Red or not…trying out new stuff

There’s no way I’d fail to jump on the bandwagon today because well, it’s not a “wear red and expect flowers and chocolates” kinda day for me. I am glad to have finally completed taking my medication and I’m still nursing some nausea, a minor headache and a very sore throat. I look forward to having deep fried cassava after I finish writing this post.

So, on reading: I just finished this book called The Baghdad Clock by Shahad Al Rawi, and it explores the gulf war, America’s war on Iraq and what life in exile meant for the narrator.

Media of The Baghdad Clock

On writing: I have made some progress and it’s why I’m typing away at this time of day. So, my mentor asked me to try new things, his words being “write something you have never written before, something that most people would not expect of you.”

So, I am Luo and I speak and understand Dholuo. I chose to write a short collection of thoughts in my mother tongue and here’s the tricky part, I have to put it out there and hear your views on it. One, I know it limits my audience to those who understand the language. I also know that reading the dialect is no easy fete- because well, I spotted one typo after I’d uploaded the book (my apologies).  So, hello world and here’s a collection of thoughts in my mother tongue:

After this, I am going to work on writing a short story for an app and I’ll see how it goes from then.

Until next time, have a look at the collection I shared and well, enjoy your day however red or not it may be.

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What it means to “trust in the process.”

It’s the second month of the year and I woke up this morning certain of two things: I completed my YALI leadership program and I have to edit my manuscript before the 18th of this month.

I did laundry and I sat down to follow through on all the commitments I had made for this month, and as I was going through the list and sending emails and making phone calls, I felt like nothing was moving. I had written all these things that I needed to do and when I was following up on them, I felt stuck. I’ve often heard that “the best way to get things done is to do it yourself.” This was not my feeling three hours ago, because when systems and policies are involved, there’s always a sense of tasks being assigned to different people. However, people deliver differently.

So, there I was on my first cup of tea of the day wondering what to do next when a friend called and she said she missed me, but our conversation was the relief I needed. I told her about my frustration at receiving a response from an official and that it was slowing me down. She simply asked me “where are you running to? What’s the use of running when you’ll miss out on the all the details that you need to build this project?”

I switched off my phone after the conversation and started going through the list I had and in so doing, I discovered that everything I had written was dependent on one thing and it’s something I had received feedback on, late last year. Being the planner that I am, I crossed it out, and made another list factoring in communication I’d received last year and it’s earned me the result I needed.

What does it mean to trust in the process?

If you would have asked me this question last year, I would have answered “to sit back and watch,” but that’s not it.

Over the past few days, I have come to appreciate the fact that a process is a commitment and it takes time. To trust in it, is not only to look forward to attaining a result but to be continuously involved in getting that result. Writers do this when they start with an idea and each day build it up using words. It’s also hard to trust in the process when you feel stuck, or when it seems as though you are doing everything but not realizing something.

It’s in such a moment that I am learning to stop, take a step back, look at everything, appreciate how far I’ve come and embrace the need to get to where I want to be.

PS: Can I just say that it feels good to be back,😉, now let’s keep the posts coming.

Currently reading: The View from Flyover Country by Sarah Kendzior

Listening to: Camila by Camila Cabelo

Who would you invite to dinner?

Have you ever been asked such a question?

We started a course on 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey today and this was a question that I had to answer.

Imagine you could invite to dinner four or five people who have influenced you the most-past and present- and all are sitting at the table with you. Whom would you invite and what attributes or qualities do you admire in them.

From the top of my head I immediately envisioned having the following people.

  • My Mom: She raised two daughters on her own, raised four more daughters, a son and she doesn’t believe in running out options. There’s always a way and there’s nothing like not enough love to go around.
  • Chinua Achebe: He’s the first Writer from West Africa whose writing challenged me to write authentic characters because his characters did not shy away from speaking Pidgin. I do wish I met him in this life. I’d definitely have him sit on my dinner table and treat him to some ugali, osuga and fish!
  • Mrs. Benta Owino: She was the teacher who taught me how to read. I was in class three. Every morning, she would hand me a newspaper and tell me to read her an article and I looked forward to sitting beside daily and doing this. She passed away when I was in class Seven. I admire her resolve that “a good vocabulary will stop you from shouting in the village market.”
  • Michelle Obama: She doesn’t shy away from talking about the things that weigh women and young girls down and she’s for girls getting an education and pushing limits, exceeding limits and inspiring others.

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  • Prof.Wangari Maathai : I admire her strength, conviction in the importance of taking care of our environment and her unwavering determination in doing something about it. She passed away but I am glad I met her once when I was still on campus and she did not mince her words when it came to protecting our forests and vegetation. I was impressed by her extensive knowledge on the marine life too.

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If you were asked the same question, whom would you invite to dinner and what qualities do they possess that’d you would love to explore?

 

 

Stepping out

Is it too late to say “happy new year?”

I hope this post finds you at your best and if not, I hope it will be one of the sparks that would continue igniting the fire within you.

January’s not my most favorite month, however it is my most inspirational month because my sister was born on this month and she’s my strength. If there’s anyone who has zest, flair, hope and humor it’s got to be her. As I type this I am in Brackenhurst, a great outdoors environment in Limuru.

Brackenhurst Hotel and Conference Center

I was so excited about being selected to join the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) last year and was bummed when it was postponed to June this year due to the political situation in Kenya. However, I got an email from the team in December about moving it up to January and I jumped on it😄.

I’m taking part in Cohort 21 and being in Limuru has seen me tackle challenging tasks. I scaled a pole, leaped off a few boards, balanced mid-air, had a panic attack, passed out but woke up feeling okay.

I’ve made friends, received insights on how to grow as a leader and learned how to count to ten in Arabic. It’s day two with many more to go and I’m glad I am doing this.

I’ve had a great start to 2018 because I’ve embraced my aspirations and I realize that stepping out into the world to do what I love is not as scary as I thought it’d be. I’m being challenged by world leaders from 13 African countries, learning about their culture, innovations, impact and fostering partnerships. 

So, what’s your start been like? 

What are you looking forward to building upon? 

I wish you lots of love and best wishes and while I’m at it, I’m looking forward to releasing two books this Spring😎.

I bought this @250/= at Textbook Centre
This piece of art is in my KUCC Annex room
First offi-casual look of 2018 @Brackenhurst

Scars

There are people who are hurting but you’ll never see their scars.

Some people put up a front, they engage in a battle, a slow descent down a black hole. You never see the driving force behind their battle.

One thing is certain for such people, the driving force is always there. It’s all they hear, feel, see, smell and touch.

I have seen some of these scars. I have walked away from some, but Peaches had me at odds. He said “you are an Empath. You want to drain people of the hurt and leave them with some hope. You can’t save them all without breaking.” He said that the saddest part was how often he saw me do it.

I give him bits and pieces of myself and he’s cut by the shards of the pieces I hand him. He says I give him memories, feelings, insights, and truths of things he’d rather not be privy of.

So, here I am, bleeding on paper because it’s easier for me to take a pencil and use it to forge steel.

There are people who are hurting but you’ll never see their scars.

There are people who are so far gone that each piece, word, look, contempt,  sinks them deeper into the black hole they’re descending.

There are people who see such people and they take their pain as their’s, but it’s never enough, it’s never quite the same walking a mile in their shoe.

There are people who seek refuge in words, who spin tales, craft narratives, create worlds…people,there are people and there’s hurt.

Updates on the writing life

Hello, it’s been a minute. How’s your week so far?

I had to go there, because I learned that when a Kenyan says “it’s been a minute” they mean it has been years and they don’t have your number and they probably can’t tell your second name or remember just how you became friends.

My December started out great. I’ve read more books than I’d expected but maybe it’s because everyone is rushing to release a book during the holidays.

  • My new fascination is with Kait Jagger’s Lord and Master Trilogy. Peaches bought me the series because I couldn’t stop talking about how Contemporary Romance sometimes disappoints me when they introduce the element of control and kink. I didn’t expect to be taken by the writing and now Peaches says I can definitely shut up.

Lord and Master Trilogy by [Jagger, Kait]

  • I have also been editing most of what I wrote during November for NanoWrimo. Let’s just say that the word count went from 50,000 words to 24,000 words and that made me lose a few cool points.
  • I have finally settled on a working title, designed a simple cover and also ventured into a bit of poetry in my mother-tongue.
  • I also have been working on a newspaper design and the process has been nothing but a great learning lesson. I never knew how important a font is and how crucial paper weight is to getting the right texture, quality and print when it comes to newspaper publication.
  • I am looking to try different genres in 2018 because I have played safe this year. I have also come to understand that my growth, especially in writing will not come by sticking to what I know, but by also trying new things and if all goes well, I’ll be working on a new book.

I am learning to:

  • Take deep breaths
  • Smile more
  • Break into dance without turning a deeper shade when caught
  • Take more tea and even more coffee
  • Reach out to friends, acquaintances for help in getting things done

I also discovered two albums that I have had on repeat since last Friday.

  • Waves by Rachel Platten: If you listen to Hands, you’d break down like I did because there’s so much love in it and it starts with a phone call.

Image result for waves rachel platten

So, that’s it for now and I am feeling upbeat I think I could go and sit down at Java and have a Pppermint Mocha as I let this sink in.

Have a lovely week!

The final word

I want to sip you like wine, to swirl you before I quench my thirst of you.

I want to reach for you, dip some ice and let you burn your way into me.

I want to brew you, to add a spoonful of cream and a bit of caramel and warm up at the thought of you.

But, you…

You come to me in doses, a drip in the morning, a taste in the afternoon and a sip in the evening.

It shouldn’t matter, your coming, and your going, or our longing, it shouldn’t matter.

You come to me when he is talking about a future, when I am supposed to be paying attention to a telephone conference, at the supermarket, in church, in the bathroom, in bed, in a matatu and right now…you want to stay.

You say it’s because it’s time for you to stay.

We have to see this through, you say, and when I make a move to put the pen down, you remind me to reach for a cup of black tea. Tea? Yes, you ran out of coffee, again! You say.

Why is it that you know when to push and when to refrain? Why is it that you know me so well?

I reach out for that cup of tea and you smile, and a part of me knows that I am never getting any sleep until I write the final word.