First off, a bit about me. I was born in the Caribbean, on the island republic of Trinidad and Tobago. I’m what you call in America a black man, though I’ve got some Chinese blood in me, enough to confuse most people at a distance. They see the light skin color and think I must be, you know, not black. I could tell you stories, but this ain’t the time and place. I want to tell you about the book I’ve decided to write next and to ask for some volunteers.
I want to write a novel that brings together, in the immigrant experience, the three streams of our Resistance history – the maroons of Jamaica; the shango, the obeah, and the stick-fighting priests of Trinidad & Tobago; and the vodoun practitioners and priests of Haiti. These three were the original loci of the African resistance to New World slavery and represent the diasporic unity of the culture. In Jamaica, enslaved Africans managed to escape to the mountain forests and to there establish and maintain successful communities of resistance. In Trinidad, the resistance took a more insidious form. In the Carnival, slaves parodied and ridiculed their masters and in stick-fighting and Calinda, organized themselves into an armed militia that was connected to their secret social and religious bodies. In Haiti, it was in the secret, illegal Vodoun that the resistance lived and fought, eventually producing the only successful political revolution of that era in the African Diaspora.
The three streams of our history are represented by three children, the maroon (an orphaned boy); the carnival queen (a wealthy girl) and the androgynous spirit (the vodoun practitioner). In these three resides the metaphorical representation of the stories of the maroons of Jamaica, the masqueraders of Trinidad Carnival and the Houngan and Mambo of the Haitian Revolution.
Lost at birth, the three seek to reunite and find their mother (Africa) but they are up against a powerful foe, a priest who is after the fortune left by the old lady to the girl. He can marshal many powerful allies, from friends in the FBI to the thugs of a Catholic secret society.
The spirits are gathering; I feel them around me, looking over my shoulder as I write. I think they like what I’m doing now, this story about them, about us, and about Africa.
I’ve set up a private group on Facebook which I plan to use to garner criticism, advice and expertise from a band of volunteers. These are early days in this project, but I want to gather as much help as I can. I’m not sure how to do this but I’m betting that one of you, readers, will be willing and able to steer me through these rough waters. I suppose that it goes something like this — you are willing to help in some way — you give me your contact information — I add you to the Facebook group — and la voila. No?
Security issues? Don’t know? Let the help begin.