shining the spotlight

Shining the Spotlight: Jiore Moore-Gayle

“Moore than an artist” is a tagline that Jiore Moore-Gayle uses to represent himself and it epitomizes the work being done by the young graphic designer and illustrator. Moore-Gayle has had a lot of lofty goals and ambitions going up, and had the intelligence and drive to follow any path he could have chosen, but the creative says that it was his passion for creating and designing, as well as being the son of a graphic designer as well, that saw him follow in his mother’s footsteps.


“The process of learning Graphic Design felt natural, likely in part of my mother being a Graphic Designer and me being by her as she worked in my early childhood. I’ve really loved Graphics. My mother has been extremely supportive of me from the jump and everyone in my family has echoed similar sentiments,” said Moore-Gayle. “Funnily enough, I’ve always been unsure about what path I was going to go down. I saw myself being a lawyer, chef, track athlete, mathematician, programmer, and a few I’m leaving out for the sake of brevity. It took me until the 9th grade to decide that I wanted to pursue something in the Arts.”

After having made the decision to become a graphic designer and illustrator, Moore-Gayle says the road to becoming a good graphic designer has been a lot more difficult than most would initially assume. He explained that a lot of work had been done behind the scenes to reach the level that he has in his career.

“Once I made that decision, I still had to decide which discipline I wanted to go down and it took me about 3-4 years since then for me to 100% set my mind on Graphic Design and Illustration,” he said. “It has been a journey of ups and downs. I remember downloading and rigorously reading a few drawing books on anatomy and portraiture in Grade 9 in an attempt to seriously hone my skills. There were a few times where I felt I was wasting my time because it didn’t feel like any real progress was made. Despite this, I kept working at it and the people around me would complement my art, reassuring me that it wasn’t for naught.”

Of all the work he has done, Moore-Gayle says that some of his favorites have been the portraits he has drawn over the years. He says that doing portraits is a way for him to showcase to clients that they are worthy and beautiful enough to have their portraits done.

He says that he gets the most joy from doing portraits of those close to him, including his girlfriend.

“If I were to say what the most memorable portraits I’ve worked on, I would say the tens of portraits I’ve done of my girlfriend. I don’t mean to sound cheesy but her reaction to how beautiful I think she is and how it manifests in portraits is invaluable to me. It validates my goal with portraits and is direct proof of the value in continuing it,” he explains.

“One thing I try to do with my portraits is to change the ideas of who is worthy of getting a portrait taken. Acknowledging the efforts of people and making them feel that acknowledgment through portraits has given me the most joy in that regard. Another thing I value is making women feel beautiful and worthy. I think too many women, and people as a whole, view celebrities and models too highly, not realizing that they are as beautiful or even more so than these people.”

Moore-Gayle’s definition of success is being able to do what he loves most. The artist, who strives to create a lasting impact with his content, says he hopes to change the perception that many have about graphic design being an ‘easy’ career and have many understand that art – just like any other career – deserves to be treated with respect.

“I think one of the biggest misconceptions about being a graphic designer that I’ve noticed is there are a lot of people who think it’s easy. For example, if you were to pursue medicine or law, most if not everyone would assume you are either intelligent or particularly hard-working. There seems to be the idea that Graphic Design is somehow different. Everyone can be a graphic designer; not everyone can be a good one.”

Now undertaking his largest project so far, which is attempting to reimage the graphic design of several of Jamaica’s more established brands, Moore-Gayle – and samples of his work – can be found on his Instagram page @thisisjzmg.


songbird part 3

Songbird - Part Three

March 21, 1941

To my dearest Stuart,

Ma’s funeral has come and gone, and I feel like I am once again trapped in a glass cage watching idly as time goes by. I have lost track of the days since she was laid to rest, and my memories of the service have all jumbled into one big blot of hazy misery and crying in my mind.

I feel like I am fighting a war myself, and I am losing.

Marcilli is no longer here. Father has sent her away from her school and has sent her to Trelawny to continue her schooling. He says Westwood would be a good school for her, and she would be away from all the ‘bad influences’ that is in the capital.

I tried to protest the move. Marcilli needs her family more than ever, but he remained unmoved.

He says that with Ma gone, it is time for him to give a firm hand to help guide our futures. I am unsure of what he means about that, my love, but he has been secretive as of late. I had thought it was the business deal he had worked on, but he said that the bit of business has been handled. He even invited his new business partner over for lunch a few times.

His name is Daniel Blake, but he insists that I call him Danny and that he will call me ‘Ells’. I have protested this, not wanting to seem too familiar, but he insists.

He is from Connecticut he says, and that he is looking to expand on the wealth he has inherited from his father. Father said that with Danny on board, the company is expected to grow to even an international market.

I have not the mind for business, but Father says that the future for the company is going well.

I am often the only one here in the house my dear, and it gets quite lonely during the day. I have tried to get into many hobbies to keep myself occupied, but I have yet to find the one that I truly love.

Singing has lost its splendor for me, and I have tried it all – drawing, knitting, reading – but nothing works. The only thing that brings me joy these days is your letters.

No matter how bleak your words may be, I look forward to your letters. They give me hope for a brighter future when everything else seems so dark.

Keep safe my love, I await your return to my arms.

Ellis.

September 13, 1941

To Stuart,

It has been months since my last letter and I have yet to receive a response from you. I hope that my deepest fears have not become true. Word from the newspaper is saying that the United States of America has been helping the Allies in their war in Europe. I hope this means that the war will be over soon.

Much has changed since my last letter. Marcilli is still in Trelawney, and I have yet to receive any response from her despite the fact that I have written to her many times. Father refuses to allow me to make the trip up to Westwood to see her, and I do not have the means to go there on my own. I hope that she is doing well and that maybe Father was right after all, and all she needed was time away from Kingston.

Father has spent more time away from the house now. It has reached the point where if I were to see him once per week, I would call myself lucky.

Fortunately, Danny has been around the house to keep me company. He has spent most of his days at the house playing on the grand piano. He is quite the skilled pianist – he had learned it in his youth and had dreams of playing in an orchestra before reality set his path in stone.

He reminds me a lot of you, Stuart.

He has insisted that he wants to take me out for a night out in the city. I don’t know what to say to him. Father says that Danny is a good man, who will treat me right, but I feel Father is only thinking with his pocket.

My mind is saying that there is no reason to decline his offer, but my heart is in turmoil.

Maybe if you were here, there would be no decision to make. But that is just wishful thinking.

Regards,

Ellis.

 

January 21, 1942

To Stuart,

I am sorry, Stuart, but I could wait for you no longer.

Danny has asked me to marry him. He says he has never met a more beautiful woman in his life. He wants me to leave with him, and to return to America.

I said yes.

We are due to leave on the sixth of February, and we will be wedded on the fourteenth. Danny says it is perfect for us to be married on Valentine’s Day.

I know America has joined the war in Europe now, but I don’t have to worry about Danny. He suffered an injury in his youth, and so he cannot be enlisted to fight.

This will be the last letter that I write to you Stuart. I love you.

Regards,

Ellis.

 

January 25, 1941

To whomever this may concern,

This letter is to the effect that Private Stuart A. Lincoln has been killed in action

By His Majesty’s command, I am to forward the enclosed message of sympathy from Their Gracious Majesties the King and Queen. I am at the same time to express the regret of the Army Council at the soldier’s death in his country’s service.

I am to add that any information that may be received as to the soldier’s burial will be communicated to you in due course. A separate letter dealing more fully with this subject is enclosed.


Songbird part 2

Songbird - Part Two

June 28, 1940

To my sweetest Songbird,

As I write this letter, my hands are trembling. I find it hard to put into words the many things I need to say to you, my Songbird. So many things have happened and I feel like I don’t have the time to tell you all of it. But I supposed you’ve heard by now. I’d think the news had already reached Jamaica at this time.

France has fallen.

The Germans have taken Paris and are planning to bring the war all the way to England. We don’t know when it will happen, but we know it will not be long before the darkness is knocking on our doors.

The men around the camp are tense, and we’ve been armed with more guns and ammunition in this past few weeks than the last several months that we’ve been here. Everyone seems to be on a tethering rope, and I fear that even the slightest breeze will be enough to force us tumbling into the abyss that lays below.

London is a ghost town. The entire air seems to be holding its breath – waiting for the next shoe to drop. The people have been forced to evacuate to the countrysides and bunkers, where they can hide as Germans, have increased their stranglehold on this war. They started to fly planes over the city. It seems like any day now, bombs will start raining from the skies in a shower of explosion and death.

It’s hard to stay, my Songbird. I want to come home

But I will fight where I can.

They say we are to be deployed soon. The Germans may be strong, but the Italians are weaker, and that’s where we’ll hit them hard. I can’t tell you much about what I will be doing, but they say I will be sent out to Italy with my regiment as support for the soldiers fighting there.

With Chamberlain ousted and Churchill at the helm, they are saying that we’ll be taking the fight to the Germans to protect ol’ Blighty.

The doctor is expected to arrive any day now, after that, we’ll be on the first ship out to Italy.

Stuart.

August 25, 1940

To my dearest Stuart,

Ma always said that a woman was to be strong – that it was a woman’s job to be the pillar behind a man’s strength. But now, I fear that my strength will not be enough. Not here.

Ma has died. She died in her sleep on a brisk Sunday morning. Marcilli has been inconsolable since and refuses to leave Ma’s room.

The doctors say they have no idea what had happened to her and have said she has died of natural causes. She had been so vivacious, but now…

I had hoped that you would never be involved in the horrors of war. That they would keep you safe, and away from the fighting. But now it seems all that hope has been wasted.

My love, I am afraid. I am not ashamed to admit it.

The war only seems to be getting worse by the minute, and now, even you, have been dragged into the darkness of war by old men too caught up in their own grandiosity and egos to see that they are ripping out the roots that would have grown to be a beautiful garden.

The Walters boy did it, you know. He volunteered. Apparently, he sneaked out in the dead of the night to join the ‘cause’ with nothing more than the clothes on his back.

Missus Walters got a yellow telegram a few weeks later… I need not know what it said to understand that the boy is dead. She collapsed in a fit of bawling so loud it woke the neighbours.

I fear one day I will receive one of those yellow telegrams.

Please, my love, keep safe and come back to me.

Ellis

 

November 3, 1940

To my sweet Songbird,

It has been almost a year since I last saw you, and been a few months since our last message. I feel, as I write, that I am a whole new different man than the one I was a few months ago.

My condolences are with you for your loss. Missus Hall had always been a woman of character and strength. I am devastated to hear she has passed. Send my regards to Marcilli as well. I know this death has been truly terrible for her.

This place is the heights of evil, and I feel I have been tainted with a brush of dark soaking red that I will never be able to wash off. They had planned to send us to Italy, but plans had changed and suddenly we found ourselves whisked off to Greece.

The fighting was brutal. Never have I experienced something so inhumane. I shall spare you the horrid details, my love, but know that in this no man’s land, I have seen hell on earth.

I killed a man. I have stolen the life of another and to this day, I am still haunted by his pleading eyes. We do not speak the same language, but at that moment, as he struggled for his last breaths, I understood him.

I stay up at night, thinking about him. How old was he? Did he have a family waiting for him on the other side of this war? Are they ignorant to the fact that their loved one is dead – killed by these hands?

I feel lost, my Songbird.

Stuart.

January 6, 1941

To Mr. Hall,

I am writing to you sir, as one man to another, and have come to you to ask for your blessing in a matter that I have thought about for these last few months.

As you know sir, I have deployed in Europe to help with the Allies’ fight against the Axis Powers. During my time sir, I have come to see the worst that this world has to offer. I have trudged through miles of mud and filth, I have been shot and injured and I have seen good men die young without too many regrets.

Throughout this, however, I have found a light that keeps me moving. A reason to keep fighting this dreadful fight.

Your daughter Ellis has been my beacon, and I intend to marry her as soon as I return to Jamaica.

I have yet to tell her the news of my plans, sir, as I feel it was most prudent to get your approval. She values your opinion as she should.

I know sir, that in the past, you have not had the best opinion of my relationship with your daughter. But I hope that this letter will convince you of my sincerity in my commitment to her. There is not a force on earth that I could not move, nor a mountain that I could not topple if it meant I get to spend eternity with your daughter by my side.

Certainly, if present circumstances were as they were, this would not have happened for some time. But the fragility of life has made me realized what your daughter means to me, and I hope, when the time comes, you will consent to let me have her as my lawfully wedded wife.

Regards,

Private Stuart Lincoln

Eighth Army.


8 Creative Gifts for Mother’s Day

Queen, empress, love of our lives, jewels in our crowns, and sometimes even our biggest friends and confidants. Mother, a word that means different things to different people. For some persons, it may mean embarrassment and for others, it may mean their greatest love. If you are like us, you have possibly been scrolling aimlessly for hours trying to find a gift that can even compare or touch the hem of greatness and grace that your mother so effortlessly presents in her daily life. Search no more because here are 8 amazing gifts that you can create or buy for your mother to truly show how much you care about her.

Mother's day jewellery

Jewellery- If your mother is someone who likes to accessorize and is definitely a woman who loves to make a statement with her accessories then you should definitely look into making jewellery for her. Why not flex your creative muscles and try creating her a unique piece? By making the jewellery yourself, you would be sure to cater it to her liking and personality and possibly even save yourself the hassle to get somebody to cater the piece to her liking. You can make jewellery ranging from anklets to even a beaded head crown. Whatever it is, let your imagination run wild, who knows, it may end up being a side hustle for you.

Mother's day home decor

Customized home décor pieces – Now, we all know or possibly even have a mother that is absolutely obsessed with home décor. You know exactly what we are talking about, that mother who goes on the road to get Sardines or some other food item and ends up coming home with another figurine even though the house has like ten thousand of them. If you have a mother like that then you can look into getting or making her a customized home décor piece. This can be pillows that you stitch a quote or song lyric on, a hand-painted coaster because she is a tea or coffee fanatic, a small canvas painting from your friend’s business, or even a paper flower bouquet for her dresser. Once home décor excites your mother then this is sure to be the gift you should get her.

Create a mother’s day coupon box –A mother’s day coupon box is basically a small box that you could make with cardboard, construction paper, cartridge paper or you can just use an old box that you are no longer using that is filled with cards that you can also make with flashcards, etc. that have instructions on them. For example, your coupon box could include help with dinner, do the laundry, breakfast in bed, spa day and your mother can easily give you the coupon and you do what the instruction says. You can even pair this gift with something else on the list, I am sure she would love it.

Mother's day face mask

Make a homemade face mask or scrub – All you have to do is research ingredients for face masks and create one for her skin. I would recommend a soothing cucumber aloe mask to help calm her from all the stresses of her daily life.

Mother's day playlist

Make her a playlist – One of the biggest instant mood boosters is listening to music. If you want a gift that puts your mother in a good mood or reminds her of different eras in her life that brought her good memories, then create a playlist. Click here Mother's Day Playlist to get some inspiration for songs for her playlist.

Wake up early and do a surprise post-it notes mirror or a wall filled with affirmations- This is possibly one of the easiest and most affordable gifts you can give your mom. All you have to do is buy about 2 packs of sticky notes and write as many affirmations as you can on all of the sticky notes then while she sleeps, you stick them on the mirror. You can stick them in a heart. I guarantee you that she will be beyond surprised and most of all, they won’t stain the mirror or wall.

Make a 52 reasons why I love you flashcard set with a card deck- This would be an ideal gift that she can not only read over and over when she is having a bad day but if she loves to play games or played a lot of games as a child then this can be nostalgic for her.

Mother's day movie binge

A special movie day binge – This one is for the movie lover moms. The moms who lived on Netflix during the lockdowns. The moms would just randomly go to the movie theatre on a Sunday evening after cooking the whole family dinner. You can create a movie tickets graphic, send it to your mother and then have a small movie bar with all of her favourite snacks and candy. You can even go even further to make it more special by having some of her favourite movies on the list of movies to watch.

And there you have it! 8 gifts you can give your beautiful mother this mother’s day. Be sure to follow us on all socials for more amazing content.


mother's day playlist

Must-Have Songs For Your Mother’s Day Playlist

Mother’s Day is around the corner and so is the process of finding that perfect Mother’s Day gift to show your love and appreciation for that special woman in your life. Like many of us, the idea of classic gifts like roses, dinners, and many other sentimental gifts have come but have you ever thought about music? Curating the perfect Mother’s Day playlist may be the way to go to put the icing on the cake for whatever it is that you may have in store for your mother. Whether it is the set the mood and uses the songs as background music, or whether you’ve decided to go old-school and gift her a physical playlist just for her, here are a few songs that must be on any Mother’s Day playlist:

Because You Loved Me – Celine Dion

You can never go wrong with a Celine Dion classic. The Canadian singer is perhaps one of the most beloved vocalists throughout the Caribbean and that is what makes her single Because You Loved Me, the perfect addition to any Mother’s Day playlist. A powerful song about everlasting love, Celine Dion’s beautiful vocals make this song just the right pick.


A Song for Mama – Boyz II Men

I can guarantee that you have heard this song sometime in your childhood and is the epitome of nostalgia. The soulful track by Boyz II Men is one of the anthems of motherly appreciation and really is a great addition to your playlist. From start to finish, the song is truly a beautiful ode to all mothers out there on their special day.

Mama Liked the Roses – Elvis Presley

The King of Rock and Roll and the heartthrob of the 1950s through to the 60s, Elvis Presley released a soulful and resounding song dedicated to his mother, who had passed away. Presley, who had a very close relationship with his mother, wrote the song in her honor, and it remains a touching sentiment of a son’s love for his mother. Presley’s iconic vocals and raw emotions in the song make this single a good choice for your mother’s day playlist.

Dear Mama – Tupac

No relationship is perfect, even the ones we have with our mothers and rapper Tupac speaks about this in his song Dear Mama. Genuine, impactful, and lyrically potent, this track is a perfect way to express your love for your mother no matter the topsy-turvy relationship you may have, after all, it is just like what Tupac says in the song, “Ain’t a woman alive who could take my mama’s place.”

Strength of a Woman – Shaggy

A more upbeat choice than the others, if your mother has a love for reggae and/or Shaggy, then this song is one to consider. Shaggy carries a powerful message with this song about female empowerment and care. A song dedicated to the powerful, caring, and beautiful women all around the world, the song will put a smile on your mother’s face when she hears this one being played for her.

Mama – Garnett Silk

Garnett Silk’s love for his mother is undoubtedly strong, and this song is just one of the ways he told the world. Mama has all the nostalgic reggae feel, and it is a great addition to your mother’s day playlist with its impactful and meaningful lyrics. The strength of the song becomes even more apparent with you remember that Garnett Silk passed away at age 28 while trying to save his mother from a burning building. May he rest in peace; his song immortalized as a son’s love and dedication to his mother.

Thank You Mama – Sizzla

If there was ever a song that truly encapsulates your love and appreciation for your mother, then Sizzla’s Thank You Mama truly hits the nail on the head. The smooth rendition finds the perfect words to express the struggles of a mother and the appreciation from a child and is an instant classic for the genre. This song is a must-have to have when you go about creating that perfect playlist.


shining the spotlight

Shining the Spotlight: Marci-Lee Smith

If you have taken the time to watch Devin Di Dakta’s new song Abort, then you should already be familiar with the acting and musical talents of Marci-Lee Smith. The multi-talented Jamaican is hoping to make waves through her passion and I had the opportunity to speak with her briefly about the woman behind the art, her goals, her struggles, and her inspirations.

Marci-Lee Smith
Marci-Lee Smith

Smith, also known as Marcilli, always knew from an early age that she was born to be a creative. The singer/songwriter/actress has a myriad of skills in her repertoire and says she cannot remember a time in her life when she wasn’t dreaming of being an artist.

“Music has been my first love and I’ve stuck with it from kindergarten. I wrote my first song in kindergarten and then in high school I went to drama club and that’s where I developed my love for acting,” Marcilli said. “My drama teacher asked me to go on stage, and I went there. I saw the audience chairs and I was just envisioning a real audience giving me a standing ovation and that’s when I felt that I want to do this forever. I want to be a performer.”

Now years later, Marcilli is doing what she loves and is hoping to make her talents her main source of income. She describes herself as a person of drive and determination and said her aim in life is to become her own woman – independent.

“Marci-Lee is a creative who has the determination to change her dreams into reality and hopes of inspiring others to do the same,” she said. “My end goal is to be happy. My end goal is to be my own CEO – my own boss. Doing what I love and getting paid for doing what I love. Being able to provide for my family by doing what I love and not having to worry about finding another way to survive.”

But despite her love for her craft, she admits that it has not been an easy road. Currently, Marcilli has released two songs Tonight and Mary-Jane, and hopes to – by the end of the year – release an EP of five songs. In fact, her song Mary-Jane even got radio air time in Chile.

With music as her self-professed first love, she has found challenges in the music as she explains that as a female artiste, there have been male colleagues who have tried to sexualize her. Added to that she says, is that she has had doors closed in her face because of her sexuality.

“I find in the music industry, males often like to sexualize their female artistes – they want something else other than the music,” she explained. “Another downside is that I am queer, and a lot of people don’t agree with my sexuality so there was one time where I had to downplay my sexuality to be able to record with them, but I’ve cut off that because if I can’t be myself then it’s not my art because my art represents myself.”

Regardless of the obstacles, Marcilli has not been deterred from her goal, and draws inspiration from her life experiences as well as the Korean rapper/producer BTS Suga who she says – like herself – had made several sacrifices in life to pursue their passion.

“Life inspires me. My family and what I went through in my personal life inspires. Seeing where I’ve been and where I need to be, inspires me,” Marcilli said. “An artiste that I would say that inspires me would be BTS Suga. I look up to him because he didn’t have that support when he just started and he had to build himself from a little community to where he is right now – #1 Billboard singer.”

So what is next for Marcilli? Well, you can find out by following her on Instagram @olfki.


archive of lovers

An Archive of Lovers

The colour of tar, coal,

the colour of midnight,

enveloped your eyes,

nobody could read you,

judged you based on your strong, masculine,

jawline defined,

sugar,

honey,

they couldn’t taste your cyanide

but she did,

and you knew you couldn’t hide it from her,

the way she tried to hide it from you,

she saw past dead eyes,

a smile that tried to mask the scars on your back,

where no one could view,

your vulnerability,

and if they somehow did,

you would say “oh it’s fine. It’s nothing. Pretend you didn’t even see”

but by the Gods of fire,

you could not lie to her

and you couldn’t lie to


dead on arrival

Dead on Arrival

It had begun on the 13th of March 2020. My vivid memory recalled that rushed, the worried announcement that had interrupted our communication studies lecture. Forced out of my dorm, I grudgingly made my way in hopes of returning within a month’s time. Back then, the virus had seemed so mundane to me, barely a threat. I spent most of my days reading and watching the steady rise of numbers on the news, still hopeful, and retreated to the confines of my room. My eyes and ears tuned for some miraculous news that the virus had been eradicated.

 

My mother had been the first who in her great heroism as a famous police officer had died in the line of duty, protecting the citizens of a nearby community. My brother, on one of our grocery trips, had bitten by an infected man, managed to drive me home, and committed suicide.

 

The melancholy did not quickly consume me as I had hoped it would.  My home would have been such an easy place to die, surrounded by all the things that brought me joy. I suppose you could say it was my instincts' futile attempt at living, shrouding myself in the depraved notion that somehow I would have been saved. A scarcity of food was something I had never known. My stomach would rumble in pity at the starved bodies on television and beggars on the road I came in contact with my normal life. I could never understand fully, how persons would resort to eating rats or cockroaches till I experienced it myself. I refused to leave home after the food ran out, crawling in the cupboards to catch the very creatures I was behaving like. In the coming weeks, I found myself slowly fermenting and emaciating, the lack of water and food creeping into my once plump, beautiful frame.

 

Now, I found myself laying on the floor of the forest pulling my starved legs to my chest in an attempt to comfort myself. I had waited till nightfall and went through a window, dressing in a T-shirt as a mask and black from head to toe. I left my childhood home undetected, limping my way to the nearby woodlands I would often play with my brother in.

 

Starving and delirious, I ate through everything my chaotic brain deemed edible. The berries were poisonous, bitter, and discolored staining my tongue, leaving a putrid taste. I didn’t care. Most of me wanted to die but I was woefully terrified of outright suicide. Eating the poisonous berries was simply assistance, an indirect yet direct way of suicide. I was starving and I hoped that whatever higher being or God would understand my plight.

 

The effects were slow, painless and I began simply just dragging myself on the drought-stricken earth that seemed to shrivel away with my weakened state. When I started to die, it was dusk and the air was filled with the sounds of the forest creatures that thrived under our demise. My body became rigid and every sound around me had turned to a soft hum. I could no longer feel the maggots picking at my wounds or the screams that had made their way into my daydreams. It was blissful, nothing but peace enveloping my broken body. My life did not flash before my eyes. I did not want it to. I had spent my whole life fearing the dark and the death and it was so beautiful. Slowly, I slipped away and as the last of my senses had disappeared I was jolted awake by fingers touching my neck.

“She’s alive! She’s alive” the masculine voice said.

I felt my body being lifted and the sounds of loud sirens. I opened my eyes to the sight of green uniforms and relieved smiles. I smiled back at them. But, soon the silence took me over as my vision again descended into blackness.


songbird part 1

Songbird - Part One

November 20, 1939

To my dearest Stuart,

It has been lonely without you my dear. I have tried too many times to resign myself to the fact that you were set to leave, but I had truly not thought of how lonely the nights would be without you here. I had felt so proud when I saw you standing there in your uniform, looking as dashing as any of the heroes in Marcilli’s books that she tries so hard to hide from me. I had fancied you brave beyond all measures then, but now I fear I have sent you off to your death… it scares me, love.

I hope this letter finds you well. You know how I tend to worry. But I feel like I’ve been trapped in a glass cage while the world seems to be moving on quite content without me in it.

I must sound so foolish right now – a right worry-wart.

I took a walk recently through the Hope Gardens where we would rendezvous under the blanket of the night. There is a beautiful row of fresh purple orchids in bloom this year, I would have loved for you to come and see it with me. I tried to get Ma to come along with me, but she said she wasn’t feeling well. But I know she would love to see the flowers and would have enjoyed a day out, so I intend to get her to accompany me on another day.

I would have tried to ask Father to come with me, but you understand the kind of man he is. He insists he has no time for such frivolities to be wasting his days in a garden. The man can be as stubborn as a bull these days, but he is a busy man.

He is rarely in the house these past few weeks and when he is, I feel as though his mind is a thousand miles away. Ma even cooked his favorite meal – a good Sunday roast, but he hardly touched it. He doesn’t speak much about it, but Ma has told me that Father has been getting a lot of interest in the company. It seems as though there is an investor from the United States of America who wants to do business with father, but Ma does not know the finer details and Father is being rather secretive about it.

Marcilli wishes you well. She says that she thought you looked rather handsome in your uniform – and she has made sure to warn me to keep her words secret under the threat of death, so you did not hear of that from me. She speaks highly of her new school, and she says that she has made great friends among the girls there.

She feared she would have been ostracized during her time there, but she is pleasantly surprised that the girls there had seemed just as nervous and unsure of themselves as she had been.

Oh, how I wish to be as young again. Her matters seem so trivial in comparison to ours. I long for the days when our only fear was our trysts being discovered by my father as I sneaked you out of the house. But those days are gone now, and you are away on a ship, carrying you closer to a war-torn world, and further away from my embrace.

I await your letters, my love.

Ellis

 

December 28, 1940

To my dearest Songbird,

I suppose at this time, you should be well and truly deep in the land of dreams brought by Morpheus’ guidance. As I write this, I am in the heart of London, bunkered down on a base set up for our arrival. There is not much of us here, I have counted just under 50 heads during the day, but there is news that we will be moved to meet up with the other men that have been drafted from His Majesty’s colonies in the West Indies.

Not much has happened as of yet, and as I lay here in my cot putting pen to paper, I can assure you that I have yet to see any form of action and that is not due to change. As soon as we had disembarked from the ship, we were shuttled quickly off to the camp, and have yet to see much of the city so far. The only thing I’ve seen is the odd motorcar making its way past.

The nights have been awfully cold, and I am not used to this weather. I have salvaged a glove to keep my hands warm but I fear it shan’t be enough. Some of the English boys that frequent the camp says that it will snow soon and that the weather will only get worse from here out.

I yearn for the timeless days that we wasted away together. Maybe if you were here now, the cold would not seem so bitingly cruel, but that surely is not meant to be at this time.

I miss you immensely, my sweetest Songbird.

Nothing would fill me more than to see your beautiful face once more – freckled cheeks with a smile that could blind Icarus. If you sound foolish, then I must sound like a love-struck fool – akin to a schoolboy passing notes in class. But it is not to be, my dear Songbird.

How have you been? What has been happening back home since I have been gone? Have you been keeping up with your singing? Maybe one day when I return, you can sing for me again. Has there been any news about more persons willing to join us over here in Europe? It truly would be a good sight to see more Jamaicans here – I don’t feel like we are much welcomed here. They stare at us when we walk past and shuffle away when we are being drilled.

You would think with us fighting the Germans, they wou..

I digress.

Hopefully, soon I’ll get to see you again. But for now, I will content myself with these letters – pale imitations of your voice they may be. I will have to stop here, lights will be out soon and the soldiers will be checking on us in a minute.

Sincerely yours,

Stuart.

P.S Tell Marcilli that I believe she is quite a beautiful young woman as well.

 

 

February 3, 1940

To my dearest Stuart,

I must confess, your letters have found me not in the best of spirits. Ma has fallen deathly ill since the last time I wrote you, and she seems to be getting weaker and weaker by the day. She is bedridden and rarely speaks these days. I fear there is not much more we can do than try to make her as comfortable as possible and hope she makes a swift recovery.

Marcilli has been affected the most by this. She loves Ma with all her heart, you know. She also saw Ma as invincible – if only she knew. I worry for her as well. She has not been to school for the last week. Father doesn’t know yet but I will not be the one to tell him. She stays in Ma’s room just watching – looking. I think she feels it is all one grand prank, and she’s searching for the punchline that will never come.

I will have to speak with her soon. She cannot continue like this.

Father is as busy as ever. He leaves the house for an indefinite number of days, only to return with his hands filled with papers and files and documents. Ma’s illness seems as though it has hardly affected him, far too occupied with more ‘important’ matters.

A lot has changed since you left.

The Walters’ son has said he would be joining his ‘fellow men’ over in Europe. Mr. Walter seems inclined to allow him to volunteer but the Missus made quite the scene when she heard about his decision. I cannot blame her though, he is her only son. She does not want to lose him to this war that is not even ours to fight.

But he is resolute. He says his English teacher fought in the Great War, and it made him a man. So now it is his turn to become a man.

Now ask me, what does a 17-year-old boy know about being a man?

My singing has been going well. Just last week I was complimented for it when I had gone to the market. I was singing to myself and I had realized that the stranger walking behind had heard my small tune. He said I had an intoxicating voice, something he would love to listen to again.

I’m sure he had his ulterior motives but I’ll take the compliments where I can.

I hope one day I can finally get the chance to perform for a crowd so large I can barely tell where it ends. I’ve seen pictures, you know, of the London streets and the women walking by looking like the belle of the ball. Maybe one day, we can walk those same streets together you know.

Father says my head is stuck in the clouds.

I say the clouds have the best view.

Sending you my love and warmth,

Ellis


mood board

Mood Board and Creativity

A mood board is a physical or digital collage of images, concepts, sample objects, text, and anything else that could represent how you feel at the moment about anything at all. A mood board is often used in industries such as Graphic Designing, Interior Designing, Event Planning, and Fashion Designing. Recently, we have seen mood boards are being done to represent a person’s emotion at the end of a period, whether it be the end of their week, month, year, etc. Thus, a mood board can also be used to communicate an experience. If you have never heard of this concept before, you must be wondering, well how can I get started on making one? Once again, we have you covered. Here are a few tips on how to create a mood board:

Write down what you want to represent, this can be just random words or concepts, this will help you to create a direction for what you are trying to create.

Look beyond the digital realm. Now, it is important that you not only indulge in digital content for inspiration. Inspiration is present anywhere and in everything. Take the time to look around, capture the moments with your phone or any device that you feel most comfortable with, and see how you can create something from it.

Keep in mind your audience. You can create a mood board for a client or even yourself, it is important to keep in mind who you are creating for.

Have fun with it. Do not limit yourself! No idea is too wild to be represented.

mood board pinterest

Choose a platform. Some platforms you can use are Milanote, Pinterest, Mural, Evernote and the list goes on. It is important you choose a platform that gives you the options you are looking for.

Let us know if you have ever created a mood board before in the comments below and what are some of the apps you use to create it!