Jodi Westcarr is a woman of many talents, in diverse fields. A registered dietitian, she specialises in the nutritional management of diseases affecting the respiratory and pulmonary systems, as well as nutrition care in oncology. She currently works in the Liguanea Region of Medical Institutions, which incorporates the Sir John Golding Rehab Centre, Hope Institute Hospital and National Chest Hospital, and also does private consultations in weight and chronic disease management and nutrition in pregnancy. She also recently became interested in soapmaking, and has turned that hobby into a fledgling business, Purely Scentimental. On top of that, she has a beautiful voice, and can occasionally be found singing about love at weddings.
Finished. Done. Finito. Acabado. Terminé. Fertig. Ti pari. Päättynyt. (That last one is apparently ‘finished’ in Finnish, according to Google Translate. I’m hilarious. Hahaha!) My writing course, the University of Iowa’s How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women, ended on Tuesday at 12:59AM, and I made it out alive! After three weeks of zero ideas and sucky drafts that had to be sent to the electronic version of ‘file 13,’ I was concerned that I’d end up punking out of the five-week course after only submitting three assignments. But I powered through the last 36 hours and wrote not one, but two stories – a total of 4,457 words. I wrote five stories over the course of five weeks, y’all! That’s 12,540 words – the most I’ve written since I was in third form and attempting to write the next best thing in teen romance, Sweet Valley High style. I #didthat! And then I slept practically all day Tuesday.
I’m now officially three weeks behind in my writing for the University of Iowa’s How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women course. I’ve spent the past two weeks cycling through various stages of panic, as the final ‘lecture’ will be posted this week, then the course closes on the 21st at midnight. Which means I have one week to churn out three assignments. Well, two, since I’m now waist deep into assignment three, finally.
I’m now officially three weeks into the University of Iowa’s How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women course, but I’m a few days behind as I just submitted my second assignment this morning. The focus of week two was desire and point of view. The task was to establish a female character who experiences a strong desire, who acts on said desire, but may or may not get what she wants. The point of view used in the narration should be picked based on which one best articulates the character’s desire, and the things she thinks/feels/experiences in acting on it.
I’m sure Wednesday started out as a pretty typical day for Nicholas Francis and his family. Get up, shower, have breakfast, brush teeth, leave for school. Oh, wait. Lunch money. His father tells him to take what he needs from the money on his dresser. He leaves the house, heads to Jamaica College, goes about his day. School is dismissed, he probably stays back a few minutes to hang out with his friends or go to a club meeting, then it’s off to the bus stop to get transportation home. Only he never makes it back home. Some depraved member of the dregs of society spies the cell phone in his hand and decides he is entitled to it. But Nicholas refuses to hand it over, so he is stabbed in the arm and chest, then thrown from the bus, breaking his arm. He dies at the University hospital.
I recently signed up for a free online creative writing workshop being offered by the University of Iowa called How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women. (It started on October 11 and ends November 21, but you can still sign up and see what you can accomplish.) The University of Iowa has one of the top rated creative writing MFA programmes in North America, so when my friend Janeth tagged me on their Facebook page, I signed up so fast my fingers were smoking.
There’s a saying that if something appears too good to be true, it probably is. It’s an adage I used to live by, before I decided that I was an optimist and I would stop looking for the bogeyman around every corner. Well, as it turns out, I shoulda gone with good ol’ pessimism in the case I’m about to relate to you, because this newfound “glass half full” foolishness cost me almost J$10,000.
If you’re a local social media addict, you might have seen the Youtube video ‘American Learns To Speak Jamaican Patois‘ making the rounds on social media about a year ago, featuring my girl Donalee Curtis teaching her friend, makeup artist JKissa, some current patwa (that’s how I like to spell it) phrases. Their hilarious patwa experiment even made its way to Smile Jamaica, It’s Morning Time on TVJ. “My family and friends were calling me and sending me videos of themselves watching it. That was such an amazing feeling. All I want to do is make my country proud, even if it’s just through a fun video. As for JKissa, I think she is just as shocked as I am,” she said.