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News Article
The beauty of God's creation

The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. - Psalm 104:12
Dusk falls very quickly and I was washing the dishes and through the lace curtains I was enjoying the view of the trees. Beyond the wall is a "woman's tongue" tree. She has weathered many a storm and apart from being toppled in one of them, she stands tall and majestic. Trees are so beautiful and sometimes if they were art, the abstract would be beautiful and profound.
While I was enjoying the beauty of nature, my attention was suddenly drawn away by the sound of what seemed to be a flock of birds in a raucous situation. Chirping, squawking, wings fluttering and a harmonious sound, as if one group was asking and answering and another group trying to get a word in. In the midst of all of this, I heard the dog bark and opened the door to see birds I had not seen for the year. Perhaps they had just arrived in town and were in and out of my breadfruit tree so happy to be out of the cold, and so it's party time! Others were on the roof performing air shows and buzzing the dog's tail. When he turned around to snap at them, they attacked him from the front with others taking a corner shot. I had a good laugh while they played catch me if you can.
Today in our lesson, the Psalmist David in this beautiful 104th Psalm is declaring that the Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth and all that dwells therein, is able to make the birds sing again in our lives. He is able to water the dry streams and out of any darkness, bring light, joy, peace and reconciliation.
There is no situation that God is not aware of. He makes grass grow for the cattle and plants for man to cultivate so that the earth brings forth fruit. "He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved. He makes springs pour water into the ravines, it flows between the mountains. They give water to all the beasts of the field, donkeys quench their thirst. How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures."
God provides for his creatures. When he withholds his breath they return to dust; yet his spirit can create new life. Every living thing and person is dependent on God for he is the author of life, so we should always be filled with gratitude for all the gifts of life, mind, soul and body.
All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful; the Lord God makes them all. Each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings; he made their glowing colors, he made their tiny wings.

o E-amil rubyanndarling@yahoo.com; write to P.O. Box 19725 SS Nassau, Bahamas with your prayer requests, concerns and comments. God's Blessings!

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News Article
A 65-year-old love story and counting ...

A lifetime of love seems barely enough for Reverend Earle Manford Francis, 90, and his wife Marjorie Eloise "Sweet Potato" Francis nee Taylor (84). The couple who met decades ago when they were teenagers will officially have been married for 65 years on June 29. Although time and history has passed, the couple is still holding on strong to their love. They say that sometimes they feel like it was merely yesterday that they began their journey of love together.
"Sweet Potato" as Rev. Francis loves to refer to his wife vividly remembers meeting her husband in Salem Baptist Church on Parliament Street. At that time she says that was the place to meet other young people that your parents approved of and who were "into the right things". She described meeting a nice-looking young man who was active in the church and that she liked that about him right away.
"He had his eye on a number of other young ladies in the church but I guess I must have stood out more since I was the one he chose," said Sweet Potato.
Theirs was a courting that bordered on six years and eventually led to their marriage in 1947. It was a journey they were delighted that they took. They believed their extended courtship made them more passionate about each other, and simultaneously brought them closer. He said it also helped them remain more clear-headed when they entered their marriage.
Rev. Francis said when they got married - he was 26, his Sweet Potato was 19 - that they were ready. They had a home to move into and he had a job already lined up to take care of his future family.
The couple were married on a Sunday morning at 6 a.m. at the church where they met.
"Everything about my wife was perfect -- her love, demeanor, concern for me ... everything. I still love her and it still feels like we first met."
At the time Rev. Francis worked as a waiter at City Club, in downtown Nassau. It was almost 15 years into their marriage that he says he got the call from the Lord to enter pastoral ministry. He was commissioned by his pastor, Reverend Enoch Beckford Sr. to take over Salem Baptist Grove Mission on Baillou Hill Road. A year later in 1965, he changed the name to First Baptist Church.
His Sweet Potato was there to support and encourage him in his journey as a minister, joining him in studies in seminary school at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky from 1977 to 1979. She knew piano before but learnt the organ officially while there as well. Besides being a typist and working as a payroll officer by profession at the British Colonial Hotel to support her husband in his religious endeavors, she became even more active in the church by joining numerous groups. She played the organ at services for over 60 years.
Sweet Potato said it was a pleasure to be of service to God and to her husband. And said she has always done what she could to do her part and serve to the best of her abilities. She said she has not regretted loving and standing by her husband. Her marriage is one she said has been filled with understanding, respect, appreciation and devotion.
"This is not to say we did not have our arguments, but we did know how to resolve them before we went to bed. We treat each other well and just genuinely love each other more than we disagree," she says.
This is still a key factor in the marriage today which has been blessed with 13 children - six boys and seven girls, 11 of whom are still alive - Percival Earle "Vola" Francis, Florence Louise Taylor, Dr. Emmanuel Leslie Francis, Dr. Walstone Elisha Francis, Reverend Wilkinson Larry Francis, Charlotte Catherine Humes, Barbara Jemima Darville, Joan Marjorie Knowles, Mary Evangeline Francis, Reverend Joseph Earle Francis and Reverend Dianna Francis. Margaret Alicia Francis Dames and Keith Charles Edward Francis predeceased their parents.
Reverend Francis believes the fact that he and his wife never even thought about divorce kept their marriage strong. "We had our storms and disagreements but we made it through it all without throwing in the towel." He said they never let the sun go down on their wrath when problems arose.
"Every marriage has problems because some rain must fall -- but we never let it get to the stage where we feel nothing is irreconcilable. We ensured we maintained our good relationship and fellowship. We always tried to be understanding and most of all we have plenty of love."
Although they were young the Francises say they took marriage seriously and took into consideration everything being married meant.
Sweet Potato said she was always careful about what she said or how she reacted to situations in their marriage that she disliked. She said she took to heart the Bible verses that speak of the power of the tongue being able to produce good and evil. And that no matter how upset she was or how she would've wanted to respond she always thought it over and used her words carefully.
"I used my words to bless rather than curse. We are not perfect. I was always cautious. I made a commitment when I took my vows and I meant it," she said. "I ensured I didn't get angry because I was determined my marriage would work. When we argued or were in trouble I also ensured I prayed so we could overcome everything. We were big on praying because it really does change things. God's word is the lamp to our feet and light to our pathway. This is another secret to our long marriage."
She advises young people marrying today to ensure that their partner is a Christian and serious about God. She said this does not necessarily mean he or she goes to church religiously, but that they are serious about God's work and letting Him shine in their lives. Sweet Potato said they can't go wrong if they at least have this. She also said it is important to be able to be themselves around the person and that they should feel good showing their love. While she is her husband's Sweet Potato, she lovingly refers to him as her "Watermelon" - which for her is a gesture of love as well as a playful jab at his growing tummy that reminds her of the juicy fruit.
Rev. Francis said ensuring they keep the love alive by sharing what they love with each other and never starting or finishing the day without saying that they love each other is also important. He said showing love by being affectionate and considerate is another genuine way to strengthen a marriage.
"For the last 15 years my wife and I have been renewing our marriage because it's a romantic and sentimental thing to do. We appreciate our marriage and show it by renewing it. We want to strengthen it by doing this. It is a wonderful thing that we do and it shows that we truly love one another."
They may be up in age, but Rev. Francis still expects his marriage to get sweeter and sweeter and that the love and joy he has shared with his Sweet Potato will only increase. He feels that problems in marriage are guaranteed to come, but he and his wife have been facing them for so long that nothing can come that will diminish what they have.
The couple's last child, Rev. Diana Francis, 40, said her parents' marriage is an inspiration to her and that she dreams of having that type of relationship one day.
"What I love about my parents is that they have such a strong relationship. They have been together so long but they are still two distinct individuals. They don't lose their individuality like many people do in a marriage. They are still two people who love being themselves and sharing their lives with one another. Although they are different they compromise with one another by giving way for the better good. They've not been perfect as I've seen them argue on points, but I also see them still resolve it and get over what they disagreed on. They really love one another. They are concerned about one another. They compliment one another and are a real team. Where she is strong, he is weak and vice versa. They really push one another."
Through their example she has learnt the importance of friendship in marriage, understanding each other's roles, mutually supporting each other, being respectful, being a team and alway leaning on the Lord in the good and bad times.
She said she would be fortunate to have her parents' kind of love one day and is grateful for the example to make reference to in her future relationships. Because of them she said she will not be able to settle or just accept anything less than the best due to the ideal environment her parents' marriage created for her and her siblings.

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News Article
PM predicts clean FNM sweep in GB

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham yesterday predicted that the Free National Movement (FNM) will pick up all five seats in Grand Bahama, and declared that the approaching general election will be about the quality of leadership that will move the country forward.
"The PLP was a massive failure during their single disastrous term from 2002 to 2007," said Ingraham at the launch of his party's campaign at Our Lucaya Resort.  "And, Perry Christie is a failed leader.
"...Desperate to get back to the cookie jar, they're going to flood the TV and put up all kinds of posters offering you slogans.  Well, that won't work because we're going to remind the Bahamian people that it is the FNM that puts you first every day and all the time.  We have a record.  They just have plenty talk."
The campaign launch was billed as the start of the FNM's "2012 march to victory" and was attended by hundreds of enthusiastic FNM supporters who were told by the FNM leader that better days are ahead for Grand Bahama.
The party formally unveiled its team, which Ingraham said is a team of 'talent and conviction, character and competence'.
With the new boundary cuts, there will be five seats in Grand Bahama, down from six.  Currently, the PLP holds one seat in Grand Bahama.
Former Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce President Peter Turnquest is the FNM's candidate for East Grand Bahama, along with educator Norris Bain (Marco City), journalist Pakesia Parker Edgecombe (West Grand Bahama and Bimini), Kwasi Thompson (Pineridge) and Neko Grant (Central Grand Bahama).
Ingraham thanked outgoing High Rock MP Kenneth Russell for his dedicated service.  Ingraham fired Russell from his Cabinet last month.
He also thanked outgoing Eight Mile Rock MP Verna Grant for her service.  Grant said in the House previously that she wanted to run again on the party's ticket.
Speaking at yesterday's event, which was broadcast live on television and radio stations, Ingraham said, "We have a dynamic team which represents some of the best of the Bahamian imagination.  We have a team that will advance the FNM's comprehensive vision of national development."
Grand Bahama's economy -- which was suffering serious challenges long before the global economic crisis struck in 2008 -- continued to limp along under the current administration's term.
Ingraham yesterday admitted that there were disappointments relative to the Grand Bahama economy since 2007, including the Ginn project going bust and Harcourt failing to redevelop Royal Oasis Hotel.
But he said Grand Bahama can not trust the PLP.
"If talking, dreaming and imagining created jobs, modernized laws and installed state-of-the-art infrastructure - then I suppose they could find something which they might have accomplished," Ingraham said of the past administration led by Christie.
"For too long the leader of the Opposition and his colleagues in the PLP have traded on having smooth tongues.  You must tell them clearly and tell them loudly that smooth talking will not cut it.  Ridiculously, strung together adjectives mean nothing."
Ingraham added, "Our party knows that your economy continues to limp.  We are working daily to soften the impact for as many persons and families as possible.
"We are acting to ensure that we are in the best possible position to benefit from the economic recovery when it occurs."
Ingraham also told FNMs that the election is about the party that can deliver on its promises to build a better future for all Bahamians.
"The future requires leadership," he added. "It requires hard work and job performance over just performing for the crowds and the cameras.  The FNM is the party of change and renewal.  Color red is on the move."
He said,  "The PLP, having paid some foreign agents to develop slick TV ads are setting about to try and trick people into believing that they are ready to govern.  Do they do this by providing concrete examples of an action plan?  Of course not.  They are busy assigning posts."
He said whatever the PLP government thought it did for Grand Bahama has either 'vanished or floundered'.
Dismissing Christie's claim that he is a bridge to the future, Ingraham said Christie is a throwback to the past.
"They can't take anyone to the future, much less build an airport or a straw market or provide Bahamians with a prescription drug benefit or an unemployment insurance benefit," he said.
The FNM will next week formally launch its campaign in New Providence, then on other islands.
The prime minister yesterday urged Bahamians who have not yet done so to register to vote as he plans to 'ring the bell' soon.

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News Article
Bahamian poet wins prestigious Small Axe literary prize

Bahamian poet, writer and publisher, Sonia Farmer can now add winner of the poetry component of the 2011 Small Axe Literary Competition to her list of achievements.

Small Axe is a Caribbean art and literature journal out of Columbia University in New York and the competition is held every year.

"It's a pretty big deal for Caribbean writers," said Farmer.

A humble poet and writer, Farmer is deeply entrenched in the Bahamian art and culture scene.

"So in April, Christian Campbell had his book launch at the College of The Bahamas and he asked me and Emile Hunt to open for him," Farmer said. "He said he wanted to give emerging writers a chance to share their work. It was really wonderful of him to support us."

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News Article
Heart disease in dogs

In The Bahamas, heart disease is a major cause of death in people, as it is in animals. In humans it is because of lifestyle challenges (smoking, diet, etc). In animals, the cause is usually hereditary, heartworms, age-related or degenerative. Middle-aged and older small dogs are most often affected. A number of conditions can adversely affect the function of the heart. Heart failure results when a damaged heart muscle is no longer able to move blood throughout the body. Without treatment, the dog will die. Disease prevalence severely increases with age.
Signs of heart disease vary from type-to-type, but many times the affected dog suffers exercise intolerance (becomes exhausted quickly), may act weak or have a bluish tinge to the skin and tongue from the lack of oxygen. In most cases of chronic heart failure, the dog's body retains fluid (edema), due to the body trying to compensate for reduced heart efficiency. The result is a retention of sodium and fluids, increased blood volume, constriction of blood vessels and increased blood pressure.
Heart disease has a cascading effect on the whole body and can lead to damage of other internal organs like the kidney, liver and lungs. When the left side of the heart fails, fluid collects in the lungs (pulmonary edema) and results in a cough, labored breathing and panting. Obesity complicates heart disease and makes it more difficult to treat, but some dogs suffer weight loss and seem to waste away. Dogs sit with elbows spread and neck extended while straining to breathe. They may even try to sleep in this position to ease respiration.
When the right side of the heart fails, fluid collects and swells the abdomen, accumulates beneath the skin, and/or fills the chest cavity. This fluid accumulation results in congestive heart failure. Usually, dogs suffering from heart failure will have a heart murmur. Many times, right heart failure develops as a result of the strain from an existing left heart failure.
Congenital heart disease may or may not be inherited and is quite rare. Patent ductus arteriosus is the most common, and is seen in poodles and shepherds. Congenital pulmonic stenosis and aortic stenosis are also conditions that are seen. Acquired heart disease, unlike congenital, develops over time, and is commonly due to other conditions like cancer, parasites (heartworm) or infectious disease (periodontal disease). Acquired valvular heart disease is considered a disease of old age, with about one third of all dogs over the age of 12 affected. It is most common in smaller breeds. The heart valves simply begin to wear out and leak blood backwards instead of pumping it all forward. This puts extra strain on the heart. Dilated cardiomyopathy may also cause heart valve problems. This is a disease of the heart, rather than the valves. The heart loses the ability to adequately contract and pump blood out. The heart itself enlarges, but becomes flaccid, and the muscle walls become thin. This is usually a hereditary problem and is seen in boxers, cocker spaniels and Dobermans.
Diagnosis of heart disease is made using x-rays, ultrasounds and electrocardiograms (EKG) that pick up irregular heart rhythm. Dogs with heart disease due to heartworms can be cured if diagnosed and treated early. Dogs with valvular heart disease can often be helped with drugs that improve the heart performance and reduce flow accumulation. A diuretic drug like Lasix forces the kidney to eliminate excess salt and water. Vasodilation drugs like Enalapil help open the lungs and control congestion. Digoxin may help improve heart muscle performance in certain types of heart disease.

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News Article
Severe weather warnings continue in The Bahamas!

The Bahamas Department of Meteorology has issued a severe thunderstorm watch from 1:55 pm until 4:00pm Friday 25th, May 2012.

A

severe thunderstorm watch is now in effect for

Andros, New Providence,
Berry Islands, South Abaco, middle and upper Exuma Cays, Eleuthera,
Northern Cat Island and their adjacent waters.

At 1:50pm Radar
and satellite data indicated  lines and clusters of thunderstorms
pushing east and northeastward from central Cuba and the Great Bahama
Bank, across the tongue of the ocean toward the watched areas...

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News Article
The ideal political campaign

In past columns, we have examined the ideal in several areas of politics, including the ideal leader, the ideal nation, the ideal electorate and the ideal media.  Today we would like to Consider This...what is the ideal we should be striving for in a political campaign?
Firstly, we want to look at what a campaign should not be.  It should not simply be an excuse for a concert, although concerts have their place and are integral to our campaigns, figuring prominently into our political culture.  However, the ideal campaign is not only about concerts, nor are they occasions for public drunkenness or other rowdy, anti-social and uncouth behavior.  Campaigns should not be looked upon, as we have heard several candidates from different parties suggest to their followers, as a time to enrich ourselves financially while still voting our consciences, or in Bahamian nomenclature, "take the money but vote for the party of your choice."  In other words, the ideal political campaign should not be about bribery.  An ideal campaign is not all about how many flags we can fly on our vehicles, pins we can display, stickers we can affix to our car bumpers and T-shirts we can wear.
The ideal campaign is neither noisy nor unruly.  It is not about shaking the hands of those who come to you for your vote without delving deeply into their minds, motives, morals and messages.
No, the ideal campaign should be a time when you, the voter, earnestly and deliberately decide what it is you want to see your government accomplish for you, as a Bahamian, for your community in particular and for the nation as a whole.  The ideal campaign is an occasion when you set the priorities of what you want to hear from the candidates who are all competing to be the stewards of your future for five uninterrupted years.
When we talk about setting priorities, we don't mean just being satisfied with hearing, for example, that candidates will "deal with crime".  In an ideal campaign, candidates must come with the specifics of their plans for dealing with what it is that you feel is important for your well-being and that of your family and the country.
In an ideal campaign, the voters' time would not be wasted hearing a list of the candidate's old successes or the old failures of their opponents.  In an ideal campaign, the discussion would be focused on what successes the candidate is planning for the voters' future.
In the ideal campaign, candidates will be clear about establishing milestones and yardsticks for their performance if they are successful.  Candidates who are serious about serving the people whom they seek to represent would not be reluctant to set criteria by which they can be judged as to whether they are successful during their term in office.  Candidates who are sincere about representing people would have no fear whatsoever about being judged and critiqued on their performances, knowing that constructive criticism can only make them better as they go about their job, which is, first and foremost, building a secure and successful Bahamas.
 
Campaigning with ideas
It is not difficult to determine whether candidates are serious about discussing the issues that are important to voters.  There is a positive correlation between the quantity of mud-slinging in which candidates engage and the level of frustration and desperation that they experience on the stump.  If a candidate is confident that his message is resonating with the electorate, then the focus would be placed on a discussion of that message and the issues it addresses, as well as the candidate's vision for the future.  If, on the other hand, the candidate is desperate, the amount of mud that is slung and the depths to which a candidate sinks to make his point will dominate his campaign, clearly demonstrating his lack of understanding of the issues that we all regard as important.  Accordingly, voters should take note of which candidates take the high road on the campaign trail, addressing the issues substantively, and those who sink to the depths of vitriolic invectives, or mud-slinging, in order to make their points to seek your support.
Political campaigns in The Bahamas present many opportunities for gossip and innuendo to abound.  The rumor mill is rampant during the silly season.  And often the more salacious the scandal, the more some people seem to revel in unfounded or unsubstantiated twaddle.  In an ideal campaign, candidates would spend far too much time talking about what matters that they would simply have no time left to indulge in rumor-mongering.  In campaigns, as in life, the idle hands, or, in this case, the idle candidates' tongues, are truly playgrounds for the devil.
Increasingly, in the ideal campaign, political debates should figure more prominently.  This not only includes debates by the parties' leaders but also by constituency candidates.  True, party leaders must be prepared to debate each other on the issues that will affect us all, and if they are not prepared to debate the issues they do not deserve to be seriously considered by the electorate.
Additionally, voters must be able to evaluate individual candidates in their own right because it should be a team of leaders who will govern us, not just the party leader.  In future elections, the cult of personality which has punctuated previous polls and the prodigious primacy of the party leader must diminish and the importance of the team will increase.  What better method is there to evaluate the team than to be able to assess them on the issues that they will be able to address in public debates?
In the ideal campaign, the candidates will no longer be selected because of connections, lineage and past precedent.  In the ideal political campaign, candidates will be selected by the political parties because they possess strength of character and commitment to service.  These attributes will be the primary considerations in their selection as standard-bearers.  These qualities will be a welcome departure from many of the past and some of the current candidates, and should greatly improve the quality of representation, ridding us of the despicable behavior all too often observed in Parliament.
The ideal campaign will feature a majority of enlightened, intelligent, knowledgeable, and ethical political candidates who will inspire the Bahamian people toward greater dedication, helping to mold the society in more fulfilling and positive directions.
In the ideal campaign, if we take democracy seriously, without the die-hard allegiance to partisanship that perpetuates a polarized polity, we will come to fully appreciate that the ultimate responsibility for the welfare of our society does not rest entirely with the candidates who offer for office. Ultimately the ideal campaign will truly confirm that our future really rests with us.
 
oPhilip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to pgalanis@gmail.com.

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News Article
Enter the 'nanopress'

The concept of publishing has reached a very gray area in the digital age. At a time where a book can be both physical and electronic, literary journals and newspapers are transforming into online-only entities and individuals can share their thoughts on public blogs and social networks, formal publishing as we know it - by large, authoritative entities driven mostly by profit - faces complete revolution.
Bahamian writers, who have been somewhat excluded in the publishing world by these large authoritative publishers, are poised to take a major part in this new digital age that has essentially democratized publishing, points out Bahamian writer, anthropologist and cultural critic, Nicolette Bethel.
"The Internet has changed us. It changes the way we think, the way we look at and live in the world," she says. "Publishing is resisting because publishing is firmly anchored in the print world and the print world is passing away."
"It's hard to challenge the idea that print changed the world - the ability to free thought, to multiply it, to master it. It created revolutions," she continues. "But that's the age we're living in now because of the Internet - revolutions and shifts are happening. People who have the same thoughts and the same experiences can communicate with each other no matter where they are on the planet, at no cost; they don't have to know each other, and that's never been able to happen before."
Rather than feel threatened or confused by the digital age as a writer, Bethel has been taking advantage of what the Internet offers her - in 2007, she launched an online-only literary magazine "tongues of the ocean" and maintains several blogs, on one of which she shares her famous insights into Bahamian culture, "Essays on Life". She's also been known to live-Tweet important readings, critical conversations and gatherings shared by the cultural community at home so that interested Internet readers - many of them part of the Caribbean diaspora - can take part.
Bethel's latest venture is the release of "Lent/Elegies", a modest but powerful collection of poems, in a revolutionary way - through a 'nanopress' and available for all to see for free online.
The concept of a nanopress, explains Bethel, came about as an idea by another writer, Nic Sebastian. The two are online friends who admire and feed off of each others' written work and blog work. While Bethel started "tongues of the ocean", Sebastian through her own blogs explores how poetry can exist in the technological age beyond the written word as either a recorded reading or even as a series of images in a video.
Sebastian then came up with the idea of a nanopress when she explored self publishing her own work. As Bethel points out, self-publishing has always been a complex concept for writers, rife with stories of self-made success but with ten times as many failures and vanity projects.
"She didn't want to self-publish so she thought and researched and started some dialogues, and she found the big difference between self-publishing and publishing yourself is the role of the editor," explains Bethel. "And this where she came up with the idea of a nanopress. She wanted to publish a chapbook collection but she decided she needed an editor."
From this, she published her book "Forever Will End on Thursday" which exists in as many publishing formats that are available today - as a physical book ordered from Lulu.com, as an e-book ordered from Smashwords, as a PDF that can be downloaded from an online source, as a recording, and finally, as a blog. The blog exists only to be her formal book, not only redefining the role of a blog but making the book free to read by all.
The nanopress is the press name that is used once and once only by the manifestations of this book. Suggested by it's name ("nano", a prefix meaning "a billionth", comes from Greek for "dwarf") a nanopress is essentially a moment - it recognizes the ephemeral nature of modern publishing and stands in complete opposition to the giants of publishing that for so long held influence over the sensibilities of entire populations.
When Sebastian put out a call for writers who may want to publish their collection of work the same way, Bethel paired up with the same editor she had used before on her previous book, "Mama Lily and The Dead'", and applied to publish "Lent/Elegies" under the nanopress, A Place Without Dust Press.
The collection of poetry grouped under to sections of "Lent" and "Elegies" explores grief in the wake of the loss of Bethel's mother, Dr. Keva Bethel. Through the loaded routines surrounding Lent and Easter, Bethel meditates on the passing of time in the wake of tragedy. Through the poetry form of the sevenling, Bethel constructs lists of fleeting moments in both the physical and emotional landscapes, juxtaposing memories of her mother in her final days with her present absence in order to once again find hope in the future.
Bethel explains that she was inspired to use the sevenling form from her online poetry group - another way that she as a writer took advantage of the Internet. As often the task of creation can seem stifling and within a vacuum in such a place as a small island in The Caribbean, Bethel found audience, inspiration and community in online poetry forums where writers around the world could exchange and comment on each other's work.
"My approach to poetry is that it is a craft. I came to poetry really in the beginning to master all the nuances of English for the purposes of writing prose, and then I stick with it," explains Bethel. "But it's always been about craft and it's been really challenging and exciting craft because you're using these constraints to express what it is you're trying to say.
"It's more than that though - there's alchemy that happens in poetry that doesn't always happen in prose, and it happens on all these different levels that if you study the human mind you find is really linked deep into the human psyche, the conscious and linear mind. To reach that relationship though, to reach that level, you really have to master the craft."
To her, these forums essentially changed the face of poetry by providing democratic forums in or to develop poetry. With involvement in the group Poetry Free For All - where she first met Nic Sebastian - Bethel began delving into poetry again, honing her voice and craft. In fact, the poems which appeared in "Lent/Elegies" were inspired by exercises by PFFA, including the assignment during National Poetry Writing Month (NAPOWRIMO) to write a poem a day for a month.
"The process was cathartic for me," says Bethel. "I decided I would use the mold of NAPOWRIMO just to write through this period. And when you're writing a poem every day, when you're looking for them, you see things you normally wouldn't; you surprise yourself."
"As a writer, my poems are about death. They all deal with that theme," she admits. "In these poems I had no thought about the audience - the audience is myself. If I got them to where I was while I was writing them, that's all they can be."
"Lent/Elegies" by Nicolette Bethel is available to view online at http://lentelegies.wordpress.com. E-book copies can be downloaded for free or a book purchased from lulu.com on the same webpage.

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News Article
PM Ingraham and his biting sarcasm

THERE WAS excitement in Grand Bahama when in a jocular remark -- which translated meant that the PLP's election promises will happen "when chickens grow teeth!" - Prime Minister Ingraham remarked: "Down in West End Mr Sammons is coming back and so is Jack Tar!"

The tongue-in-cheek remark was made in answer to all the promises that the PLP were making about what they would do if they won the 2012 election. What Mr Ingraham was in fact telling the large crowd at the opening of the Russell Town, Eight Mile Rock constituency office on Saturday was that if they believe the PLP's promises then they will also believe that Mr Sammons -- the one-time saviour of West End -- and his J ...

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News Article
Ky-Mani Marley LIVE

By CHAKARA BENNETT
Guardian Intern
The sight of the waves crashing on the shore, the smell of the sea air wafting through your senses, the feel of the sea breeze cooling your body, the taste of salt lingering on your tongue, the sound of a melody so sweet it can't be beat-this is but a snapshot of the sensual overload you will experience when you go to the Marley Resort this Saturday and are put under the musical spell of Ky-Mani Marley in the beauty of his unique performance.
Saturday , September 25 will be a special day for local reggae fans everywhere. Ky-Mani Marley, the artist that brought you"Judge Not","Dear Dad","Who the Cap Fit(remix)"and"Sensimelia,"wil ...

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