Fiction is my first love. I have been devouring it ever since I can remember.
When I was in class 2, in a school in Nakuru called Victonell, we were given the privilege of being able to borrow from the library. Finally deemed old enough to be entrusted with books, I was ecstatic. During our first English lesson, when the teacher took us to the library, he stressed what a serious responsibility it is. How we would be held accountable for the condition in which we brought back the books, how we would be fined for any damages, how long you could have a book out, how many books at a time, the fine per day for lateness…plus a whole lot of other bureaucracies. Then, we were given the power to read and explore.
At our next library lesson, exactly a week after, my English teacher noticed that my library card indicated that I had been in every single day to borrow a book. This earned me a caning, I kid you not! A cane for every book I had borrowed and then returned without reading, said the teacher who did not believe that I could have possibly read from cover to cover any of the books and then returned them, even though I told him that I had. So after the caning, a new rule was put in place for my class. For each and every book that was read and returned, we had to write a 500 word synopsis of it.
Thank you English teacher who did not believe me, you are probably the reason I like to write. I still borrowed a book every day and handed in my write-ups every morning like clockwork.
That aside, ever since then, I have been devouring fiction and dabbling with words.
Sometime last year, a good friend of mine who also loves to write was published in an anthology of short stories. My friend, Sally, and I have come from very far off, even in a literary perspective. Once, we even tried to write a novel together…ha ha!
When I read her story in the anthology, I remember how excited I was that she was actually writing! Life having taken us both in such varied directions and school being so busy, I was at a place where I never wrote. At that point I remember thinking to myself that never having written would be something I would regret on my death bed. I occasionally mention that in a perfect world I would have gone to school to study literature. But alas, what would you do with a degree in literature, is what the general public would have wanted to know. What will you be employed to do with that?
The realisation that not having made time for my writing would be a major disappointment is what got me writing again. I have written on and off for a while. I have my share of dead blogs, anonymous blogs, journals filling up cupboards in my room from when I was younger and used to trust them with all my thoughts.
Writing felt at home on my fingers and in my thoughts even after the on and off relationship I’ve had with it. I have not written for a while, but it makes me happy, in a way that let’s me know, yes, this is one of those things I should be doing.
2016 being my year of #InvestInYourself, I decided writing would be one of the things I would invest in. It is not always easy to write. I enjoy it, yes, but some days I have to slog through it. On a good day I will put down 1000 words in under an hour. On other days I will stare at the blinking cursor on my computer screen for two hours and have nothing to show for it, a few scattered thoughts perhaps, the words just refuse to come. That is what the past week has been, I just have not been able to. Writer’s block? Lack of discipline?
…whatever version rocks your boat.
I started a few posts that I did not finish. I questioned at length what and why I write. Whether it can be classified into a genre. Whether it is for me or for my audience. Whether I should explore writing in a certain niche because right now I kinda just write about the things at the top of my head.
Luckily, providence perhaps, this internal battle coincides with the Biko Zulu Master Class which I, earlier this year, set my heart on attending. I came home from day one with fire to write, write, write. I am so excited to love words right now. We were asked, as part of the introduction, to say what our expectations of the 3 day Master Class are. Mine is simple, I want to speak with other writers, about the challenges, the insecurities, the ups and downs of being a lover of words. The sentimentalist that I am, I’m in it for the experiences, the conversations, the people…and what a diverse group of people I have met!
I guess I am searching for something, I may not even be sure what myself. I am at a place in my life where I am making choices that will dictate the rest of my life(or maybe not…) and I have been afraid of making the wrong choice. But, there really is no right or wrong choice, is there? Life is not that black and white. I love the timing of this Master Class because it is an enriching and out-of-the-box experience in my life. One that already has me viewing the world and people in a different way, one that has me interacting with people from all ages and backgrounds and walks of life who I can connect with on the subject of writing. I am in a very happy place. An exponential growth kind of place. A place where I am in touch with Kathleen, Kathleen beneath all the layers that are a result of the beliefs, stereotypes, fears, imposed on by the world at large. A Kathleen who I can trust to make a decision which, in future, I will look back on and consider the one that was really and truly meant for me. The Kathleen who knows even better than me what 5, 10, 20 years from now I want to be doing and how to get there.