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Friday, 28 January 2011

A road less traveled...

I thought I had beaten the clock and made it out of the grocery shop in time, only for me to discover that the doors were closed and I was locked in the store for the next hour. It was prayer time in Riyadh and all I could do was walk the aisles until the hour passed and we were again let out into the blistering heat that awaited us in the early evening.
Many would have said that I chose Saudi Arabia to write my second book but the truth is it chose me. If I remember correctly it was early 2006 when I hit the worst case of writer’s block in my apartment in London. I had been racking my brain for months for ideas to steer my new novel into the world and there was nothing forthcoming. And then I got an anonymous email from a long time acquaintance and before long I was negotiating my passage to the Middle East. I had great prospects in mind for what awaited me but writing was just a mirage I could dream of in the distance. It finally came three months into my stay in the Kingdom when I realized there was very little for me to fall back on during my spare time but rely upon this desert for inspiration. It was unusual and different for a start and given the conditions of the war in the Middle East anything was possible to the suffering fugitive within that badly needed to get his second book underway.
Riyadh had this thing about it. It was as if one force of nature was pushing against another. On a good day you felt as though you were on the rich boulevards of Miami, strolling past palm trees without a care in the world. You’d weigh all the benefits of being there, no taxes, low cost fuel and high salaries. The house in the country was possible and the yacht on the shores of Monaco glimmered in the moonlight. I had lived in many places before Riyadh, one time I’d penciled the events of a night out in Shenzhen China, barely able to see what I had written as the bus driver drove madly and almost killed a cyclist. I thought this was bad until I met the other side to Riyadh. You’d have to search desperately for that elusive gag to make you smile on bad days. It was mayhem until the moment you closed your eyes at night. If you weren’t screaming at the society then you were cursing yourself for being the fool that lived there.
I guess what I loved most about writing my second novel in Riyadh was the balance of these opposing forces. They stirred the right emotions within me, feelings I would have struggled to manufacture in familiar territory. I remember traipsing through the old city one day, Old Diriyah, thinking back to the days of sheikhs and dromedaries. It was then that I wished for time to stand still and let my fingers do the talking. It was then I knew that all along I was walking to this place and to that moment to fulfill a dream and write my second book, Eli.

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Leslie Musoko
Leslie Musoko is the author of the novels Divinity Dawns and ELI and an award winning Ezine Author Expert with over three hundred articles published worldwide on spirituality, self-help and relationships. His television debut came in 2007 as a speaker/panelist on CSPAN television in New York on the show ‘writing from an international perspective’.However before fulfilling his dream of becoming a writer he simultaneously attained success in the Telecommunications Industry over a 17 year career span rising to the position of Head of Optics for Thrupoint in Saudi Arabia in 2007. Prior to this he held various senior positions, Product Manager, Huawei, UK and Consulting Systems Engineer, Cisco Systems in Dallas just to name a few. He was awarded the Nortel Prize award in 1999 for excellent project delivery and holds a BEng(Hons) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and an MSc (Diploma) in Computing for Commerce and Industry. Leslie Musoko has lived and worked across four continents including Asia, Africa, Europe and the US. www.lesliemusoko.com
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