Before Creative Writing Academy (CWA), I was not a writer. I wrote, but didn’t let anyone read them because they always felt incomplete; unfinished. A scene, situation or sentence would drop and disrupt my train of thought. By how original it felt, I would write it. But even on paper, they still were just ideas. There was always missing; that spark between words, sentences, and paragraphs.
When the inspiration was simple, it seemed coherent and complete but at reading back, it never read as smooth or as good as it did in books. When big, the gaps were visible whether I left no space or five between the parts. These spaces were like abysses. I had no hope of filling them because I didn’t know
what to fill them with. But I guessed it was more important. I recognized they needed filling; whether by simply throwing things in or reaching in to pull up their bottoms; I didn’t know. But making that gorge crossable, making the transition from paragraph one to two, smooth was the desperate search that led me to Google, then to www.cwa.edu.gh and finally into the classroom.
I entered in with bits of ideas on pieces of paper: half stories, hobbled sentences, accidental alliterations, clichés, brilliant poetry I thought was garbage, but also with an open ear to listen and see if what I felt were missing from my writing would be brushed at.
They were named, with whole weeks devoted to them.
CWA day after day, lecture after lecture pronounced what I lacked: structure, punctuation, beginning, meter, words. Each of these was a tool or a truckload of sand; no, a brick. CWA this year has been a brick factory; teaching, showing me how to make them. Then equipped with the torch of knowledge and ropes of confidence gained by just reading it out loud, I descended into my once abyss and began to fix into each space there, a proper fitting brick.
The impact at the end of my year is that the gaps are no longer bottomless; they have become shallower: wells, whose bottoms my torch can touch.
I sometimes use the approximate word instead of the precise one, I haven’t yet grasped the art of saying much with less to keep within the boundaries of ‘word counts’; it all just pours out. But when my eyes and back hurt because I’m sitting at a rewrite I’ve been at five times and I just can’t perfect it, I remember the words of a wise young woman who has been at it much longer than I have: “It doesn’t have to be perfect. If you’ve done your best, let it go.”
The greater work is ahead, but at CWA, I have begun it.
In a word, confidence; in my work and self to say to people who throw titles like The Director of International Trade at Lex Corp: “I am a writer. Would you like to hear a piece?”
- Kweku Egyir Inkoom