Writers Space Africa-Rwanda
In Conversation

Unveiling the Enchanting Artistry of Esther Uwase’s ‘A Conversation with Dusk’

Esther Uwase is a multi-talented Rwandan writer with a passion for poetry, ghostwriting, and art description. She has authored two books, namely ‘A Conversation with Dusk’ and ‘Licence to Thrill.’ Esther’s poetry is a medium through which she explores themes of loss, love, and celebrates the hearts of those she loves. In addition to her creative pursuits, she has a strong academic background in Mechanical Engineering, with a focus on Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC).

In this conversation, she is joined by Patrick Nzabonimpa (Tom), a writer as well as the Country Coordinator of WSA-R.

Patrick: Thanks Esther for joining me. I really appreciate it. First and foremost, I would like to commend you for releasing your debut poetry collection A Conversation with Dusk. It is quite an interesting read with brilliant poems. So, Esther, what inspired you to put this collection together?

Esther: Thank you, Patrick! I was inspired by how life can be full of exuberance one day and so full of clinging to your own breath the next. From glory to grim, fierce to fragile, we can’t predict what the next day has in store for us. No one is immune to pain and change. Even when we think all is well, we are only at the mercy of a single blunder. So, writing this collection, I wanted to tell the readers and myself that nothing should be taken for granted, as beauty and tragedy hold each other close. Everything is ever-changing, so we better be at peace with every moment. Needless to say, it is not rocket science, but even on the day we feel like it’s the last one, there is always another sunny day.

Patrick: Quite interesting! I like this quote more: “Nothing should be taken for granted.” I too believe that things or people, no matter how small they might seem, matter a lot. Subsequently, would you share an experience where you took something or someone for granted and how the event unfolded?

Esther: I better not bring it into reality, Patrick. Many things are better left unsaid. However, sometimes drops can make a river of freshwater, while someone around the sea is thirsty because the water is salty. I can’t get a better way of saying this. Nonetheless, today’s haven can be tomorrow’s hell as you cherish what you used to call hell. (laughs)

Patrick: Hehe! I get it. Sometimes, I also do not share stuff. Let’s come back to your poetry collection. I’ve learned that you gathered the poems in a span of three years. How was your creative process? I would like you to take me on that journey.

Esther: My collection is a story of a girl. Her life journey was like many of us – full of ups and downs, hustles and bustles, good and bad. So, every day, she used to tell dusk how her day was in the form of meditation, hoping that it would ease her pain or cherish how happy she was even on nonsense stuff. She would hope that dusk would understand her no matter what, unlike people who just listen to criticize. In this collection, I write what the girl used to tell dusk. I used poetry as one of my powerful ways of expression because I wanted to tackle different themes.

Patrick: Impressive! I love the idea behind this collection and its name. Moving on, was the process of writing these poems easy for you? And were you writing during the day or at night?

Esther: Writing is easy, despite when I’m writing for someone. Whenever, but I prefer night hours. Writing is easy compared to speaking. (Laughs)

Patrick: From a writer’s perspective, I totally understand. I too find it easy to write than to speak. When I want to express myself better, I write. And I also use writing as a tool for thinking. (Laughs).

So, Esther, among the poems in your collection, what is your most favorite and why?

Esther: Wow! Thanks for asking me this question. My most favourite poem is called God of Thunder. When I was writing it, I spoke my mind on the baffling paradox of the thing we call ‘God’. I remember the day I wrote it like it happened yesterday because I did what society calls taboo. Nonetheless, I was okay with it, as it seems that our gold in this shines in the eyes of the opposite temper. I had the right to ask myself how we own nothing from the thing we call a haven.

Patrick: Oh, interesting! I’ve also read the poem, and it seems like you don’t believe in God or perhaps what people call ‘God’. Is that correct?

Esther: No, Patrick. I’m not an atheist. Absolutely, I don’t believe in what people call God – a God that always promises a bunch of blessings in the digital lies called miracles, the sound of prayers from prey. Uuhm! I’m not trying to be critical, but that’s how I think. Sometimes the miracle is us and what we can do.

Patrick: I love the last line. I couldn’t agree more. I too believe that my inner strength can create something that may appear as a miracle to some people. (Winks)

One of the poems I fell in love with in your collection is called Ode to a Lost Lover. This is mainly because it effectively conveys the complex and often contradictory emotions of heartbreak and loss. The use of metaphor and imagery also adds depth and nuance to the poem, making it a moving and relatable expression of the human experience. So, what inspired you to write this poem? Is it based on a personal experience?

Esther: It’s not based on my experience. I became part of these painful memories as I wrote it. But as you said, it’s a relatable expression of human beings. Sometimes it’s better to write about what people are going through rather than an inspiration or advice that is everywhere.

Patrick: Sure. Losing a loved one is one of the most painful experiences. So, what themes do you explore in ‘A Conversation with Dusk’, and why did you choose these particular themes?

Esther: What a tricky question! What theme can you give one’s life? Can I call life a theme itself? I don’t know. It’s as hard as flying a jumbo jet untrained because life itself is a mishmash of different things. The only thing I had in my mind was that “many things break us; others bring sweetness to our lives. Some people hurt us; others heal us. That’s the beauty of life. Everything is ever-changing”. With that being said, I didn’t choose a poem, instead, I chose a message to deliver.

Patrick: Awesome! I like how you had your readers in mind before you even started writing. Is there any poet or writer who has influenced your works? If yes, how?

Esther: It’s hard to choose one because I’m a bookaholic. But I could say Apostle Mutabazi because he is the very person who understands and guides me when others refuse to do so. I don’t want to think of my writing career in his absence, but I guess License to Thrill, my first book, would be my all-end.

Patrick: Interesting! I would love to hear more. How did he encourage you, for instance, to write, publish, and release your collection?

Esther: You know, here in our country, young writers are helpless. They don’t know what to do or whom to ask. Back in 2019, it was worse than today. At least now, you can feel that you are not alone. WSA is present. Even though you can’t get money right away from it, you can get a life. But at that time, honestly, I only knew one young writer called Fred Mfuranzima. You know after finishing your manuscript, there is still a lot to be done. You would turn to elder people who were in the book stuff as they knew the struggle of it and they would just stare and say, “You girl, are you just kidding?” Turn to me who didn’t have a literature background, I felt like I was delivering my grand statement while the audience was deaf. I met with Mutabazi through this dark moment. As I paused in perplexity, unsure of the next move, he showed me the way. Don’t dare to ask me about writing (I don’t know any technique or style) or anything about publication. I knew none of them! What I remember is that I put my pen on paper and wrote as I spoke. After the publication of my first cutie (License to Thrill), things have never been the same. There was a voice in my mind, “Let me show him that he didn’t beat around the bush.” Yet, as time goes on, things keep changing like clouds, and people grow differently. There will be a time when he will not even notice my publication, but still, his deeds didn’t go in vain. Neither too good nor bad he could be, he appeared as a living god once. Only writers can feel these words. I guess there will be no influence I will get bigger than that. Needless to talk about muse, nature, life, feelings…that influenced me to release my collection A Conversation with Dusk. Today, I have a lifetime influence. I will never tire of mentioning it even on my 50th book if God allows.

Patrick: Great experience! I can imagine how hard that was, but thank God that you got a supportive friend to help you out. So, apart from A Conversation with Dusk, do you have other books already published or in the pipeline?

Esther: Funny, but it leaves a permanent mark. Yup, I published one book called License to Thrill and I have another one in the pipeline. It’s called A Woe to Shine,The Serenade of the Season.

Patrick: Awesome! I can’t wait to read them. Thanks for having this brilliant discussion with me. It was so great to have you.

Esther: Anytime, Patrick.

To order Esther Uwase’s ‘A Conversation with Dusk’, reach out to her on email estheruwase124@gmail.com or +250 780 647 138, which is also on WhatsApp.

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