Some began to write in their teens. Some began in primary school.
Some began to write at four.
Some began in their diapers.
You read these things and fear fills your heart. Older than thirty, you are considered a middle aged writer. If you had a british passport, at least you would have the Granta 40 under 40 to dream off. Now it is just a void, a chasm of missed opportunity and a glyph of wasted youth. A tragedy of ignorance, science-subject-fixation, and the buying of lies: You must be a doctor. Best grades guarantee a good life. Writers are hungry. Nigerians don’t read. Who reads Africans?
Then, you hear a whisper: soft but sure, solemn but loving, coming from somewhere below your right ear.
You aren’t a middle aged writer. You aren’t a writer when the world says you are one.
You were a writer before you were born.
When God foreknew you, thought of you,
When you awaited a family in His Mind,
You were a writer.
He designed you for your purpose with the care and skill of the Ultimate Precision Engineer.
He placed you in that home where books were loved, honoured– nay– worshipped on purpose.
He placed the library on your daily walk to school’s route. (Made sure they still had books in them at the time) for a reason.
He put Aesop’s fables, Nurudeen’s adventures and dozen’s of Enid Blyton books in your hands because your destiny needed them.
He gave you Law lecturers as parents. You spent weekends reading the Nigerian Constitution and Law Gazette’s aloud while Dad nodded and corrected your pronunciation. You spent weekdays perfecting spellings while Mom stirred her pot of Atama soup and passed you bits of dry fish, because that was the childhood you needed for your calling.
You had magnets in your hands and books were drawn to you all the time: Pacesetters, Onitsha Market Literature, Babylonian History,My Book of Bible Stories, A Good Sex Guide, and so many Agatha Christie whodunits .
You skipped from school to dorm saying your poems, your rhymes and you made up songs. The songs outlived your brief six year stay there. Your book of poems, wasn’t so lucky.
Even as a science student, you tried to study Geography. After a single class and you ran to Literature where you belonged. There you outshone the art students without meaning to, like a fish that found a stream.
“I’ll make you Minister Of Literature when I am President” your bosom friend said and both of you giggled into packets of Okin biscuit and diluted Ribena ‘juice’ concentrate.
Such dreams weren’t SSCE compatible.
You joined the Press Club, the Wazobia Club, The Drama Club, The Debate Club too. You days were full of words, themes and expression– a rainbow from literary heaven.
To be continued.
God Bless You!