In 9 out of 10 cases, I believe, it is almost impossible to divorce fruitful writing from good reading. This realization has come to me through my intensive journey of rigorous reading and which have effortlessly culminated, flowered into writing. A large portion of my writings is chiseled form the distilled remnant of what I have read. Every writing has some reflection of what the writer has ever read. Join me we trace this journey.
What surrounded me, back then, at home 1 remember when young was not a television set or a radio , but a book shelf loaded with texts I could barely understand . As I learnt to walk I would encounter papers flapping away from the said shelf. In those days as I crawled, stood and got to school, 1 would by class three constantly nag my mother Jeddidah Wanjiku to get me an Atlas, which become my constant companion. I gladly enjoyed pointing places all over the world. That’s how I come to learn where Samosa lies, new Papua guinea and the capitals of Europe, it is around this age that my mum introduced me to a series of fine children’s books. I read with antipation such books like, Wasike and the birds, which I had to understand in order to answer some questions which were found at the back of its cover with great determination and motherly love my mother cultivated in me the love of written word.
Due to this love 1 still recall the voice of my class seven prefect barking: you cannot read a dictionary, up to today I can confirm to him, wherever he is, that 1 am still reading my dictionary, consulting it on meaning and classification of words.
Which, then, are some of the reading which left an imprit in my young mind? How can I forget such moving narrations like, the flying adyssey of icarus and Daedulus. Once icarus ignored the sober warning of Daedalus, his father, he plugged , dropped to his unfortunate death, this made me realize the need of heeding advice, at such early age. It also made me realize that the ambition of as youth full age should be tempered with the distilled wisdom of old age. O, what about Ali Baba and die forty thieves, open sesame, a story which opened a world of imagination unknown to me before, add to this my mother constant narration, by the fireside, as we waited for supper, and you realize how rich my surrounding was with words, her stories of beautiful girls turning to ogres fired my creativity, apart from instilling in me the understanding that not all the shines is worth its weight in gold.
I then graduated to reading James Hardly Chase where I found the plot fascinating. I still recall that giant of a man, in mission to Siena, who used to have a table at a certain restaurant. Today I find myself, albeit unconsciously, at the same table, in my local restaurant. In school, I would fight hard to lay on my hands not only James Hardly Chase but also Nancy Drew, and the famous .Five series. Books my mind consumed with gusto.
I recall once disturbing my uncle to let me read, Oliver Twist, to which I remember him answering me thus: you are too young to make any use of it. To this day I still maintain that I would have understood. Oliver Twist crying: add me some more. In order to compensate for this lost chance, I am right now as I write pouring over Charles Dickens, Great Expectation Going to high school I divided into concubine by ElechiAmadi and Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe. What a scintillating Africa portraits. Chinua was not only a superb writer but also a wizard in use of words. He didn’t just write, I believe, but rather he painted with an expertise of a virtuoso. For his words were his master strokes. Elechi Amadi he conjured a kaleidoscope of scenes and images which stirred my mind.
On the wall of my high school library there was placard which read: leaders are readers. It too contributed in me a lifelong desire to read I read not only to be a leader of men, which categorically I am not, but to be a leader of my own self. This library, too, introduced me to news week and times magazines. recalls Lewinsky affairs? Papers which I developed a lifelong love affairs with.
Going to college, I was introduced to philosophy as I pursued science in the laboratory. To get a relieve from the rigorous demands of the sciences, I dug into John Locke’s subjection of women. I devoured Descartes. I think I am. Though I found some of these reading a bit abstract I soldered on. Like a good soldier, I was determined to move on, never willing to quit my station. At this time. I also developed a good taste for classic and historical writings. I would shift and sift through these readings however difficult they appeared to my mind. Thus I am partially, if not a hundred percent what I have read.
What now, that I am aged? Today I earn my living by learning sciences, but I earn my dairy
bread and satisfaction by writing. I write edit, proofread, design covers and produce all the books I have written Sometimes I get the feeling that all this effort is worthless, of no use. Such a nature is part of human psyche and I am not an exceptional. In nature, too there is no water that do not break and that do not settle. Thus with this kind of conviction I have. Managed to keep dissembling thought about being an author at bay up.
What then does it entail to write? To write one has to live inside ones’ mind (the invisible part of a write) prior to putting pen to paper. At that instance the mind turns into a crucible of ideas and thought. To write it to reflect to look inwards which sometimes end up unearthing some unknown parts of a writer’s personality but it does not come easily. For one who write’s lives a portion of his life under torments.in order to come with something enjoyable,readable and insightful,the labours pain which accompany this exercise are sporadic,crushing and nerve wreaking.
A mind in crisis, that is, a mind trying to bring into oneness the disparity between the ideal and the real as perceived by one’s psyche. A mind hanging between this gap of ideal and real has no much option but to make the thought and ideas it posses flower into that which tangible and concrete This it preserve in writing. This is visible part of the writer.
Thus every genuine writer is a creator and a conceiver too. Writing is a torturous journey, accompanied by pleasurable pain of a productive fruit, a readable and educative work.
As I write I find myself under bout of intense push to put my ideas down and soon afterwards, say after some days, everything goes blank. No reflective ideas. No solid thoughts.
All this time my exclusive zone responsible for writing seems to be on a leave. Occupied neither by cluster nor by profitable ideas and thoughts. At such an instance, my mind seems to be a mind on a searching mode for the next chapter of ideas or thoughts to be put down.
I have few resources when it comes to book production, if any, but 1 had resolved that I would not lazy around, till I produce at least one book. As write this, I have around five books, plus two textbooks. What I don’t have is many copies, I confess, for I produce at my local cyber. Do these books sell? Yes and no for this 1 confess to be true. A writer’s business is not to succeed but to continue to fail in good spirit. When it comes to writing, producing and marketing my books, I decided to follow the path less travelled. Everybody told me it is impossible to do it I thought it was possible I had to swim upstream.
There are obstacles all through but obstacles do not move me, instead the influence that these books once bought will have on their readers drives me. What more? Despite coming against so much negative feedback from the society about book writing, I have guarded my mind against such negative, discouraging thoughts which may arise from such feedback. I am not willing to quit writing however measly the society look upon books authors.
And on those disparaging remarks about writing, I have this answer: negative critism rarely moves me, and scarcely find a room in my mind. For that tree which shakes vigorously on the oncoming wind end up tearing itself apart and so is the mind which gets itself agitated by incoming windy critism and negative thinking. This conviction keeps me going, keeps me writing.
Author of five creative books and two textbooks and a motivational speaker