A Writer’s Predicament (In the life of a writer)

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Recently, a close friend (Cera Kieha) of mine challenged me. She simply posed to me the question, ‘What is the life of a writer like?’ I scratched my head and pondered over the question. I did not have the right words to answer her question.

Days turned to weeks. Then, my Aha! moment came. I expressed myself in the best way I know how. I came up with the amazing (you be the judge) post below:

The books are sprawled on the table. I am scratching my head. I have to come up with the next story, fast. What do I write about? Where do I start from? Will it be good enough? Will people like it?

The table vibrates startling me. My phone’s ringtone fills the air almost immediately. Who could that be? Couldn’t they pick another time to call? I stare at the screen. It is a new number. For a moment I think of ignoring the call. I pick it on the last ring.

(A brief moment of silence, the person at the other end says nothing. I was in no mood to be the one to start off the conversation).
Stranger : Hello…
Me : Hello, who am I speaking to? 
Stranger : Who is this?
(From the voice, I can tell it is a man on the other end of the line. The guy clearly had some nerve. I want to scream. I keep my composure).
Me : You are the one who is calling me. I am the one who is at liberty to ask that question.
Stranger : Oh! Pardon me. I got your number from the internet and I wished to talk to you.
Me : What exactly did you wish to speak to me about?
Stranger : You are the witchdoctor, right?
Me : (gasping) What do you mean? Have you called to insult me?
Stranger : Sorry…Sorry. That is not what I meant.
Me : What did you mean?
(I am getting agitated. I contemplate dropping the call).
Stranger : What I wanted to mean is that you are like a witchdoctor.
Me : Why would you insinuate that?
Stranger : I am speaking to the writer, right?
Me : Who wants to know?
(I was going to also give him a hard time).
Stranger : I came across a piece you wrote sometime back that is why I am calling.
Me : How does me and my writing equate me to a witchdoctor? ( The puzzlement in my voice clearly apparent).
Stranger : If you allow me to, I will be glad to explain it to you through a series of questions.
(A brief moment of silence. I have to make up my mind on whether to continue with this charade. I decide I have nothing to lose).
Me : Okay, go ahead.
Stranger : The questions I will pose to you will be in regard to your writing process. Or simply your journey as a writer. How would you describe the life of a writer, in regards to writing?
Me : Generally, I have come to find writing is to a large extent a solitary life.
Stranger : Very good. Why do you write?
Me : Because I have to. Half the time I feel that I write because it is necessary for me to do so. I do not need a reason for me to write. Also, a part of me feels that I am fulfilling my service to humanity…
Stranger : Where do you get your inspiration to write from?
(The conversation started to feel more like an interrogation).
Me : Mmm… from a lot of places, actually. My surroundings for one. Events and experiences in my personal life and of some of my acquaintances…  
(He disrupts me mid-sentence).
Stranger : Do you also suffer from voices speaking to you in your head?
(I burst into laughter).
Me : Yes, it has happened a couple of times.
Stranger : What would you say you hope to achieve with your writing?
Me : Over and above anything else, I want to touch lives through my writing. I also wish to inform, entertain and inspire.
Stranger : I see…anything else?
Me : Through my writing, I also want to preserve moments that to me I feel are too valuable to be lost in time.
Stranger : Would you say your writing has power?
Me : Power to do what?
Stranger : Before you answer that one, which topics do you focus on?
Me : A wide range of topics. I do not want to confine myself to a specific topic. I am ‘no genre’ kind of writer.
Stranger : You know, the power to affect lives. If you can allow me to give an example, the power to break a couple of hearts or inspire action.
Me : That depends on the people my writing reaches. But, coming to think of it I actually hope it possesses such power.
Stranger : In conclusion, you will allow me to explain to you my earlier comparison of you to a witchdoctor.
Me : Feel free.
Stranger : Well…in your sort of solitary confinement, if I could call it that.
Me : Mmm…
Stranger : From wherever, you come up with your writings in a similar manner a witchdoctor comes up with spells and concoctions.
Me : (I find myself nodding in agreement. I bring myself out of that reverie) Where are you heading with this?
Stranger : Be patient…
(Clearly the guy had some nerve).
Stranger : After you are done coming up with whatever piece you cook up, what do you do?
Me : Obviously, I publish it.
Stranger : Exactly, you release it out into the world. Much like the witchdoctor when he casts out a spell with the intentions to do evil or good.
Me : You could say that…
Stranger : I hope I have proven to you my point. Later.
(He drops the call).

I stare at my phone’s screen. Some nerve that one. His words ring through my mind. I can’t bring myself to ignore them. There is some truth to what he said. I get back to my writing.

I got a chance to be featured on her fashion blog as a guest writer on her lifestyle segment. The above post was featured with the same title. Be sure to head over to her blog ‘Cera Kieha’ and check out the amazing things she is doing. Click here to head over to her blog.

Teiya Oloilole

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