This is a review of the book Fatidic: Selected Duttyisms, written by Dutty Bookman, a Jamaican writer, DJ, philosopher and activist currently living in Washington DC. He has been lauded for his involvement with the resurgence of young, conscious reggae acts in Jamaica, a movement which has been coined the Reggae Revival, and for co-founding Manifesto Jamaica, a tremendously impactful arts-based youth empowerment organization. The book is a collection of the author’s earliest internet musings that are no longer found on his blog, Duttyism.com, and is the literary component of a two-part release which also includes Fatidic DUB, a roots reggae, dub CD mixed by Bookman.
This book, a collection of posts from the author’s personal blog, which is itself a kind of public journal of his thoughts on life, spirituality, politics, history, philosophy and culture, reinforces my newfound belief that even among the living there are different realms of existence. Some of us are fully grounded in the ways of the world, others are off floating in the sky of energies of all that is unseen, while most meander somewhere between the two. No extreme is better than the other. They just are, as we just are.
This book, for me, was a glimpse into the author’s own journey through those multi-layered dimensions. I could actually feel as the weight of his words swayed in either direction. For instance, the beginning of the book is deep, diving into the mind of the author’s own spiritual awakening, so to speak, and the inner turmoil that takes place through the process of awakening, questioning and abandoning the old self. The soulful inquiry stirred my own inner-callings, but also left me feeling a bit burdened and heavy. As the book continues, the author reveals that he was indeed in a dark place while writing the first portion of the book’s entries, and I could feel the subsequent lightness and acceptance that marked his own evolution throughout the rest of the book.
The book is a thoughtful written-word art form that articulates the author’s sub-societal plane of existence. His journey is symbolic of a growing movement of likeminded people who are choosing to live outside the realm of “normalness”. It’s a realm where social norms have been carefully dissected and replaced by distinct ways of living and moving through life, in line with critically chosen values rather than historically, socially-prescribed archetypes for being. These are the ways of modern-day thinkers, doers, world-changers and revolutionaries.
If there’s one sentiment that stays with the author throughout the book, it’s his seriousness about being a revolutionary. The writer, it seems, believes himself an ordained revolutionary – the incarnation of the Jamaican-born torchbearer of the Haitian Revolution, Dutty Boukman, who is said to have incited the rebellion through a mix of surreal intelligence and spiritual prowess. Dutty Bookman, this book’s author, sees himself as embodying the spirit of that great revolutionary. On some instances, the script interestingly, and somewhat suddenly, dabbles back and forth from the voice of his present self to that of Haiti’s slave revolt leader. Whether the author uses this to provoke thought or he saw himself as actually writing from a trance-like state of being Boukman, or both, is unclear. Either way, the exercise stimulates strong ideological illustrations.
All of that said, the book will definitely not be easily digested by everyone. If you’re ready to think, read it. If you’re in the mood for stopping, re-reading, breathing, assimilating ideas and then continuing, it’s for you.
I know that in 2010-2012 when these posts on the author’s blog were live, the words certainly didn’t have the same impact on me. That makes me wonder… Maybe there is actually a difference in how words are experienced when they are read online versus in print, in a book. Or, maybe my own openness at this time in my life has shifted my perception of the very same words. Maybe both are true.
A friend in her “middle years” told me the other day that though Jamaica is fraught with a denseness that is crippling the forward movement of the country, there’s a growing group of young people doing incredible work, thriving and cultivating change in the face of this gloom. The author, no doubt, is a leader of this movement, starting the fire of change in ways he may never have fathomed and may likely not be aware. For the seemingly unsettled revolutionary within him (as I suspect most revolutionary-minded are), I hope he feels this and is fueled by it as he continues his forward journey.
For his ability to disrupt, shape and create the reader’s inner rumblings, whether realized, purposeful or not, the author, in my opinion, also deserves great admiration. There’s an enormity in being able to channel energy from page to reader. The gift puts his abilities on par with many greats.
For more information on Fatidic: Selected Duttyisms click HERE.
Visit Dutty Bookman online at Duttyism.com.