Writing Pumping Water Midnight Lagos

Growing up in Lagos changes the way you view the world.  For me, it has fundamentally colored and shaped the way I analyze things.  So, it’s only natural that a discussion on writing will start from an experience set nowhere else but Lagos.

In the part of Lagos where we lived, clean, pipe-borne water was available, but (and this was a big but), it didn’t just magically flow through taps.  You were responsible for initiating the flow of water through pipes to taps.  In short, you had to pump water with an electric pump. People still had wells for many reasons, including this one: a well is good insurance.

By the way, pumping water is child’s play compared to fetching water.  Comparing them is an insult self.  You know what, electric pump e ma binu (don’t be offended).  There’s no contest!

For some strange reason, pumping water during the day was next to impossible.  Maybe it was because the whole neighborhood had the same idea at the same time: pump water while the sun is up.  Kinda like too many people perching on wi-fi and slowing it down.  How’s my analogy? Close enough, ba?  Anyway, the point is that filling a tank with water during the day was a rare feat.

But we quickly discovered that the rules that applied during the day, didn’t apply at night.  Well, technically, after midnight, i.e. in the wee hours of the morning.

So what was so special about the timing?

After midnight, while Madam Koin-Koin was busy making her rounds and frightening innocent students in boarding schools across the country, water would come gushing out of the pipes and eventually fill the tank.

Now, this is the koko (heart of the matter): the first few spurts of water had stones and sediments, presumably from the pipes.  Or maybe they were gifts from the water association.  Who knows?

Even then, it took a few minutes for the pump to really warm up.  At that stage, water would come out in tiny gurgles, until eventually …


Lots of water would come rushing out.

If you’re not rolling your eyes at this point, you’re probably asking, “So, what is this Sharon yarning sef?”

Read on …

That’s exactly how writing is like.  Not that you should only write after midnight.  Nope. Your best writing typically isn’t the first thing that lands on your screen or paper.  It’s the stuff that comes later, after you’ve practiced for a while, that stands out.  The quality is better just like the clear water that flows after the pump has warmed up.

You can apply this to just about every area of your life.  If you give up at the onset, then you’ll never have a story to tell.  You have to keep going and be encouraged knowing that the best is yet to come.

Your best writing, your best days, your best gbogbo e, everything … they’re all ahead of you.  Keep pressing on. Remember this as you coast through the week.



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