My love of books started at a very early age. My mother used to recite nursery rhymes to my sister and I, eventually, I learned a few by heart.
I remember at my Primary school, there was a book program where we would receive these catalogues with lots of book titles and we were asked to choose about two or three books. We would then take the catalogues home to our parents in order to get our selections slip signed and the books paid for.
I remember the long wait for the books to be shipped from the United States to Antigua (which is where I’m from and where I grew up). I remember the joy and excitement when those book shipments arrived. I was (and still am) a voracious reader. It wasn’t long until my teacher realised my love of reading and allowed me (with my mother’s approval) to order much more than the allotted two or three books. In reflection, I realise that my mother willingly paid for those extra books without a second thought.
My sister, who was at least three grades ahead of me at the time also loved books and had her own books she ordered as well. Her selections were from a different age group but that didn’t matter. If there was a book in the house…I read it.
My early introduction to catalogues, led me to discover Laura Ingalls Wilder and the “Little House on the Prairie” series. While living on a tropical island with lots of sunshine and beaches, I read about the wide, open prairies of the Midwestern U.S., the log cabins in the snow and traveling by covered wagon from state to state with Laura and her family.
I read “Anne of Green Gables” and “Anne of Avonlea”, “The Diary of Anne Frank”. I took flights of fantasy with “The Chronicles of Narnia”, “Robinson Crusoe” and many others. I read everything I could get my hands on. Eventually, I was allowed to sit in my sister’s English class three grades ahead as I’d already completed the readings, tests and requirements for my grade.
By the time I’d gotten to Secondary school, I’d come into contact with books written by West Indian writers. I remember “Annie John” by Jamaica Kincaid, “A Cow Called Boy”, “My Bones and My Flute”, “Green Days by the River”, “A House for Mr. Biswas” and many others.
My love of books led me to start writing. I began writing poetry around the age of six or seven. I entered poetry contests throughout Primary school but mostly I wrote for fun. I wrote poetry all through Secondary school, through college and still do…even though I haven’t written anything recently.
Looking back, I think my most prolific period for poetry was during my teens and early twenties. I wrote reams of poetry. I have the battered note books, note pads and scraps of paper to prove it. 😀 I didn’t share my poetry for a very long time and then only to a few close friends. They always encouraged me to write.
I’ve done a few spoken word performances over the years and also had one of my more militant poems become the inspiration for a dance choreography while in college.
Presently, I’m working on getting some of my poetry published after procrastinating for over fifteen years. 🙂 I also have a novel and a children’s book series up my sleeve. I’ve decided to make a go of it. My best friend Tara has been telling me for years to write my life stories because if I did no one would believe that they’re non-fiction. I’ve been thinking about that. I might just tackle it in the near future.
I’ve been asked why I write and the answers…yes answers are many but mainly I write because I’m free to express myself in my own unique way. I write to remember my stories, so that my mind can be freed. I write so that I can share myself, my ideas, my thoughts and opinions with others. I write to entertain, to inspire and to fuel my passion. I write because it’s what I love and what I do. 🙂