1. Where do you get your inspiration for your writing:
Hearing someone tell a story in their unique voice inspires me to do the same. I love reading the work of Caribbean authors who write the way we speak. There’s a lot of deliberate humor in our dialogue and eavesdropping on a conversation between two Caribbean people, whether in real life or on the page, always sparks either a memory, an idea, or a question. I also love writers whose works
are absurd and surreal since those are the two words I could use to describe my own life experiences. S
o, to channel my inner muse I might read a few chapters from Austin Clarke, Jamaica Kincaid, Samuel Selvon, Franz Kafka or Fydor Dostoevsky.
The music that puts me in the best mood to write will always be Antiguan calypso. Songs by King Short Shirt and King Obstinate transports me to days gone by and makes me feel proud of my Caribbean heritage. This national pride leads to a boost in self esteem which is the most effective encouragement for me to write the first sentence and then the second and then…
2. If you could pick a superpower which would it be?
The ability to speak any language fluently.
A year ago I was in Warsaw, Poland and it was the first time in my life I was in a place where I didn’t speak a single word of the local language. I felt lost, helpless and terribly alone. This experience made me realize what a gift it is to be able to communicate with others a dance that is made a lot more challenging without a shared language. Another perk of this gift of universal language is that I would be able to read all books in their original format. Many of my favorite works are in French, German and Russian and though available in English, there’s always a little something lost in translation.
3. If you were an animal what would you be.
These days it would have to be something wild that lives in a cave and only comes out either in the dead of night or when the coast is completely clear. But under normal circumstances I’d probably be something graceful, stealth, fast, and a bit enigmatic, like a black panther.
4. What is your ideal outfit?
It depends on where I am. If I’m in the Caribbean a pair of cotton shorts, a linen shirt and leather sandals. On the west coast, my uniform is high waisted denim pants, a fitted tee shirt, leather jacket and penny loafers. When I’m in Europe, the same high waisted denim pants, a light wool sweater and a wool/mohair jacket or Sandringham trench coat and my ever present lemlem mohair scarf and sneakers for all the walking.
6. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
For a starter, ackee bruschetta on wood-oven bread. A main course of fresh snapper with a creole sauce atop a bed of brown rice and stir fried vegetables. For dessert, whatever fruit is in season.
5. What are your handbag must haves?
Lipgloss and lotion because my lips and hangs are perpetually dry. A power bank because I have an iPhone 6s with a cracked screen that cannot keep a charge. A tiny mirror to make sure there’s nothing beween my teeth after lunch, a pack of napkins so I don’t have to surreptitiously wipe my nose on the inner neck of my dress like a toddler, and a pen so I don’t have to touch public ones. Finally, a tote bag to store random purchases.
7. If I could have a chat with any singer living or dead who would it be?
Bob Dylan, hands down. But I’m hesitant though because i’m not sure he’s the type to talk to strangers. I once saw him in concert and at no point did he acknowledge the audience the way performers usually do. It was quite strange. Not even the obligatory ‘Good night Denver, Colorado!’ He simply walked onto the stage, sang all his songs and about an hour and a half later once he was done, he turned and walked off.
Yes, he came back for the encore at which point he did go the extra half-mile, gingerly kicking out his right foot then a one-two-tap while moving the same hip in corresponding (very mild) motion. The crowd roared in approval as if to say ‘give us more!’. He did not give us more. I wanted to hear his voice say something that wasn’t a song lyric. I wanted him to do more than he would have done had he been playing the guitar and singing in front of his mirror at home. I wanted him to acknowledge me so I could know I existed. But I paid to hear him sing, not make pleasantries. I suppose at the end of the day it was a fair exchange.
8. If you could give anyone advice to a large group of people what would it be?
Be kind to others, and don’t wait for a reason. Being kind is it’s own reward.
9. Where are you from?
It depends on who is asking. If I’m in America the answer is usually ‘Antigua… in the Caribbean’. If I am in France, the answer is America, full stop. The one place I can be and not ever have to worry about answering this question is Antigua; because everyone there already knows who I am, and when I am in Antigua I am truly at home.
10. If you could speak to animals which ones would you pick?
Antiguan dogs, to ask them why they can’t stop barking.