I thought about this post today. Waking up at six and thinking about the words as I did laundry, had breakfast, left the house, finished reading a book. When I turned on the radio or pretended to move, I thought about this post.
You are very patient, aki if I were you?
If you were me, and that’s impossible because there’s none like me and there never will be, but let me indulge your fantasy for a minute. If you were me then what?
Sometimes the sheer boldness of people astounds me. It’s like walking right into incoming traffic or better yet walking in front of an Umoinner, ROG, or those Rongai matatus where exhausts and loud music are nothing if they don’t scare the life out of you!
There’s this book, Last Train from Liguria by Christine Dwyer Hickey that has me going round in circles, digging up ghosts from my past. It’s a story centered around Bella, a woman in her thirties who leaves Ireland to serve as a tutor to a young boy named Alec ( Allesandro) in Italy. Fascism, a war, love and betrayal fill the story that is told from as early as 1924, 1933 all through to 1995. It is the ability of the characters to retain their individuality that stuck with me. It’s like in reading all 392 pages of the story,I never really knew the characters, like they slipped through my fingers and I cannot find them.
So, what? Why would that intrigue me? Well, patience grasshopper, it is an art that I have tried to master and also appreciate and it nagged me so much that I had to call my mentor to seek some closure. Why couldn’t I create characters like that?
His first question was why would you want to create such characters?
I said power. Every character wants something and even those who appear not to, cease to be bystanders at some point in the story.
He laughed. I heard him laugh as though it was a joke, but I was frustrated. When I am frustrated I cry and God knows why tears flow out of these eyes when all I want is to toss stuff and leave everything around me in ashes, but he laughed and then asked me to talk to him about the book. When I ran out of credit, he called back and listened.
So do you see why its bugging me? I asked hoping to have his understanding.
He simply asked, have you read your books? Especially Water, have you read it?
I said yes. He cleared his throat and said I mean really read it, like you were the reader and not the writer editing her work.
I said I haven’t. I could not, not really.
He said, Read it and then call me.
So now, I have to read my own book and suddenly I wonder what I will find in there. Typos, definitely. I know there has to be at least one typo, but what else? Will I love it or hate it and why should I read the second book in the series and not the first?
He said, well, people think that it is the first step that makes all the difference but it’s the second step that actually does because it determines whether you’ll go back to where you were or proceed with your journey.