I haven’t always loved style. I haven’t always used style. I haven’t always prioritized style as well.
I remember growing my writing skills back in high school, my essays had no beginning or ending. I wrote exam anyhow and everything was jumbled up. I mean my second point would be explained in forth point, sixth or even eighth point. But guess what? I used to pass.
My teachers wanted well written stories. What they wanted were stories written with jargon and cliche, proverbs and says everyone else uses: What they wanted were stories written with big and difficult words that no one uses. Reading my essay you needed a dictionary beside the article.
I religiously followed this to the latter. No one in form one central had their own style of writing, no one in form two central had their unique way of writing and no one in form three central had their own signature of writing. We all wrote the same way and one could tell I belong to central just by reading my story.
As if that isn’t enough, I crammed a story, I mustered from word to sentence to paragraph; that was the same story I wrote in my national examination. And yet again I passed.
When I joined campus in 2014, nothing changed. I wrote my exams the same old way until I specialized in print journalism as a profession when I developed passion in reading articles written in magazine, newspapers and novels. I was wrapped in reading those articles until I longed for one thing.
I wanted to write like those authors whose articles I read: I wanted my stories to be like those articles they wrote. I started writing well but something was still missing. The more I tried to resonate with what was missing, the more I got lost again and again.
There was no doubt I was losing hope till I attended a stylistic class by Prof. Henry Indangasi. He showed me how to use language bringing out its artistic beauty: He showed me how to write story bringing out its original beauty. He showed me how to develop my signature writing.
“Onyango imagine walking in Nairobi streets today and then you spot a lady putting on blue glasses, same design like you are wearing: putting on black shoes, same design like you wearing. And as if that isn’t enough, she’s putting on white neck tie dress, yellow jacket,” Prof.Indangasi posed looking me straight into eyes.
“Tell me, how would you feel? Would you be happy?” He asked me.
And knowing myself well, how I love to be unique with absolutely everything I posses from my ornaments to shoes to hairstyle , I looked him straight into his eyes tongue tied and what came out after that made me want my own signature.
“I love to be unique. I love to be me. I don’t want to be like somebody else, and me walking to the street only to stumble upon that lady; I will hate her then change my dressing style forever. I just want to be unique.” I answered.
“Then what are you still waiting for? I mean after knowing what you want…” he told me
So I started by braking grammatical norms fitting them in this brand new signature, then another rude thing I did was playing with rules and yet another awkward thing I did was repeating myself to make this signature valid. I’M NOT doing all these because I have no knowledge BUT to create emphasis, to introduce new information, to make my readers engaged just as I’ve done with you.
You are drawn in right?
I know it is three yeses from you.
Last and most importantly, I wrote for the ears. I wrote just as I talked. I hope you are boarding with this well, just how I want you to. I was telling a one on one tale. I’m doing the same thing even now.
And today, I’m promising me that should I forget everything prof. Indangasi taught me in stylistics, I shouldn’t forget one thing. Writing for the ears.
I want my signature writing style, I want my unique writing style and I know how to get it.
Now that I love style,Now that I’m using style, and now that I’ve prioritized style;I’m not going to do anything fishy to forget this style. I’m not letting it slip away.