After attending the [first ever] Poets and Writers Online Meetup at the iHub, and reading (and re-reading) George Orwell’s ‘Why I Write‘, I have been looking back at my reasons for starting a blog in the first place, why I write and where I want this to go.
It’s physically exhausting, sitting and channeling the thoughts in my brain into words on the scree, but it is immensely satisfying as well, having a conversation with the world, being open to ideas and suggestions and having a jolly good time. I believe in the power of the written word, that the things we put down are magic, a representation of what we have hidden in the recesses of our minds. Being a writer of any class, from a two-bit nobody such as myself to a veritable internet phenomenon means that there is something I am doing, something they are doing, sharing the written word in all its complexities and sculpting beauty from what they do. Reaching within themselves and weaving their thoughts on the loom of syntax and semantics to produce a cloth so fine and so beautiful that the most we can do is admire it, cut it to size and wear it proudly.
Then there are those who take the cloth woven from the artist and fashion a gag from it, use it to stifle the artist, to fashion a crude noose from which the artist will hang, taking his word with him. The ultimate sacrifice, after all, is to give your life for your art.
That is why I write.
I write because I have something to say. Because I have opinions. Because I want to share my viewpoint with the rest of the world.
I write especially because I know there will be a time when I will be so jaded, so lost to the world that I will not have anything to say. I write because I know my hopes will be crushed, my faith will be tested. I write because I will want to look back and remind myself who I really am.
I write to remember.
I write, because the words in my head form a portal to my heart, to what I really feel but I am afraid to say.
I write, therefore I am.
I recently stumbled upon a twitter account operated by the Government of Kenya, specifically the Ministry of Finance. Okay, maybe it’s not the Government itself that tweets, but it’s a really interesting account, called the Kenya Economic Stimulus Programme. Basically it’s a bailout by the Government of Kenya, trying to get money to the people that need it most, to build infrastructure and get things like healthcare and markets established so that the ‘common mwananchi’ (one of those buzzwords I hate…) can get involved in the development of their regions.
It may not be much, but it’s something.
There’s an option within the site that allows you to see how far the projects in your area have been completed, along with amounts of money that have been disbursed and where the money is going. There’s a lot that the program is doing, like building schools, planting trees and building markets in every constituency.
Visit, and see what the programme is doing where you are. You deserve to know.
It’s an interesting plan. I wonder how effective it’s going to be in the long run, but for now, it seems that the Government may have gotten one thing right. You need to spend some money (in the right places, of course…) to make the economy grow.
This is not an original post, it is a composite of various posts I found on the internet, titled ‘Date a Girl Who Writes’.
Date a girl who writes. She’ll grab her pen from time to time and write about her man. She’ll work on prose and poetry that will and won’t rhyme. She’ll feed you similes for breakfast and perhaps, metaphors for lunch. Your meals shall be filled with figures of speech-others will not care about.
She’s the one with a journal in her hand, a notebook in her purse, scrap paper in her car, and pencils in her back pocket. She’s always scribbling something, praying it won’t evaporate before she gets it down onto paper. Because she’s always scribbling, she’s always looking down, and that’s why you never noticed her before.
The girl who writes will speak to you and make fuss about details- even the minute ones, the slightest, the tiniest blink of your eye. She’ll make vivid descriptions about many things and you’ll wince at.
Date a girl who writes. She will turn you into an anthology. You’ll open her notebook and there will be anatomy, physiology -every bit, every fiber, every word dedicated to you or everybody.
Date a girl who writes, for she will not only be your external hard drive, she will be the memory holder of the things you will lose and love. She will be a reminder of the times – the moments you will unconsciously leave behind.
Talk to her like any normal person would do. Ask her about her interests. See if she’s interested to respond to whatever comes out of your mouth. She’d be busy thinking at times though, about her next story, a topic, a blog post. A lot of things just pop out inside her mind like popcorn, but just go talk to her. Sooner or later, she’d realized that somebody is willing to listen to her chatter.
Ask her out on a date, because she knows what it means to fall in love, take risks, and get hurt. She knows how it feels, or at least how to fake it. She had been used to twists and turns –they’re already part and parcel of her system. The girl who writes has already been tested by time for she’d been slaying dragons and fighting in wars in her stories, together with the main character and everyone of the cast in the story. Date her for she had been the captain of a ship, the queen of her own castle, the pianist of her own concerto. She knows for it is through writing that she could express what she truly feels. She knows, because it is through writing that she breathes and lives. Just take her anywhere. She’d see the good and bad side of things; she’s already used to them.
Try to understand her actions a few months later. She’s only concerned with how to change the story’s flow, how to surprise you as the story goes, and how to make magic out of mere words. The pen is her wand; it is through which that she gains access through her mind’s eye. Emotions are her vocabulary. Words, sentences, and paragraphs are her helpers. The girl who writes knows how to command them to do things, the way a hunter catches his prey. Stories and essays are her spells. She is literature’s fairy godmother. You, the man who reads, are her secret prince. Try to understand her as she lives on her ordinary life. Try to fathom all her words because she means it, but never get tired of reading her mind. Appreciate her passion. She knows how to please you through her words.
Give her time to pause, for she knows it’s the best for the both of you. The girl who writes knows where to insert the climax and where to put transitions. She knows how to iron things out. She knows when it doesn’t sound right, or if it would, how to make it better. Her sentences might “run on and on”, but never get tired of chasing her. She loves it when you brood over what she has written. She might not be an expert when it comes to syntax, but she knows how she’d deal her thoughts. Let her write, let her move.
She’s just the girl who reads and the girl who doesn’t rolled into one person, and that somebody in between. She’s just a girl.
Date a girl who writes for she knows how to begin and end your love story. She had it all outlined in one of her sacred notepads, tucked within the deepest recesses of her bag each day. She still doesn’t know what the ending would be, however, for like a pen she’s just an instrument, guided by the power of a story left untold. It’s up to you both on how the story would go: you, the man who reads and her, the girl who writes. But most certainly, it would be another happily-ever-after.
You’ll be annoyed at her musings and get fed up of her rants. She’ll speak of other writers – the language of Shakespeare, the imagination of Tolkien and how she wishes to rewrite Nabokov. You’ll meet Huxley, Tennyson, Hugo, but only through her stories. She will talk of her fictional crushes and you’ll shrink and shrink. She’ll be your grammar police and you will not like it. She’ll charge you with the violation of rules you didn’t know that exists.
But still, date a girl who writes for you’ll find consolation in her words. You’ll find comfort in her cradle of thoughts and you’ll find understanding in her grief. Date a girl who writes for she’ll write to you while waiting.
She’ll start with “I am writing this letter to you while you’re off buying drinks. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever written a letter to somebody sitting next to me on a bench, but I feel it’s the only way I can get through to you”, like Midori from Norwegian Wood.
Love a girl who writes. Despite the flaws of her own handwriting or her manipulation over words, she knows where to begin and when to end. She understands that there is neither good nor bad timing; we actually create our own chances. Adore her story and inspire her to write more.
Date a girl who reads and writes. You must know that she’ll appreciate more if you read too or an expert in making a classic brewed. She knows that taking time is like reading a 10-chapter book. Every chapter is another mystery. Don’t rush her on things. Like a story, it needs time and way a heck lot of effort to make it ripe. She doesn’t want half-baked plots neither rushed proposals. Listen to her when she talks about a bad ending. It’s her way of saying that she could do better than that. Randomly give her flowers or her favorite author at any given day. Small surprises make her experience that fairy tale can actually happen in real life. It’s easy to love this girl. Drop her small notes, spoil her with poetry and love letters. Her deepest joys come from someone who knows how to make her feel magical, fragile, vulnerable and romantically insane within. Find someone who writes. Check the back of her notebook for some simple passages during one of those slow days. She’s the writer. She knows that writing is her way of drawing strength from her inner self. Someone who knows what she wants. This girl will write the story of your lives and make you feel that the world is more than what you thought it was. She’ll take you to an adventure of a lifetime with your kids inspired by Dr Seuss or The Adventures of Alice.
If you find this girl, never let her go.
Better yet, marry her.
He clutched the bag in his hand. The cold nipped at his face. The nights had acquired a life of their own, with the streets, usually crowded during the day all empty, doors locked. He liked it this way, when the world was devoid of life, when there was nobody else, save for the watchmen sleeping in their cardboard shelters.
‘I wonder if they’re cold’, he thought to himself, aware that they were there more as a deterrent than anything else.
‘Anyone could just show up, chase them away and loot the shop’, he thought further. He hated such thoughts, seeing causes and effects. He couldn’t just see things. He had an opinion on everything. That’s how he lost her. He tried to forget. That was what the bag was for.
Turning his collar up, he got into his car… Correction, her car. Well, it was his until tomorrow. It took all his energy to keep it on the road, fighting the urge to ram it into the concrete barriers on the side. It smelled like her. She had been using it recently. He grumbled, adjusting the rear-view mirror. She always did that, messed with the seats and the mirror, the radio, adjusting everything… He tried changing the station from the annoying pulpy love garbage she liked to something a lot more fitting. Like a tribute to the death of true love. Finding nothing even remotely close, he abandoned his quest entirely, settling for silence.
He drove, silent, flying through the turns and roundabouts, leaving cursing late-night motorists and puzzled, sleepy policemen in his wake. He had no idea why he was in such a hurry. She would be gone by now. They had one of those fights that morning, the ones that left him feeling like a failure. She had been packing, while the whole time he was begging for a second chance.
‘I already gave you that’, she said, slipping the ring off her finger. She had had it. He was clearly not listening. The ring… He rembered that ring, putting it on her finger. it was ending. He was dreaming. He was sure he was dreaming. His heart stopped, everything stopped. In that moment he could feel a strange sensation in his face. He was… smiling.
Tapping on his pocket, he was quite anxious to get home. He had gotten the bag from his barber.
‘Boss, kuna shida?’, his barber asked over the buzz of the electric razor, noting how his favourite client (or at least he claimed) was not his usual self. Here was a man who talked about everything, from the economy to how some team would play some other team in the coming week. Today, a sullen face and a curt hello.
‘Hakuna’, he answered, realizing that he had no idea what the name of this man who had been cutting his hair for close to ten years now was.
‘Natafuta tu kitu ya kutuliza akili. Nyumbani kuna stress’, he added, confused by the ease at which he said that.
‘Shida za roho… Najua kitu. Lakini si ya kuzoea’, his barber responded, finishing off the cut. ‘Kama utangoja naweza kuendea’.
He waited a while, looking at all the pictures of hairtsyles, as well as the assortment of hair cutting equipment.
‘The day has finally come’, he thought to himself, ‘when I have to get therapy from my barber’.
An hour later, after he had read and re-read the day’s paper, his barber appeared, with a bag. Its contents were hard and they felt funny. Pills of some sort. he wanted to give them back, to deal with it, but he was curious.
‘Nini hizi?’, he asked, laughing at just how juvenile that sounded.
‘Dawa ya roho’, his barber responded. ‘Eat one and you will see what I mean.’
He picked one out. It was jagged and uneven. He made a motion to eat it, but the barber stopped him.
‘Wait till the sky is orange’, he said. ‘Then you will know it is time to start.’
‘Orange sky… Sawa’, he said, as he left the shop. Having turned the corner, he remembered that there was no mention of money. Odd. He turned back and when he got to the shop, he found it locked. Not only that, it looked like it hadn’t been open for a while.
Something was definitely wrong here.
As he drove home, he noticed everything had a strange glow. Like a distant light was on.
‘It can’t be dawn’, he thought, checking the clock on the dash. It was 02:29, the LED display.
As he looked up, he nearly swerved off the road.
The sky, it was glowing. It was orange.