One day I wrote a blog post about how my inability to put down roots and stick to a single place or activity for long had evolved. I was not supposed to write that post. I was supposed to be working on an assignment for school due the next day. But there is a land called Procrastinatoria and I am their queen. Instead of ten pages on voluntary medical male circumcision, I toyed with the idea of finding myself by doing less and being more. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote. Then when my eyelids were so heavy with exhaustion that I could barely keep them open as I clicked on the Publish button, the answer to my brother’s question came to me. I was tired but completely satisfied. I had been so absorbed in what I was doing that I hadn’t noticed time slipping past and the sleep creeping in. I had stolen time from my education and spent it on my immediate happiness. Instant versus delayed gratification. An indulgence. A guilty pleasure, one might say.
Nothing relaxes me the way writing does. Nothing else feels so effortless even when the results aren’t perfect. Nothing validates me the way writing does. Writing gives me wings. My writing needs no audience. It bears witness to itself. I write because it makes me feel alive and significant. I write because I express myself best that way. My brain moves so fast that my mouth can’t keep up. So writing is my one chance at taking what’s on the inside of my mind and manifesting it in the material realm. In a world with so many distractions that exact a heavy toll on introverts like me, writing is my refuge, a welcome escape. It’s my happy place, my soft place to land. I write because there’s nothing else I would rather do, ever. They say you shouldn’t need a lover; you should want one. So sure, I don’t need to write. I want to write. But I want it badly. I want it all the time like a hot new crush. In my universe, writing is bae.
Sandisile Tshuma is a Zimbabwean storyteller, health, development and human rights practitioner who has studied molecular and cellular biology, public health, disaster management and acting from the University of Cape Town (South Africa), the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), the National University of Science and Technology (Zimbabwe) and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (United Kingdom).
Sandisile has a professional background in monitoring, evaluation and communication in sexual and reproductive health programmes with the United Nations and other International Organizations in East and Southern Africa. She is an award winning short story writer, the founding editor of AntuAke online magazine, and has curated a personal blog for five years. Sandisile's short stories, "Arrested Development" and "The Need" were published by amaBooks Publishing in two anthologies of Zimbabwean short stories. "Arrested Development" won an Honourable Mention for the 2010 Thomas Pringle Award in the short story category, has been translated into a number of languages and is included in an anthology titled "When The Sun Goes Down", a set book in the Kenyan English language curriculum at secondary school level. The Need has been translated into isiNdebele. Her first full length book, "Dandelion Dreaming," tells the story of marginalised youth in South Africa using the "photo-voice" methodology.