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Friday, 8 January 2016


"Fate. There it was, it hung in the air for fraction of a second, before the diviner's stones scattered in the dust. My father lost his mother. Missionaries turned up at the village and chiefs ordered each household to send one male child to their new school. My uncles stayed at home and were taught by the Imam. There was the fork in the road. There had been twists and turns along the way, but that was the deciding moment when their futures, and mine, divided. One to the west, the others to Africa."

The Devil that Danced on the Water by Aminatta Forna

I collect words, the way others collect art, toys, crystal, and coins. Every once in a while, I have the breath knocked out of me by a sentence in a book and I have to save it, so that I may return to savour it later.

This paragraph probably hit where it hurts because I have since yesterday been thinking about fate and regrets. That fork in the road that she mentions, has been playing on my mind. What if I hadn't quit working after the kids? What if I had started writing earlier in my life? What if I was a better writer? What if I had the gift like Aminatta Forna? What if... Two powerful words; they carry within them the world of possibilities and yet, these two words are also completely useless. Life is not about what ifs, but about the what is. My what is comprises of a beautiful family, a few good friends, a home I love, and a cat who melts my heart. Yes, I wish I was a better writer but writing is a craft and I will continue to work at it.  If I had not quit work to stay home with my children, I would not have taken up writing. I know that. There simply aren't enough hours in the day while juggling home and work.

So while fate presents us with that fork in the road, and at times the direction we take is determined for us, and at other times, we find ourselves behind the wheel; it is pointless to spend hours toying with the what-ifs. As unromantic as it sounds, best to keep your mind focused on where you are at the moment and enjoy what is.

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