Contributed by: Louisa Lum
Everyone has an innate ability which can be honed to an awesome talent. The world has moved forward because of the creative ideas of some special human beings who have blessed us with their gifts. I am not saying that all of us can be Galileo, Da Vinci, Bach, Einstein, Marie Currie, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr. Mandela, Beyoncé, Serena Williams and more; but we can be ourselves and bless our little corners of the earth with our unique gifts. Finding out what you excel in, listening to your soul and finding that singular desire that keeps burning despite how much you try to staunch the flames gives you direction pertaining to where your dreams lie.
For me, my dream has always been to write, right from primary school when my teachers would read stories in class; I would be transported into the world of Alice, Peter Rabbit, Peter Pan and wonder where these exceptional writers got their inspiration. Then I learnt how to read and could read my own stories and my mother encouraged this hobby by getting me as many books as she could lay hands on. I remember the first tragic romance I ever read; I was in primary six and had done really well that term and my mother gave me the novel as a present. It was titled The Last of the Virgins. I could not stop crying when the lovers who had vowed to keep themselves till marriage were separated by such a tragic accident. Lesley’s pain was mine and I lost my appetite that day because of that story. I can’t remember the name of the author and later I tried getting hold of another copy of the book but never succeeded. Yet I still have a vivid recollection of the strong emotions it elicited.
I wanted to write something that will move someone else like The Last of the Virgins had moved me. Whenever I read a story or a poem, I will try to copy the writer’s style and adapt it to my own experience. All my books in junior secondary school were filled with lame attempts at writing. I didn’t want to show anyone what I was doing for fear of being ridiculed but my close friends soon discovered my secret. They were book lovers like myself but preferred the Mills and Boons and Harlequin romances while I had a taste for more intriguing literature like the African Writers Series and the Pacesetter series. Then in form three I published my first poem and article in our school’s annual magazine. My friends had encouraged me to submit my writing. I could not believe my eyes when I saw my own words in print. Looking at that maiden publication now, I know it was nothing but the poor imitation of another author’s style. At that time, I didn’t know that I was subscribing to a method in creative writing.
That was a long time ago and my desire to write has not waned; a dream that so many people insisted was childish is still burning strong though I am no longer a child. I have published several books; I have worked in a publication company which gave me the opportunity to work with some amazing authors. For me, there is nothing as fulfilling as actually helping to bring an author’s vision into fruition. Some of the authors I used to read and hold in awe like Bole Butake, Nol Alembong, John Nkemngong Ngengasong, the talent Ngongkums and more, I have been opportune to actually working and being mentored by them. One of the most satisfying feelings I have experienced as a writer is when I met Margret Afuh of blessed memory, iconic author of Born Before her Time. She did not only shake my hand but embraced me and commended my writing, needless to say I was over the moon. Books have taught me so much wisdom that I could never have learned in school and I am still learning through them daily. The creation of Lino Publishing and Communications is for me, a testament that dreams are attainable.