We were standing on top of a hill overlooking this green valley filled with green maize stalks and grass thatched roofs when a colleague asked me, “having written books, do you ever think or wish that you could win an award, say like other writers like Chimamanda or that guy who was a child-soldier…what was his name?”
“Yes! That guy, he came to Kenya right?”
“Yes, he did.”
I said and started walking towards a tree hoping to have a moment to myself to think of what he asked me and probably ask myself the same question out loud. He called out to me, “so, do you?”
I turned and the whole team was looking at me. There was that new girl who loved to smile and chat on her new phone, and that guy who always wore blue shirts to work and never had a pen with him, and the other guy who dozed off in matatus until he drooled! I looked at them and thought, “be diplomatic Dora.”
But when I opened my mouth, why came out was ,”Yes, all the time.”
See, it’s not just winning the award or dressing up for an event that I yearn for, but to meet other writers in a set up where all are great but only one gets to go home with the award. It would be a memorable time for me because I would get to learn from other writers about their journey and would leave with a set of books to read to build up on my experience, who wouldn’t want that?
My dream is to be vastly read. I would rather have my books passed on from one reader to another than to have a short shelf life.
So, to be honest, what really unsettled me about the question today was that I had never asked myself the same question out loud. I had never asked myself, “do you want to win awards Dora?”
I had never heard my voice as I asked myself this question and I learned that sometimes your voice is as steady as a rock while telling the world about your heart’s desires.