Published: Jun 15, 2013
Renowned Bahamian author and educator Patricia Glinton-Meicholas answer’s this week’s 20 Questions from Guardian Arts&Culture.
1. What’s been your most inspirational moment in the last five years?
I have had many life-affirming moments in the past five years. Watching my wonderful mother pass into the eternity she believed in with all the dignity and peace that characterized her life and singing her to her rest. Being blessed with the daily love and companionship of my soulmate. The privilege of experiencing changing seasons, morning birdsong, the laughter and adventuring of a beloved grandniece, now five. Being invited by the Office of the Mayor of London to present on heritage and leadership in a plenary of a conference in that great city in 2008.
2. What’s your least favorite book?
I don’t have a least favorite book because each represented a chance to express myself, a chance to serve my country, a chance to work with my talented husband, a chance to improve my art with each new work.
3. What’s your favorite genre of literature?
Hard to say… I read fiction, non-fiction and the gamut of genres – fantasy; poetry in English, French and Spanish; history; cultural studies for pleasure. For relaxation, I enjoy a good English mystery, especially those of P. D. James, whose love and mastery of words is evident.
4. What are your top 5 movies of all time?
“The Scent of Green Papaya”; “Ponette”; “Wit”; “Crash” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy (I count as one).
5. Coffee or tea?
6. What book are you reading now?
Several all at once. “Community and Society” by Ferdinand Tönnies, for one.
7. What project are you working on now?
A couple of serious presentations.
8. What’s the last book that surprised you?
“The Name of the Rose” by Umberto Eco. Can you believe the scholarship?
9. Saxons, One Family, Valley Boys or Roots?
All. I celebrate their persistence in keeping alive this aspect of The Bahamas’ African heritage, which we began only recently to privilege as valid.
10. If you had to be stranded on one Family Island which one would it be?
My birthplace, Cat Island, and if I miss its shores, I’d take Long Island, my paternal ancestral home. Forget it! I’d take all if I could clone myself. I love every rock and drop of water of my homeland. When I fly in from abroad, I know when I cross our borders.
11. What’s the most memorable book you’ve ever read?
Can’t choose between “Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert and “Gouveneurs de la Rosée” by the Haitian author Jacques Roumain, both in the original French. Pure genius. Pure beauty – metaphor magic.
12. Which writer do you have a secret crush on?
I don’t know about “secret”. There are many I speak openly about.
13. If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be?
Any one of the wonderful women who gave their lives to the nurture of children and country, most especially my mother and beloved aunts who have passed. If I could sneak in a man, I have a yen to trade bon mots with that penitent, brilliant rogue Oscar Wilde.
14. Who do you think is the most important Bahamian in the country’s history?
So many more than one, living or gone from this earthly vale. We must write about them, before they and their deeds are lost to Bahamian youth and future generations. Oxford University Press is giving me the opportunity to contribute four biographies to their forthcoming Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin Biography. I have finished two already.
15. Who is your favorite living writer?
Any Bahamian writer who has the courage to write honestly from his or her core and does not slavishly produce just to please the brittle metropolitan literary coterie. Serious writing in this country is heroism, so I identify about half a dozen heroes.
16. Sunrise or Sunset?
Both beautiful. Each has a message for me about the inalterable truths and joys of life.
17. What role does the writer have in society?
An essential, foundation-rattling role too little recognized and sponsored in this country. Why do you think writers are the first people despots go after to discredit, imprison or make disappear?
18. What’s your most embarrassing moment?
Give me the space and I’ll write a book. I’m shy (yes!), but have the courage to face a crowd with difficult truths. A lot of embarrassing moments inherent in this.
19. What wouldn’t you do without?
The companionship of the man with whom I have spent a good many years of my life; my brilliant, gentle son; my siblings; their families; other relatives; my dearest friends; the Bahamian family. I’m not much into the material. After my God, the people I love are everything to me.
20. What’s your definition of beauty?
True love in any form, the honesty of children and a soul aspiring to higher planes of thought and existence. These are always easy to see, if you look with the right eyes and spirit.