Sunday, February 8, 2009

In Honour of A Day Of Absence

This is written in response to the idea proposed by Nicolette Bethel -A Day Of Absence, February 11th- to raise awareness in the Bahamas of the devaluing of its artists and culture workers and the need for solidarity, all the better to create a society in which artists and culture workers can thrive. Thank you to Nicolette Bethel for her vision and the fire to get up and doing something.

I am here in my apartment in Oakland, California thinking about my people there in Nassau, Bahamas, in Grand Bahama, in Eleuthera and Andros and Cat Island, and on and on across the archipelago, and I am thinking of the artists, the culture workers, the creators of the new symbols, the creators of the new songs and poems and plays and films, the tellers of the stories, the old stories, the new stories, the stories we have to write if we are going to live them and I am thinking about this planned day of ABSENCE and how you are all coming together, to rally around the desire for not only work but for the kind of society that values you/us, that values the life of the artist, the role of the artist, (the artist who knows how to make life out of her body, his body, life that the community needs and most of the time doesn't know it, can't appreciate it, and can't live, really live, without) and I am thinking that I am with you ...if only in spirit... in solidarity with all my co-creating artist sistren and brethren... more power, more creativity, more valuing and honouring to all of you; more love, more celebration, more hopefulness, more bigitteyness, more soulfulness, more inspiredness, more getting paid-ness, more community and solidarity-ness to you there, in my beloved community... I am with you, if only in the vibration of these words, in the vibration of my heart sending you these words, believing in a new day... Let absence make the heart grow stronger; out of absence let the new day be born.

Helen Klonaris


Nicolette Bethel said...


Let's keep the discussion going!

Lynn Sweeting said...

Hey Gaulin Wife, I'm hearing and continue to be grateful for your voice. Just like the magical bird that is your totem, you are a transformer, telling new stories so that all may live them. Thank you.
In hope
and with brightest blessings!

Helen Klonaris said...

Well, today I had my students read Nico's article regarding a Day of Absence, and we talked (here in San Francisco) about the role of the artist, and how society views us, and how we view ourselves; it was inspiring! They were inspired. They understood that artists are changers of the times, and that they themselves are on the front lines of that change. More power to us all... to stand up for ourselves and each other as we continue to create out of everything that is our lives. Radiant blessings back to you Lynn, and to you Nico, and all the readers out there!

In solidarity with the Universe... and forces of change!

Nicolette Bethel said...

Pass it on.

It isn't only here, I know, but other people have some straws to which to cling, so I thought let's start it here and maybe it'll catch a fire (to quote Bob).

Anonymous said...

I couldnt find anywhere else to comment. Im a student from freeport, but i now attend smith college in the states. i picked up our caribbean by accident. rather it was thrown to me accross the room by a very special sort of professor. but, i saw your letter. and though it be old and long ago written. i still cried like it was today.

thank you. i forgotten how to hope it seemed.

Helen Klonaris said...

Claire, thank you. Thank you for being you and for daring to hope. I am inspired that Our Caribbean found you at Smith. This is the way of words... once we let them out, there is no telling where they will find themselves, each other. It is good. I too am hopeful.