When I no longer worry about money, when I can enter a restaurant and confidently ask for mineral water instead of tap water, I will be wearing Maasai leso’s and sandals, loose attire that allows the air to circulate and circumvent. I will enroll for Spanish classes because I want to sing along to Shakira’s Chantaje and understand what she’s saying, although I suspect it’s something carnal and sensual. I might go to Italy and see Sicily. See what inspired The Godfather and breathe in the Omerta air. While there I will go to Venice. They say it’s a spooky, gray town. A fourteenth century experiment that now creaks and threatens to sink but I will still go, if for nothing to honor Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice and affirm that art sometimes goes straight to the heart and effects action.
I will look to fill the enormous amount of time I will have on my hands and maybe start an ad agency where we will write tight copy and pay our suppliers on time. Our tagline being something boysy and crispy, “Words like a little black dress.” I will have young hip employees with minds like laser beams and there will be this one belligerent creative with bushy hair that I will always be butting heads with but I won’t let him go because he will remind me a lot of myself.
Maybe I will venture into an outdoor company and hire a sales girl, hopefully one that doesn’t wear a choker. A bubbly, flirty girl with sensational customer service skills who will be going round looking for strategic billboard sites. Her mom will berate her and ask her how long she’s planning to tarmac because her shoes will always be dusty but she will look at her mum, smile, give her money for sugar and tell her it pays to tarmack.
I will have a few fiction novels and a memoir under my belt but even amidst all that growing up I will still be coming here to wax a story every Wednesday. I can see myself, snowy and grizzled in my wicker chair telling my grandson to make sure he punches publish on whatever gizmo will have been invented then. Telling him to read me the comments and tell me the names of the people engaging and maybe he will resent me for it, because he would rather be on his hoverboard, thumbing his PlayStation or whatever young folk will be into, than helping his poppa with his weekly posts but he will do it anyway because I will keep bringing up my inheritance and how I’m editing my will.
But I digress with tedious detours of my rusty dreams and churlish grandson.
We turn a year old today. It seems surreal that this thing I birthed twelve months ago has grown into this thing that brings joy to my life. Writing is not an accolade you’re given after you go to school. There are no certificates, no degrees, but I have been fortunate enough to have readers who stick a badge of validation on my pen, week after week and for that I’m thankful.
It really does take a village to raise a child and you have been my village. So thank you for coming here and reading, commenting and sharing. Thank you for liking the hell out of my Facebook posts. Thank you for changing this child’s diapers, buying him clothes when he has none and making faces every now and again to cheer him up when he’s morose. If this is a house then you are the cement that holds it together, the baluster that props it up.
I won’t bore you with blurb when you’re probably wondering when you’ll have some cake.
“Black Kennedy you want to cut the cake? Maybe Ivy can help you out as I egg on with commentary.”
Writing has been my lighthouse and albatross. There are days the pen meets you with enthusiasm, getting up gallantry to pull your chair and taking you on a trip full of mirth. Then there are days I am flooded with anxiety and paralyzed with fear at the mere thought of picking it up—‘
“Ah Ivy, make sure the effervescing readers in silhouette at the back get a slice too.”
Days when writing feels like chasing a shadow or a ghost in the dark, but even amidst that feeling, I still chain myself to the desk because you have given me the privilege of having readers and it’s a privilege I honor. I pen a sentence and ask how it can be better. Does it say what I want it to say? Do the words bring out the imagery in my head? Does the punctuation act as speech? Is this something I would want to quote?
“Ngige Jorge, do you want a Tusker to wash that slice down?”
Writing unlike courting a woman is kinder, if you love it hard enough it will love you back. But it’s unlike riding a bike or swimming because it can be forgotten, so you don’t stop. You keep at it and in the process you knock off the rust and allow the gold to get to the surface.
“Speaking of women: Rose, Joy, Lucy, Wambui, Sophia, Reeh, Wairimu Wairimu maybe you want to come to the front and prettify this place while we sing happy birthday?”
“Thuo Patrick, it’s only a one year old baby, so step away from the bucket of cold water. Yeah, step away, nice and easy. Atta boy!”
The ardent readers I haven’t mentioned, you are very much the soul of this community, talismans of sorts, even the ones who come here silently and tiptoe out without as much as a sound, Karibuni keki. We’re one year old today, so I think we can prop ourselves up with furniture and speak, even if it’s in inaudible gugu gagas’. If you have a question you want to ask drop it in the comment section and I will gladly answer.
Hey there, we don’t (yet) have the budget to buy space on prime time TV or full page ads in the Daily Nation, so your shares are what help us get discovered. Feel free to whisper us to a friend and leave a comment.