I invited you all to share in Anita’s journey in “Bastard Pickney: The Jamaican Journal”. As I had indicated on the very first day I began posting, this is a “work-in-progress”. It was initially written while I was taking my first ever Creative Writing class. The plan for this story had been swimming around in my head for quite some time. It is loosely based on my own experiences growing up with an absentee father and a “trying” mother with an indomitable spirit.
The events which have played out in the excerpts you’ve read over the last week, are fictitious, however – you may say that I sat back, reflected on the struggles I underwent as a child and just basically allowed my imagination to “run weh wid mi!”
In June 2013, while still hashing out the plot in my head, I decided to enter the piece in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Creative Writing Competition. This was done on a whim. The JCDC had strict guidelines as it relates to word limit and categories. At that juncture, “Bastard Pickney” was some 6,000+ words long. I was stuck at the point where Regina and Barrington butt heads. JCDC’s word limit for Short Stories was 3,500 words maximum. For full-length novel, the limit was 40,000 words. I was in a dilemma. The deadline for submission was a week away. I was nowhere near 40,000 words. And the story was twice as long as the Short Category required. Should I chop and dice to cut it down to size? Should I split it in two and submit it as two separate entries? I decided to do neither. JCDC said I could not split the story as each piece is judged individually. And I felt such love for my “baby” that I did not wish to mutilate it.
So, what did I do?
I BROKE the rules!
I submitted my 6,000+ words in the Adult Short Story category with the following aims in mind: (1) to have the experience of entering a competition (yes! This was my very first!). (2) To get my name out there and (3) To find out if I was any good.
A Merit Award!
It was completely unexpected given the circumstances. I was thrilled, humbled and so greatly inspired. I had been severely marked down for exceeding the word limit, was what the Judges’ Report stated. I decided, right then and there, to start working on some pieces specifically FOR the 2014 competition and I am currently working on several. My goal where “Bastard Pickney” is concerned is to get it to that 40,000 word count and re-enter it in the Adult Novel Category later this year.
Now that you have all had a peek into Anita and Puncie’s life, I am going to take liberties and ask you to help me to achieve this target. I have seen how everyone immersed themselves into the story, empathizing with Anita and Puncie and siding with them against Barrington and Regina. As the creator of this tale, I am very moved by your responses and this is why I have decided to extend this invitation.
I am asking each and every person who has read Excerpts 1 through to 7 to join me on this journey. Tell me how you would like to see the story progress. What would you like to see happening to Anita, Puncie, Barrington, Regina? Do you think Barrington WILL give Puncie that money? Now that the Police have arrived, what do you think will happen? Will Anita make it to school afterall?
Please leave a reply here.
I greatly appreciate your help – looking forward to your suggestions with mucho enthusiasm.
Keep on reading, everyone! Remember: “Reading maketh a full man!”
Mandisa M. Parnell