Book cover.jpgDay five of the #BloggingChallenge and today’s topic is: My proudest moment

I guess this refers to the moments when I find myself with a lump in my throat while hoping the tears welling up in my eyes will evaporate and not embarrass me by coursing down my cheeks. That moment when I inhale and hold my breath because I can neither believe what is happening to me nor understand how I got there.

Well, I have had a number of such moments but for today, I will focus on one, not because it’s more important than the others, but purely based on the mood I’m in as I write this piece. I’m of a melancholic choleric disposition, so I sometimes let my mood dictate my actions.

Right now I’m in a literary mood hence the bookish influence on my chosen moment. Being published was one such moment. Ultimately, every writer hopes to be published, and not just once. For me the first opportunity came in 2009 and was a pleasant surprise as I neither sought nor expected it. I call it the first because I believe there will be many more.

I was on a three-week tour with a filming crew when the request came via email. From looking at the subject box, I instinctively deleted the email assuming it was spam, but immediately felt uneasy, retrieved it from my deleted mails and read it. It seemed authentic and after checking my prospective publisher’s website, I responded positively.

In summary, the publishing company’s acquisitions editor had stumbled on my Masters’ Thesis: Enhancing Social Marketing in Zimbabwe: Some Critical Lessons and Experiences for Africa’s Civil Society  at one of the universities in Zimbabwe and wanted to publish it, if I was agreeable. The publishers felt there was limited research about Africa, written by Africans, yet local libraries were rich with good literature. They were actively seeking ways to avail more of such books to their clients, who comprised mostly of students and academic institutions. I thought the cause was noble, the terms of the contract were fair and besides, being published was a bonus given that I’d written the thesis to fulfill a requirement to earn an academic qualification and had no plans for it beyond submission to the university. So, naturally, I accepted the opportunity with much alacrity and in August 2009, after much consultation with the publishers, I received a hard copy of the published book and could safely call myself an author.

As I walked through the length and breadth of the office sharing my excitement, some dismissed my thesis topic as “soft sciences.” I attributed that to plain, simple jealousy and asked them to show me their publications in “hard sciences.” Others wanted to know how much I had earned in royalties, but I know it was to dampen the achievement.

However, my boss, bless his dear heart, said he was happy for me, sat down, went through the bibliography and said with pure admiration: “Well done, I am happy for you.” He then turned to my colleagues and said: “Wow, see this lady? She has read all these books and acquired all this knowledge. It isn’t an easy thing to do.”

His sincerity and admiration neutralized the onslaught from unappreciative colleagues who were trying to downplay the achievement. I still cherish his words and encouragement.

Indeed, he summed up what I had been through. The book was the culmination of months of reading, sleepless nights and a rigorous regime of discipline that reduced my total sleeping hours to four per day during both the research and writing. Nonetheless, my efforts were well-rewarded through the publication and that was one of my proudest moments.