Have you ever had to sit down and write and looked at the blank page like a girl you have to win over or if you’re a lady like a guy you have to act interested in so that they can come and win you over? Now imagine you’re a girl with your green face mask on and that atrocious brown stocking on your head looking like what Santa’s wife would look like at 6 am in the north pole before scolding an elf for letting an alarm clock ring too early. Nothing is coming to mind and it’s almost Christmas, you need to give your readers something. An appreciation maybe a shout out or a recap of the year.
Here I was, staring blankly at my screen wondering where on earth all my ideas went. So I decide to search for ‘writing music’. Now folks, when you get to a point you it at your computer and are looking for inspirational music you my friend have hit rock (n’ roll) bottom. Google, being smart brings me pictures of music books and G clefs, a G clef is just a clef that grew up on the wrong side of town. It offered nothing to listen to just a load of musical notes and tips on how to be the next Beethoven. But then a link popped up “Music to listen to while writing – essays, papers, stories, poetry, songs”. Sounds good enough yes? So I clicked on it.
Sometimes you click on a link expecting the worst – a dating site popping up with a GIF of a white lady leaning forward asking you to call her. Then sometimes you click on a link and find yourself listening to a Jimmy Gait version of “Hello” – like they aren’t already enough versions – and you feel like banging your laptop and screaming “Wrong number”. Then there are times you find yourself on a page that claims you have won an iPhone 7c – exclusively – and you have to claim your prize by sending your name to a certain number. Other times you just get an E-mail from some Nigerian fat ass eating fufu in a bedsitter with a Compaq Presario trying to make do with the dial up connection telling you he is a princess heir from war torn Gaborone and needs your ‘Christian’ help to move a copious amount of money out of the country, of course offering you a cut.
Then there are times like when I clicked on that link, that you feel as if you have been transported into a two year old girl’s dreams. The music was transcending and it made me feel like a princess, not from Gaborone with copious amounts of money to transfer, but from Disney and I had a ball to attend. I could see myself gracefully twirling around in white rubber shoes and a pink frilly tutu with my hands raised over my heads like a white swan in a pond on a cool summer evening. I was a note away from becoming centered and discovering my inner-self, about to dedicate my life to a way of peace – I was about to become a monk, in Belgium, and join the world’s elite in beer brewing. Yes, did you know monks in Belgium brew beer? Ironically it’s the best in the world. All that meditation and the one thing they could find in themselves was the power to make beer. Jesus turned water into wine. See this is not a coincidence.
But then I let the beer thought of beer brew in the background for a little bit. Being a writer in Nairobi, or anywhere in the world at this time and age is not easy. Everyone can write, anyone can start a blog and anyone can talk about their day, experiences and escapades. Writing, at least for most of us is not yet considered a job, well, until you have a column in the newspaper, do commissioned work by big corporates or have a bestselling book. Writers also don’t make it any easy for you, it’s a close knit community of who knows who. Opportunities in the writing world are rare and unfair. I know it feels like I am ranting, but it is true.
Most writers, myself included, are socially awkward. I think through my words and the thought of social gatherings scare me more than a writer’s block. So networking is out of the question, I belong to that group of writers that are content with having only a handful read their work and hoping to one day blow up. Chances of this ever happening are fat or slim. You see to ‘explode’ I need a detonator. I need to have hate running through my veins and scathe with my words assassinating characters and individuals. I can also go to the darker corners of my mind and illuminate exciting sexual encounters with fictional characters to excite minds that wouldn’t read an article if it didn’t start with “How I had sex in a taxi with a voluptuous Ugandan beauty”. There’s also that thing where I could have breasts, you know big and perky and showing just the right amount of cleavage in my pictures to get people to read. I’m not saying it’s easier for female writers, I’m just raising a point… or two.
I want to say I am okay with where I am, that it is fine. That, no, I don’t need that recognition or people quoting me as one of the best. But who in this life doesn’t want to be the best at what they do? So I’d be lying, of course I want to be mentioned in the same breath as akina nani. Win awards? Okay maybe a few, give an acceptance speech in a well-trimmed suit and give a timeline of my meteoric or not so meteoric rise to success. Talk about all the companies out there banking on the desperation of young gifted writers to get free publicity – which is not really free because any marketer will tell you there’s a value to publicity. Maybe start a workshop for younger and old(er) writers passionate about what they are doing and giving them a platform to gain exposure (and get paid for it).
This year hasn’t been any of those things. I’ve had some fun though, going on a road trip and writing about it while learning about the beauty of German engineering. Visiting coffee houses, sitting at the corner and watching people coffee. I’ve gone into a strip club and talked to ‘her who her name shall not be revealed’ instead of enjoying a lap dance. I have gone beyond my keyboard and actually met people, writers like myself *enter Renee* and it’s been good so far. I still grace my local and catch a few cold ones scheming through the crowd looking for a story. I’ve grown my readership, or is it viewership? I’m still trying to find my voice and a niche, it seems like niches are the next big thing. But I am everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I can’t talk much about fashion, tech is moving too fast for me, and politics is dirtier than a socialites past in the next ten years.
Am I happy? Hell yeah! It’s been a great year. Can’t wait to try new things, possibly try my hand at networking and probably undercut a few biggie in the game. Form a few partnerships, find my voice and scream at the top of my voice, do a lot more interviews, write reviews for music, movies and books, read scathing articles by writers (bitter or not) and finally just be myself.
Happy Holidays from The Rackster… don’t drink responsibly drink vodka, beer, whiskey and lots of water!