“The gallery was thrilled with the article, and I didn’t have the heart of it until I found your interview, so keep doing what you’re doing.”
It is a short and simple response to an email conversation that has been initiated by a woman I do not know. She is an American woman living in Dubai. She has been scouring the Internet for a sentence or phrase that encapsulates Zimbabweans’ fighting spirit. Something she wants to add to an article she’s working on.
She finds it. In an interview I give, describing the ways we developed in order to survive the first decade of the 2000s.
It’s funny how these little cues and prompts keep popping up. These green lights shouting into my stationary vehicle of inspiration, urging me to engage in motion, pick up pace, go.
I want to go. But going is frightening.
I want to write more. But somehow, with age – and no, it doesn’t seem that age makes you braver really – I become more circumspect, more willing to believe that I am driving someone else’s car, using petrol that I didn’t buy; that the green light is not meant for me.
Put out the red reflective triangle to signal a breakdown. Call someone to tow you away. The engine just won’t start.
The engine just won’t start.
Pistons unable to rotate and grate and create heat.
I am pondering this situation more meaningfully these days. Because I know that the answer to this question is vital to motion, essential to movement on paper; necessary to creating traffic in my mind.
I realise that it is probably not any form of mechanical fault. The parts still work when urged to. The brain still engages, still revs up, still moves things into being.
The stalling is all mine.
The fear of taking up a pen and commanding its ink to say what I wish it to.
I have become afraid of the thing that gives me the most meaning.
“And that look…says Imma conquer the world with words, watch me now!”
My friend writes this as a comment to a link I put up of my 22-year-old self. I am raw, naïve, less tainted by concern for my imperfections – at least in terms of the words I speak and write.
You can see it. In the way I hold my face up with a loose but purposeful fist. Smile, want, need. Words.
“… I often feel that my mind is merely the womb into which [the] experiences are ‘inseminated’ for birth. By this, I mean that the concepts we all write about do not need us to make them exist. They already exist but search for us to express them…”
I want to be sought, to express, to speak, to write, to stop stalling, to rev up the ink in my pen, make it so hot it sears the page as I write on it.
I want to leave tracks of molten rubber on this road.
I want to conquer the world with words.
I am at the green light.
I want to go.