Conceptual pitfalls in a writing process that may have just made a masterpiece or a piece of shit. Either way, I’m writing this for my pleasure or displeasure. We’ll all find out in the end.
Writing the book
It’s all a lie, no one has a universal method to writing. We just all write. We tell stories and most often the best storytellers are the best writers - I could be wrong, just keep that in mind.
In my version of this book writing thing, my first step is to create a character - a hero. Since I’m already the narrative voice, it would be exceedingly boring if I was the hero. So who is the hero then? Who do we love, hate and route for? Now, understand, time here is abstract. It’s your world. A minute could be three pages and a year covered in a paragraph. Now because of the former, every character will not be introduced nicely. It’s like watching a game show, every contestant - in this case characters - get a quick introduction.
His name is Andrew Letswale and everyone calls him Drew. He hates the name but it’s tons better than everyone calling him Andries. He’s 21, black, skinny, 1,7 something meters tall and has a deathly fear of bedbugs.
We find him in his natural habitat, his room. It’s more of a shoe-box if we’re being serious about sticking to world facts. He’s curled up on his single bed with a star wars duvet and pillow set watching Cloud Atlas .The windows are open but the blinds are shut so it seems like it’s dark out when in actuality it’s 2PM in the Pretoria heat. It’s the second semester of his first year at this university and he’s given up on living, nevertheless studying. He lives in a commune with 5 other guys and none of them have left their rooms in a week. I am one of those guys and I’ve only left my room for food and bathroom breaks because I’m too busy binge watching Anime to care about life. It’s too soon to introduce myself but whatever, I’m telling the story.
My name is Siyabonga Nkosi and everyone calls me Siya. I’m the resident short person, standing at a whopping 1,6 metres - well, more or less. I’m 22, black and skinny. I’m afraid of too many things, most of my fears revolve around how I die and not if I die.
I work Drew up for a smoke at 2:30 on a Wednesday because the store owner had gifted me a pack 15 minutes before that saying, “My friend, I thought you were dead. Where you hiding? Take pack of Marlboro, you look like you need a few puffs.” The truth is, we were all broke and the loaf of bread I had just purchased was preceded by hours of searching the house for discarded coins. As soon as we began to smoke, men rose from their beds. I’m guessing that’s what happens in a house of 5 smokers - it would be 6 smokers if I accounted for hubbly smoking. Within 5 minutes, the house was alive... which is something I strongly believed our neighbors feared. We chain smoked and complained about our mutual poverty and the lack of food. The biggest complaint was that we had an abundance of cheese - this was Tefo’s fault. Tefo’s philosophy was simple, “we can run out of everything but as soon as we run out of cheese, we’re poor.” The afternoon was long and soon became night. Our poverty had gone nowhere and then a scream came from Drew while he was in the bathroom. We had no concern with what he had hurt himself with this time, we were all just ready to laugh when he explained. It turns out this was no laughing matter. Within a blink, Drew’s lanky body was dancing on a table in front of the television. He threw his phone at Tefo who then began to dance and thus began the descent into anarchy.
To sum up the screaming, rejoicing and furniture breaking dances - here are the facts. On Drew’s phone was a message from his bank indicating that old mutual had deposited R1567230,89 into his account. Unlikely but true. Drew’s story, like everyone in this house is a strange one. So where do I begin? As blue-bloods go, Drew was on the northern side of the scale. His parents were both self made moguls in their industries. His father was a mining magnet with political ties that backdated his existence and his mother was big in venture capitalism. His parents got divorced when Drew was 7, his first year of primary and the year we met, and they were too busy to even fight for custody. His care was entrusted to his uncle Jeff, his father’s older brother who was still a bachelor at the age of 45. Growing up with Drew was an adventure because Drew was ‘Richie Rich’ and we all didn’t know it at that time. Drew spent most of his time at my house growing up. His uncle would drop him off at my house in the morning with more money than a child should be allowed to have and we would walk to school together. His uncle was still a busy man and my mother accommodated the old pervert. In exchange uncle Jeff would take care of my educational needs as my mother took care of Drew's holistic needs. We grew up as brothers, mothered by my single mother and fathered by dirty old uncle Jeff.
The money in the account was the first payout of his trust fund. Over the years between living with myself, my mother and uncle Jeff both Drew and I had forgotten how rich he actually was. Uncle Jeff was a fair man, so most of the money Drew and I had was through hard work and uncle Jeff had become a prudent man, over the years, in matters concerning how we viewed money. Drew and I still worked for uncle Jeff on weekends, although it wasn’t much work. Porting him from point A to B, since we were of driving age, and some minor office work for more money that it was worth... The benefits of nepotism, I always said.