Sunlight and Gems

ESSE NON VIDERI- “To be, not to seem” is the motto of my alma mater


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ESSE NON VIDERI- “To be, not to seem” is the motto of my alma mater, Montego Bay High School, a traditional, all-girls school nestled at the foot of Brandon Hill in Montego Bay. Originally called Beaconsfield, it evolved into something like a home away from home as it nurtured the young ladies who entered its halls. It was at such an institution that I was schooled to become a well-rounded young lady. The motto inspired me to work hard to achieve and accomplish what I set out to do.

Montego Bay High never set limitations on its students. If you had an affinity for the Sciences, you were encouraged to go for it, whether it be Chemistry, Botany, or Zoology; Sports, whether it be Track and Field or Tennis or Swimming; Languages, whether it be French, Greek or Spanish; Language Arts, whether it be Writing or Literature. You could be what you wanted to be; you could be who you wanted to become. You didn’t have to pretend about who you were.

I had an English teacher named Mrs. Crick who encouraged the use of one’s imagination and correct grammar when writing compositions. She once wrote on an essay of mine, “You allow your mind to run riot.” I wasn’t sure then whether this was a good thing but I kept on writing because I believed in my high school motto.

I decided to start blogging because of the frustrations that I was feeling about the limitations that are set within the writing industry that allow good writing to be left behind.

There is room for all types of books. Case in point: Vangella ‘Vjange Hazle’ Buchanan, in my estimation and that of others, is one of the best writers around. She understands what makes good stories and has the knowledge of any Literary Agent out there when it comes to what writing is about and available resources. But, her books have a Caribbean backdrop with friends and family ties and so do my books. However, we are told repeatedly by Literary Agents, “This is not what we are looking for. There is no market for these stories.” Really? I just read a few books that I consider to be terrible writing but they are now million dollar movies at the box office. How did that happen? Who made those decisions to give promotion to those authors and not others who write more engaging stories?

Perhaps there is some politics that I’m not aware of but I am here to encourage many of those out there who are discouraged and frustrated. Keep reaching for your goal. Never give up; but, in the meantime, have a second option as you keep trying to maintain the passion.

Reflecting on my high school motto Esse Non Videri, I know I will constantly work to accomplish whatever it is that I set out to do. I won’t allow the limitations being placed on me to deter me from becoming. I will continue to “allow my mind to run riot” as Mrs. Crick said. Now I know what she meant.



About The Author

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Dantie Smith-Brown

Dantie Smith-Brown was born and raised in Jamaica, West Indies, where she graduated from teacher’s college before migrating to the United States. Changing course upon arrival, she became a Respiratory Care Practitioner when her father introduced her to that specialized area in health care. She is passionate about educating, diagnosing and treating individuals who suffer from heart and lung diseases to improve their health and well-being.

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