Disclaimer: This post would have made more significance tomorrow, but Tuesdays are reserved for Biko right? It’s a conflict thing.
I’m modern technology’s bastard. I never got to experience the full workings of a post office. Before this digital era, after passing your driving test and before getting a driving license you had to use a small yellow piece of paper as your interim, and then after a couple of months you’d get a letter saying you have a parcel to your name. Your driving license has arrived.
Now you can get your interim online, along with your driving test papers. You go into a cyber café and print, then you do your test and wait for a phone call from the instructor. Your driving license has arrived.
Again, as always, this has nothing to do with most of this intro, just the cyber café bit.
There’s a small plaza with a beautiful wall around it at the beginnings of Kitengela with an even smaller cyber café in it. A glass counter greets you as you enter, there are stationery things on the other side, neatly arranged. There’s a chair, and on that chair there is a girl with polished nails and a much smaller waist. Unless they need to print or copy something real quick people don’t use cyber cafes anymore, not as much as they used to anyway. But it is there, that on a warm Monday afternoon, I walked in and became a writer. It is there that I set up this blog and put up my first post. January 26th 2015.
It was just after high school, I was young, bursting with energy to become someone. All I had was a small camera called Jacky, and all we wanted to do was tell stories. I came here on weekends and let out my buried stories and thoughts.
Sometimes in the lonely hours of the night, in the silence brought by the demons and the baited breath of the earth awaiting the beauties with which the sun brings I bled words, and in those nights I couldn’t piece together the right words I bled even more. A year of bleeding, that’s what this has been.
You get to a point where the world only makes sense when you write, even when you know you’ll be seated at the keyboard on sleepless nights, and no one will give a crap, you still do it. You bet on your luck and your crap. That someone will stumble upon your words and give you a permanent space somewhere. But it hasn’t been all bad, not to the point that I can complain. Because writing makes me happy, even if I’m doing it drunk with misery, or just drunk.
I can’t boast of many hours with this craft, but I have learnt quite a few things of it. I’ve learnt that passion has to be right up there, over everything. I’ve learnt that you need to practise on your own, that you need to have someone you look up to but you don’t need them to hold your hand as you do it. You need to do your own thing, lest you start sounding like them. And that’s not what you want. You might come off as trying to sound like them, and that’s not what you want. I’ve learnt that you need to talk to people to get their stories, even if they are stone-faced corn men. I’ve learnt that stats don’t dictate how good you are, people will not always care what happened to you over the weekend. And you don’t let it stop you despite that. I’ve learnt that commas help to give stories their voice in your stories. Short sentences worked for Hemingway, but they won’t work for everyone, because everyone has a unique way to do it.
Then there have been a few people who kept me going. Those made the bleed worth it. To who I’d like to say thank you. Some stories never made it here, because of this sister I was blessed with, Christine, who insists it’s spelt as Krystine. According to her, a story might have been- and this is what she says, “I don’t know” then I have to cut it out and start over. Saved me a lot of shame that one. There’s this guy over at mikelaria7.wordpress.com with whom we nursed writing blocks with over cold beers. To Maureen Nyambura who pushed this blog to some of you here and took care of the stats for me and my ego. Njagi Njeru, again, for suggesting I start this blog, and to Victoria Kagichu who is very good with the pen and obsessed with Harry Porter. I need my book back you Book Thief. (Private joke) And to Mwaniki. Good ol’ Mwaniki, who gave this blog a pulse when I wasn’t able to. A thank you to Linet of Murugi’s Kitchen and the rest of the team, whose coffee works like magic in the morning.
The list is endless, I can’t mention everyone, I’m sure even Polished Nails up there has some share in this. But I am entirely grateful, even to you who I don’t know, you ghost who I tell these stories to. To all of you I say, Asante sana.