Today we are introducing a new writer. We have been following Amarachi Mbagwu Chilaka on social media. Her writings, curiously personal, always carry pent-up feelings in them. Her stories are always full of emotion, restraint, sensitivity and courage. To read her is to understand what it really means to be female in an African society, to carry the burden of femaleness and otherness in a deeply patriarchal milieu.
We hope to bring many of her works to our readers. Below is her short essay on why she writes.
Why I Write by Amarachi Mbagwu Chilaka
There’s an emptiness in me, an emptiness that only words (spoken or written) can fill. An emptiness that keeps me from the world and makes me feel cold even when the world is rotating at its highest and the sun shinning at its highest. The quest to fill that emptiness is the reason I write…
I live in a world where some things I want to do, the feelings I want to have, the sadness and the happiness I want to feel, the love I want to give and receive, sometimes seems impossible, and when I write, I unintentionally put pieces of me in my writings and allow myself do and feel and have and give and receive. Writing allows me create a world where I can never be rejected. It gives me the feelings and things the real world does not give me.
I write because I want to live. Because writing seemed to be my only saviour the many times the words I should say tried to suffocate me. Maybe I would’ve been dead and nonexistent if not for writing. I am alive and living.
I write to be heard. Many times I have tried to speak but no one else heard my voice but me. I write so that I could tell and pour my heart out in words. So that I can tell all I cannot tell in words and be heard.
I write to fight demons. The demons constantly playing painful games in my head, the demons playing with arrows and daggers and swords and shouting in high voices inside my head, my mind and my skull and cause my head to ache for no reason. They immediately leave my being alone through the ink bleeding from my pen and turning into words on the lines in the pages of my white exercise books or the fanciful pages of the beautiful book Miriam gave me or on the blank screen on my android phone.
I write because I always have something to say but no one to say them to. Because I have too many stories to tell but no one to tell them because I fear I might not be listened to and I fear that the words my lips might convey the stories in might never tell the whole stories as they were. I write because there are so many stories in my head and problems that I might never find the solutions to unless I write. I write to tell of my story, to tell the stories of people who have neither the voice or pen nor listening ears. I write to get into the world.
I write for myself, to discover and uncover the many things and secrets Mr Ignorance has kept me from. I write to learn, to befriend and to be close to more words. To keep my relationship with words and my brain and my soul growing.
I write because I want to be anybody I want to be in a world I can never be judged or be pushed away for behaving in a manner that is not accepted by the people living in that same world… Writing helps me create that kind of world; a word where I can be crazy and wild and spoilt and stupid and wicked and aggressive and then calm, responsible, generous, kindhearted. It helps me create the kind of world where I can control and make everything go round and square and flat and round again, a world where I can have the right to right or wrong without a pair of lips or more waiting aside to judge or to condemn.
I write to be read, to make name for myself. I write to be the story the next generation will study in the classroom. I write to climb up the sky and scribble my name on the stars. I write to live forever, to live even after my body has been put down six feet below, my flesh turned to dusts and my bones fed on by darkness. I write to make way for myself, to make my memories live forever. Because writing is another thing I can never afford not doing.
Amarachi Mbagwu Chilaka is a prolific young writer who started writing in 2014 after she lost her passion for singing to fear and discouragement. She has since written many unpublished articles, short stories and poems and a number of songs.She’s a co-founder of the Bleeding Pen Literary Society (BPLS).She resides in Owerri, Nigeria.