"You know what," she asked one evening, "we should get married."
"Yeah," I said, "when, in a week?"
I didn't want a whole drawn out thing. Donna's father Bobby, a gloweringly serious man, didn't seem overly enthusiastic. We weren't after all, exactly asking to get married, though the formalities were observed for the most part. I like to think that he came around after a bit. I certainly always liked him.
As it turned out, we needed two weeks to do organize the getting married things that need to get done. It would take years for two strong-willed people to get used to the idea of not just living in the same space, but growing to understand the rather-pronounced edges of two well-developed personalities. It remains a work in progress.
The photograph on this page was one of two gestures by professional colleagues when I told them I was getting married. Marlon Rouse, then the chief photographer at the Guardian, insisted on photographing the humble event while Noel Norton insisted on doing a formal engagement photograph, hustling us off to the Savannah.
Norts then proceeded to make a monochrome print from his color negatives and it's a photo, the only one with me in it to ever get this treatment, that still sits in our living room.
It's been a remarkable time sweetie, thanks for never letting me be anything less than my best.
Here's a backstory on my history with panoramic images and the Great Fete experience in particular.
The competition attracts quite a few entrants, growing from 2740 images entered in 2010 to 3,586 in 2011. Statistics for 2012 participants are still to be posted to the website for the competition.
Now the web denizen steps out from behind her nom de plume with a self-published book, Across from Lapeyrouse, which she describes as "chock full of the carnival culture, commess and some steamy bacchanal."
The book will be launched in Trinidad and Tobago in a print edition in late March, but it's available as an e-book online on Amazon Canada here and for UK buyers, here.
Order an autographed print edition from the author here.
Chris-Ann Graham as Anna and Karian Forde as La Diablesse in the first night's performance of the second year BFA Acting Class production of Obnoxious Anna. Photograph by Mark Lyndersay.
In December 1989, the first two plays I wrote since my first draft of Sno Kone and the Seven Douens for Helen Camps' All Theatre Company almost a decade earlier, were produced by the Baggasse Company at the Central Bank Auditorium under the group title, A Christmas Vaps.
At that production, which took place at a particularly turbulent time in my life, a young student, completely unnoticed by me, began his professional career in the theatre. Twenty-two years later, Michael Cherrie, now quite the accomplished thespian and a lecturer at UTT's BFA programme at NAPA, contacted me to ask for permission to restage the productions.
This is, of course, a student production. There's no budget for costuming or sets (or for author royalties, by the way), but the original works didn't call for very much of either in the first place. This production of MWHC did have, as a quite pleasant surprise, musical accompaniment by a trio of student musicians who happened to include ace guitarist Dean Williams.
I also got a kick out of seeing Karian Forde, the young director of my Scrooge reimagining, The Man who hated Christmas, losing her mind as the stage craft collapsed during the denouement of the first night's staging of the play.
Anna and MWHC were the first two plays that I'd written and seen staged the way were written and the next year, I'd written three more, which were staged along with Obnoxious Anna as part of the theatrical productions that were part of The Baggasse Company's Children's Storyworld event.
I'd always liked those works, but after the end of my ten-year involvement in the theatre I simply couldn't face them anymore. They were my best shot at making sense of that stage of my working of my life, and it wouldn't be long afterward that my personal as well as professional relationships within the theatre withered away for good.
Both actors seemed to understand the simple nuances of these narratives and they worked their roles with quiet intelligence. I can only wish them the same success their predecessors have enjoyed in the arts in this country and thank them for working hard at breathing life into my little stories.