Look over there. See that tall tree? Buried beneath its thick roots you will find a small cloth bag. In the bag there is a gift. It is yours. As is customary, you would have had to repay this favour, but you have been exempted from this because of your position. It is your true history. In return, you would have to hear, and bear, the story of how this bag came to be.
At the coming of the Red Men, a young girl was sent downstream to spy. She hid in the naked branches of that tree, the troops marching below. As the soldier making up the rear was passing, the girl slipped, and fell. She landed on him, left his neck askew. They captured her.
A search party from the village cut a fresh path along the snow line of the mountain. Down beside the river, among the blood red jackets, gold buttons glinting in the sun, they saw the girl. That night, when the leopard came down to quench its thirst, she escaped with her knuckles white on the bag. In it, she held, what is now, your legacy.
Lester Boesman has recently started writing and is excited to see where it will take him. His story was chosen from SSDA's 5th #WriterPrompt Event.
"This has already been an exciting ride, thank you."
Tiah: Why do you write?
Lester: Money. Fame. Seriously. At the risk of appearing trite, there are people whose stories need to be told. I hope to tell them. Thousands of other reasons: it orders the thoughts in the head; I have found it is a thrill to put something on paper and be faced with the challenge of how to polish it to its best effect. Have I mentioned money and fame?
Tiah: Who are your writing heroes?
Lester: People who keep writing despite the setbacks. A few lucky ones get published, make a living from it; the rest work on their own steam. I am glad to have found a platform where there I can find valuable support amongst the same ilk.
Tiah: What advice has helped you the most, in your work?
Lester: ‘Cut.’ Of the two #WriterPrompts I have entered, long sentences have weighed the stories down. Cutting them down to their stumps has taught me much. It has also made me more aware of rhythm in a story. Another one I do now, ‘Read it out loud,’ was good advice, thank you.
Tiah: Do you have any writing projects in the works?
Lester: I am entering a story for the ‘Water’ competition.
Tiah: Lastly, what question do you wish I'd asked? Please answer it.
Lester: ‘Is your name a pseudonym?’ Yes. I am sure there are people with ‘Boesman’ as a family name, but it sounded good. In two months I will change it to ‘San’ when Facebook allows me to. Be politically correct.
On Lester's Bedside Table
Short stories, mostly.
Alexander Pushkin’s stories. Simple on the surface, which, like all great things, obscures the hard work that went into creating it. Make it look easy, and it's a win, apparently.
Annie Prouxl’s Close Range, because I want to learn how to portray the landscape and the environment as characters in the story.
Yukio Mishima’s The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea. If I had just one bit of the confidence with which Yukio Mishima writes, I’d trade in my day job. His stories has a cold patience, his portrayal of intimacy is a little awkard, but it works. His short story/ novella, ‘Patriotism’ is the most beautiful thing I have read.
Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art. Great book!
Have just started with Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Memories Of My Melancholy Whores. Looks fun.
Lester Boesman is from Grabouw, Western Cape, South Africa. He has been living and teaching English in Japan for the past seven years, where he discovered a love of karaoke. He plans to return home next year.