The most intense moment in writing process? For me, it is the one where the act of writing is externalized. In a word, when you see the story being created instantaneously. A story that often takes its own way, different from what we had imagined.
Afterwards, there is the pleasure of reading again. There is some real pride in seeing the result of her imagination puting into words but the intensity of the emotion felt has diminished. Moreover, the imagination is already engaged in other writings, other ideas that only need to turn into stories.
It happens regularly (especially regarding poetry), that I revisite my texts but for other genres, I can stay a long time without going back into it. And one fine day, I take one of my manuscripts or books. And without discovering it through the eyes of a reader, it is like a pleasant return on an appreciated path. And then I smile, thinking back to the emotions that the story I read gave me during the writing.
Alima, a tale or a coming-of-age story ?
It happened to me recently by re-reading Alima and the Prince of the Ocean, and especially, discovering the categorization that is made in the network of libraries in Paris with words like: myth, tale, coming-of-age story, journey… I smiled, because that is exactly what the book is talking about : a marriage between reality and fantasy. And behind, a question, an initiation quest, a journey. Here, it gives me the idea to explore the notion of “travel” in my writings one of these days!
Alima, an ode to difference and a love story
Going back to Alima and the Prince of the Ocean, it is also a book that talks about meeting. Those of different universes: The savannah and the Coast, the Sea and the sandy soil of the Sahelian regions. Alima and the Prince of the Ocean is about the meeting of different peoples, different visions. Interviewed by the Congolose and French journalist Florence Dini years ago in Amina Magazine, I returned to this aspect of the book by talking about the heroine of the novel and her relationship with one of the main protagonists:
“The separation takes place because Alima must go to meet her destiny, leave the savannah to reach the forest that borders the ocean. I wanted to show the differences that can exist between people of different social conditions, namely that Khoda is the son of the chief of their village. He is destined to reign. Alima’s mother is foreign to the savannah. She is from the coast. These are barriers that people raise in dealings with other ethnic groups, but this is a secondary reason because Alima is just going to meet her destiny. And for that, she must unfortunately leave those she has known and loves.©Minsilizanga.com
“Alima and the Prince of the Ocean” received The Mauritius Novel’s Prize for the Youth in 2002.