One question that people ask me often and often, times without number, with respect to my “writing career” is ‘why do I do it?’
Sometimes, I want to saunter around and make up some ‘interesting and motivational lines’ or pecuniary reasons but I end up telling them the truth. After all, it is very easy to say the truth than cook up lies that will need extra lines of lies for its long term sustenance.
So let me tell you the answer and see why we are having this discussion in the first place. Writing was found to be an innate skill for me. All I needed from the beginning was someone to show me how to hold my pen firmly and point in the direction to write. I have digressed.
Showing a direction to follow when I write is not about where (how) to write but about the guiding principles that will help reach the summit of this quest, and of course, have an immortal relationship with the “world people”. It is not about writing style or structure but about the genuineness of the message; my message that I bring forth.
And this is why I write: to be able to express without fear or favour, for a section or group but to be able to say what I feel, as I feel it, without bringing harm or (risking) the safety of others.
This is further cemented by the realisation of the enormity of the power that the pen carries. The pen, like it has been rightly said, is mightier than the sword. And as such, it must not be left in the hands of those who have no value, ideology or moral standing in the society.
Just like it’s with history, whoever speaks the loudest (or say), he that writes the more is reckoned with, even when the story is incorrect.
The role of writers in any form is beyond expressing their own thoughts; it is to also be the moral compass for the society in which they find themselves.
The must never lose themselves in the conundrum of their society as the burden on them is to help mobilise the patriots to not relent and always show them that their duty must be done, thoroughly.
In climes like ours, where it can be argued that nothing works in the real sense, writers from every society, across age groups and tribes, have the most important job; to shape the nation.
The true state of our nation, the real position of our society and the future we look forward to, can and must be worked on by the ones who have secured the trust of their audiences, amongst the populace.
Regardless of what you write on or how you write it, remember that it imparts on our society, thus, we must write with caution to ensure that we do not set our only home ablaze.
Our job as citizens, then as writers, is to put together the best in our country and build her into the nation we want it to be.
Let me say that I do think decency and civilisation would insist that the writer take sides with the powerless. Clearly, there is no moral obligation to write in any particular way. But there is a moral obligation, I think, not to ally oneself with power against the powerless. – Chinua Achebe, There was a country: A personal history of Biafra