One thing I haven’t been good at doing in this blog is to highlight why I love reading AND writing. For an aspiring writer, those two activities are Siamese twins, can’t have one without the other. From what I have learned also is that the better your taste in literature, the better your writing will be.
For today’s post, I’m highlighting some passages from Without A Name by Yvonne Vera. Without A Name is the story of the mental and physical journey that leads Mazvita, the main character to commit the unforgivable toward her seed. I won’t say more because it’s a must read.
Yvonne Vera is a writer who’s given a new breath to my poetic skills and renewed my hunger for the kind of writing that opens up your heart and plays on its strings while making your mind do flip backs. As a writer, you always models to look up and look back to so here you have the type of passages that teach me how to work that magic.
“There were no pauses to their joy which resounded in one continuous voice, a tender elegant quiver pure and plain. The children found gaps between the rays of the sun and ran through them, their tiny bodies supple, carried on pattering flirtatious feet, in faltering voices that embraced their yearning for enchanting discoveries. They found narrow and untrodden paths. The children had a limitless tenacity for dream, a flowing capacity to wander wide and far. They were children. They emerged from their escape in a myriad of joy, their faces covered with their gaiety, bright with their phenomenal journeying. They held out their cupped hands above their heads and gathered the joy that tumbled from the sun, which swooped down their throats…they filled their dreams with unformed desires, with tentative aspirations, with timid bliss. They bathed in an exhilarating caress of innocent and weariless joy. (7)
“Some truths long for the indifferent face of a stranger, such truths love that face from the neck up, from the forehead down…there is nothing to lose between strangers, absolutely no risk of being contamined by another’s emotion; there are no histories shared, no promises made, no hopes conjured and affirmed.” (16)
“Freedom squeezed out of a tube was better than nothing, freedom was, after all, purchasable. It was sensual, and that was to be longed for, procured even if the cost was nothing less than one’s soul. Such negotiations were easy. It was risky to carry a soul in the city streets, as Mazvita had discovered. In Harare, it was best to sell your soul to the first and easiest bidder.” (33)
‘You lack patience and hope, Mazvita, you want things to belong to you, just like the stranger does. You want to possess, to hold things between your hands and say they belong to you. You do not see that things belong to you not because you have held them, but because they have held you. It is like that with the land. It holds and claims you. The land is inescapable. It is everything. Without the land there is no day or night, there is no dream. The land defines our unities. There is no prayer that reaches our ancestors without blessings from the land. Land is birth and death. If we agree that the land has forgotten us, the new agree to be dead.’ By Nyenyedzi (40)
“she had loved the land, saw it through passionate and intense moments of freedom, but to her the land had no fixed loyalties. She had gathered from it her freedom which it delivered to her wholly and specially. If it yielded crop, then it could also free her, like the plants which grew upon it and let off their own blooms, their own scents, their own color, while anchored to the land…she did not care for certainties, each moment would uncover its secret, but she would be there, ahead of that moment, far ahead.” (41)
Did you feel or see what I am talking about when I say she makes my heart of a writer shiver and wish for her to come back from the dead? Well, her approach to writing is one of a priest to the temple which is something I hope to emulate also.
On the news front, school starts today , but I will be able to swing by here to post some delight. Also I am about to start rewriting my novella Mpema, I have been working on that story for at least a year and half and after a couple of feedbacks, I decided to get started today on revising it. I will post later more about the novella and the experience of writing it. Curious to know what the rest of you have been up to?