By Joshua Olanrewaju
I looked at the three custom officers gauging them to see which one was less likely to give me a lot of trouble. It was my first time carrying drugs across the border but my sponsor had assured me everything would be fine. He told me the cocaine was well hidden and my ‘sexy body’ would do a great job of distracting the testosterone driven custom officers. I saw one of the guys pat down a lady, his hands lingering longer than they should. He would be perfect. I said a silent prayer, loosened one more button on my blouse and walked towards the officer.
Are you interested in what happens to this amateur drug smuggler? Are you somehow hoping she is not caught?
Well, that is the power a writer wields.
Writing engages the imagination. The drug smuggler here was not named or described (except you count her sexiness a description) but you have a picture of her in your imagination. You see a picture of the airport and maybe you even see the pervert she has chosen to check her. That is what writing does, it opens your imagination. If it does that for you – the reader, you can imagine what it has done to me – the writer. Writing takes me to places I am yet to visit and some I will never get to visit because they don’t even exist. I have never smuggled drugs and I never will. Except they list Coke (Coca Cola not Cocaine) as an illegal drug, still my imagination has gone on a drug smuggler’s journey. The power of writing.
The writer is a puppeteer. You hold the lives of characters in your hand, you decide who lives and who dies. You decide who loves who and who breaks whose heart. This part is what I love the most about writing and while some might consider it egoistic, it’s really pleasurable. Life is wild and sometimes you can’t control what happens but in this little world you have created, you have total control.
The writer is a puppet. I know this sort of contradicts my previous point but just hold on. I once wrote about a police officer who carried guilt for a murder he couldn’t prevent in the past and at the same time tried to channel his energy to pursuing a serial killer. The story is called “Demons On Church Street” (Read here). You would think I knew my own story and backstories but it was as I wrote the final scenes that I realized the murder done in the past was actually done by the same killer he now pursued. Believe it or not, I did not know that part until I wrote it. If you are a writer here, you know that sometimes a story has a life of his own and sometimes you want a couple to fall in love but they just refuse to. It’s one of the joys of writing.
Do you want to go to London and you haven’t had the chance to? Do you imagine what it was like to live in Old Rome? Do you wonder what your life would be like if you could hear the thoughts of women? (Oh sorry, Mel Gibson already did that one) If you ever wonder what a year, a situation or a country will look like, then I have one advice for you– two actually:
- Google it, it might already exist.
- And most importantly, write it!
Pick up your pen, your laptop or even your phone and write something. Open your mind, feel the freedom.