Why did you stop writing, he asked. Because love, sometimes even the pen becomes tired of us. And we have to run away so we can miss it enough to forgive its inadequacies, just like you and me, I said.
But what if you never come back, he asked. Because we are runners love, not quitters, I said.
Solitude breeds contentment, loneliness breeds emptiness.
Often, in our quest to self discovery, we mistake one for the other.
Learn the difference, save yourself.
Let’s pretend that we’ve mastered the art of conversation
That’s nothing is really lost in the ones that end too soon
Or the ones that change course mid-sentence
Let’s pretend that we care deeply about the smiles in the crowd
Those are the easiest to cheat, no time to linger
Please don’t judge
We are merely moving on to the next best thing
It is dangerous being a writer, you are in a constant tug of war with your thoughts. Who do you kill? Who survives till the end? Who is less important? Who do you love more? Who should fall in love with who? Is it time to end the story yet, or do you flip on to the next chapter? Is it love they feel or are they just disillusioned?
Your characters are no longer just characters, they are people with feelings. They make demands that have to be met, somehow satisfied like a young lover’s night. Sometimes, you let your guard down and give in to these demands.
But sometimes you are stubborn, and you starve a love that is meant to be. You shred all the tenderness into pieces. You crawl into a pure heart, stain it with blood. And when you are done with red, you sneak in specks of black and smear it around. Till she’s gone. In the vanity of your ink, she’s forgotten. And he now holds a lover in each arm.
She’s pushed into a corner, but still she kisses the dagger that twists into her heart. You can see her eyes glow in flames but you ignore her. Did you not learn the rules? Where is our happy ending? Where is the teasing, the caresses, the kisses? What have you done to us?
Screw the rules, humans are better with flaws. They can survive on the edges of thorns. Rules are stifling. Rebels were born among us. To steer us off course. To cheat us, raise enemies inside a lover’s den.
Sometimes, you are conflicted. You sit love in the same table, then serve silence with forks and knives. You lay them on the same bed, then turn each one into a void that cannot be hugged. Spooning is better at 3 am but you snatched that as well.
She’s never been good at cold wars. She keeps her tears in a bottle. But he’s got a bottle of his own. He throws himself in it every night.
Grasping at straws, there is nothing for us to cling on here. We know how this story ends. We’ve been here before. Nothing to hope for. We’ve learnt to lick the remnants from the honey jar.
But sometimes you are weak, you crack under pressure. Maybe it’s redemption or maybe you are just bored with the old story. And in that moment, you jerk us all into a U-turn.
She walks into a room, clutching her heart in her hands. There is something desperate in the way she scans the room, her eyes bouncing from shadow to shadow. The crowd has grown bigger these days. Or maybe he just good at hiding in plain sight.
Suddenly, their eyes meet, a moment of reawakening. A reunion. This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for, our happy ending. He’s there waiting, he’s always been there. She’s the one, she’s always been the one.
But who said cheating isn’t permitted. Confusion is a thing of beauty, surprise endings and twists. Come out, let’s play.
Maybe it isn’t him, maybe she’s moved on to a new love.
Or maybe it’s not them. Maybe this is a new love story with new characters altogether because sometimes, you are vague. Focus people, focus.
Log out of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram e.t.c
Switch off your phone, put it away in the closet
Sit squarely at your desk
Scribble something that doesn’t make sense
Chew up the paper
Let the ink soak your tongue then spit it out
Think hard, go deep into your thoughts
Channel that frustration
Scribble something that still doesn’t make sense
Curl the paper into a ball, hurl it at the wall
Step outside, feel the rush of wind against your skin
Let the fresh air fill up your lungs
Look further beyond…
Sometimes your muse is as simple as the chicken crossing the road
I have successfully planned everything, and successfully failed. I’ve written long lists of the things I want to do by the end of the year. Who doesn’t? This happens when I’m so caught in the New Year hype I just want to do something really responsible like write a motivational book or something. At the end of the year, I look at my list of unaccomplished resolutions and shake my darn head. Certainly I can’t be the only one.
That list containing resolutions that you plan to accomplish by the end of 2015, shred it to pieces. You can even reduce it to ashes to kill any traces that it ever existed. I am certain (99.9%) that the list you made in 2013 is still lying around somewhere, unopened, so why would you waste your time by writing another.
For 2105, let’s experiment with a new strategy, that is spontaneous, one that doesn’t require us to be tied down to a list. Let’s break all the rules. Let’s not plan. Let’s just wing it. If this fails, I’ll be here to bear your barrage of criticisms. You’ll even be given the priviledge of throwing shoes at me in the public square (Kenyans are peculiar like that). Winging it is like gambling and crossing your fingers that the odds are on your side. It’s about improvising and living everyday as it comes.
Ready to be free-spirited, walk with me…
Each day you plan what you eat with an obsessive discipline but your dieting routine is just not working. You are not losing any weight. Reason: you’ve put so much emotion and planning into it, it’s draining you out. The truth is if you plan what and how you eat, you are likely to pick up bad dieting habits that only harm your body and health. You know, those kinds of habits like counting calories before every meal. That is so exhausting; it takes the fun out of eating. Don’t plan what you eat like you are running for the marathon, don’t count calories, don’t focus on the scale. Just eat your food, and enjoy every minute of it. As long as you are eating the right kind of food in the right amount, you’ll do just fine.
This is where everybody (guilty as charged) just needs to calm down and wing it. When in a relationship, you plan dates, picnics, movie nights, park walks and even small activities like holding each other’s hands in public. You micromanage your relationship like you are looking to get nominated for an Oscars in the best director category. Take a breather mate, winging it works miracles. Besides, where is the fun in controlling and planning out everything? When you plan your relationship it becomes a routine, and routines are so boring. The best relationships are the ones that are always spontaneous because you are always improvising as you go.
This one is tricky because gambling with your career is not a wise choice. But I’ll throw it out there anyway. It’s okay to dream but don’t set high targets you want to meet at the end of the year. I know, I sound like a really lazy millennial. Back up a bit, don’t throw your shoes at me just yet. You see when you set high targets; you are constantly under pressure to meet those targets. Pressure intoxicates your energy and breeds frustrations, panic attacks and anxiety. This negative vibe will overlap to your work and the people around you. Who wants to work in such a toxic environment? Sometimes it’s okay to take each day at a time and treat your job as a hobby, not something that you are obliged to do for profit.
All women do it, even the metrosexual males have adopted this culture. You plan what to wear three days ahead, and in between change from one outfit to the next, in your mind. And then when you can’t settle on one outfit you begin to freak out like a relapsing addict. Don’t stress about what to wear tomorrow. Just wake up and dip your head in the depths of your closet and fish out something, without looking. It is fun, spontaneous and I don’t think you’ll be committing any fashion faux pas unless your style is really awkward. Then again, you can argue with your critics that it’s avant garde.
Take a leap of faith, and wing it. Let the aforementioned promise (of hurling shoes at me) be your motivation. I am not that priviledged to hold press conferences so good luck finding me though. Happy New Year!
In January 2013, a restless student with a penchant for memorable quotes, poetry, sarcastic humour, Tatiana Maslany and Dexter sat in front of a laptop and opened a WordPress site because she wanted to write. About anything, make everybody see the world through her eyes, through her thoughts. Suddenly what had only existed in the white pages of a diary was going live. Scribbled thoughts, impulsive, lonely and just waiting to be pieced together to create a story. She had it all planned out, but somehow she was scared to share what she thought was only hers. Scared that once she let everybody in, her world would no longer belong to her alone, but to other internet users, other bloggers, other readers. Her words would be left alone, to fend for themselves in the ubiquitous world of the internet.
Somehow, that fear got to her, manifesting itself in the way that blog stayed dormant for six months, the only proof of its existence, a Hello World from the WordPress team. In June 2013, she could no longer hold it in. The chaotic stream of thoughts needed a platform that was bigger than her notebook or the inside pages of her textbooks, and so she published her first article.
It’s December 2014 and she has never looked back. There are days when there is that little writer’s curse called procrastination or writer’s block, but still she writes. Forgive me for referring to myself in third person but it was the only way I could ‘see me,’ become a character of my own story.
Yesterday evening I was checking my emails to see if I’d gotten any job offers that could offer me a six figure salary (No, I’m kidding but I could at least dream, right?) and saw a notification from my blog – I had just gotten my 100th follower, and it got me thinking, “Well, that’s something that needs to be celebrated.” In the 18 months that I’ve been blogging, I’ve met some amazing people who deserve a mention. Shout out to Scott Mitchell (evokingthedeep.wordpress.com) for believing in me, for liking and commenting on all my posts from August 24, 2014 (is it weird that I keep count?) and for showing me how to tag and for pointing out that my avatar was leading to a non-existent site. You rock!
To all my 100 followers and my readers, I’ve poured my heart, depth and soul to you. Thank you for giving me the priviledge of pushing my ideas down your throat. You’ve all given me the best experience a writer (or a poet) could hope for. To Google, for letting poach your images. To my internet connection, you were irritatingly slow on some days, especially when I hit publish but you always came through. To my alter ego, for keeping your tantrums in check. To Coldplay, Fun, Imagine Dragons, Pink, Ed Sheeran, Iron and Wine, Adele, The Weepies, Train, The Script, Taylor Swift, Gotye, Sara Bareilles, Sade (this list gets longer), I misused your songs for therapy and as background soundtrack to my art. And to God, for continually opening my heart to the beauty of words.
…Pop! that’s me opening a bottle of champagne. Everybody grab a glass, water, milk, juice, smoothie, lemonade, whiskey, hot soup, porridge… just grab anything in a cup because I’m not toasting alone.
Here is to us writers and poets, we are the lovers, the players, the dreamers. We are the starving artists that the world cannot do without. Sometimes, we are the losers but still we write because we believe in the value of words. We believe in the Heart, Depth and Soul of humanity. Sometimes it is a lost cause but we believe anyway, and so we scribble. And when we run out of ink, we get a new pen. When we run out of words, we create new ones and sneak them up on our readers, or the Oxford English Dictionary like William Shakespeare (who coined words like frugal and phrases like cold comfort). I’ve been told that I parenthesize a lot but it is a flaw I have accepted, I think you should too.
About my initial character, she still scribbles, in the street when a thought hits her, on a bus while going to work, when sitting on a park bench, when having lunch with friends, when stuck in traffic. She carries her notebook around like the world depends on it, scribbling words that wouldn’t make sense to anyone at first glance. There are the disjointed lines in page one, another stream of thoughts in the mid-pages, some more random ones in the last pages. Sometimes these thoughts begin from the end because there are times you think about the ending of a story or just the middle part of it and then you start to craft the story to get to the beginning. Sure, sometimes the thoughts don’t make sense to you either. But you give it time to develop, you go around in circles, back and forth, back and forth like a pendulum (yeah, it’s like the world is spinning, like you are going crazy) until you find the unity in your thoughts. Chaotic mind, simplified thoughts, and that, ladies and gentlemen is the burden of every writer.