By Aaron Aroriza, Uganda:
Recently, a friend connected me to a friend who knew a guy whose friend was friends with a certain famous writer's brother. You should show your work to her. She's connected to mob publishers, she said. You never know what may come out of it, she added.
I took her advice and we talked to her guy who talked to his friend to convince his friend to take us to the famous writer's brother who we then begged to arrange for us a meet with his sister.
Most good writers are honest and forthright with their comments and she was no exception. As she perused through and critiqued my work, I was taken back to my first presentation in arc school. My tutor had held a clutch pencil in his left hand, and before I could even explain my concept, ran a bold horizontal line through one of my pinned A1 size sheets of paper. I had gone on to explain my concept like nothing had happened which prompted him to run another of his horizontal lines in another of my A1 papers. The ripping sound of paper must have excited him, for he had gone ahead to rip through all my five A1 papers. It had taken me two weeks to prepare that presentation. He had told me three days ago to make sure I framed my work and gave each sheet a title block. I hadn't had time to do the damned framing and titling. And he had thought I was just being stubborn. What kind of Architect are you? He had asked after ensuring all my presentation sheets were in tatters.
What kind of Architect? That was it for me. That was like graduation day for me. My tutor had referred to me as an architect-not a student. What he wasn't sure of was what kind of Architect I was. And for the next few years, while my classmates were trying to become architects, I spent my entire time trying to find out what kind of architect I was. It's during that time that I met Helga. To Helga I was a boy friend – her boyfriend. I gave her all the love I could and I still remained 'boyfriend'. Not great lover. No. Not even great love maker; Just boyfriend. And one day when she bumped into me in a club when I had supposedly-told her-I was in my bed sleeping in coldness, she had poured her cold beer on my face, hit me with her clutch bag and told me, all you men are the same. No one had ever called me a man till then. You can't imagine how happy I had been that at last someone, especially my Helga, had acknowledged my coming of age; A man…yaay!
Four years from the time my tutor had asked me what kind of architect I was, I got the answer. Valentine's Day had happened on Sunday. That Saturday there had been a campus beach bash. All I had done that weekend was party, party…party. Monday had come and with it, the good professor. He was now on my desk, presumably to discuss the progress I had made on my project over the weekend. Of course I had made lots of progress – especially on Valentine's Day. But it wasn't the kind of progress good old professor would comprehend. And no, it hadn't been about the project. The only progress I had made on the project was the few lines I had hastily scribbled in my sketch book that morning. He had looked at them and then peered at me atop his specs. This school will not produce lazy architects like you, was all he said before he moved on to the next hangover stricken student.
Lazy Architect! My professor had answered my tutor. Graduation was done for me. I had finally discovered the kind of architect I was and the style of architecture I practiced: Lazy Architecture. The closest style that came to mine was minimalism (the 'less is more' kinda jazz). Otherwise, I was a pioneer in this style. Yaay… again.
You are a terrible writer. Miss famous writer jilted me from my reverie with her sharp comment. And for the next few minutes I was in heaven. Up until then, no writer had ever called me a writer. And now this: a famous writer acknowledging that I'm a writer and even going ahead to specify my style of writing: Terrible writing. Only the great Shakespeare has come close to this style. Take this sentence from Hamlet, Act 3 scene 1 for example. “Be though as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery, go.” What terrible writing!
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