“When I was little, we didn’t have computers and laptops and in the few places you knew one existed, you had no access to it. Back then, we wrote what we felt. This took much longer but it was more intimate. Before we learn how to write, we learn how to read, not just to understand the meaning of words and phrases, but to properly comprehend how their use could significantly alter the meaning of something. I was taught how to paint a vivid picture to my audience.”

These are the words I would say to my children’s children in an attempt to lure them into writing. I don’t think they’ll buy it though, the little rascals.

The truth is that I grew up poor, there is no denying that. However, my parents made very significant steps to ensure that we did not remain so. My older sister was and still is, quite brilliant and soon enough, the teachers at our local public primary school discovered that she could tell stories as soon as they put a pencil in her hand. Writing was not the only thing she was good at. Quite frankly, she excelled in everything. I am confident that I have told this story before and while it bears no repeating, I do have time today.

I, on the other hand, was only ever good at one thing: being the complete opposite of who she was. What we had in common, however, was that I too, could write. Well, at least I thought I could. Back then, every great story be it written in English or Swahili, was displayed across the notice boards as examples of great writing. While I cannot state with certainty that I beat her record, I think I came pretty close. I read her writing, little miss perfect played by all the rules: Opening sentences, thoughts packaged per paragraph, great flow and closing statements. She carefully guided her readers on her thought process and ensured that they were with her every step of the way. I did things differently, I let my audience find their way. Order, pfft. Where’s the fun in that?

Today, I decided to write like I used to when I was eight: with a pencil, carefully carving out the words as I went along. It has been ages since I put my thoughts on paper and I must say, it does feel strange however liberating. I have not put anything together for quite a while and that’s a shame. I am wondering whether I have been too busy for for it, or maybe I liked being intoxicated with my heavy thoughts. Perhaps I was truly afraid of what I would write down.

A creative is thought to create a masterpiece from thin air and sometimes from insight. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Creativity aligns itself with the laws of Physics, one cannot create from nothing. I would like to think that creatives have a different level of insight, an inspiration not just from what they see, but from what they perceive. They give life to mere thoughts, they capture feelings and convey their audience from one reality to another. I believe that in order to create art, the artist consciously or subconsciously combines of everything perceived through senses. A masterpiece would go much further to resonate with its audience. And just like art, writing could be distinguishable too. Therefore when I grab that pencil, I must decide on whether I will be sharing a story or telling a tale.

Regardless of the route taken, creation is evidence of more than just imagination. It must be grounded through feeling, sight, touch, smell or taste and irrespective of its nature; be it a drawing, a meal, a painting, music, a book or a dance. Through what was created, the audience or recipient can be able to discern what was perceived by the creator, should they be keen enough.

With this, what then can you tell from my stories?

Hmm, and maybe this is why they tell jokes about artists. They say the love of an artist is like no other … That once you experience the love of an artist, it is all you will crave. You become their muse, their inspiration. Perhaps love arouses a beast in them that they did not know existed. In the end, they immortalise love through their creation because after all, a masterpiece cannot be created from nothing.

But what happens when the love fades away, when you are no longer the reason for their inspiration? Do they lose that fire that burned oh so fiercely? Do they stumble, directionless, because something has been taken from them? Do they break because something is missing or do they rise up and find strength in their loss?

Like every other human being, navigating through change is difficult but necessary. It strips one of sight and leaves them as naked as a jaybird. I have come to a crossroads of sorts and it is here that I am perfecting the art of doing nothing. I heard that for Italians, it is il dolce far niente, but I cannot share the optimism.

What I am learning is trust, though I must admit that it does not come easy.

“Trust in what?” You ask.

“Whom.”

While Google still existed when I was eight, we still had to learn how to use the dictionary to find the meaning of words. I used to peruse mine quite often and never did like lending it out because kids never really took care of books. Years after Law School and into my career, I still have my 8th Edition Oxford Learners Dictionary from high school.

It describes trust as a belief, which in itself raises more questions, like, if trust a belief and faith is placing trust is something or someone, then the two can be used interchangeably, correct? So where does that leave hope? Can we then be hopeless without faith? Can we place our trust in another without the conviction of a positive outcome?

I was afraid to write for a very long time because writing means holding a mirror to myself and realising that I am afraid of what I will see staring back. I knew that I would have to write eventually, and avoiding this day did not in any way ease my burden, it merely prolonged it. It would have been easier for me to admit that I was terrified, but perhaps I was afraid that admitting my terror was proof that I was scared.

However, there is no shame in fear, how we face it is what defines us. We continue moving forward, despite it, and master the art of taking the next step, even when it is the only step we see because that alone is sufficient to keep one foot in front of the other. After all, a journey of a thousand miles …

Faith, Hope and Trust are all beliefs for they cannot be seen, heard or touched. They can only be felt. They can be intuitions but most importantly, they can be inspirations. Hope comes first because it connotes desire. Faith follows because it is the doorway between desire and action. Trust cements all three beliefs because it is not only the fruit of the two, but also evidence of their existence.

Trust is an action that involves letting go if any attempts at control. There is always a price for everything and to completely let go, one must master the final skill: Patience. This is the price I have to pay for change.

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  1. Haha! It could, as well, have been written by him, so many people had the same thoughts, and I am…

  2. Thank you! I am kinda sad that we were unable to keep writing for such a long time. However, we…

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