I haven’t tried this particular meme before so let me dip just my little toe in. It’s a Favourites meme that focuses on a particular theme as indicated by the person hosting the meme, Bookishly Rebecca.
This week’s theme, favourite subject. Literature …duh.
(my favourite literature book in secondary school and still an all time favourite)
(some others from secondary school days – not all; just the ones to pop in to my head – and I might be wrong about Ways of Sunlight – it may have been A Brighter Sun – what I can say for sure is Selvon’s Lonely Londoners was one of my favourites from the tertiary leg of my literature journey and remains a book I think of with great affection – not like the ones, pictured or not, that still make me shudder at the tedium…not saying which ones)
I might not have been able to articulate during my school days (primary, secondary, college, university, take your pick) that I wanted to be a writer but I always loved to read. The books assigned for literature were just more books to consume. So reading them was rarely a chore. I say rarely because there are few books that I struggled with either because I wasn’t ready for the material or didn’t feel stimulated and engaged by the teaching style. But mostly I was the one who read the book over the summer (sometimes my sibs literature books that happened to be lying around too) – and one time even got to first term to find that the book I’d read ahead of time had been changed. I was disappointed because I had so looked forward to digging in and to the conversation around the book. I’ve always enjoyed discussing the art I consume – something that’s not always played well with the people in my life (but people who get that about me get a lot). And this isn’t just limited to books. Just this week I watched And Breathe Normally and Seeking a Friend at the End of the World – one an Icelandic indie on immigration, poverty, and unlikely friendships (which I especially recommend); the other a quiet American film in which the rom-com stakes are increased by the imminent end of the world. Right away I wanted to discuss them but who could I bore with these conversations (lol). *shrug* this is me.
Book arts nerd then, book arts nerd now.
I did like other subjects – but I think you’ll see a trend. I liked social studies in primary school, I liked history and debate in secondary school, I liked history and drama in college, I liked sociology, marketing, drama/theatre, and political theory (plus most of my arts and communication courses) in university – and, of course, I took my first fiction writing course in university and the rest, as they say…
So, well, here we are. I am a writer and I started several series here on the blog that build on those school days passions – from my CREATIVE SPACE local arts series, to my Blogger on Books review series, to limited series like She’s Royal which is historical re-telling. Dig around the blog and you’ll find other examples.
Circling back to the original question, I have to say it’s dope that some secondary school student in Antigua and Barbuda, possibly Anguilla, possibly Trinidad, possibly other parts of the Caribbean, and, as I recently learned New York, who has literature as a favourite subject may come upon either The Boy from Willow Bend or Musical Youth – two of my books which have found their way on to secondary schools’ literature reading lists. I don’t take such developments for granted and it is in the interest of feeding their love of literature and demystifying the books that I did what I hope are fun study guides for both The Boy from Willow Bend and Musical Youth – the former, my first book, originally issued with Macmillan and, after going out print, re-issued with Hansib and still in print; the latter, a Burt award winning title issued in 2014 and as of 2019 rolled in to its second edition with an announcement from publisher Caribbean Reads.
Without the stories I grew up on – informally in the fables and parables that were a standard part of my home life, the Anansi stories and the calypsos and the calypsos with Anansi stories, and the jumbie stories one teacher liked to tell, and more formally in the literature we studied Selvon to Shakespeare, without the literature teachers who critiqued and encouraged my writing (especially at the college and university level) – I wouldn’t be a writer. So, yes, surprising no one, literature was my favourite subject in school.