Interview with author Ingrid Walter


Q. You created a 2nd edition of your book A Sea of Wisdom, Island Proverbs – Jamaica, first published in 2014 as an eBook and prior to that as part of a book on island proverbs in seven Caribbean Islands. Why publish a second edition on Jamaican proverbs and particularly now?

A. The inspiration for this edition came from my desire to do something that might help people cope with the many challenges faced as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic. This is a time when people need to be resilient, smart, thoughtful and strong. These proverbs from Jamaica offer a treasure trove of life lessons that help people survive and build resilience. Many of them are quite funny and entertaining. I also thought creating a game with these proverbs, would be a good way for people to gain wisdom, and add laughter to their lives. Laughter can be healing during tough times.

So, apart from updating the book with family and island pictures, I added the game “A So it Guh” which in English means, “That’s the Way it Is”. As a Jamaican Canadian I have often had a tremendous amount of fun with Canadians and people from other parts of the world while we all did our best impressions of the Jamaican dialect.

I made the book available as an eBook, in pocket and standard size paperbacks and as a Kobo audio book, to give more options for purchase and enjoyment.

Q: How would you describe your book?

A: A Sea of Wisdom Island Proverbs - Jamaica – 2nd edition combines a rich mix of unforgettable, funny and sage Jamaican proverbs with choice information about the island’s celebrity residents and visitors, its natural beauty, history, folklore and culture. It’s a great life companion and good travel buddy if you are heading to Jamaica.

It pays tribute to the late Bob Marley, who I was fortunate to know. A lot of people may not be aware of this, but a number of Bob’s songs feature popular Jamaican proverbial phrases.

My book is designed to bring wisdom, support resilience and bring joy into people’s lives. As mentioned, it has instructions for a game I created called “A So it Guh” where contestants compete by voicing their best impression of a Jamaican proverb. So, I would say, it ‘s a book you can read and share with friends, family and loved ones, that will add value and even laughter into your life and theirs too.

Q: You say you knew the late great musician Bob Marley and the book pays tribute to him. Can you tell me about your relationship with him and how the book does this?

A: Bob Marley was an extraordinary human being. I was fortunate to meet him in the company of friends. I spent a fair bit of time at a place everyone called 56 which was where Bob lived on Hope Road in Kingston. I was invited to sit in on rehearsals. My mother also had a boutique called Cooyah Fashions where I worked part time and she made clothing for Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, who I also knew.

Bob was a very curious person. He was constantly asking questions when we spoke. He didn’t hesitate to give his opinions. He enjoyed discussing domestic and global affairs and the lessons that we learn as we go through life. He was philosophical and at times a quiet soul. Sometimes he would compose songs while I was in his presence.

I was quite a bit younger than him, but I think he found me interesting and we talked a lot. He was very respectful of me. I am grateful having had the opportunity to know him and spend time with him. He loved the wisdom in proverbs and used them in many of his songs. So, I gladly and unreservedly pay tribute to him with this book.

Q: What are your hopes for this book?

A: I hope as many people as possible will read it. It’s a little book, a short read, but it has a tremendous amount of wisdom, lessons and messages that can build resilience and teach us about human nature, morality, parenting, friendship, and more. We need life lessons, understanding and resilience now more than ever. I hope people will play the game and keep connecting with others during this pandemic and beyond.