By Chikamso Agina ’22:
In 2014, on the tenth night of April, I found something nestled within the fullness of the moon. It was the night of my tenth birthday that I found a fragment of myself in the silver glow that rests in the sky. I had admired its beauty with eyes that brimmed youthful and elated, and I slipped into a trance, broken only by the frantic search for pen and paper scraps.
Growing up as an only child with a single mother, I always sought comfort in things rather than in people. So I found comfort in music, cartoons, and games until I fell in love with the moon one night and crowned it as my muse. I ached for understanding beyond scientific fact, wanting desperately to ascend to its peak and dance along its stars.
Even in Nigeria, volunteering at my uncle’s hospital and local orphanage, I would go to my bed exhausted, anticipating the moment my head would collide with my pillow. But sleep would wait until I could bid the sun goodnight and welcome the little stars that came out to sing their gentle lullabies. Once I saw that familiar lunar glow, then I would be content and close my eyes for sleep.
I began to write with purpose once I was ten years old, dutifully placing pen to paper and fingers to keyboard as my brain flourished with pictures that I transformed into words. As a child, my little nonsensical stories featured the moon in the form of someone who was human (a very poorly written human at that). My dream was to describe it to be someone noble, someone kind, someone beautiful, someone admirable.
I was never satisfied with what I wrote about the moon, constantly deleting my drafts and tossing them away. I grew frustrated, but I was so enthralled with the process of writing that I couldn’t imagine giving up. So, I didn’t. I began to write differently, writing short stories about other things and about other people. I began to observe differently, taking notice of the way my classmates behaved, how my teachers behaved, how strangers behaved. I aged as I wrote, and once I was fifteen years old, I wrote a story called Earth Boy, a flash fiction about a being who found himself in love with the moon which I represented exactly as it was, a stellar body that was wrapped in dust. I was so content and pleased with what I’d written, but once I gazed up into the moon weeks later, that feeling of contentedness quickly dried out. I knew more than anyone I had to try again. I knew more than anyone that I could push myself to do better.
When the world came to its Covid eclipse in March 2020, I found myself writing every little thought that waxed and waned around my brain to spark some life into the night of quarantine.
I poured myself into my writing for an entire year, staring at the moon as I usually did on nights when I felt hopeless. Now, in the year of 2021, my first book is reaching its end, and once again, I am feeling more than content. Content, yes, but I’m not nearly satisfied. Like the moon, my writing goes from new to full, waxing and waning in its phases forever and again without end.