Interlude

What did you think of Joma’s journey?

His tale was my first attempt at writing fiction in years. I enjoyed the experience and learned about the fictional writing process along the way.

I learned the value of planning. Preparation provides a framework to build a story – like drawing the outline of a sketch before adding the detail and colour. Having a better understanding of each character, for example, would have allowed me to make them more distinct, allowing their thoughts, actions and words to flow naturally.

I pulled ideas from personal experiences as well as from books I have read and movies I have watched. What we take in from our environment shapes us and influences what we return. I avoid the news for this reason. The negativity on display, for the sake of ratings, would only increase my own negativity.

“Ain’t nothing but the blues on the news”.

Joma’s Journey draws to a close the second instalment of my 90-day blog post challenge. What comes next?

I have toyed with the idea of ending the challenge. The strict timeline curtails my ability to do the research required to write in-depth. But this is not the essence of the challenge. Writing daily helps to create the habit of…writing daily. It allows for imperfection and helps me experiment with different styles and voices.

I will forge on.

I look forward to your opinions and feedback – what have you liked and disliked? How can I become a better writer? Don’t be shy.

If you think a friend or family member would enjoy my writing, feel free to share my blog.

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Chapter Twenty Three

The day was a blur filled with eating, drinking and reconnecting with friends and family. As the sun set, he had told his story dozens of times, but he didn’t mind.

He had caught up with his mother earlier in the day but had been whisked away by the good intention of others. She too had been busy coordinating the food for the festival. It was late when they finally got a chance to talk.

“You’re different Joma. There is an air of surety about you,” she said. The two sat side-by-side overlooking the sea. Around them, villagers had settled into small groups and were talking among themselves.

“You’ve always been able to read me like a book,” he joked before taking a sip of his drink.

“I hope it’s not temporary, but it feels like I have a much better grasp on things now. My perspective and views have changed – I understand that life is cumulative. I don’t need to know all the answers, that’s part of the mystery. And I don’t need to achieve certain things to be worthy,” he reflected.

“Spoken like a true sage,” his mother said with a wink.

“So tell me, what follows Joma’s Journey?”

“Joma’s Journey has just begun! I haven’t decided what I want to pursue. Instead, I’ll contribute as best I can in every way I can, building my skills. Maybe one day I’ll focus on something but for now, I want to learn as much as I can and get lost in the process,” he replied.

“If you catch me taking life too seriously or falling into old habits, tell me. Maybe we can have a secret word like…milkfish, for times when you notice me slipping up,” Joma said light-heartedly.

“That, I can do,” his mother managed, containing her laughter.

“So,” she said, gathering herself. “Tell me about your adventure”.

And so he did.

Chapter Twenty Two

The rest of the day’s fishing was called off and the flotilla made its way to shore. The chief declared a festival. Word spread through the village and preparations began in earnest.

The day felt like a dream. As he looked at his home town, it was with fresh eyes. The community had organised a festival in such a short time  – a sign of their love and respect for Joma.

“Either my eyes have failed me, which is possible, or that’s a completely different boat!” Mariusz exclaimed as he rigorously shook the boy’s hand.

“Err, our boat was redesigned somewhat…to kindling that is,” Joma replied sheepishly.

“Ha ha! As long as it played its part in your trip then it did its job,” Marius said, holding Joma at arm’s length.

“I better leave you to it,” Mariusz whispered as he hinted toward Maria moving through the crowd.

“Thanks. For everything Mariusz,” the boy said meaningfully.

He left his old friend and was soon engulfed by Maria. “Joma,” she said holding him tight.

“Maria…” he squeezed out.

“Sorry,” she laughed, loosening her grip.

“I made it back only to be crushed by the Mighty Maria!” Joma joked and the two burst into laughter.

“Maria, I’m sorry I took you for granted. You have always been there for me. From now on, I’ll always be there for you,” he said not caring how cliché he sounded.

The two hugged once more and made their way to the village centre.

Chapter Twenty One

It was dawn when he recognised the familiar beaches of his village. In the distance, he could make out the fishing fleet going about their business.

He beamed when he caught sight of a burly man moving about one of the larger boats conducting his crew with the utmost efficiency. Joma headed toward the chief.

The fishermen noticed Joma’s craft. At first, there was confusion – his boat looked foreign compared to the skiffs of his village. Though, upon recognising the young man on board, cheers rung out on the open waters.

Men blew their signal horns, usually reserved for a sighting – like a pod of dolphins. Boats closed in and shepherded Joma toward his father’s larger craft.

“Good to see you lad! It hasn’t been the same without you,” Manny called excitedly.

“Good to see you too Manny!” Joma replied, adjusting his sails one last time.

His father, recognising the commotion, called a stop to proceedings on his boat. The crew threw a rope to Joma, allowing him to secure his boat. Joma clambered across and was met with a barrage of handshakes and slaps on the back.

“My boy!” his father exclaimed, wiping away tears.

“Father…” Joma said as he was swept up in a bear hug. He tried to say more but the chief squeezed the remaining air from his lungs.

Chapter Twenty

Babo’s prediction of good sailing conditions was accurate. Apart from a few passing showers, the seas were smooth.

Joma navigated the waters using nature’s compass – the behaviour of birds, the position of the sun, and most importantly the stars, guided his journey.

The idyllic conditions coupled with ample supplies left Joma with time to reflect. He recognised the irony of his trip – shipwrecking on a village much like his own and realising the treasures of life lie in the simple things – contribution, community and a strong sense of self-worth. He understood that value came in the process, like building a skill, not the final outcome.

He felt foolish – it had been a dangerous learning experience and placed an unfair burden on his family.

Though, the journey produced the result. Perhaps he wouldn’t have reached these conclusions otherwise. This alone was worth the perils of his adventure.

He couldn’t wait to get back and apply what he had discovered.