Thursday, 27 October 2016

Finding My Own Voice

There are authors whose writings have informed my understanding and appreciation of writing as an art over the years. Maya Angelou, Tess Gerritsen, Diane Chamberlain, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Thomas Hardy, Chinua Achebe, Nicholas Sparks, Petina Gappah, Alice Walker, quite an eclectic selection. From time to time, I like to quote some of these writers in my writings too. Though I cite their examples, I find it more satisfying and pleasurable when I birth something of my own. A quote, a poem, an article or indeed a book. After all, genuine authorship entails being able to create own content!

Writers/authors will do well to read others and explore all kinds of genres. But in the end, they should be able to find their own voice. So, what does finding one’s voice mean? How does one even begin to find their own voice? Is it in the way a writer chooses their words, expressions, or is it in the way the reader responds to those words? 

Finding my own voice is and has been a process. A process those in the know will tell you spans for years. It has been and still is a process of finding, establishing my character as a writer. Depicting my true character in the way in which I present myself to the world through written word. It does not matter which words or phrases I use, rather, it is in the way in which my words and phrases give character to my writing.

The true nature of my writing should provoke, in my reader, certain thoughts, and feelings. This way the reader gets to experience where the writer’s heart and soul lie, and what it is that drives them as a person.

I also believe that most, if not all writers, are products of their experiences. In my view, experiences are a writer’s biggest resource from which to draw knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Ultimately, it is how we embrace and interpret those experiences which determine the end-product. Our message to the world. Our writings. That end-product is what becomes palpable and tangible when a writer presents themselves to the world regardless of which writing path they choose to take.

My voice is my tone, the vibe, and the understanding readers get when they read me. It is that which people can easily identify, that unique quality which separates you from other writers. When, in an instant, a reader identifies whose words they are reading the moment they pick up a book, a poem or indeed an article. It is only when this kind of familiarity begins to happen, that one can claim to have found their own writing voice.

Developing and establishing your own voice as a writer, I reckon, will give the reader the choice to choose you. Because, by the time they pick up your book, they would have already made up their mind about your kind of writing. They would've decided your writing appeals, inspires or speaks to their soul. I also think that the only reason a reader will keep coming back to a particular writer is because they are getting something that you as a writer alone can offer. That chemistry. That unique quality. Your voice!

Finding one’s voice is writing in a way that does not seek to deceive or betray what you represent as a person. As writers, we are encouraged to delve into uncharted territories and not to remain stuck in the comfort zone. We are encouraged to let ourselves go and to soar into the strange realms of imagination and create works of art. We are writers after all. One may wonder, though, if this process of creating, imagining and seeing yourself through strange eye lenses will betray your true character. I say, it does not

I believe that letting your imagination soar affords you the opportunity to develop certain facets of your character that you never knew existed. You cannot betray who you are by simply letting your creativity take you to greater heights. If anything, the writer grows and develops as a human being. They develop an appreciation of the unfamiliar and discover a new potential within themselves. This process could be the unveiling of their ‘new self’. The newness that the world has been waiting for. That person, the kind of writer, you were meant to become all along!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

My Phenomenal African Woman Nomination (PAWAfrica)

PAW stands for the Phenomenal African Woman. It is an international Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)for the African Woman across all spheres and strata i.e. business, academia, government and other sectors] intended to ensure she takes her pride of place in nation building, enterprise and the furtherance of peace in the Continent.
To read my feature interview, click on here .

Friday, 7 October 2016

When She Cuts Her Hair - Flash Fiction

Spiwe entered Clementine’s bedroom and found her standing in front of the mirror, examining the short strands of hair above her ears.
     ‘I want to cut it even shorter. What do you think?’ Clementine said, turning her head sideways.
     Spiwe shrugged and regarded her. ‘Not sure. You know what they say. When a woman cuts her hair, there’s no going back,’ she said.
     Clementine gave a soft laugh. Through the mirror, her eyes darted from her head to the maid. ‘Don’t believe everything you hear,’ she said.
‘Everything?’ Spiwe positioned the broom she had in her hand on the floor, a few centimetres from Clementine, and began to sweep slowly and methodically.
     ‘That’s what I said,’ Clementine said pulling a tiny chunk of hair from the back of her head.
     Spiwe began to hum a tune, ‘Take it to the Lord in prayer.’
     Clementine stopped what she was doing.
     ‘If you have something to say Spiwe, just say it.’
     Spiwe’s mouth contorted to one side. ‘I have nothing to say.’
     ‘That’s not true and you know it. Each time you sing one of those church songs you always have something to say.’
     ‘It’s none of my business.’
     ‘Well, it is mine now.’
     Spiwe hesitated. ‘Okay, I don’t want you to get cross with me, ma’am. I just head th…’
     ‘First of all, do not call me ma’am. I’m not my mother. Second, I won’t get cross. We’re friends, remember?’ Clementine interrupted her.
     ‘Okay.’ Spiwe placed the broom against the wall and walked over to Clementine. ‘Is everything okay with you, child?’ She reached and touched her shoulder. ‘Only I heard ma’am say something over tell the phone.’
     Clementine arched her brow. ‘What did she say?’
     ‘That things ain’t right with you.’ Spiwe lowered her voice.
Clementine cleared her throat. ‘What things?’
     Spiwe shrugged. ‘I don’t know. It just got me wondering, that’s all,’ she replied.
     Clementine snorted. She liked Spiwe and regarded her as the sister she never had, though much older. But, the realisation that she possessed intimate details about her ordeal disturbed Clementine. She had seen how maids liked to huddle in fences’ corners, whispering about their employers. The last thing she needed was rumours spreading about her sad life. At that moment, Clementine wished she had not cut her hair. She had only done it to spite her mother for the way she badgered her to go to the salon and to get out of the house. Now, it seemed, Spiwe had seen it as a symbol of a turning point in her life.