Expressing myself by speaking is never easy; I run through my sentences. If you are not concentrating when I speak you would not hear the words I say.
I come from a family of fast talkers. When we have visitors over they struggle to keep up with our conversations. Good thing is that we understand ourselves. We are in sync with our fast speech. So the first identifiable misconception on my part; assuming the rest of the world is like my family in respect to talking.
I don’t like the sound of my voice, in my head I sound one way; I sound soft beautiful like the warm voices that writers describe in novels; in reality I sound far from that. When I hear recordings of myself I cringe at the sound of my voice; in reality my voice is so thin, sounds almost cute like that of a coy school girl, ‘’Almost’’ being the operative word. Second problem I have with speaking.
I discovered books at an early age; I have a father that would give you a book for your birthday instead of the skip rope you asked for. I know you get the picture I am painting here. So birthdays were filled with books, holidays were filled with even more books and days my father was in the mood after work we visited the book shop to get even more books. My mother became a believer in the power of books and till today we have endless cartons of books in my house.
My imagination was allowed to take form, take its own course from the stories I read. I was allowed to form my own ideologies on life, decide for myself what is right from wrong. My story has a purpose if you would be patient enough to go on this journey with me.
One of our most priced books as children (my siblings and I) was a collection of stories, 1001 and one fairy tales, if memory serves me right was the name of the book. This particular book struck a chord with me. Not because my mother was furious the day she found out the book got lost that is a story for another day. It awoken something in me, I started to think not only about the words that filled the lines of the stories but the minds that put the words to paper.
I started to wonder about the writers. How they came up with such beautiful stories. My Grandfather not to long after gave me an outlet for this wonder. On one of our many summer visits he bought us journals and encouraged us to fill them with words, with the activities that happened every day.
I took his advice to the letter and didn’t stop writing. It started with filling the journal with the activities of my day and gradually I let my imagination take over and I started writing what I felt and the stories that I dreamt up in my mind. Writing became my specking tool, I wrote letters to my mum (I never sent them). The more I wrote the more I discovered it is easier than talking. Nobody would tell me I spoke to fast or ‘’please can you come again’’. Because what I wrote down, gave people an insight into the workings of my mind, my opinions and views on issues. Writing makes sure that my ideas didn’t slip through my fingers.
The next step in my growth to becoming a writer was deciding what I wanted to write about. A lot can be told about a person from the things the person pens down. So I had to decide how I wanted the world to preserve me, what parts of myself I was ready to share with the world through writing. So I explored. The life changing experience that help me decide the type of things I wanted to write about happened a few years ago. I was on holidaying in Australia when an Asian woman asked ‘’Do you have running clean water back home’’. I was taken aback by this question. I didn’t understand how the rest of the world saw my country.
My friends and I laughed at the funny documentaries we watch showing children playing by streams women washing on stones beside the steams. What we found them amusing the rest of the world took it to heart and that image stuck in their memories and formed the bases for which they viewed my country Nigeria.
We have our many faults, I would give you that. We are far behind in development of social amenities and general economic development and growth. But we are a fighting nation, with men and women trying each day to better themselves. These men and woman fighting for a better Nigeria are hardly talked about, are hardly celebrated. So I have decided to write about these, my people, tell their stories one story at a time. Help in changing the world view of my country with my Gift of writing.
We need to stop complaining about the world view of our country and explore the gift of writing to change that view.
‘’I may not be able to speak but I sure can write.’’