It all started with books.
My father started giving me books as presents even before I learned to read so that once I started school, I took to it like a duck to water. Every Christmas, Easter, and summer break, he took all of us kids to R.I.K. bookstore on Queen Street in Port of Spain where we were allowed to choose one book each. Somehow, I always chose Enid Blyton, with the exception of a few Nancy Drews.
Once, I submitted a poem about my grandmother to the Junior Express. Seeing it published in black and white sealed the deal. From then on, I knew I wanted to write. What followed included a short story also published in the Junior Express, a consolation prize for a jingle I made up about an apple-flavored cereal, two collections of poems (one tragically lost), family newsletters, activity books, and countless diaries and journals.
However, when CXC and A-Levels rolled around, I temporarily forgot about writing. It paid off though because I eventually won a national scholarship for languages. I could study anything anywhere in the world. That was when all hell broke loose. Suddenly, everyone wanted me to become something big and accomplished and I caved.
After studying law for four years in the UK, I returned to Trinidad and felt like the proverbial square peg in the round hole. During lunch breaks at one law firm in Port of Spain, I started running and penning my fleeting thoughts about the city to deal with the job.
What followed was a circuitous journey through international relations, journalism, an English Literature degree, teaching law, corporate communications, and teaching English in Japan.
It was in Japan that I started to blog about my experiences but somehow, I still felt that something was missing. That’s when I started pitching some of my writing ideas to digital outlets in Japan and the rest was history. I wanted to write again. Badly.
I turned to freelance content writing for a while but still found that fictional stories were itching to get out of me. So, I pitched and pitched. Eventually, I got some nonfiction published in Caribbean Beat. I also published my first short story in the digital literary magazine, Moko. The icing on the cake was being chosen to contribute a short story to the We Mark Your Memory literary anthology.
Today, I’m still writing. Writing is how I deal with the chaos of my experiences growing up in Trinidad, studying abroad, traveling, and now living abroad again. Some may say it’s a selfish endeavor but I call it self-preservation. Without writing, I would flounder.