This week I had the opportunity to chat with Yolanda T Marshall, on the release of her First Children’s book Keman’s First Carnival. Which is now available on Amazon and Chapters. Yolanda Marshall is a Guyanese born author and poet, who enjoys writing across genres. We discussed what inspired Yolanda to create this beautiful and rich children’s book, that celebrates Caribbean culture. I highly recommend picking up Keman’s First Carnival for any children on your Christmas shopping list. Thanks to Yolanda for taking the time to chat with us, and for sharing her inspiration and story.
What was the catalyst in creating Keman’s First Carnival?
The Birth of my son, Miles. My parents read books to me every night as a child and that ritual contributed to my love of literature. I now read to Miles every day, while we listen to Jazz. The joy on his face every time we open a book, incited me to write my first children’s book. Keman’s First Carnival is about a Canadian child of Caribbean heritage, enjoying and learning more about the culture. I know this book will resonate with a lot of children and their parents, who share the same heritage.
What’s been your most important lesson in business?
Be prepared to work harder and longer for yourself, compared to what you do for anyone else. When you are promoting your product, services or talent, do not expect to clock in at 9am and out at 5pm. Be prepared to dream about it while you sleep and put life into it while awake, learn new skills, take risks. Each failure increases your knowledge, so keep at it.
What are you most proud of?
Being a Mom. Throughout my life I have had many things I was most proud of, but at this stage of my life, nothing can top this. I am truly myself in this role and it makes me feel proud every passing day. I know the challenges will continue to offer me more reasons for being a strong Mother.
Who/What inspires you and what is your favourite quote?
I am inspired by anyone with a good heart, the people who maintain positivity, even in the presence of affliction. I am drawn to folks with old artsy souls and rebellious, free-spirited hearts. I learn a lot from them and they inspire me to stay true to myself, thus encourages me to validate myself. My favourite quote – “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson.
What helps you keep going on days you want to quit?
The avoidance of nightmares! The only things worth quitting are those which are deemed as destructive. I have nightmares and fears about quitting anything I know that will make me happy or keep me alive. I force myself to remain persistent, because I know the payoff will bring happiness and comfort. I have learnt to embrace challenges and indulge in the adrenaline rush of competing with myself – I can’t quit or I will quit being me and the latter is not an option.
What advice do you have to your younger self?
You are going to make mistakes. Those mistakes are nothing but starting blocks and just when others think that you have hit rock bottom, the sprinter in you will always accelerate onto a higher level of great speed. Live like a Poet, love like a fool, travel the world through books or planes, luxuriate in the essence of various cultures and fight like a soldier for freedom. Even when your heart is broken and you lose people on your journey, never let it make you bitter – remain sane, kind, humble and patient. It will all make sense when you are sitting in your home on quiet nights, feeling more thankful than full of sorrows. If you have many stories to tell, talents and dreams to share – express it, write about it…continue to inspire yourself and others.
How do you balance life and your creative work?
How I live my life influences my creativity. I am the type to wake up at 2 am and write a poem, just to clear my busy mind. I document how I felt in every seductive experience or life changing event. It just flows when it is coming from the heart and released through the pen to paper. Most of this creativity happens during sleepless nights or my seldom spare time. It doesn’t feel like life vs work to me. It is like a child colouring a picture, with various shades of crayons for fun – I treat it as enjoying my life through art, which then enables me to share a blog or write books.