Through writing, one can explore fancifulness of the mind, conjure images that, despite their surreal suggestions, resonate with the reader or listener because they are grounded in familiar circumstances before taking flight into fiction.
So it was that scores of persons at the Frank Collymore Hall over the weekend had their psyches snatched from them and taken on voyages to witness a kitchen tabletop freak show in New York, experience a bus ride into Kingston, Jamaica, witness Egrets as models, feel the pulsing temptations of infidelity, and breathe in the serenity of the Barbados west coast sea.
This was the fare Saturday night when awardees of the 2019 Frank Collymore Literary Endowment (FCLE) took to the stage and read excerpts of their winning submissions, sharing with the audience aspects of their creative imagination, and dancers added to the flow with the interpretation of a national icon’s poem.
The ambience created by the Hall’s theatrical lighting interweaving dark with spots of light, then blends of shades into unidentifiable colours helped create the psychedelic effect necessary for the voyage of the mind.
“Imaginative writing is akin to hallucinating, the only difference being that the writer hallucinates voluntarily for the most part,” intoned guest speaker, Dr Nigel Thomas who went on to set conditions for the mind to roam free when he induced spirituality by quoting poet William Blake stating, “Writers are, in a sense, secular priests”– so listen, follow, believe.
It was easy to believe when FCLE third prize winner convinced the audience that a neglected upper middle-class housewife was justified in exploring infidelity, then compounding the deceit by taking the faulted husband to sensual heights not experienced in more than two decades of cohabitation.
It was easy to follow and understand the revulsion a young girl who, as a guest in her father’s New York home, wandered into the kitchen late at night to come upon the male who sired her passionately enjoying offerings of his female companion in a ‘freak show’ on the table top.
The audience in the Hall listened but in fact, felt every bump as Sharma Taylor narrated a bus ride into Kingston taken by a pubescent girl who, though in the company of her grandmother, was on a secret quest to find her father for the first time.
Sarah Venable took them to a Bajan farm field to see Egrets as, “lean, leggy models stalking down the Earthen flutes left by the plow, fashionably dining and then resting on a cow”.
Under the direction of Dr Yvonne Weekes and the choreography of Tanicia Gibbons, dancers of Gentle Steps Arts Academy accompanied by two from the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination descended onto the stage where they appeared to float in an interpretation of Frank Collymore‘s poem, Hymn to the Sea.
The Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Awards, 2019, took those lucky to attend the free event on a flight of fantasy with no ticket. (GA)