My name is Patrice Matthews and I project-manage the NGC Bocas Literary Festival.I live in Petit Valley, with my children and our dogs, Lady and Bear. I always wanted children and have been blessed with two great, smart, funny, happy ones, honestly my best accomplishments to date! While my marriage didn't work out, it was a worthwhile journey because of them.
My paternal grandfather was dougla and my paternal grandmother was from Venezuela, so dad was a dashing mix of the two of them. On my mother's side my grandfather was French Creole and my grandmother mixed, looking like an East Indian with straight hair. She was quite stunning.
My family left T&T for the UK when I was a year and a half and we remained there until I was about 12. I spent my early teens in Ottawa, Canada, and returned to T&T at 17. Fortunately I don't recall ever being a victim of racism, apart from once in Switzerland, where I was refused service.
My brother, sister and I walked miles to get to Norbury Manor School every day in our Clarks shoes. Which we hated because they were so darn ugly. When the family returned to T&T, my sister and I spent a year at St Theresa's, where I remember being teased unrelentingly because of our English accents.
I was raised Roman Catholic but I've always disliked the doctrine that we are fundamentally bad and sinners. The sexual abuse scandals that have been covered up for years have resulted in my path being more spiritual than religious.When something bad happens, the faithful believe His will was done for some higher purpose. When something good happens, God is given thanks and praise, so it is always a "win-win" for God.
I play shameless amounts of on-line Scrabble.I enjoy painting. But it takes time to set it all up so I don't do it often enough.I read whatever captivates me in the first ten pages or so. Unfortunately, I have many books I have never finished. John Grisham books keep me up late at night turning pages. I devoured the Hunger Games trilogy and I'm currently reading Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now. And some of the 2013 OCM Bocas Prize shortlisted books, like Monique Roffey's Archipelago.
If I could, I'd eat only chocolate. Chocolate cake, pudding, mousse, cookies, drinking chocolate, Nutella and chocolate covered nuts.I have definitely improved with age. My teenage photos are well tucked away where they shall remain!
I try to fit work around my life, not the other way around. I make room for the things I enjoy doing. Sometimes this means working till late at night or on weekends, but I love the freedom working that way gives me. No one has to know you are down-the-islands and using your Blackberry, once you get the job done!!My employees are me, myself and I. And we try as little as possible to rely on others.
My last corporate job was at the T&To Film Company where Marina Salandy-Brown and I interfaced on film-related projects. Soon after, Marina launched Trinidad and Tobago's first literary festival and asked me if I would work with her on the project.I actually work all year round on the festival now. I administer the OCM Bocas Prize and the Hollick Arvon Prize, and project-manage the four-day festival, the culmination of months of advance planning.
The best thing about the job is working with a group of bright and interesting people and learning more about Caribbean literature and authors. I have met many wonderful writers from all over the world. The worst part is probably the stress of project-managing the actual event. The days are long and I have to oversee multiple activities to ensure all run smoothly. At the end. I'm exhausted. That said, we always pull off a great festival and this year promises to be better than ever.
To me, a Trini is free-spirited, fun-loving and uniquely able to appreciate and enjoy all our diversity has to offer.I've lived away, and still speak with a bit of a foreign twang, but Trinidad and Tobago means home to me. Yes, at times being here drives me insane–but nowhere is perfect and some aspects of home come pretty darn close.
Read a longer version of this feature at www.BCRaw.com