Author Archives: lyndonbaptiste

10 Things about reading

When I read, I’m amazed at how many ideas come to me. I’ve noticed that reading triggers dormant memories, forgotten memories, and further fuels my creativity. I grew up in a house without a television and radio. This is in the 1980s. I know it sounds weird, but around the same time people were buying a television my parents sold theirs. To entertain myself I read: books, encyclopedias, and comic books. Sure there was lots of television and video games but those activities were limited to when I visited other homes. I read a lot, and I wrote a lot. Then I started publishing videos and my reading slowed then halted somewhere in 2022. In 2022 I probably read about 2 books. I could feel a lack.

In 2023 I made a bet with a friend to see who could read more books. He read 60. I read more than 40. Let’s say 40 because I can only account for 40. I suspect the actual number is around 53 to 55. When I compare 2022 to 2023 I realise how much I’ve grown. I know more; with every book the ideas keep coming; with a daily commitment social media and television consumption have dived.

Read. Whenever and wherever you can. Sure, things get in the way. Life. Academics. Television. Your phone. Video games. Your spouse. In 2023 I read more than 30 books. When it comes to reading here are 10 things I bear in mind.

1. You should always be involved with a book. If someone asks you, “What are you reading?” you should have an answer for them.

2. Commit to at least 5 pages a day.

3. Read 1 of those 5 pages aloud.

4. Ditch books you aren’t enjoying. Time is precious. If a book or movie isn’t for you, bail.

5. At least once a year finish a book by an author you’ve never heard about.

5. Storage space is precious; buy books you’ve read and can’t live without. Otherwise, join the library and borrow books.

6. Don’t lend out books you can’t live without.

7. Don’t borrow books from friends. Stick to the library or buy your own damn’ book.

8. Download audiobooks. They help kill time. You can listen to an entire book in as little as 2 to 4 hours. The Alchemist is a good place to start.

10. If you’re a parent and you want your kid to be a reader, you need to pick up books and read. The Little One needs to see you reading. Even if it’s pretend reading.

Mt St Benedict

Today we’re heading to Mt St Benedict. As a parent, I sometimes feel guilty that I don’t take my children out more. I sometimes feel that Between life and work responsibilities it’s easy to plant them in front of the television. But I think about growing up in the 80s and 90s and the fantastic job my parents did taking us places whether it was to the river or to the beach or to KFC. And back then going to KFC was like going to TGI Friday; plus you used to get free refills.

In the abbey shop, we took pictures of everything so we didn’t have to buy anything. Except for Yogurt, a toy crocodile and a toy chicken. Just outside the abbey shop is a staircase of five stairs or six stairs. Get this. The stairs lead to a wall without a door. The stairs remind me of political parties in Trinidad. They lead nowhere.

Inside the church, there’s a quiet you can’t duplicate. Sitting there in the catholic church with my two girls I prayed for a little boy.

Afterwards, we drove through Tunapuna looking for a Chinese restaurant. Found one in El Dorado. We took wontons and Yogurt for my parents and Dad said, “I appreciate it.”

When we got home I put on the television and the kids played with their toys.

The first police force in Trinidad

The first police force in Trinidad was established by Sir Thomas Picton, the first British governor of Trinidad. Back in 1797, the population was 18,000, mainly French republicans who didn’t like the British. The police force had a police chief and 8 officers. Picton built gallows in front of the government house and hanged people left, right and centre. Famous for his cruelty he even hanged a 12-year-old child named Luisa Calderon from a roof. He hanged her by her hand to confess to theft, and the English were like:

“Jolly great job, Picton. We’ll name a street in Port of Spain after you.”

It’s 2024. The population is 1.5 million and the police service has 6,500 officers.

My first book is a crime story based in Trinidad and Tobago. Order it here:

Stephon Felmine: the road to 150,000 TikTok followers

Today we’re talking to Stephon Felmine, a content creator from Trinidad. He’s an Economics teacher at Morvant Secondary School. His Facebook page describes him as the TikTok Trini Alphabet Guy. On the 11th of April 2020, he posted his first TikTok video. Since then he’s amassed almost 150,000 followers and 2.8 million likes, an extraordinary accomplishment.

On 11 April 2020, he posted his first TikTok video. One year later he turned his attention to Facebook and started uploading videos. Then on October 26th, 2021 he started uploading videos on YouTube. Then there’s Instagram. We talk about where he’s getting the best results. And how he selects the brands he works with. Is it just based on money?

There’s a video podcast, or if you prefer the audio version below there’s a link to the episode on Spotify.

A little bit every day

As a content creator who wants to achieve success, you have a responsibility to do a little bit every day. I was writing an article for Caribbean Content Creators when my four-year-old daughter walked in and picked up a novella I wrote in 2007. Her name is Anna. She’s a little taller than the table, with plump cheeks and two ponytails. Flipping through the pages, Anna remarked that the book had no pictures. Then she asked me if I wrote all “these words”. I stopped typing and looked at Anna. Smiled. Said yes. Her next sentence stunned me.

“Did you get tired?”

“No, I didn’t get tired.”

She wasn’t satisfied. “But how did you write all these words?”

I thought about it for a moment then said, “I did a little bit every day.”

She wasn’t done. “Why is your name at the top of every page?”

“Because that’s the way books are usually formatted.” It felt like a dumb uninspiring answer.

She left the book on the table and disappeared.

Listen to this episode on Spotify

Since 2008, I’ve published 12 books and published almost 700 YouTube videos. How did I do it? By doing a little bit every single day. It took about 6 months to write Boy Days: Short Stories about Trini Men; and another two years to edit the book.

Later, in the cool of the afternoon, Anna appeared with a plush journal. On the cover is a rainbow-coloured unicorn.

“I’m working on a story called The Explosion,” she said.

I was editing a video. I stopped, turned my chair, and looked at her.

“What’s it about?”

“It’s a story about a girl walking on the beach and a bomb falls right next to her.”

“What if the bomb falls on top of her?”

Anna laughed tee-hee. “She’ll die. I don’t want her to die.”

“Can I help you write the story?” I asked.

“Yes.” Anna is precise with her words. “You can help spell words. But,” she warned, “there aren’t any pictures.”

Anna knows what she wants. We went outside. Surrounded by mountains we sat under the clear blue sky. She dictated the story, I wrote the words. It wasn’t smooth sailing. There was scratching, and some crying, I wasn’t doing it the way she wanted it. We had to start over. But we did it. After the last sentence, she pointed and told me to write “The End”. Then she signed her name at the top of the page; because that’s how books are formatted.

“We’ll write another story tomorrow,” she said.

A little bit every day. It goes a long way.

As a content creator, what does your daily schedule look like? Let me know in the comments.