My relationship with reading is that it revealed to me that writing is an art, one which I have always aspired to be a master of.
I read my first novel in grade 8, it was called “Don’t call me baby”. Don’t let the title fool you, it was not a very good novel, which is why I don’t even remember the author’s name. Amidst all the disappointment, I was sure that I could most likely be a better writer than the author of this book. I found that I had a lot of criticism about her work, from her use of vulgar language in a failed attempt to make the novel humorous. Instead, I found her vulgarity rather annoying. To further add to this, the entire story was utterly boring. When one imagines a story about a fifteen year old girl’s experience with the opposite sex, the process of her teenage pregnancy and her journey as a mother; one’s first reaction would not necessarily be to yawn. However, I found myself yawning throughout the entire story. I would say that the only reason why I finished the book in the first place, although it took me quite a while to do so, is because I am loyal to my reading.
Perhaps it was not a matter of the story being a boring one. The main issue was the way in which the story was told- in writing and not in imagery. You see when I read a book, I do not want to constantly be conscious of the fact that I am reading a book. I want my imagination to take me to a place where I am an observer, watching as the story before me unfolds. I want to be taken to a place where time does not exist, a place where I even forget to eat; this would take a lot of skill by the way because I have an extremely close relationship with my food.
A book which got me excited about reading is “Blind faith” by Barbara Folschier, I remember Folschier’s name because she took me to the place I longed to be, and she made me stop thinking about food a few times. Her story is rather a cliché one in the sense that I had watched and heard too many tales about a white person who, baring the burden of guilt, took in a black person and went out of their way to help this poor black person while protecting them from the National Party. With my parents having lived through Apartheid, I knew all too much about the struggle. Despite the redundancy of the story, as I flipped through the pages of her novel, my imagination was always at play. I felt like I was there with her as she took in a wounded man, nursed him to health and later transported him to his final destination. I saw him laying on that Cape Town shore, bleeding as life was slowly leaving his body. I had the image in my head of a Caucasian woman with long brown hair and brown eyes. I knew her well enough to know that despite her conservative surroundings, she was a natural born hippie. No matter how much she tried to hide it, it would manifest itself throughout the novel. Her love for painting was one of the indicators, her Beatle vehicle was a dead give- away.
Meeting this Cape Townian hippie who featured in “Blind Faith”, made me eager to meet many more characters and embark on various journeys with them all. Perhaps in my next post I might tell you about a street kid I recently met, his name is Nelio and he is about to die.