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|SHORT STORIES BY ROSALIENE BACCHUS
|Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth
or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion.
His Holiness Tengin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet (tibetanlife.com)
When I was old enough to read, I fell in love with books and the great stories
filling their pages. After gobbling up the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy Mystery
Series, I moved on to the exploits of Detective Sherlock Holmes and Agatha
Christie’s detective novels. Later, when I discovered the strange, new worlds
of science fiction novels, I devoured all the sci-fi books that caught my
interest in our local public libraries. As I grew older, the suspense thriller
grabbed my attention.
As a novice writer, I enjoyed the process of developing a short story, adding
the elements of mystery and suspense that appealed to me as a reader. Each
new short story helped me to improve my craft.
After completing my creative writing course, motivation to keep writing came
from an unexpected contact with Samuel Singh, a young Guyanese-American
poet in New York, who introduced my work to Gary Girdhari, the editor and
publisher of the Guyana Journal.
Inspiration for my fictional short stories, published on the Guyana Journal,
came from events and people I have met along my journey through life.
The Jumbie Tree – my first short story published in the Guyana Journal
December 2007 Issue – is a story about missed opportunities, loss, and
despair. It was based on the strange and tragic death of my advanced-level
art teacher. (Yes, I began my journey as an artist and art teacher.) The way
she died has always haunted me. Writing the story was my way of releasing
those stifled emotions of impotence in the face of her struggle to overcome
When I wrote The Ole Higue, published in July 2008, I wanted to share a little
of Guyana’s folklore with the American-born children of the magazine’s
Guyanese-American readers. I remembered an incidence in 1977 when I lived
in the flat below a young couple with four boys. The youngest, seven years
old, woke one morning with blood stains on his clothing. His parents kept
watch at night for two weeks but could not discover the cause of the
bleeding. Rumors spread in the neighborhood that an Ole Higue was sucking
him. After seeking the help of a Hindu pandit, the bleeding stopped.
Masacurraman: The Legendary River Monster, published in November
2008, was also written for young readers. It's about facing our fears. I drew
on my experience of taking my Brazilian-raised sons to Guyana for a holiday
with relatives. When researching the Amerindian (native Indian) Reservation in
Guyana where the story is set, I made an uncanny discovery: A hunter in the
same region had encountered and shot what he claimed was the River Monster.
My Christmas story, Ester’s Letter to Santa, published in December 2008,
was a challenging project. I love Christmas stories. There is something magical
about every Christmas story filmed for TV and the cinema. Could I create such
magic? I found inspiration in the foreclosures assaulting homeowners
everywhere across the USA, following our financial crisis. I selected New York
as the location for my story since the majority of Guyanese immigrants have
settled in that city.
Rescued: An Easter Story, published in April 2009, is the only one of my
published short stories set in Fortaleza, Northeast Brazil, where I lived with my
two sons for seventeen years. The plot is based on events surrounding the
day my ex-husband disappeared after calling me at my workplace to tell me
that he had been robbed of thousands of US dollars at the cambista (foreign-
exchange dealer) where he worked.
After watching CNN’s presentation, Escape from Jonestown, televised in
November 2008, the thirtieth anniversary of the Jonestown massacre, I felt
like an accomplice in a crime not of my making. It was the first time I had
seen the recorded live images of the massacre that has smeared my native
land with blood. In January 2009, to rid myself of the ghosts of Jonestown
that lurked in the crevices of my mind, I decided to tell our side of the story.
Researching and writing the story imprisoned me in the sick mind and world of
the Reverend Jim Jones for eight harrowing months. My long short story, Sly
Mongoose: Caught in the Jim Jones Web of Deceit, was published in
November 2009 to coincide with the anniversary of the tragedy.
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