So it’s 2015, and millions of words are being generated around the world about what people plan to do with this new year. I don’t normally engage in that activity. I usually have far too much going on and it’s a bit like swimming in a crowded pond: keeping my head above the weeds is about all I’m aiming for.
But this year is significant for a number of reasons. One of them is that my focus has become more personal, less political. I’ve been packing my parents’ home for the past almost four years and it has been a journey of a very particular sort, and part of me wants to document it more fully than I have done so thus far.
Another is that the College of The Bahamas will become a university this year and this may have some impact on my academic career, but not if I don’t pay attention to it. Another is that the research that I’ve been doing has its own ramifications that have opened some interesting doors for me, and the last is that packing my parents’ lives and finding the treasures that have surfaced has made me very aware of the fragility of one’s contributions to the world. My parents were nation-builders, as was my uncle (whose archive/belongings we have also inherited), and their stories are important as we continue to try and develop a sense of ourselves as unique inhabitants of a wide and busy world. But they were also so focussed on attaining important goals not just for themselves but also for the nation that their contributions were lost in confusion. They were both well aware of the importance of archiving their work and they did not throw very much away, with the result that the past four years have been an exercise in discovering, sorting, packing, tossing, and saving, but sharing those stories takes organization, time and energy. It also takes resources that I don’t currently have. So my personal solution is to rent their home to help generate some income, and to continue to sort, examine, read and catalogue their possessions and papers over the course of this coming year.
I’ve got two main personal goals for the year. As an academic I have to outline my professional goals, and I’ve done that. First, to expand my research, which has now started to follow two trajectories: research into the Bahamian Orange Economy, primarily through my study of Junkanoo economics, and research into the development of the Bahamas, primarily through my link with the Sustainable Exuma project. Second, to further solidify my creative career, through the submission for publication of my poetry collection Mama Lily and the Dead. And third, to apply for promotion. But that doesn’t really come before me now. That is all in train, and is in the hands of the college. My personal goals are as follows:
- Finish packing and renovating our parents’ house and get it on the rental market (ideally, this goal should be to get the place rented in 2015, the earlier the better)
- Help with the development of new work for theatre
Of these, the most important is the first one; the second can wait.
- Start cataloguing and organizing our parents’ documents
- Finish drafting at least ONE of the plays I’ve got on the drawing board
Thoughts. Well, here’s the big one. We need a new vision for our country. This has been said so often that it’s just a silly refrain. We need more than refrains now though. We need actions and we need different actions, different solutions than we’ve been trying so far. So this year I’m thinking about possibilities. One person can’t make much difference, other than writing down ideas and hoping that they catch fire, but if that’s all I can do this year, that’s all I’ll do.
So people: happy new year!