This is the second installment in a new series I started called “Starting Early”. It’s going to be a chronicle of my early and first interaction with some of the things that come to define me today and how they have influenced me greatly. I would share stories of my first contact with Emails, Books, Music, Girls, Internet, Computers, etc. Enjoy! You can read the first one on how I started writing emails here.
I’m laughing as I write this.
Today someone asked me when I started writing, and it made me look back in time. How and when did writing become a thing for me? No clear answer, but allow me share some random experiences I’ve had with people and things over the years.
Let me start by talking about Naija Stories. You see, seven years ago, I used to spend all my internet time going through the Naija Stories website. At one point, I had read every single thing they had on their site. As a matter of fact, it was reading the stories on NaijaStories that make me think I could write as well if not better. I registered to be a writer, although I never posted anything, but that was the first step. I think spending so much time reading stuff over the internet had rubbed off on me, I know this because I rarely visited the NaijaStories site as much as I used to before I created my own blog.
Another random story is that I joined Facebook in 2009, and then I used to do this thingy I called “Miroc FM” every evening. I called it an Online Radio, and I’d usually sum up some of the things I’ve been up to and news around in the world in a Facebook Status Update. Then I used to spend time reading though new on Yahoo! And MSN too. Miroc FM did really well, I used to get loads of comment from people looking forward to the next post and dropping their reactions. It was a good thing to have, maybe if I had a mentor, it would have metamorphosed into a conglomerate now, who knows!
In high school, my classmates used mock me by saying my father was a newspaper vendor. This is because every day after school, I would stop by the Newspaper Vendor spot at the bus stop and read newspaper for hours. I’d stay there till evening reading through papers and engaging in debates and arguments with older men who came to read as well. I would argue with my school uniforms still on. What a statement. They called people like me members of the Free Readers Association, people who would read newspapers but never buy. That was misleading though, as you had to pay a token to read. My classmates didn’t understand my quest for knowledge inside newspapers. They felt newspapers were for old men, for our parents not young boys like us who had school books to face. While they stayed back after school to play football and talk to girls, I’d hurriedly leave for the Newspaper Stand. This was way before Online Media became a thing.
A little background on why I loved reading. I was privileged to grow up while my mom was getting her Undergraduate degree. So because I rarely left the house to play with kids, I had to find ways of keeping myself busy, so I would regularly pick my mom’s lecture notes and Text books and read. One of such books remain stuck to me, the title was “The Cooperative Identity” by one Emenike or something. I even created a song from the title of the book. I loved reading that book. I read the other complicated books too, mind you I was around 7 years old when I started reading all these university books. In Primary school, me and my classmates used to battle for the fastest writer while the teacher wrote on the board. In a bid to always win that contest, I had gotten used to writing practices at home, I would recopy random things till my book got filled. I also grew up looking at my mother’s diary from the 90s, way before I was born. I remember one touching day while I read her diary entries from the period when I was pregnant, I could feel her emotions as I read her entries about being scared she had miscarried me. It think this was my first interface with how important it was to document things. This helped me a great deal when I was in the Debate Team, I won most of my debate battles because I was sure of my points and could defend them.
Years later I remember I had a special diary where I recorded all details about one of the World cup tournaments. From scorers to major events. Every single thing, from the beginning of the tournament till the Final. At some point, I used to keep a diary of what I wore every day. Nothing I didn’t write about or read
Credit must also go to my mom. She used to have all kinds of book around the house. I remember reading Julius Caesar and an 8-year-old and getting confused. I had to show her words I didn’t understand she duly explained them to me. I was reading books way too strong for my brain back then. From Politics to Relationship to Personal Development. I then had a senior friend who loved my quest for knowledge and made it his duty to always buy me books. It was delirious, I had several books. I would stay up all night reading books, oblivious of my immediate environment, even shunning food.
Wow! Some of these memories came as I was writing, some of what I have described are almost 20 years old, so you can imagine the nostalgia I was going through as I described them. I might be a special child after all. There’s more but I think these will do for now.
So when did I start writing? I can’t put a time to it. But I’ve been in a romance with the pen and paper ever since I can remember, albeit in different forms and expressions.