I am planning to try out writing full-time this year. So I thought ‘what better space than on-line to display my skillset and test ideas, to finally harness the potential of the language that is new media. Isn’t that what writing is for any anyway, to engage with people? A writer writes for their work to be read; whether (s)he is willing to admit that to themselves or not warrants another discussion altogether.
I’ve written stuff for many people, and for every single one of them I’ve wondered, whether consciously or unconsciously, whether people are reading my thoughts, and whether there are any comments on those thoughts that I have written down. My American accents piece, which is an idea that Andy had pitched to someone else before passing it onto me, took me about four months to complete. That was my longest story at that point, time-wise (well, not really; Mr Sakitumi’s profile took a while, as did a couple others). But it was my most viewed article on Mahala. BBC’s Africa Have Your Say picked up on it and retweeted it. I believe it generated some traffic (or maybe it did not, but at least Andy included it in the Best of 2012 list).
My review of Zakes Mda’s memoirs generated a tweet from him, and this after I had tweeted six days prior asking whether I could meet him for an interview. He still has not got back to me; nor has Sibongile Khumalo‘s publicist; neither has Bokani Dyer, who supplied me with his personal e-mail address so that I could contact him. I want to reach out to people, but sometimes people don’t want to be reached. I could bitch about it on twitter, complain about how rappers aren’t taking themselves too seriously in terms of social media skills and replying to e-mails.
I could also write about how Lira‘s agent tried to use me to get through to a brand I was commissioned to write something on her for, but that would be lazy. I prefer to think my stories through. Yes, some ideas might have sucked, while some more are still going to suck. But the entire truth is that the stories were thought through – whether in a bright moment analyzed in a period of darkness, or a hazy occurrence given light while one’s mind is having lucid dreams.
I am not a loud person. I am not talkative, unless I am nervous (and I deny this a lot – being nervous), or we are acquainted. So perhaps writing is my silent way of shouting, of screaming, of re-enacting, in my own words and in my own tone, the story of a village’s noise when it rescued from the belly of the beast by Mohlankan’a Sankatana.
PS. Results are going to vary. Sometimes I may come off as quite cocky and self-assured, but at least I am willing to put all of that ‘out there’.