Saturday, January 24, 2015

Why I love to read and write

From childhood, I have been found escaping the boredom of chores while I busy myself with reading. I read everything from news stories to comic strips of an old paper used as cupboard lining.

This was noticed by my aunt when I was 11 or 12 years old while I was in her home in iNanda, near Durban. I was supposed to be washing dishes and I was caught with my head in the cupboard under the sink reading a Madam and Eve comic strip.

I don't know how long they had been standing there, but my mother and aunt were smiling when I realised I was being watched. They were proud my enthusiasm for reading but that did not exempt me from finishing up with the dishes that night.

As a result of this, I was given permission to read one of my late aunt's books from her collection in her room at my grandmother's house. Sliding my fingers  on the spines I perused which book I should engulf myself in I finally settled on the weird of them all called Gobbledigook.

What I can recall from the book is that it was a science fiction novel made for young adults about aliens that mistakenly abduct a boy and his friends and taking them to their planet or something of the sort.

I dug into that book and I was transported to another time, another country and to another planet. It made me forget my surroundings and even hunger failed to interrupt me from my journey.

The first full novel I had ever finished took me four days and I was impressed then seeing as I went through 50 pages a day from three or four hours' reading. My best friend, who goes through all of 600 pages Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in a day and a half (without sleeping) puts me to shame. I don't know why I still keep her around.

After I had finished with that adventure of a book, I quickly discovered that my avid reader of an aunt was a fan of the Archie series of comics and I went through her whole collection in a matter of days laughing at old humour and enjoying the adventures of a cartoon I had absolutely no connection with.

Archie saved me from many chores during my visit at aunt's as she would defend with my mother with muyekeni usafunda! (leave him be, he is reading) and I'd pretend to be none the wiser.

From there, I have since buried my head in many books of all genres and subjects until I came across a science book about Space and Time. Having not known that there was a connexion between space and time before, I dived into the unknown and came out the other end confused.

The book had illustrations and text explaining how time and space are actually manifestations of the same thing and how they can be manipulated by gravity to create blackholes which can be used to traverse vast distances in no time.

Half of the things I read at the time made little sense to me but they stuck with me. I started seeing answers in different places such as on the television and other books. Synapses lit up in a flurry of activity in my brain with every 'aha' moment and I proceeded to smile like a retard with each new discovery.

I soon discovered that human beings wrote these books that took me on adventures, told me things about the universe and about people who once lived. I realised that these writers were speaking to me from beyond the grave; in a way, their thoughts live on. I do not know of a better way to live after death than leaving your words behind.

And this is why I choose to write essays and columns most of which are published in newspapers and in this blog. I guess it is my attempt at living forever and a way of tracking what I have done with my life.

My words will stay forever in cyberspace and I want them to be things that will make people think and let some of my ideas be known or rejected. We all leave a digital footprint in cyberspace with the use of social media platforms and with the power of publishing your own words as blogs.

What are you leaving behind with your status updates, your tweets and Instagram photos? What will people think of you? Will they see the real you, or the you you chose to publish?

Just remember that whatever you put on the internet stays forever and becomes part of your online identity.

These days, when I am home and the chores are waiting to be done by me, I escape with "I'm writing something important for my blog". How things change as they stay the same.

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