Today’s post will be brief for some reasons I will explain in this post. Perhaps it will be the shortest post I’ve ever done on this blog. There’s always a first time for everything, right? Ideally, I wanted to do my usual 2500 words plus. But I am running against time. I have a kill to get to before the vultures devour it for lunch.
Okay, I have time. Let me do my 2500 words. I don’t want to heartbreak some people.
My romance with writing started years back. This dalliance, if I can say, was undefined. As time progressed, pieces started aligning; the world conspired with other forces to ensure that I went to bed with writing. Then I started making love to it. It is hard to go to bed with someone and avoid that temptation to touch. Y’all know it. Once your bodies touch, you feel each other’s warmth. The kind of warmth that creates a formidable surge of feelings; feelings of desire and want. Both of you feel the same way but you’re afraid to talk it out. It is here that they say, actions speak louder than words.
This is to say that I started having sex when I was very young- pre-marital sex. If you want to know if it was worth it, it was as time went along. Over time, it improved. Right now, every round is orgasmic and the bond between the two of us is stark.
For a writer to get married to his words, it is for him to accept that he was made for that one purpose and not the other one. Therefore, he has to shed everything else just to follow this trajectory or else his purpose will become an obligation. When it is an obligation, only situations and contingencies can force such a man to go back into this dalliance. For a married man, his purpose courts passion. He dreams of nothing else other than living that dream. And I, for once, took a walk down the aisle to get married to this prima donna of mine.
A few years back, my desire to fully tread in the art of writing was weak. It was not providing enough perks for me to depend on for my immediate needs. To this, I put it at bay, only going back to it as an obligation; when my editors wanted a story, or when Wednesday was knocking loudly at my door for a story, a story for this blog.
Until last year, I hadn’t fully decided what I wanted to do with my life. As you might have known, I am a jack of all trades. There is little in this world that I can’t do. Then this was followed by a period of self discovery and mentorship. My mentor, who is a very wise woman in her 50s, told me that if I chose a path at this point perhaps my chances of success and happiness might increase tenfold. I took her word for the gospel. I don’t think she would be wrong, could she?
My desires of fully immersing myself in this field have been fueled by a fire inside me that can’t be tamed. Late last year, I decided to start writing my first book. A book, as you might guess, is like any other project. Budget and timelines. To be brutally honest, it is the hardest project I’ve ever engaged in. To set timelines to write a book is something tough. I finished it after 6 months. Bloody six months, and tossed it in a bin because when I read it, it wasn’t juicy enough.
There are many days when you run out of juice, days when nothing inspires you. Writers find inspiration in anything. Should you wait to get inspired before you write, trust me you are not a writer. Writers’ inspiration stems from inside them, their passion for the words. This is not to say that they’re always kicking alive with imagination. When they can’t find any motivation, they find it. Motivation can be an insect perched on a tree, a hawk sleeping with one eye open on a branch, a person eating his food noisily, a house, a bus- all kinds of things.
The life of a writer revolves around an active mind. His mind never sleeps. If it does, then it is in sleep mode with a lot of background activity. He is the kind of person who possesses a notebook and a pen, a phone that has many note taking apps and a laptop full of ebooks and movies.
In his house, you’ll never miss a book. You will never miss a piece of a newspaper in his crib. Many days, he stays indoors, unless he is a journalist who has to go outside to hunt down a story. He spends hours before his pc mostly writing, or reading. And as times will go, he will sit down and relish on serial movies. He will be keen. He gathers ideas from all his activities. Movies boost his creativity, and he can always steal ideas.
When he goes to bed, he makes love to his characters. He grows and dies with them. He dreams of them. Wherever he goes he thinks of them, if they’ll need some juice to drink or if just ugali will be fine. If they’ll have a big head or even none. If they deserve two eyes or if the two eyes can be one big eye.
He will wake up late. At times he wakes up at night to write of things that he dreamt. Indoors, he’ll sometimes stay naked, or just be in his undies. He will brew some coffee and sip it quietly while staring at nothing from his window on third floor.
When he is on a writing project, he will have to read more than his head can hold, and make notes. His notes will not follow any particular system. He hopes to remember what goes where, that he will have space for all those things. Sometimes he can be distracted by simple things like Vera Sidika and Otile Brown calling it quits. When he suddenly stumbles upon a story of the beautiful of the beautifuls, Sara Uwera tying a knot, his heart stops. He has always admired that woman. He even went to Nyayo Stadium in 2012 when their choir came to Kenya just to meet Sara, and he even met her and took a selfie that he gloated about on social media.
He had even gone to Kigali to meet her over dinner. Sara’s radiance had infected him with love and there was no going back. So when he meets this story, he is heartbroken. Bored to the core, he naps. In a day, he’ll have like two to three naps. The kind of thinking, memorizing and remembrance that writing requires is treacherous. So his mind is mostly exhausted and hurting. The power naps help him to reboot before indulging on this expedition again and again. He makes love to his characters during his nap; it relieves him, so that when he wakes up he has a fresh mind.
There are days when he takes on a journey away from work and other things. He is not always a happy man. How can you smile just because of words you’re writing? Words are his killjoy yet his powerful weapon. While on a bus to Maralal, he sits next to a man who can’t stop talking. A man in his 50s. A man who chews miraa like a goat chewing cud. There’s broth all over his lips. A Somali man in a white kanzu and a kofia, and a fimbo. The man loves njugu. He offers some to you. Your world is in hiding so you don’t know if there are still people who generously offer others njugu (nuts, ground nuts). You chose the small ones because you’re younger and you want to extend that respect by being a nice guest.
“Ndogo tamu sana, aye!” He says. And laughs like an old animal after a heavy meal, some of his saliva finding its way to your face and finally the mouth. You don’t take offense because he has offered you njugu. Additionally, he doesn’t pretend to be who he is not. A cheerful guy enjoying himself with unbridled gaiety and confidence.
You shake your head. You ponder over his statement, ‘Ndogo tamu sana.’ He pricks your interest.
“Ndogo tamu sana,” You repeat. He laughs again. Except this time he looks at your direction. Meaning you stomach more saliva than the previous encounter.
“Kila kitu ndogo tamu sana,” He says. You wonder if he is talking from a point of a man or a woman. A woman would prefer big, so I think. But a man would like small and sweet. Perchance he never meant people. Other things maybe. To think outside the confines of the njugus lacks the sense or makes some, depending on what was being examined.
He offers miraa to which you decline respectfully. But in his culture you’re supposed to show respect by accepting it. So you take a bunch and promise to have some later. You chew one stick. You don’t want to show disguise on your face so you pretend that you have no trouble. He disappears to the rear of the bus before returning with mogoka in a black polythene. You know that polythene papers are banned but he doesn’t seem to give a hoot. Not in his world.
You pretend to sleep so that you don’t have to undergo another torture with mogoka. All you want to do is go to Maralal. To reach Maralal in one piece. There, there is a lass. A nice ass dame. One that has been asking you to visit for ages. You’ve not met before physically. She loves your writing. You have talked over WhatsApp for days. She is stunning as hell. She had hinted that she’ll like to host you for a few days if you don’t mind.
She must be of the curious type. From your writing, she thinks you’re a romantic, bad-ass chap who might fulfill her fantasies. But deep inside, you know that it is your balls she wants to feel. She wants to ride you. She wants to feel you. She has things built over in her mind about you.
For you to go, she is the kind that insist. Those who call you dear, love, honey and the lot. Those who don’t give up until their mission is through. You ask the Somali guy if he has more njugus. Njugus are good for your libido they say. Surprisingly, he offers a whole packet. You want to hug him, but he might think you are gay. He might look at you, those doll eyes, well kept hair and nicely cut beard and think you are gay. So you don’t hug him, you thank him profusely and continue picking the small ones because they are sweet.
Days before this day, you had been working on a book. You only saw sunshine when you went to the washroom which happens to be outside. You have been planning to move from this hood and board a house with an onboard washroom but you’re broke as hell. You have been hiding in your house to finalize this project so you had no time to hustle.
Most of your days were spent in boxers. It was hot and your house was worse than a furnace. When the sweltering heat exceeded your ability to handle it, you even lay on the floor to cool yourself. You hate your house. You must hate it. But you say ‘maybe one day this project might move me to a house with a cooler where I can watch birds mate down below from my balcony as I take sweet wine.’
Your small house was a mess. Your routine was to write, sleep, write, sleep, watch movies, read, sleep, watch movies, remember to eat if you can, and then more movies before you finally retired to bed once more. Your back ached from the bending to type and read from your pc. Everything else was in a mess. The house reeked of sweat because you barely showered.
The utensils were clean and safely tucked away because you’d never cooked for a while. You’d been eating from the next door neighbor who decides to check on occasionally when she gets home from work at 10pm. She wonders what you do up to 2 am because that is when you switch off the lights to go and sleep. She brings some food over and keeps telling you to eat well. Clearly, she can tell you are losing weight.
At times, you’ll grab enough snacks and stock them in your house. When you’re tired of your house, you walk to mama pima and have ndengu chapatti. And a cup of tea.
Everyone in your plot wonders how you pay rent. They wonder why a grown ass man like you stays in the house all day. So they look at you from the corner of their eyes maliciously. You know that they must be talking about you. To avoid them terming you a gay as well, your woman comes over once a month. In between, you try sneaking in some girl friends. You make sure each time you bring a different one so that they can talk about you in the best bad way. Most of these girl friends are some you met online, some are fans that want to meet you, some are your former college mates while others are women who crushed on your photoshopped photo on Facebook and in-boxed, “Hi Cutie.” You wondered if your looks are those of a woman yet someone else who truly knows you had told you that you look like Idris Elba.
Many times, you go quiet. You update your social media tabs but don’t talk to people or chat. At times you feel sad and lonely. To avoid this, you ensure your pc is packed with movies and books. Once your thoughts start wandering from course even for a minute, then your focus on the project dies. You lose enthusiasm for things.
Finally you land in Maralal. She is there waiting for you. She has a car. She is older than you by many years, yet she looks younger than you. You embrace deeply. “Gosh, you’re so tall,” she exclaims. Whether it is a compliment for lack of anything else positive on you or not you don’t care. And then you disappear into her home, hidden in a bush. You come to know later, something you should have know two years back, that she’s the daughter of a politician who put you behind bars sometime back when you wrote something nasty about him. Her house is heavily guarded, and she even has a body guard. You hope that you don’t meet her dad. You prefer a quiet life.
How hard must it be for a writer to keep his sanity and to be safe from himself?
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(The supreme hunter in captivity)
Where must we go, we who wander in this wasteland in search of better selves?
Image credit:The Writing Cooperative