On Writing

A friend asked me “How do you find time to read a book, let alone write a book with the kind of world we are living in?”

Some people would echo her sentiments, others would echo mine and a few would echo those of the written word. You are all right. So, I took my time and thought this through, and then asked her “how do you find time to scroll through your facebook feed and post selfie updates on instagram?” 

She sat back in her seat and put her phone on the table. See, we were on tea break and she was scrolling through her phone, answering whatsapp texts and I was reading a book. It was a thirty minute break spent differently by two different people.

pencil sharp shavings write draw art design yellow black table wood
credit: stocksnap.io

I then asked her how long it takes her to get to work and what she does while in traffic. She just shook her head and concluded the conversation by saying “you’re just special.” I did not utter a word in response even though I had a ten minute speech to prove that her tone suggested I was far from special.

However, there is still an aspect that I struggle with and that’s writing and not just sneaking in an hour or two or taking notes but full on writing. I am talking about sitting before a computer for four hours straight and just typing words that contribute to a story!

I’m working on it and now that I am feeling much better and the temperature in Kisumu is a solid 34 degrees Celsius, I’ll go drink some water and keep writing, guess that’s all I had to say on writing.


On Writing

I have been held captive for years in my writing. There is always this burning desire to achieve literary merit. I want to write a storm, to unravel a mystery using twenty six letters of an alphabet that I was taught for sixteen years. Fifty thousand words, a cover image, immense praise and mega sales of a bunch of twenty six letters.

I have been here long enough.

I do not hold a candle to Mandela but all these years have me coming back to the same place that torments me; constantly telling me that I am not good enough or African enough.

Isn’t it sad that humans struggle to be enough when they are more than enough?

Maybe I could relocate to another country, write about my experience there and then it’d be this African author in a foreign country, but I am too proud to attempt that. I’ll miss royco, trips to Kibuye market, matatu rides and being around people of the same skin color as me. I’d give a lot for great and fast internet connection, no pot-holes, concerts but then I’d miss out on never having to be the object of stares, and frankly speaking, Fanta Orange tastes awesome only in Kenya. I tried that and it back fired so I’ll build a fortress here and use the words I know, the lyrics that come close to my heart to keep these prison walls from closing in.

I am half in, half out.

Every time a story unravels in me, I return to this prison, these walls choke me into either misery or bliss depending on which path I choose. They close in and when I come up for air. A star is enough to send me back under, five stars, a mile high up.

I am half out today. I need to see the world beyond these walls that I’ve built for myself and in so doing, I’ll admit that I am a repeat offender because come dusk, I’ll be back within these walls wondering if my stories are African enough…and the best part is knowing that I am both the prisoner, the warden and the law…I only have to embrace one role.


Writing, reading and updates on this week

I did not get a good night’s rest because I took my worries to bed. They got so comfortable that I found myself sitting on the cold floor listening to Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour album. How’s your week been? What did you learn, fret about or simply put enjoy this week? On writing: I am still working on Ushanga. I have got a few chapters and phrases to work on. On reading: I have read some awesome books and right now my attention is on Ice Homme (Book 3, Valdaar’s Fist Series) by Vance Pumphrey. I also tend to read two or more books at a time when I am faced with an intense work of fiction. Sometimes the kind of breather I take from such intensity comes from reading a romance novel or short story. I have covered a chapter or two into these three books, but it’s safe to say that I look forward to reading these three to the end.

Other updates:

  1. I tried a detox plan this week and failed the first day by taking a cup of coffee.
  2. It seems as though my kinky hair will be free from braids for another week. 🙂 I don’t know what I’d do without conditioner. I took to my friend’s advice, got an avocado and some natural yoghurt to make some treatment paste.
  3. I ate the avocado.
  4. I will use the yoghurt to make a chilli paste because today is bhajia Saturday!
  5. Started out my Monday by visiting a close friend, babysitting and running back home to avoid clashing with demonstrators on the streets.
  6. Received news from YALI stating that the program I was looking forward to had been postponed to June next year. I sank in my chair, reached out for some tea and just sat there wondering why of all that is good and evil, such a thing could come to pass!
  7. It’s taking me a while to get better for I’d struck a nerve when I stepped on Bonnie’s bone and so I have days when I can walk with ease and those days when I have to set an ice pack on the sole of my foot for ten minutes and follow it up with pain killers.

Have a lovely weekend.


On Writing

Writing turns you into somebody who’s always wrong.

The illusion that you may get it right someday is the perversity that draws you on.

A view shared on American Pastoral, a novel by Phillip Roth.