I have avoided Sunday personal essays for several weeks (OK it’s been months). In fact, I have been avoiding My Jamaican Vignettes, the core of what this column/blog/personal essay series was about.
Here is what really happened. At the start of 2017, I envisioned building an MJV community. I hoped that the blog would grow and expand and that there would be more fun explorations and new experiences to share. And then I got tired.
Hopes. Dreams. Reality
I hoped to shift focus and organically redefine the MJV focus, less me and more something else. The something else was left undefined. And that was my first mistake or challenge. And instead of growth and expansion, lately, I feel blah about blogging and writing.
In the last few months, I have been strangely disconnected from this space that I once loved so much.
Today, I want to stop resisting and reclaim My Jamaican Vignettes.
Let Me Reintroduce Myself – Chantel DaCosta
Hi. I am Chantel DaCosta, and I am a writer and a book lover. I started this personal essay series in December 2015. MJV was a weekly column on Channillo to simply flex my writing muscles. At the time, I was working as research officer/writer at the government of Jamaica information services. And that job did not allow me to express my thoughts creatively. I wrote factual information in bite sizes and that was that.
I was not writing creatively and this essay series was supposed to help me get back into writing, exploring my life journey and determine what I want, where I am going and who I am. And, for a while, it was fantastic until in maybe February of this year when it wasn’t.
Five months ago, I signed up for an intentional blogging webinar to help me get back on track. My teammate Kaylyn recommended that we listen in. In that webinar the session lead Jeff Goins claimed that there were five platform personas that writers embody:
- The Journalist who is always questioning, fueled by curiosity.
- The Prophet who is the truth teller that is dissatisfied with the way things are.
- The Artist who has an eye for beauty and seeks capture this beauty.
- The Professor who has a thirst for knowledge, who learns and keeps learning and then shares.
- The Star who is charismatic.
I listened to the webinar right down to the inevitable plug to buy a product. In that session Jeff Goins was selling an online paid course to teach writing and blogging for USD $297. I didn’t buy anything.
But it got me thinking about what I am doing here. What kind of writer am I? I am still searching. So I guess I don’t quite fit into any of those categories. I think I am an Explorer. At least for right now.
How Others See Me
One of the webinar exercises required that we ask five friends to describe us in three words.
I did this. Here is what I was told. According to five of my best and closest friends, I am:
- Critical Thinker
Aww, so sweet. Yay me! That felt good to hear and a little bit narcissistic to share but hey my blog, my celebration, my explorations.
I am interested in learning, understanding how to live my best life, and I am keen on telling stories, I love books and will continue to review books.
However, I am starting to be far more selective in what I read.
Therefore, a lot books are being paused or simply abandoned. There are great stories out there, so why waste time on teenage vampires, angsty lilly white boring teens or silly science fiction bizarre carbon copy fantasy and reused love triangles. And I don’t want to read another fairy tale retelling.
OK so that rant is over. Going forward I may read trash but I won’t review them. I want to share and help promote important, meaningful stories.
What Have I Been Doing?
And here is the funny thing that has happened, I finally have a job, my 8-5 job, that allows me to write. And I love my job. Check out Find Yello and scroll below the fold for my writing on Caribbean lifestyle.
Content creation, thought, planning and actual writing and uploading and design means that in the evenings and even on weekends I am tired. Lately, I write more for work, and, I am writing far less for me.
But deep inside I know there are stories to tell and I really need to just sit and write them.
Earlier this year, I reviewed The Mothers and in an interview with The New York Times author Brit Bennett said that she started writing her novel when she was 17 years old and the book didn’t finish and wasn’t published until she was 26. This gave me some comfort.
While time is moving fast, speeding ahead, we are in August 2017 and I honestly feel as if I am behind. And I am trying really hard to let go of this idea of being in somehow in the wrong space. I must stop resisting my journey and accept that I am where I am in my journey and that is OK.
In fact, the chaos of it all, the up in the air feelings are part of the creative process. And I have to trust this, this period of feeling unsettled will pass.
I am who I am and I am exactly where I need to be. I am learning, growing and becoming. Life is beautiful.
Moving forward, this is my commitment, Sunday essays like these on My Jamaican Vignettes will be a bi-weekly, at least two per month. This dedicated Sunday post will be a little life update, a little observation and few new life lessons. Book reviews, bookish posts will continue on Wednesdays, I will keep updating the books reviews on a weekly basis. This is manageable.
I cannot become too anxious about the numbers. I am slowly figuring out content and establishing my voice and embracing my quirks.
Therefore, what is MJV about?
My Jamaican Vignettes is about exploring and embracing life in Jamaica, my life in Jamaica and sharing my love for stories and storytelling.
Thanks for joining me on this journey and please invite others to join us.