I’m a reader, have been for as long as I can remember. One day I opened my really beautiful eyes (oh please check my picture) to behold a new world. It wasn’t one of amniotic fluid and echoes from mama’s vocal cords. I saw a brighter world. A noisier world without the natural filters I was used to; a world with lights, colours, textures and books. Lots of books, and by God did I read them all. I’m not exaggerating. I’ve read the oddest things a child should be bothered with, and when I exhausted the cache in my own home, I laid siege upon my neighbours’ libraries (or just wherever the beauties were kept) and I read some more.There’s just one glitch in the reading system: Some books are plain dull. So dull you wonder if the authors’ muse is only present at the lowest points of their lives. And that’s a bad thing.
How long does one spend on a book before it’s thrown across the room and forgotten on its landing spot behind the settee? In my case, it’s just beyond the first chapter. Anything else jumping at me afterwards will be trapped by the spider webs lodged in the darkest corners of my brain. Yet again this only makes sense when you’re stuck with pleasure reading. So how does one swallow bitter pills of boring academic reading too, when all you want is to gain knowledge and ace your exams, while enjoying the process? Oh I don’t know. I get the rush to author text books. I partly see the need to feel smart and very intellectual. But I do not understand why little effort must be put into something as vital as education.
Basic foundations are forged in the home and classroom. Love, attention, sense of belonging and the feeling of significance are real mojo in a human’s life. But the ability to dream, see colours in bland pages and watch letters come to life is desirable too. Take C.S Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia for instance, that is a good story, but it is a great book because it teaches values in an interesting, fun way. The basics should not be overlooked. If fiction writers can apply their love for the arts in the shortest stories, I don’t see why the same shouldn’t be extended to academics. Academia is not synonymous with boredom. Or at the very least it shouldn’t be.
I’m staring at the second best book I have been opportune to read since I subscribed to getting professionally certified in Accounting. Second best. Before this there was me refereeing matches between boredom and survival –with the former winning– and as expected, it’s turned out to be written by a foreigner, much like the first. So far the Western populace appear to have a better grasp of what academia should be about than my Nigerian/African authors. That’s not to say though that I haven’t come across foreign authored books I couldn’t fathom, hard as I tried. The margin is just a lot smaller.
Writing is an art. Art reflects our very soul on paper, canvass, or in the beautiful strains of music. And art is not mechanical (unless it’s meant to be savoured by robots). Every word, syllable, stroke must be done with love. God, lots of love and passion. Love is infectious. When a person caresses each sentence with love before laying it on a sheet, it’s near impossible to resist sliding into that same euphoria too. When it comes to academic writing, then like Mary Poppins suggested, a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down. Reading can be a difficult task most times, but it’s easier when there are visual aids—one that can be conjured in the mind or otherwise splattered across the pages. We love pictures. We want stories that are relatable, illustrations, and colours. Give the people what they need when you write for the classroom, not an extended version of your big brain, self-esteem and over-zealous desire to sell copies and make money. You are a foundation builder. Give the kids blocks to work with.
To authors who do it right, you have my thanks for loving the art and never straying from what it truly means to impart knowledge on another. I hope the lost and ignorant ones out there learn there’s no greater satisfaction than knowing your labour has the most beneficial impact on people with minimal struggle. Everyone is teachable; we just need to devise the right means to get our message across, and books are the most accessible even for people who can not afford to enroll in a school.