EVERYBODY walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people do not see any but for Margaret Chideme (MC), there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. Below are Excerpts of her interview about her journey to become a writer.
Q) In a few sentences can you tell us about yourself?
MC) A few sentences seem inadequate to fully state all that I am but in summary I am a mom, business woman, philanthropist and a writer. Those are my 4 pillars; family, business, giving and passion.
Q) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
MC) I started noticing my interest in writing in high school where I would look outside the window during class while day dreaming and write poetry about a crush. As I grew older I realized everytime I had something burning in me, something to heal in me, I would turn within and write. Over the years I started sharing my personal stories, struggles and internal dialogue about issues that matter to me on Facebook and on my blog maggiesdiary.com where I constantly got encouragement from family and friends to take it up seriously.
Q) How long did it take you to consider publishing?
MC) I have been thinking about publishing since my late twenties, my book was supposed to come out when I was thirty hence the title but it’s taken me a little longer to build the courage and finally share my most intimate hobby. It has taken me long enough to decide… years.
Q) Where do you get your inspiration from?
MC) I get inspiration from my truth, things I have experienced, things I have seen around me and things I’d like to heal and change. Some of my poetry comes to me soon after meditation and those come from a deeper subconscious yearning of my soul.
Q) Who can you say is your favourite local author?
MC) Definitely Charles Mungoshi Snr whose work I studied in high school. My love story with writing began with my love for literature and reading.
Q) What is your take on the current reading culture in Zimbabwe?
MC) It saddens me that most people in Zimbabwe only read when it’s exam time and when there are juicy gossip tabloids. We still have a long way to go as far as developing our reading culture. Self-driven reading would close the gap between knowledge and understanding because then you are reading out of interest not obligation. Reading gives us access to mentorship, information and entertainment from people all over the world we otherwise would never have access to.
Q) What do you think can encourage reading in Zimbabwe?
MC) I think providing more access to books in communities like investing in libraries where young children with big dreams can go and get lost in imagination and inspiration…adults too. You can teach an old dog new tricks through the culture of reading.
Q) In brief, can you tell us about your anthology of poems?
MC) First Thirty is a peek into the mind of a woman. It is a collection of poetry about love, pain, abuse, womanhood, searching and rediscovery. Most people do not understand poetry but this collection is really a continuous story that rhymes, with events and thoughts spanning from my early twenties to now. The reader experiences the unfolding and evolution of a woman through the different phase’s life takes her and will be able to relive each moment with her. It is also about issues that a lot of people face in life so many can relate. The poems in the book are raw and unfiltered and talk about topics that most would rather sweep under the rug and shy away from.
Q) What would you like to say to those who have written books or have manuscripts they haven’t published?
MC). I’d like them to think of the possibility of their ideas being buried with them. If it doesn’t scare them more to die without leaving a trace of their work, then they were never meant to write.
Q) Will you be publishing more books after this?
MC) Definitely. Writing is as good as breathing for me. I will stop when I die. After this first book, I would have ripped off the band aid of any fears iv had before as far as publishing is concerned so I assume it should get easier with the next books.
Q) When should we look out to your book being available?
MC) The official launch of First Thirty will be on the 18th of September this year. More information of this launch will be communicated on my social media platforms which are…as well as my blog maggiesdiary.com.