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!

What’s in my bag and snippets of advice from the market

I had no intention of leaving the house yesterday. I woke up and washed my clothes which in this case happened to be: my blue smurfs pajama pants, two pairs of black stocking, an orange tee-shirt and one floral bedsheet.

I knew the day had more in store for me, but I was stuck in a zone where I kept replaying the lyrics of Despacito…yes, catchy tune and all but there’s that part that goes something like “pasito a pasito suave suavecito,” that kept coming out of my lips like a chant! So, I took some tea, had a bath and changed into my all time fave; a grey tee-shirt and jeans and a pair of red ngomas and headed out to town. I also took my backpack along with some essentials:

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I don’t know why I always carry cello-tape but it’s better than a pair of scissors right?

So, I make my first stop at The Darling store downtown and ask for some short braids. A lady writes down my order on a piece of paper, takes my money and hands it over to the cashier. While I’m standing there, someone taps my knee…I turn to my left and see this lady, she smiles. I smile back.

“Didn’t you see me when you got here?” She asks.

Are you a billboard? I shake my head and reply, ” I am sorry I did not, my mind’s miles away. How are you?”

“I am fine, seems like it took a tap to get your attention.”

“Seems so.” She starts to say something and then the cashier calls out my order and I take the braids off the counter and stuff them into my bag and leave. James is waiting for me outside. He is basking on the motorbike a.k.a Bajaj Boxer…spotting a NASA t-shirt and cap. When he sees me, he takes his position and we head out to the market.

I pay him his due and he takes off as I walk into the market scouting for two things: eggs and sweet bananas. You can never buy just two things at the market because vendors know how to advertise their goods in such a way that they reel you in with their chants and before you know it, you’ve bought two pairs of stockings that you are never going to wear! The first guy is busy shouting “Boyfriend na soo, kau boyfriend kae gi mia, weri gi ati oh lunch, ati oh sweetie, kau boyfriend gi mia, nyathi ma nyako nyakandisre.” (Buy a boyfriend jacket at a hundred shillings, forget the lunch or sweetie , and buy a boyfriend jacket because a girl’s gotta look good)

I look through a few jackets before getting distracted by a lady selling bags right behind him. I switch lanes and check out the bags. I spot a navy blue backpack and ask the lady how much it costs. She looks at me and then lifts up a brown leather handbag and says “How about this one? This is the kind of bag for you, that one has been taken already.”

“Thanks, I just liked the backpack. I could try some other day.”

“No, wait…listen look through this pile of handbags you might find something you like. A lady should always have a handbag you know.”

I took a step back and smiled and walked away. I don’t know what she had to say as I left but the man beside her was loud enough for me to hear, “why do you always have to make someone buy what you want? You should have sold that bag, now she left unhappy and we haven’t made a sale.” Maybe I looked unhappy to them. I have been told that not only do I wear my heart on my sleeve but I wear my expressions on my face. It must have been her conviction that a lady should always have a handbag that made me take a step back. It could also be that she wanted to reserve the navy blue backpack to sell at a higher price because it wasn’t singled out when I spotted it.

As I got back home, I poured myself a cup of tea and joined my sister in watching afrosinema.

T.M.I

Currently reading: Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

Listening to: 7/27 by Fifth Harmony

Drinking: Coffee (my first cup of the day)

Writing: Ushanga (5 pages down…a whole lot to go!)

For a while now

The art of spinning a tale has eluded me for a while now. Like smoke off a cigarette butt, it is caressed by the wind and vanishes unaware of my sorrows.  I thought about it at 4am sitting on the cold cement floor in my bedroom, one leg stretched out to accept the cold and the other folded as though being introduced to the cold. I think at 4am, often write at 2am and clean the house from 6:30am when nothing but cold water reminds me of chores that are to come.
What usually starts with a word, a feeling and ends in a composition has left me thinking of what should not happen.

These thoughts keep me company as I take strong tea, brush up my hair and tie it in a bun and leave for work. I plug in my earphones and click on ‘No longer slaves’ by Jonathan and Melissa Hessler. I walk to work, slowly making my way past Uzima University (they have a new bus and students whose attention is always on the road and not their destination), Frank’s place– he makes the best chips and has chilli sauce for days. I walk past the Carpenter’s shop at Robert Ouko who walks into his shop every time he sees me approaching, mistaking me for my sister, he never fixed the drawers she had paid him to, in September 2014.
My feet advance me towards the Le Savanna Junction, where motorcyclists speed past you’d think the traffic police were right behind them, by this time the song I am listening to is almost ending.

So, I slow down and watch the vehicles speed past me, children rush past me to school and I take in the stench of the latrines of St. Mary’s Kibuye Girls. At this time, I am tempted to start dancing as Usher’s song, ‘No Limit’ starts playing and then I realize that I don’t got that same master p he’s talking about, but even as I smile and laugh, the people walking past me think I am crazy. They would not know the joy of listening to lyrics and not the beats of a song.

I walk on past Mountain View estate, four tuk tuks are parked, and the drivers in their seats ready to take passengers.
I make my way to the coca cola shop across the road, buy two sachets of Nescafe, hand the man twelve shillings- careful not to brush his fingers, he has yellow fingers- the kind Magda calls tinted fingers. He smiles, ‘have a good day today.’ I nod and walk past the woman who sells tea and hot mandazi to the boda boda guys every morning. She has a purple head wrap today. I love the yellow one, it’s the epitome of fresh sunflowers.

By this time, my playlist has reverted to either some Daughtry or what I always call mellow music. It gets me reflecting on my life and why I work every day. Who names their playlist ‘Sober?’ Seriously!

I cross the road, look at how much dust my feet have gathered and this time Justin Bieber‘s Sorry is playing and I am tempted to start twisting my ankles and swinging my hands in the air, but the office is only two minutes away, besides, I walk past The Neurosciences Center, I cannot unleash my crazy right there. So, I keep my cool and let my soul do the dancing.

And as I reach out to push the gate open, Kings Of Leon comes on and I suddenly wonder why I tap the shuffle icon on my playlist because clearly Sex on Fire is my jam and now I am officially under the complete scrutiny of the HR department and cannot wiggle, now do you understand why the art of spinning a tale has eluded me?

My African playlist: Ten songs I’m listening to right now.

I love good music.

I love listening to music, and there’s nothing like a song to describe how you feel or get the kind of mood you’re in. The sound of the drums were heard in Africa, and long before our ancestors danced under the moonlight or celebrated festivals, they also blew horns to send word or used smoke and messengers to share word.

But, this is not all about the journey of music- but more about the feeling that music creates.

There have been numerous hits from the continent…I am talking about Femi Kuti, Brenda Fassie, Miriam Makeba and the list goes on, but you’ve not heard it all until you’ve listened to these ten songs!

From my favorite books to the country I would love to visit and now the ten songs by African artistes that are on my playlist, so here we go:

  1. Sura Yako by Sauti Sol
  2. Baadaye by Amos & Josh & King Kaka
  3. Hawajui by Vanessa Mdee
  4. Dorobucci by The Mavins
  5. Sitya Loss by Eddy Kenzo
  6. Jika by Mi Casa
  7. Party don’t stop by Camp Mulla
  8. Wale Wale by Dr Jose Chameleone
  9. Melo Melo by Olamide
  10. Cara cara by K.O ft. KiD X

Nothing beats some music you can dance to…now, am off to get some ingredients for preparing Jollof Rice and will tell you all about it tomorrow, wish me luck!

Why it’s good to challenge yourself…and complete stuff on that to do list.

I shared a list sometime back, do you remember?

I can cross out numbers 5, 6, and 10! As for number one, am currently on it- got to page 15 of “The Help.” However, I found out something about making lists…you are tempted to complete them. If you manage to complete one task, you find yourself gearing up to complete another, bu on the extreme end…if that list is as long as the twelve labors of Hercules- then you find yourself quitting before you even start!

I had to get them done over this weekend, and I realized that walking downstairs with my hands in my pockets is uncomfortable and very dull. I felt like I was off balance and after making it down one floor- I released my hands and swung them as much as I wanted.

Number 6 was the easiest because I had a very busy schedule at work on Friday so much so that I made it thorugh the day without listening to Ed Sheeran and One Direction.

Number 10: walking around the house backwards for one hour.

Let’s just say that I have bruises that I did not anticipate like my toes hurting and my left elbow making me kneel over in agony! My sister, Jackie, laughed so much that she almost poured all the contents of her cup- and the dog barked so much that it was a circus for that one hour! It was also refreshing to know that I have not mapped out the house like I thought I had.

It’s been a lovely weekend and I have started this week with writing prompts and reports- and determination to complete that list!

PS: This girl is writing book three of The Currents Series titled, Wind, and has been going around the house like a zombie.