It is the mark of a great writer to envelop in language a universal yet ineffable human experience, to give shape and voice to the silent ether of our most cavernous interiority. Among the most inarticulable of those interior experiences is the power of art and the profundity with which it works us over, which some exceptional minds have attempted to articulate
I’m still putting structure to this craft; and consequently in my life as well. So my writing times are a bit erratic, but hopefully I have passed intermittent posting.
I am in a matatu when I have purposed to write. I have thoughts that advise me how un-necessary this is, how I can do this in the calmness of the evening. But I have succumbed before; I will not be fooled yet again.
Over the past year, thanks to being a part of a highly productive intense work ethic environment, I have learnt to respect adherence to structure- a sense of duty over emotional prompting. So this is not that inspired post- I have learnt: Amateurs wait for inspiration; professionals create their own inspiration. One way to get this done- sticking to a writing regimen whether the feeling strikes or not.
What’s love got to do with it. [Sometimes it should made to be] It’s a second hand emotion.
-Aretha Franklin (Paraphrased to fit the context)
Therefore allow me to make a toast to the journey towards professional writing: Mental shift by mental shift.
Today was a good day. Not the good kind of “I have had worse.” No. It was a simply good day.
I attended a workshop whose carrot before the cart dangle was Biko Zulu. The invite gave an impression that this prolific writer would facilitate the session for the entire workshop. This was not to be.
So after missing him on the first session, he made his entrance, mid- session. By this time, my colleague and I were exchanging texts that read something like this: “I thought Biko would be herding the discussion around storytelling.” (Not that the facilitator that took his stead sucked. No)
I already had a bias about his aura. I thought he was proud- a pride fuelled by achievement, a bit curt even. He wasn’t. On the contrary, his demeanour was humble; his words respectful and left a lingering inspiration for my ambitions.
First, he was not trained to become a good writer. In fact, he does not advocate for these online classes that promise to teach how to write. Phew! That saves me time and money. I was starting to like this guy.
I like people’s stories that make me feel normal- stories that level the self- created mountains of excuses of inertia towards my ambitions. Inertia is the exterior manifestation of dread in the interior.
He was a late bloomer. He discovered his knack at story writing while he was halfway pursuing his bio-chemistry degree. Double Tick!
Stories of pomp, colour, ease, and perfection don’t inspire. Stories of triumph over relatable struggles do.
I will spare you the details of his sober advice that validated my kindergarten writing skills. But if I would summarize what I derived from the hour with Biko: Gathua, you are in the right lane; and you are making small steps. Though movement has been intermittent and garnished with doubts here and lethargy there, scale up what you are already doing towards the craft, then just write more.
It was a good day.
I’m in a matatu. This is commitment! I’m trying to think about what to write. This voice in my head whispers: Just 100 words. Today is one of those days where just showing up testifies for you. (What’s my word count thus far? I press on)
Some random facts revealed by today’s crack of dawn:
- My computer was manufactured in China (I knew it! The blue light looked so chinese. It shares ancestry with my first phone- Dorado.)
- Kaspersky comes with an extra license. Though this particular anti-virus I bought does not seem to rikita the mademoni in my computer. I have silently said a prayer for cooperation when I log in tomorrow. That reminds me: my boss’ flash drive is one of the casualties of this demonic onslaught. Ave Maria!
- Excuses is us acting weak. And we become weak as a result. The ninjasm I have performed today to ensure my research project has been submitted; I have just broken my ceiling as far as hard-work is concerned.
Three is enough, right? Good night.
I bumped into this concept a while back when I was taking an online course: http://plusacumen.org/courses/storytelling-for-change/
It was the first module’s lesson that left an impression, perhaps deeper than the course intended.
A life map is a sketchy (or as deliberate as you may want) chronological account of a journey in any spectrum of your life.
I remember my life map focused on my education journey. I tried to use images to bring out these experience to life. It was such an introspective moment. I had to dig deep.After the exercise, however, I felt purged; a sense of intense carthasis. I knew I had to take life map journeys into the past of different spheres of my life.
Don’t forget the past. Learn from it
And so this blog will be about that. It is laying down on a canvas, and allowing myself to look at me from the outside.
Life maps are at the core of self-awareness. Crucial to understanding oneself demands one to analyse the choices and experiences that have shaped his/her life. This is not done with the aim of pledging allegiance to the processes and choices that led to the present; rather, it is for the purpose of sensitizing self of what one stands against; and uncovering the weapons within their arsenal that will help them forge towards the desired future.
But life mapping does not stop at identifying the formative forces of the past.The next step is capturing and presenting them as evidence for both personal future needs as well as those of other parties- a memoir of some sort.
Two or three times in your life, stop what you are doing and write a memoir.
This capture can benefit both the pilgrim and prodigy. The former: My friend is seeking for funding for his Masters education abroad. His past life well documented, is a great shot at facilitating the process. It is an evidence of purpose and direction.The latter: It is a journey of great inspiration for the future of humanity. I am a great beneficiary of autobiographies and I want to share my story with someone else.Who knows what effect that will have?
To a deeper awareness of self!
Inner peace, the kind that defies the outward worldly clamour and incessant pressure to belong, is conceived in solitude, behind locked doors and
tightly closed shutters. Its birth, however, begins when we stand in front of the mirror naked-stripped of all that we believe in; of the dogmas that have been passed
down to us; obfuscating and false idea systems produced by society’s elite, defiant of the murmur that peevishly whispers its uncalled for opines- definitions of doom and disaster.
It’s only in front of the mirror that we allow our eyes to open, not only to the curves of our physiques and the beauty of the outside man, but also to the hurting, abused and misused inner man,
the man scampering away from the whiff of success and greatness.
It’s only in front of this object that we can look at the man we are and juxtapose him against the freckled yet impeccable, unique being that stares back. Only through its uncanny power can we vehemently question peoples’ opinions and surmount the noxious words that sowed seeds of self loathe- the seeds we impute our insecurities