March 07, 2008

My Blogenesis

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to Incessant Scribbles. I had penned down something well thought out and appropriate long before now, only to reach the cybercafe and realise I have left it back in my room. Who needs that silly sheet of paper anyway...

I settled down to write after I finished secondary school. I wrote a lot of poems, and a lot of other stuff I'm glad you won't be able to grade, and I kept them. I did not show them to anyone neither did I tell anyone I was writing. It was for my eyes only. That was the same way I acted when I began writing lenghtier prose. I delayed showing my work to my siblings, friends and family. In hindsight, I think I was anxious. I was not sure how they would react.

Here in Nigeria we tell stories. A lot of stories. Parents tell their children stories, grandparents gather their grandchildren and tell them stories. It's in our culture, it's in our blood. We tell stories often...we just don't seem to write as much. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we don't have books written by indigenous writers, we do. It's just that writing is still somewhat a foreign idea. Telling your parents or friends, in those years before third generation writers such as Chimamanda Adichie drew more attention to the art, that you wanted to be a writer was like saying you wanted to be a musician. I use that analogy because when my parents were kids, music was not the ideal career path. Parents did not support kids who studied it, it was something rebellious, no-good teens did.

I might be wrong, but I think one of the reasons our parents are so worried when we talk about pursuing the arts is because they fear we would not have enough to support ourselves and in the future, our families. Yes, pursuing a literary career doesn't pay the bills always. It doesn't guarantee a steady source of income in this part of the world. Our parents know it, we too can see it with our young eyes. So what do we end up doing?. We relegate to the background our inherent talent and pursue a career we don't not love, just so we can be more comfortable. Just so we can fit into a society that neither supports nor appreciates art. I think it's also possible (it seems to be the case with me) that we are not sure of exactly how much talent we possess. Is it below average or just average writing skills? As is the case with me, there were not many successful Nigerian writers I could relate to until Adichie came along. A girl who is not as far off as our literary greats- Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Elechi Amadi etcetera. A girl whose story I could read and draw parallels.

I'm not saying I have broken away from the norm and "I'm pursuing my dream". I'm just speaking out. My generation does not entertain itself with literature. If entertainment doesn't come from a screen we are apathetic. Growing up, I developed an interest in books. So much so I genuinely appreciated a book my mom got me on my birthday (Enid Blyton's The Rabbit's Whiskers and Other Stories) . I don't think many of the kids in my generation (Millenial) would smile happily if presented with a storybook or novel as a birthday present instead of a brand new game console. Without the genius of Joanne Kathleen Rowling, millions of kids worldwide would never have discovered the sweet joy, words on a printed page can give. The joy derived from flipping pages, wondering what the character is going to do next, trying to guess what the author will write next. The joy that you get from being drawn into a book, into someone else's world and coming back out savouring the experience days, months and years.

People my age (those in their early twenties) don't carry novels, that's for girls. I can count on one hand the number of friends I have with whom I can discuss literature. I can't count the number of times I have felt embarrassed for carrying and borrowing books when my peers were borrowing game consoles. Fortunately, I never discarded the habit. I love books now and I will love them till I die.

I am trying my hand at writing, I want to see if I can affect people with what I write. And to do find out that, I need an audience. That's where YOU come in. I would be immensely grateful if you stop by as often as you can, and check out what I have written, and if I have written anything, I need you to leave your COMMENTS. No matter how harsh they sound, no matter how little you think you know about writing to judge me, Leave a comment. If you think I'm really good, SPREAD THE WORD. I will appreciate it very much. It won't be easy juggling school work with this but I will post as often as i can.

THANK YOU for your time,

Osondu Nnamdi Awaraka

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