Flo would admit now that it was much easier for someone to dream than to execute that vision. She initially thought that all being a writer required was saying that you were a writer. But she realized that there was so much more. Yes, she had graduated from University where she studied English/Lit, but what was next? She sat on the chair staring at the desktop screen. She had typed “How to be a writer” on the search bar and the first result was “Trick yourself into starting – you only need to commit to writing 15 minutes a day. Use a stack of 3×5 cards… How to Be a Writer: 210 Tips – ” But she knew that because of how she felt right now, those 210 tips wouldn’t help her. It was not as if she was learning how to make macaroni and cheese or something like that. So many factors contributed to being a writer. Her first problem was that she did not know what to write about.
Whenever she tried to make up fictional stories, It drained her. She wondered why her escapades with the imaginary Armando didn’t have those effects on her. When she attempted to write, she always got stuck in ‘One stormy morning…’ Flo exhaled. Even though she knew that the article wouldn’t really help her, she clicked it either way. The author started by explaining how he didn’t consider himself a good writer and all but what matters is that a writer writes. “What do I write?” Flo heard herself saying aloud. After browsing through the article, she abandoned it thinking that maybe, just maybe she had made a wrong career choice. Reading was easy, writing was a whole different matter. Knowing that, she gained a new level of respect for every author whose book she had ever read.
Flo was exasperated, disillusioned, she felt terrible. Back in school, she thought that school was the hardest part, but this was. She didn’t know the first step to take. She had read various articles and blogs about being a writer talking about writing for publication, applying for an internship, studying writing courses and all but she knew that without that first step, all of those tips were a waste of time. Flo realized that she had hit a writers block before she had even started writing. She did not know if she had a story worth telling. She felt a sudden urge to start crying. She knew the power of words and the influence of it on lost souls when they read those words, the power of new ideas scribbled on paper its ability to change the world, she knew the power of books but she could not create. She was like a mage that knew all the rules and spells but lacked the internal power to cast them.
Her mother came into the parlor holding a tray of Akara and Pap, her breakfast. The woman set it on the center table in the parlor and went to meet Flo. “Korola, Since morning your eyes have been on that thing, what are you looking for?” “I’m looking for something, a way.” She was not sure if her mother really understood what she meant but that was what she was looking for. A way into the place of her dreams. She desired to create a world of ink and paper. “That thing doesn’t hold all the answers. Jesus is the way. just pray about it.” Flo chuckled in her mind, she was a believer alright, but she didn’t think Jesus would want to be bothered by such an issue. Her mother always found a way to make everything about Jesus but she understood why.
Flo smiled at her mother. “Yes, Mama I will do that.” She said as she shut down the old family desk-top computer and went to eat the food which her mother had laid down for her. ‘Jesus is all my mother has. How could she possibly understand. She has never had an ambition, she is just a privileged village girl who married my father, finding out that the most intriguing thing about her new husband was his God.’ She slapped herself mentally for thinking like that. She had no right to insult her mother because she had failed herself. Every human being has the desire to be more than they are in life, and many actually think that they can, but only a few actually do achieve that desire. Her mother had lived her life, she didn’t actually desire what she now had but she appreciated it. Flo had followed a path which she realized that she couldn’t keep up with. Whose fault was that?
She looked at her mother again. Formerly a Muslim in a polygamous home with twelve other sisters and eight brothers. She had barely even gone to school. Mr Jiya had seen her mother while teaching in a free school organised by the Church in their village where they lured children to learn with rice and stew. Because Flo’s father was well to do, when he met her mother’s parents to propose, they didn’t mind that he was a Christian. All of a sudden, this young woman was thrusted into the modern world and the new religion intrigued her about it the most. It was mild and honest and it made her feel like she mattered. Even though she didn’t choose it, she learnt to love it. She easily made everything in her life revolve around her new faith. ‘Mama. I’m sorry.’ She said to herself. ‘At least I have a choice on a path to take. You did not. And even if my path is not the path for me, I’ll learn to love any other path that is mine.’
She started eating her meal and a thought came to her like a flash of lightning. Choice or no choice, it is the process of these happenings in life that makes people’s stories. Her mother didn’t know her end, but she got there. You can’t always tell the end from the beginning but things always work out one way or the other. Every story has its denouement. That was the major similarity between any storybook and real life. Flo realized that life was the greatest book ever written. That idea blew a gaping hole through the writer’s block. She finally knew what she would write. She would write about her life. She would document every little progress until it reached it’s glorious end. The day to day process is something everyone experiences, and the struggle was one everyone understood. If she could write in line with the story which God, the greatest author, was writing about her, it was bound to be a bestseller.