Welcome back to Avid Conquest! And a very happy belated new year!
Changes. Hate them or love them, in the end you’ll have to embrace them. And that’s what I began the year doing. I know you must have noticed the brand-new refurbished look of the website since the last time you were hear. If you follow the website’s official Instagram page then you know of my plans to give the blog a more professional aesthetic. And well, it turned out brilliantly if you ask me.
I am forever grateful and indebted to a great friend of mine, John, who took the reins and ensured that my vision and blueprint of an online website with a homey feel and a consolidated design was brought to life. Honestly, I was a bit cautious of the idea of taking a break because I had gotten into a consistent rhythm at the tail end of 2020 with my posting. You never want to risk losing the motivation of posting content as it can undeniably ram you into a creative block. And like I have elucidated before in my previous post on How to Beat the Creator’s Block, the aftereffects can take a long time to recover from.
I will definitely link John’s contacts here for any web development and design issues you would like taken care of. (You won’t be sorry after he’s done!)
I am very delighted to be back behind a computer screen, save for the constant reminder that I should use my ergonomic chair and photochromatic glasses responsibly to preserve that spine arch and visual acuity, of course. The feeling of my fingers gliding over the keys always fills me with first-time giddiness and, unfortunately, a lot of typographical errors to contend with. Nevertheless, Avid Conquest is back!
I have got some updates for you on how the first quarter of the New Year was for me. Before we go any further, make sure to like the post and subscribe to the blog for exciting and cutting-edge 2021 content. (I am not kidding!)
Last year I set out a collaborative target with a blogger friend of mine to read close to 50 books within the year. Undoubtedly, due to the pandemic forcing the world to an indefinite lockdown, achieving it proved to be easier than I, or her, had expected. As far as I am concerned, we both reached the milestone comfortably, although I dragged myself to the finishing line with The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth.
The trick I used to keep up with the count was reading online publications in tandem with paperback copies. There were times where I had Meja Mwangi’s Going Down River Road on one hand and The Perception Deception on my tablet or laptop. Obviously I would hastily lose interest in the e-book once Meja’s character began his frolicking around the bars in River Road. However I did it, I still managed to finish the assignment of ticking fifty books off my list as 2021 rolled in.
This year the target has changed a bit. Instead of fifty books, I chose twenty books. Well, that’s a downgrade Owen, you might say. But here’s the catch. All African, all black, all exclusive. This is part of my journey to learning more about and promoting Afrocentrism. Afrocentrism majorly sheds light onto the history of black culture.
The reason I gave myself this Herculian task was to find out the perspectives through which African writers view the world and how it translates into their works of art. Just to name a few of the writers who have impressed me so far: Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Ayi Kwei Armah, Meja Mwangi, Mwangi Gicheru and Chinua Achebe. One can never compare the impact that these writers have on enabling the empowerment and interconnectedness of African people and those of African descent.
I am currently reading Mwangi Gicheru’s What a Life. Can you imagine the pride and sense of belonging one may feel reading a book written by a fellow local man?
The way local writers are able to capture the despondence of a nation defeated by corrupt regimes, the long-suffering youth trying to usurp the systemic powers, the dire love-hate relationships that exist in traditional setups and the supposed evil, death and poverty that engulf lives in cities with bright lights always excites me. Frankly speaking, such kind of discourse is what I desire to read and obsess over, and not the fantastical stories of false gods riding on chariots throwing flames from the skies. But to each their own. (I have a problem with the genre, not the readers).
Soon I will begin a series on book reviews to summarize the wonderful works I have been reading. If you support this idea, let me know in the comments.
OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH
A particular quote is often touted here and there: ‘You win some, you lose some’ and it could not have been any less true for me. After endeavoring to produce content for the company formerly known as Fortune House Publishing Company, a series of unfortunate events conspired to slap me across my face. It turned out that the company was only after money and not the advancement of skills of avid and ambitious writers, as it had stated when hiring. Sadly the company and its people vanished with intellectual property of more than twenty writers. They published the Oracle of the Sun and sold it without any credit to the contributing team, which included myself.
I was gutted. I had spent quite some time sharing the good news with family and close friends and they were eagerly awaiting to see how well I had done. To go through such lengths just to be scammed was a reality-serving moment for me. I learned my lesson.
Towards the end of April, my prayers were finally answered. Not only did I get a contract job with a renowned institution in the field that I study but I also received a position in the company where I get to do what I do best: write.
How different is this from Fortune House?
Well, for starters, it’s not Fortune House. The company is definitely lightyears ahead of the scam that was Fortune House Publishing Company. I have found a place where my passion and my studies converge and I could not be any happier. I am in the presence of professionals who have been in the game for more than a decade so there’s a level of guidance and commitment that comes from working with them. And all this was from a friend’s referral!
This is exactly the break I needed after being let down. One door closed shut and another opened. I believe that if I had stopped seeking for another chance at showing the world what I could do I might not have received the call to work with my new employers. (Just saying that is sending goosepimples down my arms). I intend to grasp this opportunity with a vise-like grip and not let go until I have actualized my untapped potential.
PS: Word of advice to any freelance writers out there; do not jump headfirst into any opportunity to create content without the proper background checks on the company. Plus, always establish clear communication channels from the start.
On some personal news, I remain forever grateful to God for this amazing opportunity. Impacting people’s lives in a positive manner through my writing and my life is all I have ever dreamt about. I often talk to most of my friends who berate themselves on failing to know what their talents and abilities are. Did you know that your talents and abilities need an ‘activation key’, just like a software application? The activation key, I believe, is prayer. It is not a vain thing to beseech God to help you tap into your talents. Most importantly, for Him to use them for his glory and honor. I do not write to please anyone and neither do I do it just to meet a deadline (although sometimes I do, haha). Anyway , I write because I know this is what my Father in Heaven predestined me to do for his glory.
So yes, it’s not a crime that one’s talents and abilities are yet to be activated. Ask yourself: are you ready for the responsibility of honoring the Father with your talents and abilities? If you are, the time is near.
Thank you so much for reaching the end of this year’s first of three writing updates. It shows me that you truly are a friend and part of the strong social circle that makes Avid Conquest what it is: an online community that is ready to discover, learn and explore.