The Familiar Difficulty

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“I am choking, I am drowning. This pencil and these scraps of paper aren’t enough. I need colours, sounds—oils and orchestras. I need something more than words.”

I hate writing.

The recapturing of mental images, accumulated overtime, through words is tasking. English is a second language to me, second to pidgin (although, my Warri friends keep saying my pidgin is crap), which makes writing in English daunting. I also get arm and backaches whenever I type past a certain period, but I can deal with these aches because I wish I could draw.

Sometimes, when you write something and give someone to read, you see their brows converge in frustration as they try to drive through your gridlock of words (except you are that kind of writer who is skillful in drawing the reader in, even after the final full stop). Some don’t even make it through half of the work. They give you back with a smile saying ‘it is a wonderful work’.

You: Are sure you are done reading?

They: Yes, I’m a very fast reader.

You: So do you think I should have killed her at the end?

They: Who? I mean, yes of course. That’s what makes it lasting and enpathic. Tragedy has always been a powerful tool in any work of art, and you have used it like a pro.

You: Erm. She was the villain.

They: … … …

Imagine giving that girl a poem or a portrait of herself. When it comes to poems (although it depends on the girl), in most cases, you would have to pray she understands the poem and interprets a compliment as a compliment and not otherwise. I once wrote to a girl this:

“…I love it when you turn me on
Especially with no makeup on…”

The next thing I got was a text: Are you saying my makeup is horrible?

No, I mean your natural beauty surpasses your makeup.

But why do you always tell me, when we go out, to always put my makeup on?

Why won’t she understand that it is just a poem, and sometimes one may have to tell lies? Yes, poets lie. Sometimes. A well written love poem is a beautiful and believable lie. How was I to know I had gone over the edge?
So I responded with: I don’t want other guys to see your true beauty, you know I don’t like competition.

Then she responded with ‘lol’. Not the you-are-funny lol, but the end-of-discussion lol or I’d-get-back-to-you lol.

However, when it comes to drawing, imagine the joy of giving her a portrait of herself—a pencil-sketched selfie. You don’t even need to push yourself to the limit of mastering any language. Lines and curves are universal enough; it is the only language drawing requires to capture a worldwide audience.

But my hands have always found it impossible to recreate what I see in that universal language. So out of two difficulties, I have chosen the one familiar to me.

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