Friday, May 27, 2011

Cocks, Eggs, Hunting and Bendovers: From Reading to Writing

Following my relentless drone on why I read recently, an apple dampling of a  friend responded as follows:

For me ... reading is not a culture nor a value ... it's innate. And if a book or article is good ... it can change my day. Say Paulo Coelho, that man is one of my finest authors yet.
I loooove your article. You're a writer no doubt ... but do me a favour ... write one article that is simple.. both in language and expression ... the kind of article that I can give a teenager to read...

This triggered some thought train in me, and I went back to the first time I EVER saw a computer. Think back to that time. How you thought it was an alien contraption designed by the Western Civilization to prove just that. That they were civilized, and by extension, you were not. Well, that’s how I would see it now.

Around the time I first saw a computer, my family owned several thoroughbred cockerel steeds – and an equal number of hens to boot J.  End result? Farm-fresh egg gathering duty for you-know-who, being as I was the first born. It may sound easy, but trust me, when your only contact with animals at a young age of 12 involved the manic school teachers who thoroughly bred your buttocks’ skin into thick hide, facing psycho chicks with their sharp beaks  was an altogether not too funny affair.

So picture me with a big plastic bowl in my hands, fishing for eggs in a brood that
1)      stunk as hell
2)     had enough activity to rival Westlands on Bendover Thursday; and most frightening of all
3)     had tiny little she-devils equipped with the machinery to pluck out an eyeball – like ice cream melting off a cone – should the need arise.

Crazy Chicken

Seeing as I was basically going to steal their kiddoz, the occasion more often than not did arise. Now to add to that, I could not risk breaking an egg, for at the back of my mind ran the soundtrack from my last session with my mom’s well-engineered fingernails. An egg cost 7 bob at the time, and trust me, that’s a lot of money when you’re rearing chicken for eggs. Egg-hunting. Yes, hunting; forget that they were domestic fowl coz there was nothing domestic about their violence; nor that they were in my own back yard.

It was to be an experience I came to learn a critical aspect in putting my options on a scale. You see those little oblongs brought with them awe – the whole hen or chicken first argument – fear and care in equal measure, a critical mix that was similarly experienced when I first saw a computer back in 1999, on exhibit at the National Show. Forget 2000 when I actually got to lay my hands on one, coz that was tantamount to an emotion I cannot share today, having decided to keep this post strictly PG Toddler.

When that eventuality came, as with egg-rearing, I was given a set of step-to-step instructions not limited to 
a)     DO NOT eat in the Comp lab (It was sacred like that, drink spills and all being the antichrist to the holy gadget) 
b)     DO NOT move or disconnect anything (You are not holy enough to touch anything but the mouse and keyboard, so deal with it) 
c)      DO NOT…and so on

I could tell you what you should and should not do when dealing with chicken, but seeing as I’ve digressed enough as it is, and you’re probably wondering ‘Where the hell does this bring us to reading or writing?’, I’ll get right down to it. Right after I add that you’re beyond help if you still have a phobia for chicks.

Bendover Thursday

You see, when you read, it’s a bit like you’re throwing yourself into the world of a kid marveling at a computer’s beautiful curves and overall physique, or another faced with the idea of picking a neurotic crow’s young ones. It can be terrifying at first. You might need a dictionary sometimes, other times even that alone won’t help you get what ther writer [is trying to] communicate. But should you chose to – and am guessing you probably have by this point – it’s an experience that will exhilarate you, and soon enough train you to merge your awe with your fear, and eventually your care.

By the time you’ve read enough to earn the title ‘avid’, you begin to feel an urge to communicate your own thoughts. To find and bring out your own voice. To be the one communicating what you feel could have been said easier, funnier, louder or better by an author, but to you was not. And that, good people, is where the reader becomes the writer. That is where the awe and fear, turn into care. Care to write that which communicates to you. Care to make sure – as with many newbie writers – that your diary is not read. Care to make sure that if it is, it only makes sense to you.

And finally, care to bring out the sense, tense, grammar, drama, flow, glow, punctuation, pace fluctuation, creativity, brevity and general oomph that leads you to your next big step.

Publishing your voice. For there is no science to writing, only a science to being read.

My Next Reading Revolution post: Why I Write

1 comment:

  1. Thanx for reading :) I do like to try making excellent sense every twice in a while


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