When I was in secondary school, I owned a physics textbook. It was the worst textbook for physics in the history of the science class. Boring grey pages, longwinded, stilted, bulky, frightening, punitive. Principles of Physics. It was by M. Nelkon. Jesus, the book was terrible. No matter how hard the teachers tried, I just couldn’t keep up because my textbook was killing me. There must be something wrong with my brain, I thought.
A year into the three-year course, there arrived with a neighbour and fellow science student a humble book that changed everything. Senior Secondary Physics by P.N. Okeke. We called the book Okeke for short. Easy read. Brief chapters. Friendly. Physics started to make sense now. I could totally do this.
Well, it turned out I still couldn’t totally do this. When the finals came, I failed physics. Maybe there was something wrong with my brain after all.
But it was impossible for me to not blame Principles of Physics. It just didn’t communicate properly.
You see, writing is entertainment. Some writers don’t get that point, and it’s disgusting. They assume it’s the reader’s responsibility to stick to writer’s speech — his oh so glorious wisdom, wit, technique. “Oh these simpletons just don’t want to read.” “They’re intellectually lazy.” No, these simpletons are not lazy; you are writerly inconsiderate.
To write is to tell a story, to locate the junction of connection between you and the person to whom you speak. Will he get it? Will he enjoy it? You do want him to enjoy it, don’t you?
We all wish we could just put pen to paper and pour the point onto the page and god be damned. Rubbish. As stagecraft is to popular musicians, writing is a show — preferably a tour de force, at least as often as you can.
I’m just saying.