Thursday, 21 March 2013

An introduction... Part 2

As time went on, I found several ways to discourage myself from pursuing this goal. The first road block was finding that I was not a natural verbal story-teller. I could not sit in the midst of a circle of friends, family, well-wishers or strangers and pluck a story from thin air. Surely, to be a writer, you have to be a good story teller? You need to regale friends first, then convert the audible to the written, don't you? I had failed at the first hurdle. I commiserated with myself and decided to be satisfied reading the works of other much more talented ones than I. For the rest of my time in secondary school, I never put pen to paper.

The next roadblock was that, being Nigerian, aiming for life as writer was not an objective looked upon with any favour. Having been identified 'clever' early on, few avenues were open to me: lawyer or doctor. I chose doctor. There was no point in fighting it- it was for my own good, after all. Unfortunately for me, I was not so brainy as to be able to take the studying of medicine in my stride whilst doing a whole lot of other extra-curricular activities. It was a struggle that pushed out any other activity that required the use of anything more than a minimum amount of brain power. My skull was relentlessly stuffed with anatomy, physiology, genetics, immunology and all the rest of the horrendously long list of things I had to to learn in order to be in with a chance of pass my finals first time.

Throughout all this, I still felt the urge, bubbling inside me, to at least attempt to write. I would buy one notebook after another, declare each my 'writing pad' and start on a couple of stories. However, time after time, it would come to a halt. Sometimes jerked harshly back to reality as I became more submerged in the world I was creating, like my subconscious had suddenly panicked because by surrendering myself wholly to the story, I was pushing out something I had learned; something that was perching precariously at the edge of my external auditory meatus (ear canal) and was in danger of falling out and being lost into oblivion, if I forced any imaginary characters or ideas into the cramped space that was my skull. I always had to choose. And medicine always won.

However, there came a turning point. After I finished my finals (and passed first time), I started my two year foundation programme. For the first time in eight years, I did not have to do an exam for over a year. It was a kind of freedom I came to enjoy in many unexpected ways. One of them being that I could think seriously about writing without feeling too guilty about work or study neglected. I thought about what sort of books I'd want to write and I realised that the books I enjoyed the most were ones that took me away from the realities of day to day life (no surprise there, I suppose) and showed me worlds and alternate realities that left me feeling like I had acutally lived those lives.

But the one story and the one author that I read and declared 'I want to do what she has done', is J.K Rowling. I think I will forever be in awe of what she created. If I can come up with something half as riveting, I will be enormously pleased with myself.

With this thought permanently at the back of my head, I carried on. One day in 2011, sitting in the lounge of a gym waiting for a friend of mine to register, I picked up a magazine. Flicking mindlessly though the pages, I came across my flash of inspiration. It was a picture of a grand, sweeping staircase and the whole page was in black and white. For some reason, that photo reached out, straight to the heart of my imagination, grabbed it and ran. It has been running since.

I created this blog over two years ago, during a more sedate placement. I wanted it to be a place where people came to talk about books they loved; their favourites. I never intend it to be a review site. As far as books are concered, I know how difficult they are to produce. If I don't like a book, I don't finished reading it-life is too short. But I do not criticise. There would be people that like it, after all. I think to myself, 'At least they've written a book'. I did not have the time to work on exposing the blog after I set it up and I did not know enough people who were mad about books, to get enough posts on to the site. And so it dwindled.

Now, I've decided to revive it and take it in another direction . I have decided to use it as diary. It will be a diary of my attempt to write a novel - a trilogy; the lessons I learn along the way; the bitter and sweet experiences that I go through and most of all, the joy I feel that at least now, over 50,000 words later, I AM WRITING.


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