Celebrating East African Writing!
So we’ve had a chance to read through all your entries for the Living & the Book contest and I am writing this with a little sadness.
I think that writing doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it can be imperfectly perfect but that special quality requires a very strong creative backbone. This creativity can at times even cover over technical imperfection, add value to a gem, sort of like a flawed diamond. A writer who is creative enough has the power to move us from glaring at the imperfection with disgust to staring at it with awe and inspiration.
This is not to say that a piece of writing cannot invoke feelings of disgust, anger, hatred, sadness, mirth, a wide range of emotions. An expert writer can manipulate our feelings and guide them through his writing. But those emotions would not be directed to the way of writing but to the content of the written work. Work, I say, because it is hard work to write and write well.
When a reader is distracted from the content of the written work to the way of writing, then the author has failed. Creativity cannot be measured in the same scales as knowing where to place a punctuation mark, or when to use ‘who’ or ‘whom’. However, creativity is greatly aided by the ability to gauge whether a piece of glass is a sliver, a shard or simply a broken piece of glass. Creativity is even more strengthened when a writer has mastered over words enough that if he was to choose between a happy accident and an unanticipated development, he would find a way to make the coincidences serendipitous and believable.
With all of that in mind let’s go back to the Living & The Book Contest – The instructions were as follows:
1. Write a short story that represents what ‘Living’ after the KeDecides2013 elections means to you.
2. Append a Nota Bene about a book – fiction or not – that has made an impact in your way of life in the last few months.
3. Send your submission to email@example.com as Word attachment with the Email Subject Living & The Book by March 15th 2013.
Here’s what I got:
13 entries – 11 opinion editorials about the 2013 elections (emphasis on who rigged what, why and the surprising notion that god(s) had something to do with all of it), 1 book synopsis, 1 really good fictional 1st person account.
What do you think? Should we just give up at this point and wait for April’s contest, or should we try again?
If you think we should try again, please read and follow the instructions in bold above by March 22nd, 2013. If not, see you in April.
The 1st person account was interestingly the last entry I read, and just before it I was seriously considering bawling and clawing my eyes out. That, or, getting that bottle of Absolut and using it to down a bunch of Vicodin tabs to silence my misery. This has been my life after elections.
Well, to be absolutely honest there have been a few other things. One of this blog’s editors got really angry and killed someone. In a short story.
Doris’ Boyfriend, is it ex-husband, maybe just her stalker, moved into his own place and hilarious things happened.
Kawi started wondering at what point we stop living and start surviving. I read her musings.
ELove is determined. He posted a new installment of his mystery novel. He is a brave man.
It’s up to you. Read up. Read more. Send it. Please help me come out of this great depression by convincing me that there are good writers out there.
Oh, and the prize for best entry is still 1000/- airtime and a book of your choice from the Storymoja Catalogue.