At the onset of my literary journey, was a burning desire to express my thoughts and self. Wasn’t much of a talker, but found great ease in writing. I turned to poetry.
I read a lot of old English poems. By old, I mean 18th/19th century writers. I loved John Keats and Lord Byron. I fell in love with Jane Austen’s works; witty, clever banter and lovely exchanges amongst the characters. I read Shakespeare and adored the archaic English with its heady dose of figurative language. In the background, I was reading psalms and singing hymns in our local church. For the latter, I was amazed at the poetic ensemble!
I guess from the moment of singing hymns, my path was cut out. I sort of rebelled, on a literary level and wrote a fair portion of poems, with Christian themes! But I kept to the rhyme, rhythm and traditional poetry structure, similar to the famed poets. This placed the marker on my literary journey.
I have written poems from philosophical standpoints, celebrated the beauty of nature and the wholesomeness of life. But that true love, which hums those hymns in my heart, still got my loyalty!
Journeying on, I gathered my notes and sent out my proposal. Soon after, my publisher Bill Carmichael came calling. There has been no looking back afterward! I wrote novels with characters that honoured God. From an Orphan to a Queen Esther and Influence of a King. Both have featured in international literary festivals and fetched handsome awards. The themes are not religious, and not preachy! But certainly not shy in pointing out that in the normalcy of life that we all strive for, there is reinforcement and strength that comes from the place of meditation and fellowship with God.
Like every journey, there have been moments of quick-paced action, moments of pauses and moments of relative calm. When I turned down the pitch really, really low, I pursued other aspects of me – delivering on corporate targets or nurturing children. During moments on pause mode, I reasoned logically, that the time or place was not right. When it got quick-paced and action oriented, it was often tied around a media plan and/or book release when on leave.
Ultimately, it has been a journey that has shaped my walk with God. I have also had the joy of finding others catch on to this as well.
For instance, I visited a relative and noticed a book on his coffee table. I picked it up, did a quick scan and stood erect. As I checked who the writer was, my relative casually mentioned. “You should know her…she has been following you!” Smiles, I knew her.
One morning, I got a call from a dear friend – who has generated one of the greatest literary buzz on the African continent. She was writing her first book — a Christian devotional!
Speechless!!! Yes, I was. But delighted that despite the elitist and grandeur associated with the traditional literary field – one she had promoted with uttermost passion – when she chose to express herself in literature, she turned to what was true to her!
Everyone has a journey in self – expression. While it may not fit within a stereotype or standard scale, you know when your heart dances to that idea, to the privilege of setting out on a journey of self-discovery. You know with some level of assurance that you’ve got to set sail and break the waves as you advance into new territory. No adrenaline pumping action to prove a point or stake a claim. Just a true, sincere, and open-minded approach to what is innate and waiting for your expression.