...that was the title of the story that gave me permission to read 'Parents Magazine'. My mother read a lot of these magazines when I was young and they were really 'all over' the house. But I never read them. I never saw any of my sisters reading them either; it was just my mother and rarely my father. So that simply told me that, as the title suggested, the magazine was meant for parents. It was really no big deal because I had my own books to read, the New Progressive Primary English story books series was just kicking off and I had a good number of those books to satiate my thirst for the written word.
So one day, my mother asked me to arrange the Parents Magazines for her because she was beginning to lose them due to the disorderly manner in which they were kept. She sat on one side of the study table watching me as I did this and my first thought was that, she did not want me to look inside them and that is why she was there to supervise. But I later learnt that her mind was so far away from what I was doing. Anyway, I continued doing my assignment but not without reading a few words on the cover and that was when I came across that proverb; EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING.
I was in class eight then and I am guessing you know that at that point in life, the more the number of proverbs in your composition, the more likely you were to score high marks. So I blurted out. "Mom, our English teacher uses this proverb a lot..." I can't remember the other words I said. I can't remember the exact words mother said either. But I know she told me that, every reading material is important and I had no reason to discriminate. "If they were not good for you, they wouldn't be lying 'all over' the house." I remember those words.
But I still had my reservations. Parents was still too gigantic a word for me and I told mother as much. She pulled one of the magazines and asked me to move to where she was. Then she showed me two columns. One was the youth column and the other was from the pulpit. She told me that the two were very good reads for me and I should always make an effort and read them every month. She also showed me other columns; It happened to me and Real life experience which she said would widen my view of life and issues.
So, I made it a habit. I started reading the magazines with her and I would wait for their delivery more eagerly than she did especially after I fell in love with The Youth column. I found the column so interactive and basic. When I went to secondary school, I would identify with most of the things the writer talked about and slowly by slowly, the column became more than an education piece for me. It opened new windows and doors in my view of the art of writing. It made writing as an art cease being a threateningly deep and complex art; it became something I could recognize, see and even feel. I told my school friends some of the stories I read in this column and since I could not carry the entire magazine to school, those who could came to our house to read some of these stories and at some point, we all concluded that the author of this column was our classmate. She seemed to know everything that happened in our school and our class! Or maybe she was a ghost *wink*.
Then somewhere a long the line, I decided that I was going to be a writer like that columnist. I had to meet her although I did not know what I would tell her when I met her. I had no idea what she looked like but that did not stop me from imagining how she looked, walked, talked... When I was in school, I would write stories about my classmates the way I would imagine she did and I couldn't wait to get home when schools closed to compare my writing with hers and see how similar our school terms had been. I was that mad! When my mates were rushing home to eat home food and see their 'boyfriends', I was rushing home to compare notes with an imaginary classmate. One of my friends who had concluded that I was obsessed with that writer suggested that I write her a letter through her editor because there was no other contact of hers. I did this but I got no reply. Poor me! But 'as they say', if you plot and the plan fails, you plot again.
I finished high school without seeing her and I almost gave up when I did not see anymore stories written by her in that magazine. I honestly stopped reading the entire magazine. But I met her again and we actually met... and this was not a dream as one of my sisters keeps insinuating, " Who doesn't know Daisy has met everyone she wants to meet... in her dreams..." She likes saying that and one of these days I will chop off her mouth! Jokes aside. I truly met her... not in my dreams or visions or imaginations or fantasies... but in the physical. And by the way it was not an accidental meeting. It was well planned. Details of our first meeting will come up in a whole post but I can give you an idea of how it was for me. I was jittery all through!
Truly, dreams come true.
(A PRELUDE OF THINGS TO COME)
One day, you will look around and not see me. That will be because I will have taken a journey into the unknown world called fiction. Many go on this journey knowing they will trip and fall like Chimamanda says but they still go. So when the time comes, I will go. But I will be thankful to you always for giving me the most important thing any one who wants to write needs. The permission to write.
Always pray for me,