Reader Problems…We all have them

I came across this tag from Jade’s blog  Book Muffin and I had to give it a shot. The original creator of the tag posted this on YouTube.

How do you decide what book to read next?

It depends on what’s on my TBR list, but honestly:

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If you’re not enjoying a book, do you DNF it, or do continue to the very end?

I continue to the very end. I have written a few books and I know the process of writing, so, if I am not enjoying the book sometimes I set it aside and return to it when I can, but I always finish books because someone went through a lot to get it done. I’ll admit that some BDSM novels always seem too much for me to handle and with such, I steer clear.

You’re behind on your Goodreads Reading Challenge, and the end of the year is near! Do you accept your fate or try your best to catch up?

I’ve never fallen behind on my Goodreads Challenge. I’ve however gone beyond the limit by 20 or 30 books. 🙂 No kidding- see for yourself here

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The covers of a series on your bookshelf don’t match, what do you do?

It’s okay, this does not bother me.

It’s their sizes that get to me and sometimes I want to slap the book publishers to get them to stick to one book size so they can align perfectly on a bookshelf!

Who do you turn to when you need to complain about a bad book that everyone else seems to like?

Peaches. He’s not an avid reader but when I rant, he seems know where I’m coming from always finishing by saying “so that means that I should not talk about that book or suggest it to anyone as a gift, okay.”

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You’re in public and you’re about to start crying over a book, what do you do?

I cry.

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I have cried in matatus and buses and with public transport I’m always seated at the back by the window looking out and crying my heart out.

The next book in a series has just been released, but you can’t remember a thing about the last book! Do you re-read the first book, look up the synopsis or just pretend you remember and read the sequel?

I re-read the first book, of course!

No one is allowed to borrow your books! How do you let them down gently?

No one is allowed to borrow my books or torture them with soup stains, coffee stains, tear stains and unacceptable bookmarks!

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How do you get over a reading slump?

I read a romance novel!

Here’s the thing about the romance genre: you’ll always find a free book to read on Kindle! Wherever you are, if you have an eReader and internet connection, you can download a romance novel, read it in one sitting and you’re out of that slump!

All of your highly anticipated books are being released at the same time! Do you buy them all, or prioritize some over others?

I’ve read so many ebooks this year. If you’d have asked me this last year, I’d have said ‘buy them all.’ However this year, I downloaded samples on Kindle and chose the books I’d read based on the first sample chapter I’d read.

Once you’ve bought those highly anticipated books, do you pick them up straight away, or surrender them to your shelves for a year?

I pick them up straight away.

So, there you have it! I’d love to know your answers to the Reader problems, so share widely.

 

21 questions

Hey, can I ask you something?

How do you do that?

Do, what?

Like, how do you know that something could turn into a story?

I don’t know the precise answer. I guess, sometimes I ask myself what if, and then I see where it leads me.

Is it easy?

No.

Why do you do it?

What?

Why do you write?

I always find “whys” to be quite the bullies. They always get you going into the defense mode.

Why?

Every ‘why’ has to be followed by a ‘because,’ don’t you feel as though you are cornered?

You haven’t answered my question.

What question?

See, there you go again, why do you always do that?

Do what?

Answer a question with a question.

I do that, do I?

You are doing it again. Look, if you don’t want to answer me, just say so and I won’t push, besides I have come to understand that you do not like it when I ask about what you are writing.

You seem to have arrived to a lot of conclusions.

Not conclusions, but I am right, aren’t I?

About what?

You do not like it when I ask about what you are writing.

What are you doing this Saturday?

I’m sleeping in, are you working on something?

Yes. Would you mind coming with me to see Prof?

The old man at Maseno, why?

He’s finished reading my manuscript and he wants to have what he calls the ‘unraveling.’ It is his way of determining my growth or simply put, his way of telling me how much he hated the book.

Okay, but, I don’t know what you were writing about and you know it takes me years to finish reading a book. Why do you want me there?

 

I see

“To each their own.”

You said it. I nodded.

It’s what I do best. I nod. I say “no worries” and watch you.

“So, do you drink?”

“Yes, I love coffee,” I said. You laughed, shook your head and said, “do you take alcohol?”

“No thanks.”

“Well, I do once in a while when I’m in the company of my friends. When we are celebrating.”

whisky alcohol drink on the rocks glass ice cubes coaster
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We attended your friend’s birthday party and I found myself doing what I do best at parties- disappearing.

One drink.

Just one Hun. I smiled and kissed you on your cheek. “Go and have fun.”

It was a delight. Watching you. Not being at the party. It always delights me that I can see in you what I choose to. You often say “don’t overthink, it’s not good for the kids.”

Your friends immediately turn their gaze to my stomach. Too flat. What kids? Are you having kids? Congratulations! Boss! You finally did it!

“No, we are not having kids. It’s just something we tell each other, you know like you tell your wife you love her and stuff like that, isn’t it right hun?”

“Yeah, no kids here people!”

We laugh. You laugh with your soul. I laugh with my heart, we’ve never laughed with both but you know we will, I see it in how you struggle to let me in.

One drink. When I settle to a cup of coffee before going to bed, you reach out for one drink. You call and say “I just wanted to hear your voice.”

We talk about an episode you saw on National Geographic. You say you are worried about your Dad. He’s not himself. You wonder where I’d be if you attained his age. You ask me about home, the work I’m doing and you sip your drink. Each word I utter is washed down with a sip and you say “It gets lonely, this world I mean.”

I do not overthink our conversation. I do not overthink what I feel and I spit it out. When I’m done you say “I see…and you know what, it’s one of the things I would always love about you. You say it as it is and sometimes, I wonder what you are doing with a guy like me.”

Well, honey, sometimes I think of how I’m going to write a story that it slips my mind.

December updates

Hello, how’s your Saturday coming along? If you are like me you are probably lounging with a cup of tea or looking forward to a relaxing day, but chances are you are not. In fact, you may be at work thinking why?

  • It’s been quite a ride. November was really kind to me, because well, I aced NanoWrimo and now I’ve had back to back editing sessions with Prof and you know most of the time he wants to hit me over the head with pages of my manuscript!
  • I also read some very good books in November.

This month has started on quite a high, but not the positive one, because I’ve had a recurring fever and headache that’s left me feeling unsteady. It doesn’t help that I started my reading list by picking up this book that shattered my heart!

Lale’s account of the cruelty and torture they suffered at the hand of the Germans in a concentration camp reminded me of the horrific accounts I’ve read, heard and seen of the World Wars I & II. (Read his Obituary here, get the book- here)

Since I am on medication and recommended bed rest (that I’ve disregarded) I’m looking forward to reading less books this month due to more work commitments. Here are the few titles that are on my to-read list:

Which books are you looking forward to reading this month?

Have a great weekend!

T.M.I

Currently drinking: tea 

Listening to: Particula by Major Lazer & DJ Maphorisa ft. Nasty C, Jidenna, Ice Prince and Patoranking 

Currently reading: Unspoken and turns out Peaches does understand and can relate to what the author says.

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It’s raining

I thought the clouds had a torrent to say,

It seems they really could not sway.

Remember, last week, on Thursday? You were trying to balance some accounts and I was seated across the table, stirring my coffee, acting like it did not matter.

“Just give me a minute, okay?”

“Sure.”

You asked for one but took ten minutes.

My anger could not be swayed.

You said, “you’re like rain, if you decide to fall, you fall and I am the fool who forgets to carry an umbrella.”

It is raining now. It is half past seven and I am brewing tea. I wonder, do you know how right you always are?

Do you know how annoying it is to have to like you?

It’s raining. You are probably watching National Geographic so you can tell me all about animals in the wild.

It’s raining.

You’ll need an umbrella for I fear that one of us will be drenched and I have a feeling that it will be worth every drop. 

Writing and reading updates

Hello Monday! Is there any #NanoWrimo2017 participant freaking out because it’s three days to the end of November?

So, yesterday I went to the market and got my favorite things: Tamarind ( I used it to make some sauce for the fries), mangoes, lemons and of course the irish potatoes for making the fries! I had a laid back Sunday afternoon and when the sun was up, I managed to bask in it for a few minutes before making some calls.

On writing:

  • I am past 40,000 words on the project I’m submitting for NanoWrimo. It has been a very difficult week because my writing schedule has seen me waking up at 1 A.M. to write till 4 A.M. I’d admit that an hour of it was spent listening to drunkards argue on their way home, like the guy who lost his car keys on Friday and he had to let his friends flag down a tuk tuk for him 🙂 I wish I got the whole conversation, but the man kept shouting “my wife will think I sold the car!”
  • I started working on a new novella. Can I do my happy dance now?

On reading:

I have found myself drawn to a couple of titles this weekend and I am looking forward to reading these four titles this week:

On traveling:

My feet are itching to go backpacking and now that I have completed the 31 Day Fitness Challenge (by totally ignoring the planks and abdominal crunches) I can safely say that I’m ready for some adventure.

I have been listening to JP Cooper‘s album “Raised Under Grey Skies” when I write. This album has kept me company for almost 20,000 words of the NanoWrimo challenge!

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Have a lovely week!

Little truths

I know a couple of things. I call them little truths.

These are the friends that fill the void, the never ending affirmations of who I am, and what I do. They listen. When my words echo in the night, they always find comfort in the depths of my uncertainty.

I do not tell the world.

I do not show them these little truths.

“What are you working on?”

“Something,” and I leave it at that.

I learned to protect what I know to be fragile.

I learned to forge what the world sees not, into something that once seen, can never be forgotten.

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Chapter Twenty: Finale

Maureen stood in Belinda’s way at the office. The first two months had taken a toll on Belinda and Maureen could see that she was beginning to get a grip of her home and her work. She had also noticed the wall her friend put between them.

Belinda would leave the office in a hurry. She never answered Maureen’s calls over the weekends and whenever she was asked about it, she said that she was busy with the kids. Maureen could not understand who was busy with kids at 11 PM.

“You are avoiding me Belinda. Tell me, what is wrong?”

“I have so much work to do. Can I talk to you later?”

“I don’t have time for later. What is the problem?”

“Mesh, we are at work and I have reports that need to be filed. Can we talk about this over lunch?”

“No, we never have lunch together. You always rush to Okwan’s and leave when I walk in. It’s either we talk now or I start shouting at you.”

“As you wish then, you knew Michelle and you also knew that Akinyi was her sister but never bothered to tell me, that is my problem.”

Maureen folded her arms across her chest, shook her head and said “You are right on both counts, so?”

“Your friend is pregnant for my husband.”

“Wait, Akinyi? No!”

“Michelle and to be honest Maureen, you may think that you are doing what’s best for me by bringing all these women into my life and watching how it hurts me, but the truth is, I cannot be friends with someone who cannot come to me and tell me things as they are. It is too much.”

“I came to you and told you everything about Michelle, what did you do?”

“I don’t have time for this!”

“Make time, Belinda. I came to you and you yelled at me and insulted me for an hour! Do you remember? When you moved back into your house, what did I tell you? You went on and did just that, listen, you may be right and I may also be right, but here’s the thing Belinda, your husband cheated on you, not once or twice but a couple of times. You have been low for so long that you’ve forgotten what it means to think and act for yourself. You are going to need friends and frankly speaking, you owe me for playing nice so you could get an interview at this firm. So, how about we forget this drama with your baby daddy and focus on you being a superwoman?”

“Mesh, I am serious. Jeff played games and look where it got me. It hurts knowing that you withhold things from me because you are afraid of how I would react. Think about it, if you were me, how would you feel? Would you trust that kind of friend?”

“I know, you are very sorry for jumping into conclusions and all that stuff, now, get back to whatever you were doing and let’s earn some money.”

“See, I am having a serious conversation with you and you are busy cracking jokes.”

“Madam! I will have you know that I do not crack jokes when it comes to earning money. You should know all this by now, weren’t you the one who had enough savings to move out of her house when things got thick? Listen, my mother always tells me that there is nothing as powerful as a woman who can earn and save her own money. She also says that there’s no better feeling than spending your own money.”

“I will see you later on Mesh. Now, let me file these reports. You know we are having external auditors coming in for an evaluation and the bosses are tense.”

“Forget about it, why should you be scared when a visitor comes to inspect your kitchen? If they don’t like what they find, they can always go to their homes and cook for themselves.” Belinda was about to respond to Mesh when she saw he computer screen light up. Mesh walked back to her desk, giving her time to respond to the email she had just received.

****

Jeff dreaded having a conversation with Belinda. The children were at home with their grandmother and he could not escape his wife’s presence at every turn. He thought of his friends advice on keeping the news of Michelle’s pregnancy to himself. It worked well for the two months but he knew that sooner or later he’d have to break the news to Belinda. He sat on one of the steps leading to the front door and took in a deep breath.

****

Belinda watched him sitting outside the house and approached him with a cup of black tea. He took the cup from her and set it aside as she sat beside him.

“How was work today?”she asked.

“It was the same stuff. You know nothing changes in banks as much in terms of what’s done. How about you? How was your day?”

“My day was good. I sorted out things with my friend, Maureen, and so far all is well.”

“That’s very good. Thanks for the tea.”

“You’re welcome. Jeff?”

“What happened to us?”

“You are asking the wrong man, Besh. You are seriously asking the wrong man.”

“Well, at least I asked, kuuliza sio ujinga, isn’t that right?”

“You always asked me questions Besh. Do you remember when Iman was born and she was admitted at the hospital because she was running a fever and the doctors had to run tests? You turned to me and asked ‘is she going to be okay?’ and I was so stupid then, I answered ‘of course, isn’t she under the care of qualified doctors?’ Do you remember?”

“You will have to make more trips to the hospital now. I know Michelle is pregnant. She must be two months and one week along, right?”

“Besh…”

“Don’t beg. Don’t make excuses. Don’t try to argue, Jeff. Congratulations, you will be a father. You’ll have to take care of that child.”

“Besh…listen, I wanted to tell you but I couldn’t find the…”

“Words? Well, you have uttered quite a number this evening, haven’t you? Jeff, we cannot argue about this anymore. You made your choice. I love this house, but it’s not a home. I’ll look for another place and take the children with me. I am telling you this because I want you to see them as often as you can. I will never deny you the privilege of seeing them, but when you do, she is not allowed near them, not until I am certain that she understands we are not feuding or competing for your attention. You can have her Jeff. In fact, you can keep her and all the other one night stands that you so desire. I have already told my uncles of my decision and they’ll be visiting your parents over the weekend. You win Jeff.”

“Besh, listen, you don’t have to move out. We can work something out, a plan or a sleeping arrangement, please don’t do this to Hakeem and Iman. What will you tell them?”

“I see, now you understand that the well-being of our children is at risk? Jeff, it is not about what I will tell them. It is what we will tell them because as far as I know, you are the one who won’t be coming home to them. Shall I add you another cup of tea?”

Belinda stood up and took her cup of tea with her. Jeff stared at her back but even then he could not find the right words to say to make things right. If he would have only answered truthfully the first night she asked about Michelle, then maybe he’d not have been swept by the storm. Maybe…just maybe he never knew that they were like a string of beads, if the clasp holding the string snapped and one bead fell off, then the others would scatter.

Chapter Nineteen: Okwan

Okwan was closing up the restaurant when Belinda walked in. She was wearing a black pencil skirt a white chiffon blouse and was in nude heels that gave her the upper edge as she walked. She hugged her briefly and pushed back the door to welcome her. Belinda helped her stack the plastic chairs before sitting down.

“I haven’t seen you in a while Belinda, how are things?”

“I miss you Okwan. You know while I worked here there was no office drama but it seems I have found myself in the middle of a battleground there. How are the girls? Do they follow your instructions?”

“The tiny one does, but the dark one is a pain. She served a customer ugali-matumbo and brought back fifty shillings instead of a hundred. I almost slapped the money out of her, but I sent her packing instead. I cannot work with thieves.”

“I am sorry to hear that.”

“Okay, speak up. Something is bothering you and given the fact that you did not come here with the skinny thing that talks too much, I have the feeling that you are unhappy.”

“I moved back home.”

“Mesh told me about that last week.”

“Okwan did you ever have the feeling that all’s lost at a particular moment? I mean, when Jeff talked to me, he asked me to go back home but not to him and not as his wife. He put the children first and something in me felt like we were done. We could never work and live as happy family. I found out yesterday that Michelle is pregnant. Okwan, I cried. It was the first time I cried until I fell asleep. Do you want to know what hurt me the most? It’s the fact that she sent me screenshots of her conversation with Jeff and he was telling her he loved her while he was telling me she was nothing. Okwan, what did I ever do to deserve all this?”

“Have you talked to Maureen about this?”

“No, she would not understand.”

“Do you remember the woman she invited to your apartment two weeks ago?”

“Akinyi? Yes, why?”

“Well, I cannot step on a thorn and keep my mouth shut. Akinyi is Michelle’s sister.”

“No”

“Yes, you were drunk to see the similarity, but I saw it the moment she walked in and the truth is, Maureen is a sneaky devil, but she is a good person. I don’t know if it was her way of getting Akinyi to understand how far her sister had gone in destroying your marriage, but it is what it is.”

“No, why couldn’t she tell me?”

“She has not told anyone. I overheard their conversation as we were leaving that night. So, has Jeff said anything about the baby?”

“No, he has not.”

“Good. Let him be Belinda. You started this new job, concentrate on that, make some money and save enough for your children.”

“Okwan, he took me for a fool and look at me, all this time, I thought that maybe we could work things out. He says sorry now but does the opposite the very next minute, how could I not have seen it Okwan? And Mesh knew all this. She knew about Michelle and even introduced her elder sister to me, like we were friends! How could I have been so stupid Okwan? How could I have been so blind?”

“You are not stupid Belinda.Do not put yourself down for a man’s mistakes. He is the one who cheated. He is the one to bear the consequences of straying. You did your part and you have an even greater part to play, so pick yourself up and keep moving. By the way, I expect to see you here on Saturday, we are catering at some funeral and I know you could use the cash. It’s a lot of work but you can make something more than you did earlier.”

“Thank you Okwan. You are a true friend. Let me get to the house now.”

“Think about it Belinda, you are a good person and you should pick yourself up and keep going.”