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I’m Emile, and I’m a writer

22 December 2021

Emile Smith is 26 years old and lives in Worcester, South Africa. He has Becker muscular dystrophy. Here he talks about why he writes, and what inspired his first children’s book, My Name is Zario.

When you find something you’re passionate about, it’s not hard to do. That’s my love for writing; it’s a conversation between my body, mind and soul and the pen being a tourist on the paper it’s filling up.

When you’re on a journey of discovering yourself and what’s placed on your path, you have to find a map to help you understand the road you’re on. When i went on route with Muscular Dystrophy, i didn’t understand it, people didn’t understand and often i didn’t understand myself either. I discovered a mighty weapon, the mind and pen together, i underestimated it at first until it became my second breath. It is therapy, it’s exercise and light. It kept on shining and my mind kept on raining.

Words have power. I dealt with negative words, words of rejection, disappointment and words feeding a then lack of confidence. I started writing to change the narrative that was once spoken, to let the dark cloud move aside and let the sun shine through. It was destined, for the sun of truth, motivation and inspiration to shine through my dark clouded mind. It unraveled those words once spoken into the atmosphere and send forth what was meant to be, words of uplifting the broken spirit. Anyway, writing changed my mind about who i am and i found my place in this world, with Muscular Dystrophy. 

I went through a lot of lows, lows that often left me in disbelief and disappointment. But every time i allowed the pen to take over, my lows looked different on paper, not like it’s over but i heard the high notes through the lows i went through. Writing made a difference because everything made sense once i read it. My emotions spoke and i could understand why they were often all over the place, writing made me realize, not to suppress my emotions but to let it out, on paper. Everything i pinned on paper says one thing; it ain’t all that bad.

Muscular Dystrophy was and still is a whole crazy journey, really, it’s bizarre. Why? I went through quite a few things, things i didn’t think i would survive. That’s why i can write about it because even though society make us the outcast, when i take my pen, i matter then and i know i also have a say. On the other hand, if i didn’t write about Muscular Dystrophy i wouldn’t have been here, in a positive state. I read what i write and say it back to myself and in that conclusion i always find one thing, never give up.

For someone who has no writing background, I’m amazed at how my mind poured out itself and opened its doors for the pen to absorb what’s going on inside its walls, the positive and the negative. Just as my heart pumped blood, it also pumped pain, joy and all sorts of emotions. I absorbed it all and it found it’s place between all the words.

To be honest, i never liked writing, especially essays, but poetry was my favourite in school. When i finally started i wondered why i didn’t like it. It started with poetry, being bullied, laughed at and struggling to understand Muscular Dystrophy were the things that actually inspired my poems but it never ended on a negative note. I wanted people to get up and live despite everything. In counting, i have over 200 poems. Everything else inspire me. Sometimes i see and hear things and whenever i hear the first word and sentence; i know, it’s the next poem. I write about nature, my heritage, my community, God, Muscular Dystrophy and bits and pieces my mind caught. I eventually underestimated myself because for years i thought poetry was all I got. And it wasn’t the case. I started to fall in love with stage play’s, directing it and the fun part, dressing up. But it’s not just about writing it, i embraced acting it. 

I love the stage, well i love being a star in front of people. Writing plays was more about getting people to laugh, to be happy and in the end made me happy. Here, i write about things happening in society, especially in my neighborhood. This is a different story, seeing my mind and my word coming alive. To hear my words speaking out to others. Then i ended up writing series, comedy, bits of short tv programs. It might not be there yet but when it gets there, I’m prepared to show up with my work.

I create characters in my mind, i form them and give them a heart. This is what i love about writing; creating characters and give them life to bring my words to life. It’s an amazing process. Then Zario came, inexperienced but once again, the connection was there, i saw myself, i saw my past, i saw how i got to where i am; it was more than writing but it was as if i was sitting with my younger self. I healed as i was writing. The book Zario opened a door for me in the direction of writing children’s books. After that, i kept on writing. I already have five little books written, waiting to be read by the world.

I write because i can’t stop living because my life turned out differently, i write as a sign of living because that’s what happens when i write, things come to life, breathe and grow. I often wake up with a full book, a full song and often a new character. It’s definitely in my dreams because writing is a dream come true. 
I am Emile and i am a writer. I write children books, poetry, play’s, songs, series and i will push myself to write books. It’s not a hobby, it’s part of who I am. Where i fail to speak, my words will speak for me. Where people fail to hear me, my words will echo with their own voices. 

Follow this link to read Emile’s first children’s book, My Name is Zario, and find out more about the author:

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