Celebrate Everything!!!

My Dear Friends, Thank You For Your Delightful Source of Friendship & Wisdom!



It has been my greatest wish to foster a creative community of practice which allows the space for empowered women to fellowship and support the creative outpourings of each other. And  so I have been steadfast with my community of friends, Circle of Friends International, an inter-generational group that reaches out and uplifts each other.  My friends and I hold dear to Picasso’s words: If I don’t show up at the canvas , there is no muse that is going to come get me.  We have  come to realize that living a creative life requires focused and consistent work. Even when the muse doesn’t show up, we have to work steadfastly  at our practice. There is potency in such a philosophy and with this approach, I believe, comes joy. Joy in experiencing the support and oftentimes, the fanfare of good friends. Joy in the little steps attained & sometimes, the milestones. With my friends and family, I have chosen to consistently create, receive and celebrate joy especially when I have to step upon the rubble of disappointment and move with determination and claim that joy.  As 2014 comes to a close, I am shouting out to my friends:

Let the world see who you are fully, truthfully, and without apology. Take risks and seize the moment to go after your wildest dreams.


This coming year as I move to step boldly onto uncharted terrain I want to do so with full expression of my heart and soul. Instead of a resolution I have whispered a promise to myself, which I share with you now: Celebrate Everything!!!

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Share Your Legacy & Enrich the Future

Why We Should Write: The Miami Book Fair International 2014

How exciting and I must admit, also emotional for me, participating as a panelist on the African/Caribbean Diaspora Genealogy Panel at the 31st session of the Miami Book Fair International. While this was my third time presenting in the 29 times I have attended the Book Fair, this occasion was especially significant as I joined a team which sought to explore the roots of our heritage and I had the opportunity to share research on my Dressekie family roots from the manuscript in progress, The Dressekie Legacy: The Roots of Life-Writing & Identity in Post- Colonial Jamaica.  

Utilizing Face Book as a major research tool, I connect with my family worldwide and focus my research on the contemporary lives of the members of the DRESSEKIE FAMILY.  My story begins with my great-grandfather Sylvester George Dressekie who arrived in Jamaica from Scotland around 1858 and bought land and settled in St. Mary, Jamaica where the town was subsequently named after him. He met and married Elizabeth Martin and they had seven children including my grandmother, Enid Dressekie who named her youngest child, my mother, after her mother, Elizabeth.

My Mother-Dezrene Elizabeth Wade

My Mother-Dezrene Elizabeth Wade


The Dressekie Legacy: The Roots of Life-Writing & Identity in Post- Colonial Jamaica

Through my story, I question the textual marginalization of people of color in academia and literature and hold myself accountable to contribute to the global discourse on genealogy & share this story of empowerment –one that I think brings an interesting perspective of the Caribbean Diaspora and emphasizes that not only are we multifaceted but our stories carry themes of historical empowerment and contemporary achievement that are relevant to all people. It is one that tells a beautifully nuanced story that needs to shared and celebrated.


Tell Your Story & Empower Your Tribe

Nicole McClean-4th Generation Dressekie Tribe

Nicole McClean-4th Generation Dressekie Tribe

Every family has its stories; legacies that can inspire and empower future generations. Unless we write our stories, we won’t SHARE the problems they encountered; how they overcame them, their greatest happiness, and the wisdom they [could] have imparted with the passing of every generation. These ARE STORIES THAT CAN SUSTAIN & NURTURE US.

Unless we commit to writing them, Family Legacies are lost to us. Do you want your grand- children to know the lessons of your life? Will you share your wisdom? Will you inspire them to overcome their own challenges?  I encourage you to share your legacy & enrich the future. Take the time to write your scribblings, collection of anecdotes, aspirations, your stories, family jokes and remembrances. This is an invaluable reservoir that you can tap into & IMPART A LASTING LEGACY TO THE FUTURE OF YOUR TRIBE.

Unless you record them, these stories won’t be available to pass on someday. I believe that every one of us has a book inside of us.  I invite you to think about this and begin one of the most interesting and exciting chapters of your life: The exploration and recording of your life story. What’s preventing you from participating in this family legacy writing project?

A Festival of Books Words, Performances & Forging Friendships

Marva with Mitch Kaplan & Elizabeth Shown Mills

Marva with Mitch Kaplan & Elizabeth Shown Mills

The Miami Book Fair International 2014 was an exciting opportunity to enjoy the glorious world of books and words. Certainly, this festival of books reminded us of the power of words and that books are an indelible part of our lives. Most important, it reminded me of the value of writing in all of our lives. I am so delighted to be part of this enduring tradition.


Marva with Mervyn Morris & Claudia Rankine

Marva with Mervyn Morris & Claudia Rankine




Posted in African Diaspora, Family History, feminine leadership, creativity, Genealogy, Life Writing, Miami Book Fair International | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Nature & The Life of Inner Peace

Rocks, Water & Plants: Let the Power of Nature Renew Your Spirit!

The Imagination is Everything. Einstein

???????????????????????????????I am always amazed at the power and potency of the land when I travel or even when I walk and observe familiar landscapes. I often wonder what is it about the land that allows it to exert such power over us. And how wonderful it is to be able to experience this power, to be charmed and captivated by it without having to answer to anyone or even pay a price, if we choose. On the other hand, ownership of land and access to it seems to imbue mankind with power that often leads to tyranny and oppression. Land ownership it seems gives us access to power, an opportunity to lay down roots and establish our territorial rights. Yet, the Native Americans believe that man cannot own the land; it belongs to all of us to be shared and enjoyed and of course, to utilize its healing powers to revivify and renew our lives. While this idea is appealing, I remain plagued by questions of how we may balance this noble idea with imperialistic notions of land ownership: How in this modern era bloody wars are being staged over land and our local geographic locations and zip codes determine the quality of life we live. Without answers to these questions, I find solace in the notion that my mind itself can be a landscape that no one else but me can lay claim to; that within this private internal space I can traverse vast depths and be as wildly imaginative as I want to be; that I can take wings and fly and settle in whatever corners of the earth that I choose. This, I believe, is true power!


Plant the seeds of your dreams today, tend to your garden daily & watch your life blossom. Anonymous

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Turn Your Face to the Sun & the Miracles Will Come

Marvalous Welcomes de Sun


Amidst the cliches and all the self help talk  that abound one is challenged to determine what makes sense and how to focus one’s energy and attention towards achieving one’s most important goals. Oftentimes, disappointments are slung your way one after the other in such a manner that you are seduced by the notion of giving up, moving on,  or retreating. This is the moment, my friend,  when you need to dig your heels in and continue with your agenda for the miracle you want is just around the corner, waiting for the perfect blend of your own effort, optimism, and opportunity.


In facing challenges and setbacks,  I find I must work hard at being vigilant about  acquiring  more skillful and creative ways to deal with the pain and thereby circumvent or at times, even forcefully thrust off  the habit of waging war on myself. I have learned to cast a critical gaze inward, accept the emotions for what they are, and gently nudge myself to rise above the pain and turn my face to the sun.


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Open Your Door to The Excitement & Delight of Discovery!!!

The Best Day of Your Life

Don’t start your day with the broken pieces of yesterday.

I am not sure just where I read these words, nor can I claim them as my own. However, what I can do is to claim the simple message they convey and embrace it as part of the foundation on which to rest the pillars of my life. This powerful metaphor works to remind me of the value of embracing each day as a fresh start; each morning I wake up as the first day of my new life. As simple as this philosophical approach may seem, it is without question one of the hardest stances to take in life, for it seems that the challenges and the problems and the issues that confront us are always conspiring to keep us in their grasp, holding on so tightly that we forget the small and wondrous things that also inspire and uplift us and bring us joy.


The Ocean is a Delightful Source of Renewal

The Ocean is a Delightful Source of Renewal

Realizing this, I have decided to make a commitment to seek out and hold onto optimism and make that a deliberate focus of each day. It is simple. While I face the challenges, the disappointments and heartaches, I also examine ways in which I can tackle them and accept with gratitude, that there are strategies and approaches I can utilize to lessen their impact and perhaps even to conquer them. I now stand up to that nagging voice that insists that being a midlife adult I should have it all figured out. Confronting that voice, I hold myself accountable to examine opportunities for celebration in any day and to lift them up and enjoy the splendid pleasure of doing so: The feel of the sun on my back while walking through the park; the sound of a baby’s gurgle; the butterflies flittering around in my backyard and the unexpected words of a love song on the radio connecting to deep primal chords within. How wonderful that these sensory delights are abundant and free!!! Driving to work this week, anticipating a meeting I would rather not participate in, I turned the radio on to hear the uplifting refrain, “Gonna make this the best day of my life. Life…life!!!” I simply turned the dial up and bounced my head around to the beat knowing that this wonderful feeling was my mine to grasp and hold onto all day. And indeed, I did.

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Summer Travel Opens A Window to Creativity

Traveling outside of one’s culture has been known to be one of the greatest agents in awakening creativity.

The Blue Lagoon, Portland

The Blue Lagoon, Portland

Travel has the ability to take simple lessons and transform them into moments so powerful they can define a worldview forever. As we travel and investigate another’s culture, it seems we broaden our knowledge as well as learn some important lessons about ourselves. I began my summer rendezvous with a trip to my homeland Jamaica where I enjoyed time with family on the north coast before moving on to Portland where I participated in the 6th Annual Maroon Conference in Charles Town. The conference deepened my understanding of the Maroon society, a group that has withstood the effects of imperialism to hold steadfast to its African heritage and assert its identity.

Natural Beauty!

Natural Beauty!

During my time in Portland, I stayed at the Goblin Hill Villas, a place so beautiful and pristine, it seems  lost in time. Goblin Hill brought me both spiritual tranquility and visual pleasure, reminding me of the how important is for us to step away from the often harsh routines of our daily lives and savor the simple pleasures of nature. The landscape delighted my senses with its magnificent beauty and charm. Truly, I have never before beheld such beauty.

Marvalous at the Piazza Venezia at the foot of the Capitoline in the heart of Rome.

Marvalous at the Piazza Venezia at the foot of the Capitoline in the heart of Rome.

Within a couple of days after returning from Jamaica, I jaunted off to Southern Europe to visit Greece and Italy and engaged in yet another experience which delighted the internal space of my creative imagination. In Europe I visited sites of  ancient cultures that have exerted significant influence on the arts, sports, politics, language and philosophy of the rest of the world. Greece, a legend among nations and an inspiration for creativity held me spellbound. I reveled in the knowledge that this is the place where the gods of fire, wind, earth and sky once roamed the earth, and here I was, walking in their footprints.

Experiencing  Religious Traditions in a Pace of Holiness

The Vatican City: Experiencing Religious Traditions in a Place of Holiness


In Italy, I experienced inspiration at every turn. As I viewed the grand monuments of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica Rome, I was enthralled with the creativity of Michelangelo and his peers. I wondered about the hearts, hands, and minds that crafted such magnificence.  My trek through the Coliseum evoked memories of school days studying Julius Caesar and learning about the lifestyle of great emperors and the glory days of Rome. Now I truly understood the phrase, Rome was not built in a day!

Refreshing Great Minds With Savory Greek Cuisine:Members of the Creativity Team

Refreshing Great Minds With Savory Greek Cuisine:Members of the Creativity Team

Not only did my travels disrupt the habitual ways of thinking that dominate my life but I was ever so gently nudged to pause, digest, and reflect. … And think about the creative flair  I will bring to next steps in the larger journey of my life.

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Poetry & the Power of Self!

Poetry  Illuminates  the Meaning of Life


Reading the Poetry of the Landscape

Reading the Poetry of the Landscape


Poetry is soca, calypso, rara, reggae.

It is the echoes of the abeng across the mountain top;

The cold smoldering seams between a couple’s silence ;

The hot passion of their midnight embrace.

It is the wondrous touch of a baby’s hand

And the last flower flung at a descending coffin.

..from Bridges to Memory: Poems by Marva McClean p. 50



At One With Nature: Thrilled to Here

At One With Nature: Thrilled to be Here

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Maya & Maxine: Women Who Dared to Disturb the Universe

 Women of Words:Women of Substance

Literary Pioneer & Champion of Civil Rights

Literary Pioneer & Champion of Civil Rights

Last week, the world said goodbye to two notable women of letters; Maya Angelo and Maxine Greene. These two women were trailblazers who dared to disturb the universe and for that I am forever grateful. It seems I have always known Dr. Maya Angelou, listening to the sound of her voice on tape, reading her poetry and her novels and later, teaching them as well. Her proud bearing, her eloquently moving words and her no-nonsense stance have been guideposts for me along the journey. The famous line from her poem, “And still I rise,” has become the mantra for my daily living.


Educational Philosopher & Social Activist

Educational Philosopher & Social Activist

I came across the work of Maxine Greene many years ago as a doctoral student investigating the achievement gap and the social inequities that ravish the school system. I was moved by the power and the grace of Dr. Greene’s words and the simple assurance with which she presented her work and affirmed her voice. I felt, yes, here is a kindred spirit who is giving voice to what I know to be true. She constantly asserted the link between the imagination and the sense of possibility, noting the remarkable power of poetry and art to bring people together and improve the condition of our world.

Both women were outspoken and unapologetic in their call for a more socially just world and the genius of both was reflected in the creative exercise of their imagination; the use of powerful words that stirred our hearts and moved us to action. I love the poetry of Maya’s verse as much as I love the poetic sensibilities evoked in Maxine’s prose. While I did not meet either woman personally, I feel empowered by their existence and grateful that they created such a rich body of work that offers a blueprint on how to pursue a creative path in our agency to disturb the universe and disrupt the status quo. In the challenges I encounter in the educational system and a society so rooted in injustice, I often question my role and wonder if I am doing enough and always it is reassuring to reflect on Dr. Greene’s words, I am what I am not yet. 


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Sacred Landscape


Mapping My Interior Landscape

Poetry is the response to the creative journey I have undertaken to trace my roots and feed that thirst that begs to be salved.

Dressekie Landscape

I am walking with my daughter, our hands clasped together, and she in turn clutches her grandmother’s hand, my mother, daughter of Enid Dressekie, my grandmother who has bequeathed her this land we are strolling. Before that the land belonged to Sylvester George Dressekie, Enid’s father, who bought it as part of a much larger estate when he settled in Jamaica from Scotland almost two centuries ago. I have been visiting this land [about five acres of overgrown property with two huge mango trees perhaps dating as far back as 1879 around the time great grandfather purchased a thousand acres of land in St. Mary, including a district that would later bear his name] every time I visit Jamaica in recent times.

Iron Gates at Dressekie, St. Mary

The Iron Gate-Entrance to the old Dressekie Plantation, Dressekie, St. Mary, Jamaica

Today, it is important that my daughter, my youngest child, be here with me for I want her to know this land, to touch it and perhaps experience that sense of connection- that guttural feeling I have every time I visit here– a connection that rumbles in the pit of my stomach, connecting me to centuries of a history that I struggle to understand and give a voice to. For there is no simple explanation of this multilayered history,  no simple words to smooth out the contradictions of the past that has shaped me: the great grand-child of a Scottish plantation owner and a diminutive African-Indian woman, Elizabeth, after whom my mother is named.  We have journeyed from North Miami Beach, Florida, the place we have called home since my daughter was two years old. And here we are now, walking the land with my aged mother, our footsteps marking a smooth rhythm as we move in quiet unison.

These are significant experiences that fuel my reflections and often find their way into the verses that I am continuously crafting to give voice to the notion of my hybrid identity. Poetry is that response to the creative journey I have undertaken to trace my roots and feed that thirst that begs to be salved. In this realm of creativity I merge fact with fiction and attempt to embroider the threads of my ancestors’ lives with that of my own, my children’s and my siblings’ and straddle the centuries and the histories to write the story that is continuously evolving.

Rio Nuevo River, St. Mary, Jamaica

Rio Nuevo River, St. Mary, Jamaica

Is there a place that speaks to the sacred within you?

Marvalous Marva May 2014

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The Dream Is The Truth


How are you investing in yourself? 

Sparkle & Shine!
It’s Time to Sparkle & Shine!

“The dream is the truth,” stated Zora Neale Hurston so many years ago. The words of this iconic African American writer remind us that the things we yearn for are what define us and become our truth. Whether we achieve them or not, this is what gives us ultimate satisfaction or dissatisfaction with life.  Rumi states that each of us knows intuitively what we are born to do and we know as well that we must take action to actualize this. These insights are particularly important to me in this month of April which hosts my birthday on April 23 as well as National Poetry Month. For I am pushed into a state of reflection about my life’s meaning: What have I achieved with my gifts and talents? What creative measures can I pursue to invest in myself and realize my dreams?  The truth is, we are faced with these questions from time to time whether we acknowledge them or not. These reflections should become gentle proddings that push us to think about creativity and steps we can take to invest in ourselves so that we may open up to the possibility and wonder of our dreams. While for me it is writing, reading, traveling and collaborating with friends, for others it could be a much broader mix of possibilities for as Thoreau states; this world is but a canvas to our imagination. However we decide to invest in ourselves the actions we take will gift our dream into the truth that defines us. This is the work we do that gives voice to our passion and introduces us to the world in a manner that honors the integrity of our vision and maintains our pathway to creativity. And as we journey, we acquire the tools to tell soulful tales to the world about who we are and what we are about. The journey is its own amazing story!

How are you investing in yourself?

How are you using your gifts & talents to improve humanity?

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