When you start writing your mind is loud with song and poetry. You think, huh, I will hold the pen and hum to the tune of Shakespeare and Hemingway. Until you write your first few words and you want to run and hide in something safe, like being an Instagram model, only the good Lord blessed you with an Adam’s apple instead of an apple bottom (Oh myself, I just walked into that). You use writers you admire as crutches thinking, heh, if I could mimic their footsteps I will surely get their success. What you don’t realize is, if you’re limping without a crutch, you will still limp with one.
2018 is the year that I would say I came into my own. My head stopped buzzing with the song and poetry of a writer’s lifestyle and I realized that what truly mattered was putting it on the page. I stopped looking around for things to clutch at and I gave myself permission to limp, realizing that though you might be limping you will still get to your destination as long as you’re limping forward.
I was not antsy this year. I decided I won’t pressure my work to pay my bills; it’s the surest way to kill its flame. I buckled down and wrote for brands instead. I got to learn and see things from a different perspective (Is it just me or do samosas taste better in boardrooms?). I sat down and wrote for this site and I sat down and completed two books. More on this on the legs of this piece. If this year had a theme it would be the year that I finally fit into my shoes. The year that I became comfortable in my skin, even with it’s stretch marks.
Come, let’s rewind it and get a high from nostalgia.
Kisumu is a city that surprised me. I touched down at Kisumu international airport and I felt like running. I was alone, an Okuyu in a sea of Luos. I was scared shitless. My anxiety hit fever pitch when I opened my Uber app and alas, (haha) there were no taxis. I wanted to go back and leave on the plane that had brought me but the city surprised me. The people were warm and inviting. The hospitality of the staff in the hotels I stayed in Bondo and Homabay was nothing short of homely. And the women, sigh, the women—read 6PM in Homabay for a feel of their flavor. Kisumu, if you’re listening, let’s do this again.
I read a lot this year. You might have missed my face because it was ever covered with a book. If I failed to see my wife-to-be it was because she wasn’t written about in some manuscript. When I wasn’t reading I was making fun of my niece. She’s a little lady now with mood swings and everything. I promised to buy her the game Jenga as a Christmas gift; and oh myself, (I promise it’s the last one) she’s excited, you’d think it’s her wedding day. The books that stuck with me the most were, Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog. The former is about mental health. It’s written in a fun swarthy-humored way that embraces you like good perfume. The latter is a memoir by Nike’s founder. I put down that book and felt sad for all those days I sat around, waiting for a hen to reply my texts, when that book was out there in the world untouched by my fingertips.
I won’t start with the cliché that I love all my articles the way a mother loves all her children. No, its untrue even for a mother. In any case, they are just articles, filled with air because words are truly wind. There were some, though, that I wrote and I was ecstatic. The paradox is usually, the ones I’m unsure of are better received than the ones that excite me. I was very candid with my writing this year, especially with my private life. I wrote a lot of pieces that scratched my heart; A Letter To Her and The Broken Man are two deserving honorable mentions. Maybe you can tell me the ones that stirred you out of your Kenpoly chair.
What can I say to the writers in my email and inbox? Work on your craft. Let go of the crutches, understand that what worked for the writer you admire then, is antiquated now. Understand that you won’t make bank with your first book nor your second. I read a review on a James Patterson book that went something like this, “You can tell that James wrote a million words before writing this book.” Write your one million words. Stop waiting for a mentor or for someone to show you the way, just start and follow through. Do it because it’s part of your essence and because you love it, not because there will be a check attached at the end of it. That way you will be fulfilled whether the trappings come or whether they get stuck in traffic.
Facebook has been a talisman in this regard; Muchuka, Ann, Ndegwa, Vicki, Felicity and everyone else who if I were to mention we would run out of paper. Salute for all the fun we have had this year in the comment section and for consistently supporting my writing even on those days when my pen stammers. What a year we have had. I will see you back here in January; Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Wait, I forgot to mention my books, Drug Paradise should be dropping soon, The Sponsor is done. I update chapters every week; follow me on social for updates.
Here is to a fantastic 2019.
Read my second book, The Sponsor, here. I update chapters on Monday’s and Friday’s. Follow me on Facebook and instagram for updates and a peek at the behind the scenes.
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