I used to be the guy words came to easily. Like water flowing off a leaf; words just occurred to me. I’d sleep – wake up and type nearly 500 words without any pointless meandering.
It was, partly, because my job required writing.
You see, those days, I wrote for a news agency. We had fancy offices on the quiet Mawanda road. Have you met a quiet place in the middle of the city centre? Mawanda road is that place. Our office was a well-built 1990’s home. The landlady, when we got there, told us it used to be an ambassador’s residence. Then it all made sense. Ambassadors don’t require noise. They are pre-occupied thinking about big diplomatic things. Like what would happen if North Korea bombed the United States? What is the status of trade relations between Russia and Kosovo?
I once interviewed the ambassador of an African Islamic country at his residence in Kololo. It’s also a quiet place – in case you were wondering. He had an ivory-made smoke pipe that was loaded with shisha. He kept puffing smokeballs into the air and riddling us on 1970’s history of Mengistu. And how his country had been ready to fight them then.
“You see, Jimmy Carter called us to stop escalating the war” he name-dropped. I kept staring both at the smokeballs in the air and his protruding pot-belly. “And I told my President, these Americans, they should concentrate on fighting Cuba” he added.
All this time, I kept scribbling down in my reporters’ notebook. And drawing cartoons when he got boring. Then, he gave me my byte. A byte is something important in the news world. It is the marijuana in a joint. The bullet in a gun. The button on a jacket.
“We won’t hesitate to go to war with Uganda” the byte went.
I’m not sure I heard anything after that but I was hoping to rush back to the newsroom and write. I would splash a big headline – ‘[Insert Country Here] READY FOR WAR – AMBASSADOR.
I just couldn’t wait to write the story. But that was when I was still good at writing.
Now I suffer what people call a ‘writers’ block’. Its constipation but of words for writers. It is like peacetime for soldiers. You’re all of a sudden ‘useless’. You spend days planning the next battle that won’t come. I stare at skies from expensive restaurants and draw a gaze of the whole city. Then I think about writing about the moments using big words like ‘behemoth’. But that is all. I hardly write them.
Now I am trying to find my muse, again!
I’m gearing for a battle of a blog a week. That’s like world war III but fought by a tired veteran from the 1st world war. The shooting is rickety; the guns have that croaky sound of rust pipe, there’s every likelihood that all targets will be missed. But what’s life without rebirth?
These, dear friends, are my battles at overcoming writer’s block.