Reading Should Inspire Writing

2013-08-10 21:53

Let me be on the safe side by admitting that not everyone who reads has a gift of writing. However, and given my acknowledgement of the exclusively bestowed gift of writing, it becomes a problem when society doesn’t produce as much as it consumes.

My view is that the activity of reading becomes effective only if something new gets birthed out of what has been read.

In the same way communication theorists use heurism—a requirement for a theory, answering the question of whether the theory generates critically new ideas—as one of the yardsticks for a good communication theory, a good reading experience has to ultimately inspire the reader to want to pen something down, be it poetic, motivational, radical or just a reflection of thoughts.

If reading is important, the value of writing has to be indescribable.

As readers we are the consumers of the current knowledge being produced by authors. We absorb various thoughts and ideas from different brave people who never feared to be put under the spotlight. Given our consumption of the knowledge wrapped up in a book, we have to make sure that those who come after us will have something new to read; something inspired by what was read by us.

As much as there are classics which never lose their relevance (in fact a book seldom loses relevance), it’s unfair to have our grandsons and granddaughters reading the very same books we grew up reading, not because they have consciously chosen to do so, but due to the shortage of new material to read.

Township-based young people tend to bear the brunt of a dearth of books tailored for their experiences, despite there being readers like myself who come from townships and rural areas.

My point is, when one indulges in different genres, one develops a holistically independent (at least that’s what we think) viewpoint premised on the theoretical arguments found in each and every book one read. Reading impregnates the reader with critical conversations. The reader conceives and gives birth to a changed attitude towards life in general.

Personally, I am an up-and-coming young writer with a niche focus on inspirational fiction that encapsulates the ordeals of rural and township youth. My soon to be published inspirational novel, In Her Fall Rose a Nation, addresses the plights of young women who face judgment for the mistakes they commit. It challenges society to learn from other people’s mistakes, rather than judging and condemning them. The contents of the book are influenced by what I have read since Grade 3 when my aunts allowed me to read Dr. K.P.D Maphalla’s Kabelwamanong. Even though my book doesn’t replicate those I have read before, the idea of writing it draws its inspiration from my previous reads. Here and there, across chapters and paragraphs, one will somehow recognise the voices of Kwasi Koranteng (The Gold Diggers), John Tembo (Dead Men Don’t Talk) and Steve Biko (I Write What I Like).

Books empower us to have our own perceptions about processes.

Nevertheless, every book has its own weaknesses. I don’t believe in a book that answers all my questions as a reader. I want to be swayed around, played along, put on an emotional roller-coaster. The dizziness emanating from the mixed emotions experienced during the course of reading will consequently puff a breath of creativity, thereby leaving the ‘victim’ with no any other option but to let his/her ink whisper into the senses of an innocent white paper.

Semantics aside, the crux of the matter is that as young people we need to be brave enough to write books. We need to write our own stories in our lifetime, undiluted by titles and social status. We don’t have to become celebrities in order to write. All we need are the psychological resources of creativity, resilience and other intangible attributes that make a good writer.

I believe that in the process of encouraging the youth to read a book, we have a duty to also promote the culture of book-writing.

What we read burns us inside.

It creates a fountain of ambition.

It exposes loopholes in society.

It either confirms or contradicts our initial assumptions.

It challenges us and recreates us into relative 'betterness'.

As a result of the transformation, it’s only fair that we also invest time in writing other books to extinguish the flames fuelled by our reading experiences, while also contributing to the pool of reading material.

We need to write material inclusive of new readers. We don’t have to be smart. We just have to be relevant in our writing.

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