AND SO THE JOURNEY BEGAN
Onyia, Kingsley C.
And so the journey began, when I felt the holy muse fallen on me, I got possessed. I awoke trembling at the backyard, when I had my name, screamed, it was a terrifying voice, a thunderbolt, I picked up my biro, with my exercise book, shivering and grunting, and I hid them behind the pot.
On the 25th of June, when I graduated from the Community Secondary School Uzo-uwani. My Mamma thought I could never be a writer; each time I took my biro and an exercise book to write; she would emerge. She said, “Chukwuebuka, do you think you could make it. “Oh! Mamma, you might not understand, I had an inspiration moving in me.” “What sort of inspiration was that?” she said. “A muse inspiration, a holy muse, the spirit of a deity.” I replied. “Do you ever think you could one day proudly say that you are a writer; “Yes Mamma, I could probably say that I am a writer, what’s wrong with that.” I replied. “And become one of those remarkable writers in this world? “Yes of course, one of those remarkable writers in this world” I replied. “And you believed you would make it all alone, with this jargon you are writing on a paper; after all this shame you had brought on me during your Senior Secondary School Short story Competition. And you told me that you could make it.” She said, “What sort of question is this Mamma, why are you so antagonistic on my writing carrier” I replied. “Antagonistic? On your writing carrier, and you wrote nonsense on that short Story Competition, you think you can ever make.” “Yes I will make it all alone” I replied. “Very well then, if you’ve decided to be called a writer, you are writing on your own detriment.” She said. “My own detriment, Mamma” I replied. “…. And never you reply to me like that; in fact don’t ever raise this stinking ignoble mouth and talk to me before my very face or….” She said. “Or what will happen if I do” I said. “I would smash off your head and bury you with my own hand, are you my only son?” Immediately I had wanted to open my mouth, my Mamma had given me a hard slap of lightening; my face got bruised, sparkling stars are twinkling. The whole scene had turned black and white, yellow and blue with brines tippling down my cheek.
All the while in my secondary school days, I never believed, I never dreamt of becoming one. I was just a rowdy student, stubborn, just like my Mamma. When we were asked to write a story, I couldn’t make a correct sentence, and that day, one of my teachers developed interest on me. “Chukwuebuka, why do you perform poor on that Short Story Competition; was that how you would be called a writer?” She said. “A writer? Aunty Joy, have I ever told you that I wanted to become a writer. I replied.
The following day, after Aunty Joy spoke to me, I felt that the anointing that broke the yoke had fallen on me, so that I could write and prophesy my writing to the world, at night, I dreamt, the dream I had never dreamt before. In my dream I saw myself, while in our bedroom resting, I jumped up, took up my biro and one exercise book lying on top of my bed. I stealthily walked into the backyard where my Mamma had warned me never to enter, I thought it was more convenient for me to write at the backyard; it was a state of tranquility. I never knew the reason why my Mamma had told me never to enter there, I began to shiver as I wrote; I shivered because of my Mamma, and wrote because of the muse. As I sat on a bricks sequentially laid on the floor. I saw myself doing what I could not do in the classroom. I remembered what Aunty joy had then told me in the staffroom, “Chukwuebuka, why do you perform poor in the Short Story Competition, was that how you would become a writer?” I couldn’t imagine myself, a novice, writing a story my grand Mamma told me quit long ago in the hospital before she died and followed her ancestors down to the underworld. I believed the muse might have come from her; she mighty had interceded on behalf of me, to those deities in the underworld. All the while when she was alive, she supported me in everything I had done, then, I never thought I could write, had it been, she could had supported me.
At the backyard, while I was writing, I was turning the story into a fiction, exploring setting, plot, characters, theme, style, and conflict. It was a realistic one, I marveled. I made myself a first person point of view, as if I was there when the event took place; and I prayed my grand Mamma should forgive me, I couldn’t tell it the way she told me when she was alive, I was adding and subtracting to make it fictional. I had wanted to apply omniscient point of view, so that I could become a god, knowing every thing that had happened in the story, moving from place to place through time, slipping into and out of characters as no human being possibly could do in real life.
When my Mamma came back from Nkwo market, I was not aware until she screamed “Chukwuebuka, where are you?” Her voice was a voice of thunder, it sounded so energetically, and I got shocked when I heard it, it was then that I realized that I was a disobedient writer; I threw off my biro, picked it up again only to realized that it has broken; I was surprised. It was the anointing that broke the pen; I hid the biro and exercise book behind a pot at my back, walked stealthily raising every pace gradually so that she would not notice through the window that somebody was at the backyard. Immediately I stared at my left hand side, I saw my Mamma with a huge cane, when I had wanted to ran, she was sharper than I was, and she blocked my way and slashed two strokes on my shoulder. In other not to feel the pain, I quickly opened my eyes; it was then that I realized it was a dream. I screamed as if I had had one terrifying nightmare, not long before my Mamma had arrived, she said, “What was your problem Nwa ka.” I gazed at her, I said. “Mamma, you are my problem.” “How could I possibly become your problem when you are sleeping?” She said. “You extended your problem into my fabulous dream of becoming one of the best writers in this world.” I said. “And so, what sort of dream was that?” she replied. “Mamma, do you know what you had exactly done? You chased me out of my dream.” “What do you mean by that?” she said. “My dream flickered at once, in a twinkle of an eye, immediately you had raised your voice and flogged me. I said. “Flogged you, are you stupid? when? Where and how?” It was in my dream, at the backyard, when you raised you voice of thunder on me, I forgot everything that I wrote. I replied. “Even in your dream, Chukwuebuka, you disobeyed me? You went at the backyard,” she said. “Was that not in a dream Mamma?” I said. “And you opened your stinky mouth and said that your own mother; Mrs. Ogechukwu, chased you out from your dream. “Yes Mamma” I said. “How possibly could that be, writers don’t lie, they stand on the truth, and what sort of truth could that be, your mother that wanted the best for you, your mother that breastfed you when you were a kid, suddenly become a hitch or a witch overnight.” She said. “But Mamma…,” I said. “But what happened, what ever that might even happen, was that you guarantee, I still remain your Mamma, whether you like it or not.” She said. “But… you never encouraged me” I replied. “Encouraged you?” she said. “When you thrashed me and raised your voice on me, when you criticized me each time I laid my hand on a biro, was this encouragement?” I said, as tear rolled down my cheek. She said. “Oh! Chukwuebuka, my son, nna mo, listen you never told me you are such a serious writer, writing even in the dream, creating the world of Illusion” had I known, I could had given you my…., She replied. As I wiped off the tears on my cheek. I said “Mamma, this was the high time you started encouraging me, you had once told me whether I could make it all alone, now that I am a…. writer, I can’t make it all alone” I said. “Oh! My son, you have known the fact, you can’t make it all alone; you need some people in this planet.” She said. “Who are these people?” I said. “I was none of them, but, I will take you any where in this world, and you would represent my eyes and my ears, so that one day I would see and hear that you had competed with them and brought me a trophy.” She said. “Oh! What a wonderful Mamma, I must make you proud.” I said, as we embraced, tears rolled down my cheek.