… For the Craftsman in Us

Thinking back, that thought came not because the story was fascinating (it kinda was, but the plot had enough holes it’d house a dinosaur) but because I enjoyed wasting so much minutes.

​”This day would come. You’d complete a task and slouch in the seat and consider how soggy the task seems, yet, you would be powerless to ignore the fluttering of your heart, the aches in your finger, and the numbing feeling that you enjoyed what you did. The day you feel this way about any craft, it is then that you’ve found what to do” – Michael Emmanuel. 
I remember with stunning clarity the morning I knew I would be a writer. It came like every other sunrise. Dawn broke at 6:15am. A soft wind swept our compound, and by the next hour, there was a thousand chores to tackle. The sink stunk of unwashed dishes, crumbs of spaghetti dotting its interior. Two mugs lay face-down, butts smeared with liquid soap. A row of ants crept in and out, having a fill.
In the bathroom, half a dozen round-necks were stacked against the walls. The tiles could use a scrubbing. A broom, parted at the middle, stood at the entrance, considering the mess and making mental notes. It would file a complaint with the chief.
Question was, how? How would it reach the chief but through me?
Oblivious to the discontent, I sat by the window and chewed a pen cover, suddenly feeling dumped. Before me was a new note, one page filled. As I stared at the tree behind the fence, I concluded I had judged wrong. Perhaps everyone could write, so long I wasn’t a part of everyone. 

Thing was, I wasn’t green in the field of writing. My first original story was an assignment. I got nine of ten marks with a ‘See me’ addendum. The examiner wanted to be assured the story was my brainchild. Yes, I said, flushing. Two years later, I found a small note and wrote three – or two – pages of an intriguing novel and forgot all about it. Three years from that first submission, and with age beginning to chisel my face, I learnt how to write a story that wouldn’t have you puking. My resolve lasted a week 

In fact, I grew certain it was my last try… 
… Until this awkward morning. Watching the trees and wind, I felt I could do it. So, I wrote. And wrote. And wrote, till my fingers stiffed. A bucket of relief soaked me when I let the pen rest. Finally, the bestseller had come. 
Thinking back, that thought came not because the story was fascinating (it kinda was, but the plot had enough holes it’d house a dinosaur) but because I enjoyed wasting so much minutes. 
The clothes still hadn’t been washed. One row of ants had become a thick black mass attacking the kitchen. The sun had reached its peak. My stomach was groaned and growled. I borrowed comfort in the hope that the story would make gazillions of crisp notes. 
It obviously didn’t. I’m clueless as to the location of the aforementioned note. But one thing has remained – my fingers still ache from writing. 

Writers don’t put up this type of posts till they are well grounded (that is, sold respectable copies of books, snagged a few awards, spoken at a busload of events, etc…). I did this because, 1) it didn’t feel wrong and 2) my next birthday is under my nose and 3) someone needs to see this.
That person may be me. 
Since that Monday two years back, I’ve studied a couple books on writing, read novels till my eyeballs shrunk, typed and typed, dug up story ideas and flipped them out, followed some blogs and opened one, applied for a handful competitions, grown up, gotten this disturbing beard, made new friends, and written…
Summary: Being a craftsman is unlike planting. If a woman drops six seeds of maize in the ground, she expects a matured plant half a year later. Anything else and she’d get on her prayer gears. Writing, like singing, like painting, like photography or designing, doesn’t work that way. Some achieve success quickly. Others learn to queue. 
But, if we do it right, and do it well, and do it with intent, we won’t always remain unknown. This, I firmly believe. 

P.S: I’m nursing the thought of putting fiction here for the next few posts. Thinking of consistency. Pray for me, reader. I’m entering a new age. 

Catching Up 

Ralph is his name… He’s realized he’s on an island, as I am.
This is my first post for 2017. It was worth writing and sharing.

​  The first page of ‘Lord of the flies’, a young boy with a round nose wakes and observes his body feels like a sauna. His shirt, torn, sticks to his skin like adhesive, and heat shoots up his leg. A voice calls out. He spins slowly. The lad who called is rubbing his cheek, stumbling towards the boy.

“Hey,” lad shouts. He’s struggling to cover the distance. Fats of flesh flap on both cheeks.

The boy struts forward. “What’s your name?”

“My classmates, in school, they call me Piggy,” the lad whispers, “but it isn’t my real name.”

“Piggy,” the boy claps. “Piggy, Piggy, Fatty.”

“Don’t shout. I don’t want the others to know.”

The boy stops. Arches eyebrows. “There are others?”

“A plane,” Piggy says. “We was on a plane. Excursion. The plane crashed.”

The boy looks around. Up ahead, there’s a vast emptiness, bordered by a calm sea to the left and swirling tall trees on the right. He assumes one has coconut – the one with broad, wretched leaves. 

“A crash, you say?”

“The hostess said before everything passed out. Crash.” Piggy follows the boy. “You didn’t say your name.”

The boy doesn’t answer. 

Ralph is his name, and his numbness is because he’s just realising they are on an island. As Ralph awakened, so did I. Not that my happening upon the island was without forewarning. There are some changes you can’t prepare for, changes ramming into the victim like the fender of a sixteen-wheeler.

For this reason, I was on hiatus for three weeks. Unable to access the internet community and brazing for a switch in environment, I had my arms open for the worst. All the plans for Christmas/New Year washed into the river without consideration.

This post should be for catching up, and here are the things I’ve navigated.

(The picture was taken last September. Then, I’d gained six pounds. Pretty certain I’ve burned twice more now.)
First, I was immersed so much in fiction I forgot fiction could happen. Consequence was I was denied access to social media and a week later, to writing. November had been my busiest writing month and I intended wrapping up during the festive season. But the event came as a thief in the night, literally. I’m not sure I’ve blogged since. 

In quick succession, I landed in new weathers. Given, I was ready, as much as ready went, but it’s been tasking. Some things exist that cannot be learned by reading, – and I say this as a writer – or by any other means. Experience matters. After all, what coach can predict the exact passes that would lead to a goal? Or the goal scorer and assister and exact second?

Before I moved, I backed up my writings and books on two disks – one with my brother, the other with me. I would be moving deviceless, I might as well have a contingency plan. And so this day, finding someone with a laptop, I plugged my disk and….

Empty books. There were zero books. Also, the one and a half novels I wrote was poof.

Now, here I am, two weeks into the year, writing my first post. I have a small device now – so small it takes one hour to type what I’d do in fifteen minutes. There are no books here (not novel, not classics, not how-to books, nothing), no music, no video, no manuscript to edit or finish. 

Luckily, I got a spiritual book from a senior. It’s one of the best things I’ve had this year. I’ve learned gratitude, joy, and satisfaction. I realized the day before penning this, someone in another milieu is having a similar experience. To that person, be encouraged. Believe in the Lord Jesus, sing a lot, laugh with strangers – they abound here – and be grateful. 

That’s it for today. I have a cough still. I haven’t read a novel this year. I can only write short stories, even started a Mysteries on Campus serial. I’m adjusting to typing on a small screen. There are many classes to attend. I can’t ascertain the amount of errors in this post. 

But, in all things, God is faithful. Say with me, “In all things, God is faithful. Amen.”

This Monday…

This Monday, I awoke knowing I should blog. I could feel the urge to share a story on this platform, but I did not know what to write. Even a more sorry case, there was no means to write. And perhaps the most pitiful of all, I was battling underestimation.

Having read thousands of words, and penned a fair share of the lot, I wondered if my stories were all hogwash, junk letters that would suit the trashcan better. I felt others were made to write, I, to read.

But then…

This Monday, I read a novel. It’s titled Renegade, the third book in the Lost Book series. Or perhaps, one of the fifteen novels that are The Book Of Chronicles, scribbled by Ted Dekker. He’s my favorite novelist, and perhaps, I should write like him.

This Monday, I realized we all have stories. Ted Dekker said of The Book Of Chronicles, “If you were made to read these stories, maybe I was made to write them.” I agree. No one can write a story the way you would, and I’m not saying the sleekness or the knotting of metaphors.

Story, the essence. Stories that breathe and give life.

This Monday, I saw God. Not the man in white flowing garment with beards sweeping the streets clean. Not the fiery One who no man can behold. Not the lion or the lamb. They are all dimensions of God. I saw God as I would see God. In the beauty of nature.

This Monday, brother came home. His legs are unstable at home as a chameleon in a singular skin. Always changing, chameleon. Always moving, brother. But he’s home. And the extra layer of cream is this – he just came from a writing event. I’m happy. I’m still trailing him in the hours spent writing.

This Monday, I decided to blog just as the second hand ticked a quarter to eight pm.

This Monday, I’m saying, Thank you. Thank you for always reading my blog.

This Monday, that’s all.

The Kaleidoscopic View

A line I saw months back said, “There are three truths: My truth, your truth, and the truth.”

I’m thumbing up the inventor of that quote, though Mark Twain would greatly disagree that no one is the real inventor of a thing. All new discoveries are old ideas refined, or bits by bits dropped by a gob of people packaged into one staggering presentation, delivered by one human who forgot, there’s nothing new under the sun.

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Live, Love, Learn

There’s a disorder commonly known as OCD. It basically gets its bearer so worried to the point of refusing meals and every other necessary survival kit. It is an anxiety disorder, and anxiety is no good.

I am, as usual, seated on the yellow plastic chair, laptop on, fingers punching furiously (at least, I presume). The sun is afraid of escaping its shell, gifting the neighborhood a cold weather.

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Operation Armastus (10)

Silas watched the lone doctor apply a dab of methylated liquid across the surface area of the gunshot wound. The form lay limp on a mat, arms spread – one facing west and the other east.

Silas had once read that a journey northward might lead southward, but a journey eastward would never arrive in the west. What, if any, did that say about the man?

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The Routine

There is a rusted coiled metal mounting the fence bordering my house. I’m told it has electric current and would zap out any intruder. I behold this guard more than anything else in my vicinity, likely because it’s just shy above a body’s length from my window, where I normally write.

The window is my favorite place. I sit there every day. Hardly does the moon retire without me visiting this spot. My textbooks are there. So are my writing notes. A dictionary with the cover torn off and some pages long missing. Past questions. Two bibles. Concurrent editions of devotionals.

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