I was in grade eight when I first wrote a story just to pass time instead of a school assignment. Actually it was a translation of one of the many fairy tales my mother had told me every night before bed. But one of my classmates read and loved it. He asked me to write some more. He became my first fan. I developed a passion for writing and reading and was always inspired with the stories I read.
In 2001 during the August holidays, I wrote what I still think was my master piece. The government through the ministry of health announced it was going to import three hundred million condoms to distribute to the youth for protection against HIV AIDS which was declared a national disaster. I saw this as a wrong move, it was like encouraging promiscuousness among the youth and unmarried people. In my opinion, they should have found a way to promote abstinence. So I wrote an article entitled “From Hero to Zero” in protest to the decision y the government. I had intended to send it to a daily newspaper hoping they publish it. But I didn’t have the postage money, so I kept it.
I wrote several other stories mostly fictions and a few nonfictions. However, I faced one challenge that still haunts me to date. Whenever I am “inspired” to write something or about something I usually have everything laid in my head, from the beginning, middle and the end but I usually hit a snarl somewhere towards the end.
In 2017, we had a guest from the U.S.A, Patty Liston who came to introduce her “Standing with Boys” project in Kenya. During the introductions, James, my partner who had been in contact with Patty for over two years introduced me as an upcoming writer. Which is a bit true but I think the best phrase should be, a “struggling writing.”
On the third day of her visit, and after introducing her to the various schools in which we were working with boys. We were just reviewing our work when Patty asked me, “Jared, what kind of writer are you?”
Without thinking I blurted out, “a struggling writing!” she looked at me for a while and said.
“That is interesting,” she picked a pen and her note book and continued, “What kind of writer is a struggling writer?”
By then I was struggling with a play. I had the beginning, middle and the end but the challenge was how to get to my super ending. The story kept taking new directions every time I wrote.
“You see, I have been writing for over a decade now, and I have many stories to tell but none of them is complete.” I honestly explained to her, “That is why I refer to myself as a struggling writer.”
“I see,” she said after thinking for a while, I guess she was absorbing what I had told her. “Why is that a problem?” she asked.
“The problem is that, when I set out to tell a story I always know how it should end, but somewhere along the way, I find that the story might not end as I had planned.” I explained.
“Jared,” she called softly and without waiting for my response she said. “It seems to me that, the end of the story means a lot to you, right?”
“Of course yes! The end of the story determines the relevance of the story.” I informed her. “You see, the reason we tell a story is to teach something, and that lesson is found at the end of the story.” That was me being proving my knowledge.
“Well, I agree with you entirely, but what role does the characters in your stories play?” she asked.
That is simple!
“They are my creations and should only do what I want them to do!” again me being a master writer, I was no longer a struggling writer.
She smiled and nodded in concurrence, “You are on point, but I suggest you should stop arm-twisting your characters,” She put down her wring materials and continued, “ Let your characters tell your story, let them move the story and they will find a perfect ending.”
I took her advice and was able to finish “The Dilapidated Act”, my best ever story.