friday, June 11, 2010

Video of BRENDA from Daisy Chain

Patti-Anne Ali and Elspeth Duncan read BRENDA, one of the fifty-one women from the stream-of-consciousness novel Daisy Chain

Saturday 19th June. Experience DAISY CHAIN readings live at Paperbased Bookstore, Normandie Hotel. A light tea will be served. Tickets must be booked and paid for by Tuesday 15th June.
For tickets, details and contact info, please click here

Why Newsday's Letters to the Editor made me cry

This morning I went for a walk, bought papers, returned home and sat in the driveway with Jasper, reading. As I was perusing Newsday's Letters to the Editor, I suddenly started to cry - but not out of anger, frustration or hopelessness. If I had ever cried over the papers before, it would have been for one of those reasons. Instead, I was moved by the gratitude, support and hope being expressed by people ... as opposed to the complaining, wrath, blaming, frustration, begging for help, etc. that we often used to see. Not that it doesn't still exist and will all magically disappear overnight, but it is refreshing to see markedly less of the national negativity - both in the media and in everyday life.

The particular letter that triggered my tears is the one below:

Thanks to Jack, Anil

Friday, June 11 2010

THE EDITOR: I would like to thank my representative for D’Abadie/Omeara Mr Anil Roberts and the Minister of Works and Transport Mr Jack Warner for their quick response towards my plight where my home was in danger of being washed away due to massive land erosion caused by the Mausica River.

I would like to highlight my plea for assistance from the previous government for years which was never attended to. I was ignored by all concerned. On Wednesday June 2, 2010 Mr Roberts and Mr Warner and their team visited my area to see the situation first hand. I was told that in two days time work would commence which in fact happened.

To Mr Roberts and Mr Warner I thank you so much for saving my home.


O’Connor Drive

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why do we fear?

I woke up earlier than usual this morning and did yoga. By the time I was finished, it was only 4:40 a.m., so I went back to bed. One portion of my dream was very clear: I was somewhere I'd never been. A friend of mine was driving and we pulled into a small town with little wooden buildings and a dryish landscape. It had an Arizona or New Mexico kind of feel to it. We parted ways - he went off to do his own things and I went to do mine.

I kept walking and found myself on a wide dirt mountain road. There was a vast river running below. Despite a discomfort with heights, I climbed up and stood on the narrow ledge at the roadside to look down at it. I had never seen such a large body of running water. I suddenly felt I was in Guyana (the first time I flew over Guyana I cried when I saw how huge the rivers and trees looked from the plane).

The water in the dream was miles below me, yet because the river was so huge, the spray coming up from its gigantic rapids reached my face. I was frozen, unable to come down from the ledge. When I eventually did, I flopped onto the ground. Because it was bare earth and wet from the spray of the river rapids, it was muddy. I lay there and started to cry in a heaving, chest-opening kind of way - not from sadness or fear, but because everything was so big - in a way that I had never experienced and never imagined experiencing. I was overwhelmed by the unbelievable vastness of the road, the river, the mountainside, the sky, the openness, the emptiness ... and my smallness, like a pinprick in the midst of it all. In that moment I realised it was just me, physically alone, in a place I'd never been, with no one around, no way of getting in touch, no way of knowing if I would ever return. I was totally in Unknown Territory ... and yet for the first time ever, I felt that I was not alone. This realisation is what made me cry. That something so big and open and empty could still embrace me and make me feel like I belonged.

When I got up, I was muddy. I had no cellular phone, no way of knowing how I would get back to the town (because I'd walked so far) and no way of knowing how I would find my friend so that we could drive back "home" (wherever we had come from). Yet it didn't matter. I got up, chose a direction, started walking and made my way back.

This dream was very important. I find myself wondering why I/we ever fear anything.

Why do you doubt? The One who made you will take care of you.

- Yogi Bhajan -

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


One of my 'old' raw pics (lentil sprouts). But we're not allowed to use old pics for sofobomo.

In 2006 I challenged myself to nanowrimo (to write a 50,000 word book in a month). The result was Daisy Chain, which I wrote in about seven days (top speed stream-of-consciousness).

Recently I came across sofobomo, which is the photo version of nanowrimo. The challenge: you have 31 days to take 35 photos (easy enough), make a book of it and upload the book as a pdf. In between all of the other things I am currently doing, I am taking photos and creating a mini version of the raw recipe book I've been intending to make (and which many have been clamouring at me to do) for ages now. It will be a simple book, designed simply to start and finish the sofobomo challenge ... but the important thing is, it is a start - something that can be built upon later if/when I choose to.

Thanks to the course I've been doing (Masters Course in InDesign) - the last day of which is today - I now know how to design books and magazines. This helps in the creation of my book for sofobomo. I'm happy with how it's turning out.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Video excerpt of reading: PHILLIPINE (Daisy Chain)

Vanessa Duncan reads an extract from PHILLIPINE (one of the 51 women in the stream-of-consciousness novel, Daisy Chain)

COMING SOON: Saturday 19th June. Experience DAISY CHAIN readings live at Paperbased Bookstore, Normandie Hotel. A light tea will be served. For tickets, details and contact info, please click here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Extract from MONA (Daisy Chain)

Patti-Anne Ali reads an extract from MONA (one of the 51 women in the stream-of-consciousness novel, Daisy Chain)

COMING SOON: Saturday 19th June. Experience DAISY CHAIN readings live at Paperbased Bookstore, Normandie Hotel. A light tea will be served. For tickets, details and contact info, please click here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Video of FIONA (reading from Daisy Chain)

At the launch of DAISY CHAIN, the stream-of-consciousness novel by Elspeth Duncan (May 7 at NALIS) Carol Hosein reads FIONA.

COMING SOON: Saturday 19th June. Experience DAISY CHAIN readings live at Paperbased Bookstore, Normandie Hotel. A light tea will be served. For tickets, details and contact info, click here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

To pssssssssssst or not to pssssssssssssst

This morning after sadhana when I went for a walk, I was still wearing my headwrap. Along the way one of two women walking across the road called out to me: "Good morning!"

I called back: "Good morning!"

A few steps on, a guard talking on his cellular stopped and said: "Good morning."

I replied: "Good morning."

A bit further along, a rastaman and a woman were walking together. As I neared, they parted. I said good morning to the woman and then looked at the man. He looked directly into my eyes and gave a nod which, because of the respectful way in which he then said: "Rastafaaaaari" seemed like a bow. I nodded back.

On the way back home, walking and glancing at the papers, I heard a loud "Pssssssst!" coming from a nearby building. I ignored it and kept walking. Again, I heard: "Pssssssssssssst! Pssssssst!" It felt persistent. I walked a bit further, stopped, turned around and went back to the Pssssst point.

Two men were sitting in an office. One was looking at me through the window. The other was smoking a cigarette, peeping now and then and generally looking evasive. I stood at the fence and beckoned with my hand for either (or both) to come out. After about a minute, the one who was looking through the window came out. I estimate he was in his early 30's.

"Hello. Was it you who just said psssssssssst when I passed?" I asked when he got to the fence.

"No, no, it wasn' me. It was he."

"Well, please let him know that he would get a response when he says a genuine good morning."

"I ent mean nutting by it, yuh know. Is just psssssssst."

I told him that women don't like to hear pssssst. He responded that some do and some don't.

"I don't think any woman likes it," I said. Not even those who look like they do."

He looked sheepish and surprised. "Well okay den. Ah could tell by de way you was walking by ..." He paused, looked at my headwrap: "You is a rasta? I could tell you prefer good morning. An' you know what - I respec de way you come back here to tell me all what you tellin' me. I could see you follow de Order, den. De way how you come back. Respec, respec."

I told him that I respect him too, for the fact that he listened to me and that we could have had our conversation and come to this understanding.

We shook hands, exchanged names, wished each other a good day and parted.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tea & Readings

Paperbased Bookshop invites you to enjoy a light tea and readings of extracts from

A stream-of-consciousness novel by Elspeth Duncan

Saturday 19 June, 2010
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

The Marketplace,
Hotel Normandie
10 Nook Avenue, St. Anns

Cost of Tea: $40

Tickets must be paid for by Tuesday 15th June, 2010 to facilitate catering and seating reservations

To book and buy, please contact Paperbased at: