Sunday, December 19, 2010

Nightmares

Before I moved to the farm, I read a few survival articles and one mentioned that to live in such a territory one requires to have mental and emotional stability.
            For a long time my mental state has been dependent on the occasion at hand and somehow I’ve managed to ‘manage’. My ultimate test came this week. I came back home from an assignment and was emotional, well I’d say I still need time to find a balance. I was met by somber feeling at home. We’ve had quite a number of deaths in the family so my hair was on its end before I put down my luggage. Uncle gave me a brisk reply to my greeting and aunt was saying something about a sick cow. The week before one of the heifers had had a miscarriage so I thought it probably was having complications.
            It was an unpleasant shock to find my favorite heifer, the pack leader looking as though ran over by a tractor. It had received an injection and with its pregnancy, it looked very fatigued.
That cow is as I said the leader of the others. It is happy and feels good most of the time. It likes to run with its tail up and hind legs flying, skipping at a breakneck speed you’d think it’s a horse from far. Any cow that does not follow its instructions – to walk behind it always – gets lifted high up and thrown over a fence.
            Seeing her down made me feel so bad. I spent the day trying to feed it baby Corn. The second day the water broke and we waited for the birth but the poor animal was to weak.
........................................
Hours later, nothing had happened and she was obvious in a lot of pain. I held the torch and gritted my teeth. My legs turned into steamed spinach, I sat and closed my eyes tightly, but the tears kept coming, my cousin came from his night tours. I called him to hold the torch and I escaped. But they finished pulling and I went back to see.

It’s breathing.
No it’s not, it’s dead.

The mother looked tired and wasted, but a bit teary eyed. The dead calf was a beautiful freshian, long with big patches of white. I really needed to sleep. The following day I was cranky and kept snapping at people, especially when one of my one week old chick fell into a sufuria of water and died.
The cow was feeling better, eating a bit, but its fur was falling out. We sat and talked about other things drinking cupfuls of tea. At the back of our minds, each of us praying that the poor heifer will get back in shape to head the heard.
            Emotionally, I sat in the kitchen all day to avoid seeing the dead calf being butchered to be fed to Tom and Tusker.

There a story for another day, about vets who should  be fired .

Friday, December 10, 2010

ah, the beauty.

 I heard them say something in the news today, that Kenya produces the best coffee in the world but it's farmers are the poorest.
They said it  due to bad governance and politics e.t.c. I remembered one time in a foreign land, they were chatting about their countries, Canada and Australia. Then someone turned to me and asked, laughing, so what is there in Kenya? I asked, do you really want to know, ut he had already turned his attention to the Korean, I saved it for a future use.
 I had heard that question before, they asked-what is good in Kenya. I said we have maize, and fruits, we have food. They laughed and turned back to their conversation about the new mall just opened where noodles were quite cheap.
And as I walk about this land, I'm happy that  this is a well kept secret. Let them imagine huts and animals, lions and naked children, which they see on their screen in their concrete jungles.


I sent my manuscript , the novel and a children's story to another publisher  two weeks ago but haven't got a reply. Meanwhile, I'm writing financial articles.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Old Dog New Tricks, aa


There’s the cartoon on facebook  that illustrates the types of friends, I think I have all the types sketched; crazy ones, cool ones, young ones, big ones,  ambitious ones, sad ones…
I had a funny meeting with one of my friends; we’ll call him the ambitious one who goes by the book. He studied, got a university education with honors, got a house, furnished it with everything new, maintains a good job and a good shave, has friends and keeps up with the times, is responsible. E.T.C

So I guess he had told his friends that his buddy returned from Malaysia, come let us see and hear progress. When I went over, I totally could see the look of disappointment. Google Malaysia  fashion. Yes, that is probably  what they expected, but  here I was in the midst of them with some stripped hippie cardigan , a gypsy skirt and canvas lace ups.

They gave me a look over and they said to themselves, ai, this one has never seen the inside of a train leave alone a plane.
 Next I had to answer the usual questions: So we hear  that Malaysia is way ahead of us
Me: In what way.
Them: In all ways, I mean technologically, you cannot compare Kenya with    majuu(overseas)
Me:It depends on which angle you look at it, like how many local T.V stations  do we have?
Them: Aaa, not  that way, T.V is nothing, infrastructure is what matters.
Me:  Good infrastructure should reduce the cost of living should it not?
Them: But think of the employment rate, in Malaysia 70 % of the locals can find employment. Do you know  what percentage it is here?
Me: A a.
Them: It’s 20%, the rest of us are Jua Kali(Self employed)
Me: Hm, Jua Kali would  mean more freedom right?
Them: Yes there’s freedom but it’s good  when a government can provide employment to its citizens.
Me; Yes I guess. By the way, you know in Malaysia to go to town you pass like three tolls equivalent to about 60bob(60Kenya shillings), and you get taxed in restaurants for coffee and stuff.
Them: Reeeally?
They were justified, I didn’t have an idea what I’m talking about.

I excused myself to leave coz I needed to meet up with another friend who wanted to discuss APA referencing (I had thought I was done with referencing), apparently someone told her I was okay with it so she wanted to talk it over, but she ended up giving me contacts who need some work done, so it was more to my benefit.

After doing several interviews  last week, I realized  that  “papers” which are made to seem very important are not really  that important. I was being interviewed and the interviews didn’t even look at my papers and was ready to mention me to someone. So before I left I asked,  what  do you think of my Singapore story? They asked, which one? So I took out my documents to show and turns out it caught their attention. Have I seen this story before?
I wrote it last night for this interview.
O, okay.
They took my papers but all I was thinking is I need to get back to my rabbits, this is rubbish.
So today I’m editing my novel to send it to another publisher I hear is doing well. I’ll send it and hear what they say as well as one of my children’s  stories.

My friends, the professional lot were not finished with me, they wanted to know exactly what I’m I doing.  Of course there’s something I’m doing I said. They were not convinced and between them, they have been having this idea  that I got pregnant  that’s why I haven’t contacted them, to hide the bump, otherwise what would  I be doing out of Nairobi. Nairobi makes me physically sick, I’ve been here  two days and I have a fever, I said.
Wewe Cecilia una mambo, hujachange(  to mean; Cecilia, you haven’t changed, we still don’t understand you)

But I’m glad I have all these different friends, like tomorrow I’m looking forward to my friends who just celebrate my being me and wouldn’t want to change a single strand of wayward eyebrow.



Sunday, November 21, 2010

sometimes I admire men

He Stood out from his peers, not only because he wore an orange sweater while the rest wore green, but his stance, the way he’d walk, the way he firmly looked at you and said a greeting. When I finally beat the morning sleep and managed to obey the alarm, mama(my uncle) said thank you very much,  and put  me in charge of the morning milk delivery. He wakes up at five to milk the cows, and I wake up at a quarter to six, dress in heavy gear, spread a layer of baby oil on my face to protect myself from the biting cold , park a book and my camera, sometimes my phone in a bag and get out before he calls out.

With 9 litres on each side I get out and join the rest of the farmers at the center to wait for the society’s lorry which comes anytime between 6  and 9a.m.

The boy mentioned earlier would  bring his family’s milk and depending on the time the lorry comes, he’d wait until six thirty , take the container home then get his bag and go to school. I asked about him and was told- you see that boy, during the dry season last year he would carry two (12) litre containers of water from the river to water kales, which paid his school fees. He wears a confident smile about him, one that says he’s sure of himself. One eveing he brought a letter home for my grandmother, I asked him to stay for a cup of tea.

 Most boys his age will just sit and quickly  drink the tea feeling awkward but he sat and gave me his opinion about a hundred things. Like he said to me: Imagine someone who has been on the same job for 20 years, he gets retrenched and has to look for work since  he has no skill, just experience, where would he find a job.? Let me tell you,  this world needs a sharp person.” I really liked  that, I estimate he is about 14 but he has an opinion.
Like my 5 year old cousin, who I sometimes don’t want to see but a week far from him and I start to miss him. One day I brought him a bar of chocolate then asked for a taste. He said to me- when you brought this for me all the way from town, it shows you had already had enough- how do you answer to that?

He has a messed up bicycle but that doesn’t stop him from riding it. He tired  it up with some ropes and now charges the neighbour’s kids to ride. The other day he told me he’s tired of  being asked to light kerosene lamps every evening, he wants to  press switches, and he got on to work with some torch batteries and a torch bulb.






Friday, October 1, 2010

36,



The cliché poor artist with his mind set on adventure, confidence vibrating in his every step, he didn’t look through people, he saw them
A free animal will stop to free another from a trap, so Jack stopped, and set Rose free.
As we watched Titanic in black and white, my friend kept asking-does this kind of love exist ? I wasn’t sure. I could not point out to an example but I imagine it is possible. It is alien to our young generation that I’m sure of, with their distorted view trained by Hollywood.
It’s plum blossom season. The dry branches budded, then turned white. In every field now stands what looks like long fluffy cotton stems. Against the moonlight, the soft petals glisten like staged beauty.
When the rabbits stand on their hid legs, when the crazy sheep calms down and gives birth, and with the love of a mother, licks every bit of placenta off her offspring’s wool, the kitten stops spitting at you and the male turkey follows, not to kick this time, but to get a few grains from the one who feeds him and his family.
There is peace in being able to look out as far as the eyes can hold.
You remember what you almost forgot.
A love so intense,
As strong as death is.
My uncle says you may eat as much as you want but if there is a calf crying out, you’ll never add weight. He then pulls up his jacket to bring in some maize stalks for his lame calf.

Monday, August 23, 2010

35, I'm spinning


It’s called- miti yenye mua ya samawati- and I’ve been editing it the entire month. I gave it to my cousin to read it last night and he made corrections. Like I said before, writing  stories for children can go both ways. A pass or a fail.
 I had told the publisher I would  be sending it to them  but I have decided to first find myself a kamusi since I don’t know  what pollen is called in Swahili and from  what I can tell, the Swahili I speak, when I have to, is of my own originality. Like until last night I thought  the expression ‘haiya’ was Swahili. It’s not, apparently.

I’ll give the story sometime to steam as I edit my other stories. I have three  which I’m very confident about, I’ll need to find a publisher for those though. Maybe I should email some Nigerian publishing houses. I recently read-Say You’re One of Them- by a Nigerian writer, it poked at my emotions. I don’t  know if I can poke at people’s emotions in that manner.
On another note, I typed  this on my phone  some few days ago. It’s the closest to a Haiku I ever got.

 I feel you in every pounding of my heart,
 Resounding in every pore and nerve,
 Coursing through me like life.

I’m getting back to –moby dick- I want to finish reading it to get on with life, and I think it might bring my mind back from all the- Wimpy Kid diary diversions-

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

34, thoughts and meditations

pic by Andrew Eng


I never did love children. I thought they were all selfish, attention seeking, insane little humans. I remember when my cousin was born, I kept as far out of reach as was possible, that meant even offering to go give the cows a graze in the middle of the day.

Yesterday I got left  by the bus and had to wait another 45 minutes for the next one and as I sat there feeling  depressed, I started to go through my phone and was completely lost in it. I saw a figure pass very close to me, then felt someone standing behind me, I looked up and saw a hand outstretched. A young boy of about 10 or 11 years was waiting to shake my hand. He said how are you, smiled and went on his way. It took a while for my mind to register what  had just happened and it brought some tears to my eyes. I don't know the biy, but we live in the same condominium. A well mannered boy.

One my good friends is a little girl called Pyu li, I’m friends with the  whole family, but it is understood  that whenever I visit, It's her I'm visiting. She’s wonderful, she’ll draw some lopsided butterfly and write-Cecilia, and give to me. She loves me a lot, that’s for sure and as much I didn’t know it, I love her a lot, the same way I loved a young boy who despite his age spoke a lot of sense and always cheered me up. 
He’d buy me chapatti with his pocket money and tell me about school, I listened, replying in English since he spoke quickly in sheng(Kenyan slang)


So when another young girl came over and gave me a card and a lollipop last week, I couldn’t help it when I got home and read what she wrote. She thanked me for being her friend and I sobbed.

It is very easy to ignore children. You think- ah, let them go over  there and look at some plants or something, or they should go play with other children. 
Recently I gave one of my children’s stories to one kid, he said- "Sis . Cecilia,(in Malaysia you address everyone as sister or brother, uncle or auntie or miss, or sir)  I donno, why don’t you look for other names for the characters. These names are boring."

I’ll write more for kids, it’s harder but it’s a happier pursuit.




Tuesday, August 3, 2010

33 , and going strong

It's been three weeks without my computer but it feels like a month. I've been trying to compile a portfolio but every time I realise- ah I don't have this I don't have the other, all in my computer, probably shredded to bits by the worms and the trojan horses. But, I'm getting another machine and I know I will have to love it more than I loved my old one.
I finished the portfolio, but I'm not impressed it's just plain and I 'm not very sure how to make it look better since my photoshop lessons passed over my head when I attended the class.

Last evening, I took a stroll through little Mumbai in KL and went into a DVD store. I could only recognise the movie- Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa- so I asked why so expensive? Even though I knew it was cheaper than it's usual price(been trying to get it) So she said, this one original only, if you want pirated also got, very cheap.
So I got the movie but I will have to buy some time to watch it :)

I also sent the poetry collection to a freelance publisher but he didn't reply so I'm thinking he's probably not very enthused, but I can understand, last time I wanted to publish with him I didn't have enough funds, but which first writer ever had?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 32

she came over and through a translator asked if I like to wear saree.

When I said I've been considering getting one she went back to her house and brought a big plastic and handed it to me.

I looked at the purples, the blues, the browns with thick orange edges and was tongue tied. She then told me to stand up and she looked me over, then sent her granddaughter back to the house, who brought back a punjabi suit , new and crisp. She asked me to try it on and it fit perfectly. Then she remembered something and went back to her house and came back holding a purse. She removed the pearl necklace and put it on me. She said it was 15 years old.

It was like a scene from those hindi soaps I liked to watch-kyuki and kahaani- where a mother in law dresses up the new daughter in law and hands over some family jewelry. My friend's grandmother might be just slightly younger than my gran, and when she hops on the motor bike, you'd never think she was anyone's gran.

She always tries to feed me this and that whenever I'm around, using my little Malay I tell her about Kenya, she asks about my family and tells me her grand daughter is naughty I should teach her manners and proper English, I laugh and she hands me another glass of some brightly colored sugar drink.

I still don't know how to tie the saree but I'll google it.

When I think about it, I can't help wondering, where our ancestors went different ways.


I got a response from the publishers, they said they will put it on the list since they have a lot of work right now. hmm.

Anyway, a response is better than silence. I still have no computer but my friend is letting me use her's when she's not on it, but it's funny being without my laptop. This is from one of the recent popular Tamil movies.


Ths

Thursday, July 22, 2010

DAY 31 :)

"After she left, Anita rang Taha  to come over to the house. He came, and brought along a girl with an obtruding burst  which wouldn’t have been so prominent if she had not kept adjusting her left bra strap  every four minutes with her right hand and distracting Anita greatly. She didn’t  get round to asking Taha if there was anything she needed to know, about Julius that is.
Although that wouldn’t have done much good anyway as Taha was completely immersed in the attention the girl was giving to him, being completely oblivious of Anita’s agitation.
Noor biked in shortly after they left through the kitchen door. He was smiling a new smile and holding  a bunch of fresh Jasmine blossoms whose scent diffused into the room to hug and wring out the apprehensive air that had been hanging since Olivia left about two hours before.
“Are those for me Noor?
He laughed and  gave Anita a slight peck on the cheek and was  gone up the flight of stairs before she could even borrow a stem.
He came back down quickly still holding the flowers.
“Where’s she?” He asked expectantly. Sublime Innocence, the novel.

Tomorrow is my deadline to send in the complete manuscript. I have a long stretchy story to tell that goes like this," My computer decided to act up and basically, for the last two weeks this editing business has been moving at the speed of a snail. Microsoft discovered I wasn't using their original O.S and since then, opening a single page takes about half an hour. At this point I'm editing from the gmail text editing option online." But I guess I'll save it, those are the kind of tales I told when I did the column in 04.
I decided to put a stop to it and spent a day at Lowyat Plaza trying to trade in my old laptop for one of those swift new things but turns out my poor mPAQ is worth just as much as a memory stick. That was an insult, especially since this computer has seen me through some very trying times, hehe. So we just looked around for a cheap external hard disk and I've been backing up my things all day, and that's all I can do at this pace.
Anyway, I'm going to the beach this weekend so I have to arrange my affairs to ensure I have a clear mind when I hit the beach with two of my best girls. Hoping there will be many dry afternoons, especially since someone gave me a costume just the right color, just the right size.
I must say it's been a long run, and I have a secret smile just thinking, I've actually written and finished a book, it's just a beginning, I'm not done collecting stories.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 30

Last evening, I looked at the remaining 10 pages and felt weak, I had to finish them. So I asked my friend please, can I give you five pages and she said K.I was wondering why I didn't ask before, but it has to do with the fact that I've been doing a lot of rephrasing and re-arranging and cancelling entire full pages with the last pages I typed so I sort of wanted to do it, edit it, proof it then give it to someone to read.

My friend typed 3 pages and felt sleepy but she left notes with ideas of what I should remove and add. You can imagine my relief when I typed the last page and looking back I realised, ah, that was a nice story and I like the ending too.

 I'm going to be doing a lot of things away from the house,  the coming weeks, so the raw manuscript will have to remain as it is for now. Maybe I'll pick up  next week.

Thank you for the audience always

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 29

I have 13 more pages to go. My fingers hurt I wonder why?
The interesting thing is, I had stopped typing coz the story was getting tiring to me.  I’ve heard the voice so many times. Yeah. But I fixed one chapter, and gave it a girl’s voice, it was all about shoes. After that the story was flowing right and I’m looking forward to see what is in the next pages. Funny thing, when people ask me what the story is about I'm not sure what to say. I got like, eh, it's a love story, no wait , there are different characters, and they all meet, no wait, why don't I just give you the book when I'm done?

--------------The oven timer went off and the smell of fresh baking filled the room when Anita opened the door. The vanilla queencakes smelt really good. Anita set them on a large tray, the red and white tea cloth made the cupcakes look so delicious, like you would see in cook books. She set a sufuria on the gas stove, threw in cardamoms and sprinkled in some tea masala. The water started to boil. She then threw in tea leaves and poured in milk, set two cups on the kitchen block and strained the tea into the cups.
The fragrant tea reminded Noor of his visit to Eastleigh town in Nairobi. The Somali style restaurant, Al Kwother served a good cup of cardamom tea.
“Go on,” Anita said, sipping her tea.
“Where do you keep the sugar?” He asked, standing up.
Pole, I don’t take sugar in mine so I never remember to serve sugar.”
“It’s alright, my mother doesn’t take any too. I’ve been trying to take less but it’s no use, I love sugar.”
Anita laughed and got up to hand him a sugar dish along with two spoons. One for scooping, one for stirring. When she sat, she suddenly stood up, “would you rather have honey, I got some.”
“No, please, I’ll have the sugar. Thanks”-----------------


I spent the day with my friend’s 6 year old daughter and I have a lot of Chinese in my head, I’m listening to some Chinese tunes now but can't upload them, so let's listen to Lemon. I love this poem.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hey, Soul Sister - Train . day 28

Today I’ve typed an upward of 3,500 words. I have 42, A5 pages left to type. It’s just 21 leafs but with writing on both sides.

It’s a nice story, Sublime Innocence and I’m hoping the publisher will get the same feel when I finally send the whole story.
They said I needed to work on the length of my sentences. I’m glad they pointed that out because I thought I was being  stylish with my poetic lines. No no it doesn’t work in novels. I will need to make the sentences a bit longer.
I already have big dreams. I can already see myself turning out books every other year and having them read in schools, ah, the places I would go with the money earned. Way I would treat myself to some books whenever I felt like reading something different (I don’t have a book to read at the moment so it's a constant thought).

On the other hand, depending on what the publishers decide, I might continue to wear out my fingers on one dollar re-writes until I'm 55 and with those the  farthest will be a trip to Thompson falls  then be satisfied with looking at pictures from different places on the Awake!

Today my friend’s son was playing the song and I got hooked the minute I heard it, love it. The other one of their song which  I've known and liked for years is Drops Jupiter by the same guys.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

News

East African Educational Publishers want to see the rest of the story!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A bit of confusion

So I'm staying with my friends Pebbles and Babes and there's this creep who throws coins into their balcony. He has stopped throwing coins and he threw in a couple of music cds. Then the the blue box. Haha.

I read in the Venus and Mars book that when women are stressed they might use confusion to deal with that, it’s true. I’ve tried to start of day 27 but haven’t got past the first sentence. Sorry my people.

I posted the manuscript, along with the CD of the same. I had to queue twice at the post office,  I dashed up to Tesco to get water and grabbed some pens while I was in there. The queues were long in Tesco. I didn’t know people go shopping on midmornings. But it was mainly really old people and what I think should have been their foreign caretakers.  I was standing in queue for about ten minutes and was worrying that my number at the post office was nearing. I was desperately trying to make eye contact with this black guy who muffled a hello to me as I passed, he was moving closer to the counter. He didn’t look my way. So I just went up to his back and said hey, please could you do these for me and held out my half bottle of water, the  pens and a bank note.
He took them and I was wondering what to do with myself coz he said no to the money, I went round and waited on the other side. His sticker for one of his items(Vaseline) came off and the cashier, was trying very hard to figure out what could be done to solve this mountain of a problem. So the guy hands me my things, and I just walked off.  At the post office I was wondering should I have stayed and until he sorted out his Vaseline.
I haven’t done much towards publishing this week, but I’ve made plans towards that, like the portfolio I’ve been arranging. Pebbles is going to help with it, she's good in design, but she doesn't know yet, I left her a message on facebook because  her wisdom tooth has been growing all day so she slept the pain away.

I like people who are crazy enough to throw 'precious stones' into a stranger's balcony.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

day 26, positive inspiration, positive thinking



Let’s see if you can guess what the colorful picture is about.
The black and white one is quite clear, so we talk about that first.
Since I haven’t got a reply from my publishers, I decided to escort the soft copy with  the old school style manuscript. Actually the idea crossed my mind as I was watching an episode of Judging Army a few weeks ago. When the writer guy, no wait that was something else. I was wondering why I’m confused. It was in the movie –In the Land of Women, the writer does a manuscript to give his grandmother to read. It’s bound and looks professional even though it is a fictional children’s story about a teddy bear.
 I thought, hey, I think I need something tangible. I will post this to the publishers tomorrow. I’m not sure; should I include a CD of the same or should I  refer them to my earlier e-mail? I am imagining there is a lazy editor somewhere who cannot be  bothered to check  the e-mail archive. But then again, I am a lady  writer who thinks I have made enough effort on this so far.   Tomorrow I will decide.
So the chocolate box. I recently wrote an article  titled- Massages and Spas in Bukit Bintang, the myth-  I came in second in the run and that was my consolation prize. It was a surprise actually, and I am  very happy with it even though I prefer potatoes to chocolates. It is the same fuzzy feeling I got  when BBC sent me baseball caps for my entries six years ago.
This kinda tells me, I have not lost my game.
 I still got half of the chocolates , if you want some just drop by.

Monday, June 7, 2010

25

The Swahili  translation sounds good. I was editing it today and I think it sounds better than the English  with the homely names and Swahili expressions.

I haven't done much toward my publishing efforts . I have a lot in my mind honestly,  I  even went to bed early last night but in the end I slept at the same time I sleep on normal days trying to figure out things. It's hard to connect with a lot of things running across the mind.

I know throwing myself into my stories can reduce the time I spend stressing  on things but somehow, until I am sure of what I must do, it's hard to see  clearly.

I signed up on docstoc.com  and  uploaded one of  my recent articles to see if I get an interested buyer. :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

24

I'm listening to Peggy Lee

"you give me fever
when you kiss me
fever when you hold me tight
Fever
In the morning
Fever all through the night"

I donno why I find it so hilarious. :)
I'm still not right but I have something to report. I received the Swahili translation for one of my children's story. I'm so grateful to Robert for his hard work. I hope this gets published so that I can have his name right there on the cover.

I did a review for the book I've been reading, this is how it goes:

If the song - Welcome to my Life by the rock band Simple Plan makes your back hair stand, reading this book will poke at your raw emotions just the same.
However, this is not the case until you reach the second last chapter. Most of it certainly feels like a –how- to- manual for women on how to treat their men.
A man reading it will nod his head, but for a woman, unless it is for comic relief, it will feel like a repetition of society’s popular rhetoric’s on interactions between men and women.
If you re looking for a general read, you might as well jump right into the last two chapters.

I liked the concept he calls ‘Displacement Love letter.’ This applies to everyone who wants to improve their lives by resolving pending feelings from their past. The advice is to imagine you could go back and deal with those feelings by writing a ‘love letter’ to those people involved, could be a parent or even yourself.
Other than that, I found the numerous subtitles and ‘clever’ quotes to be exhausting. It is repetitive, and the writer keeps referring to h is other books and videos. To me, it just sounds like cheap advertising.
In my opinion, an audio version of the book would be more in place since you could play it in the background as you do other thing.
I’ll give him one with his point that our culture doesn’t teach men what women want. As a woman, I nod to that.
John Gray has written many similarly themed books. As a certified therapists, he comes out knowledgeable on his subject. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, yes we got that clearly, once again.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

23


Here’s the plan.  I admit that my plans hardly ever work out. So I am accepting help. I sent some pages for proof reading. I’ve been editing news articles, and I think I’m getting better at it. It will possibly help in future.
Otherwise, I will stick to writing. I had two major ideas last night.
1.       Collect  12 of my heavy poems and do something with them
2.       There’s a book idea I sketched a few weeks ago, I will start on it and send to a    publisher.
You know they way I brag that I have no sense of fear. Yes it’s true, I can walk right into things.  However; today I got intimidated, and I smelt fear, and it wasn’t just because of the bunch of Asians facing me, ready to pounce. 
So I broke down  when one implied I must be ‘in business’ to mean the hooking business, “otherwise how can you survive here”, and he wasn’t any bit a looker either.
As I was going home feeling raw and bruised, with my head DJ playing-Goo goo doll's it's not my time,  the bus passed by a roadside shrine, and they were burning their incense and sacrifices.
I thought to myself. I’m so glad I don’t have to do that.
Happy are the people whose God is Jehovah.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 22: Sudanese Cultural Night


The desire to stand and dance was strong.
I felt it in my bones, in my blood, in the song through my ears.
Why do they say the caged bird never sings?

Of course it does, but no one hears its song.

But I was not sure a woman could or should, so I shook my  shoulders, snapped my fingers and tapped my feet. I scribbled notes and smiled, with a happiness I haven’t really felt in a long time.
The violin reached down into my core, patting, soothing and comforting every inch of me. The piano gave me rhythm and his voice, the sound of his voice took me back, back to places I’ve been and never been, nights by my grandfather’s date fields during the fortnightly festivals in Cush.  
Two men that moved the crowd more than anyone else. I’ll call them maestros for lack of more knowledge of these terms.  I gave them five stars.
My friend said to me-, 'come to the Sudanese cultural night, I’ll be the MC'. I wondered  how to get back, he encouraged, ‘get a few friends and take a cab back.’ So I tried a few but no one seemed to be free on weekday nights. But Bridget (http://bidgie.blogspot.com) said, 'you don’t have to miss it.'
I was ready to go back at the door when I didn’t feel very welcome. The tall black Arab said to me: ‘we have not started yet, and no drinks allowed, find a trash can’ and walked off. I was about to think –oh no you didn’t. But then I thought, he’s probably have had a terrible day planning all this, give him a chance.
The crowd was made up  of 90 percent Sudanese people , and the rest of us certainly felt like bystanders until the performances started. I really enjoyed the pantomime, and the guy that recited a funny poem, and the choral recital (‘Afihina mashuhuda’ not sure of the spelling) sent shivers of ecstasy down my spine. It reminded me of a cassette I borrowed from an Ethiopian in Eastleigh, Kenya, which I never returned. I should have, since those were memories of his country. I’ll track him down when I go back to Kenya.
When they mentioned political heroes, they didn’t mention  the guy most of us know- The late John Garang. But looking around I didn’t see a single ‘ Sudanese’ as we know them in Kenya. Tall, dark, with marks across their foreheads. No, everyone in that room was half this half that, and I bet all of them live in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait. That made me sad. Their ambassador was a turbaned fellow smiling from here to Khartoum, and after that all I could think of was how much he looked like the Kenyan vice president, Kalonzo. I also spotted a Tiger Woods look alike. 

There was a girl seated in  my row, screaming  'hey hey, yo!' She annoyed me because the ushers all looked like armed body guards and kept throwing dirty looks our direction, and she wasn’t Sudanese so  we might have been marshaled out without a second thought.
They finally(yes finally) mentioned John Garang, when they introduced  the southern tribe dance, which was funny but I felt like they were making fun of them. I need to look for a Southern Sudanese and ask them if they dance Lingala
I have some kind of solidarity with the Southern Sudanese. As much as I am a land of Cush wannabe, I feel protective over the Southern Sudanese since they are as much Kenyans as the Turkana people, so no one dare say anything against them.
There were side attractions too, like one (MC) who came out of  the crowd and started to rap, mentioning his name the way they do ‘call me, J, Just call me J, all my people,  hands to the DJ.’ Haha. That was funny, especially when some high wired teens jumped on stage and the guards had to escort them down.
There was a lot of standing and sitting and clapping too. But all in all, I went home on a high like you can see from my lead. It was a wonderful night, I’m glad I went. I also feel happy when I see children, and there were plenty of them to go around.
The MC, Ahmed Tag did an awesome job at it, he did the English, and his partner, a fast talking girl in a flowery costume complemented him in Arab perfectly.


DISCLAIMER: these are just a writer's opinions 

I copied some of my formerly published works to make a portfolio, and I will share with you a poem I wrote as I listened to the a fore mentioned maestros. My camera died   on me so I just snapped one picture.


 

songs to remind me of my lineage

I just came from a Sudanese cultural night. It was very intriguing. I will postpone day 22 a few hours because I'm spaced out and I don't think I'll do a good job making a blog entry.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 21


Hey,
I planned to proof read some more this evening but my friend said she can do  that for me so I’ll leave it  to her.  I spent last evening swimming and learning gymnastics from my friend’s 9 year old.  She was surprised that I could do a double over, said I was the first flexible adult she’s  met in a long time.
I ran away from  my life at the first suggestion by my friend to go over for the evening yesterday, and ended up reading 2 chapters of –spy dog- and 2 chapters of a self help book about getting rid of bad habits. It said that laziness is the closest you’ll ever get to near death experience, I thought that was absolutely hilarious but true.
The reminder to take at least one and a half liters/litres everyday was helpful, otherwise you can get irritable and stressed and your brain doesn’t work as proper as you’d like it to because you get ‘liverish’. That means your liver gets tired of running due to little water in your system. It also said that the quality of our thoughts can determine the quality of our lives. I thought, nice, I can see how much quality my life has .It was talking about positive and negative thoughts but this morning I made a promise to talk to someone mature for assistance with my life :D, in future.
And as I was reading another point about getting enough rest, my friend’s son, who was getting his hair cut, and got a bald spot when he moved and was complaining very loudly, said something interesting.
The world has evolved right? So why don’t we have 12 midday to 12 midnight days, since no one seams to sleep before twelve anyway?   8-5 might have worked when we didn’t have computers and the internet but it sure doesn’t do anyone  any good now. So he woke up at midday this morning, maybe to prove his point.
I’ve gotten over my shifting, and I will be shifting again tomorrow(true nomad blood).
I’ll type some more of the novel chapters since I have a willing proof reader and make a portfolio. of my life, I'll tell you my plan.
Btw. Someone asked me whether the novel was set in an African setting or modern ‘like Malaysia’ and I thought about it for as long as I thought about the taste of the water melon  I was going to buy  from the market yesterday, and the seller was surprised at my deep thoughts over a melon and left his son to deal with me as he unpacked the rest of his fruits, so I told her- you’ll have to read to find out.







Friday, May 28, 2010

day 20

In the book, Men are from Mars and Women from Venus, it talks of a point in a woman's life when her wave
crashes. My wave has been heading to the shore all week and today it finally crushed.

I was moving house and feelings of helplessness and sadness took over.
I  felt bad to leave my birds- I know they'll miss me. I also met new people, some pleasant, some I admired, some I watched from a distance. And even though the condominium I stayed has a bad name from the police raids it gets  every other day, I didn't experience any trouble, on the contrary, everyone I crossed paths with was nice. I'll miss the lake too, and the boy who wore jeans and stripped shirts and nearly missed the bus all the time.

So when I got to my new place, I felt heavy with fatigue, sadness and a river.
But my friend said she'd come online and chat with me after work. She's been my friend since high school and always makes me happier.

I read a few chapters of Anne of Green Gables. It's an amazing book. It gives me such an imagination.

Yesterday I did some more editing and proof reading, not as much as I would like but I'm getting somewhere.

I will do more and talk less, rather type less words..

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

day 19

"Are you going to maybank?"
"Yes."

So when I saw him take a different route I stood up and walked to the front to ask him again.

"Are you going to Maybank?"
"No"
"You said. You. Were . Going . To . Maybank." I said through gritted teeth.

"Okay okay, sit , sit, I go."

I sat behind his seat fumming and preparing for war. Here we were very close to Putrajaya Central, yet I was supposed to be a half hour journey in the opposite direction. We got to the station and everyone alighted. I didn't move an inch.

He drove off at 200km per hr, and I was thinking wo hoo!He's taking me back to Maybank. Then I thought, oh no, maybe he's a suicide bomber and is going to crush
the bus into the first bridge column. So I sat silently and hoped.

Ah, then he turned and I saw Maybank.

"Terima Kasir!" I said to him and flew out of the bus.

He drove away, back to the station. Perhaps cursing me, perhaps cursing himself for trying to be clever.

I was smiling really hard, it's unusual for that to happen. The least I expected was to be kept packing at the station until the next bus came half an hour later.

Chapter 5 and 6 is going pretty well. I need to edit the punctuation since I've changed the narrator to third person. I expect to have more time next week I will finish them off and start tying the rest of the chapters. There's no response yet from the publishers. I have to wait 6-8 weeks for them to have a look at it and decide whether to publish. I expect response on one of them, which I sent 7th April soon. Meanwhile, I applied for a copy writing job in one of the Malaysian publications.

I'm tired to the bone marrow, and I will be shifting again on Friday. You'd think I'd have got used to it by now but every time I have to move, which is every few weeks it always feels like a major life shift, which it is in a way because I'll need at least a week to adjust at my next place.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

18

I was invited to tea last evening and couldn't be bothered to come back to the
house. English tea means pies and roast and gravy and all that kind of thing. I call it super.

I have to go out in a while to fill out forms- that seems like my
career now, feeling up forms. I do hope they'll give me some forms to fill
for food stamps soon, that I wouldn't mind filling.

Anyway. I've been telling myself I should wait until evening to write this when I'm calmer but I've decided I never followed reason at anytime anyway so I might as well write now when I have fire in me. It could be from the episode of The Avatar- the last air blender me and my friend's kids watched this morning, it could be my hormones acting up,or it could be the fighting mood that has possessed me the last few days.

I woke up on Saturday raging. I was supposed to go out study with some kids but it rained and I was glad it did coz I was obviously in no position to sit and tell kids - no, we must restrain ourselves when people anger us, like the Great Teacher-

So I stayed home and edited the things I told you a couple of days ago, what someone called a Scotsman bad English. All that does to me is remind me that English is a foreign language. After the first page I can't tell who's worse off, me or the Scot.

Then, I typed a query for a children story to phoenix publishers in Kenya.
I grew up with their books- Beautiful Nyakio, The sun and the wind. Those kind.I'm hoping they'll like my idea.

I have to say though, I don't feel very enthusiastic.

I am afraid I might not get responses from these publishers.

I also feel a bit down, and this is my opinion, but I'm not just saying but I've been with people, and when everyone is talking, I listen and I watch and observe get called slow. I have realised that I come from a society that doesn't believe in girls' education. Yes. I always thought that was the North Eastern people habit but oh no. And since I got this understanding,I get it now.

I will write more sense in the next entry. I cleverly uninstalled my Ms. Office from my computer.
I just clicked on it ' because I thought I didn't need it' now I have to do my typing on notepad.

Computer for DUmmies, anyone?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 17, Calm down my heart, life is steps.


Three things took my breath away today.

A sunset so red, so round, so big, so confident , like a sun should be.

A small red flower which I later saw was actually orange not red and I stuck it to my hair all day

A lad that wore a black suit, a white shirt and thin orange tie. He reminded me of a chief as I imagine they looked  7 generations ago. Tall, proud, with a good color combination.  
I had an urge to write last night because I had had a really extra-ordinary day. I don’t remember most of it now but in the morning I was really bashed up with little sleep and self pity.
Around three in the afternoon I walked into a Chinese restaurant and was looking at the food asking what is this what is that. So the guy packed me a full plate of handmade noodles with beef and lettuce. I was getting out my wallet to go pay at the counter. I asked what the  combination was called, he said –mee tarik. Then he looked at me and said, no need to pay lah, just have it, but come again. You should have seen my smile. I went to sit in one of the metal chairs feeling funny like you feel when you’re in a day dream. I happily ate the meal . I had some money, but not really. What I mean is, I had rm 10. The meal was Rm.6 and honestly, that much on a single meal would blow off my “budget” completely.
 I was remembering the verse in Isaiah 55:1) Hey there, all YOU thirsty ones! Come to the water. And the ones that have no money! Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk even without money and without price.
And I was smiling thinking, Jehovah hit me with that one to get me off my self pity.
Today I printed out chapter four and five of the novel to proof read. For chapter five, I wrote it in first person but I‘m going to change it to third person narration. A suggestion I read from a book about changing the point of view of a chapter. I edited chapter four and since it’s only 800 words, I will patch it up with another part I haven’t typed but would fit in as chapter four.
Last night I felt the temptation to send in  an old poetry manuscript from 2006. It’s complete, over a hundred pages, with illustrations and five different cover designs, all by my dear friend Ken. It has poetry dating back to year 2001. Since  my writing has changed  to a certain degree, when I went through it it felt a bit basic and too contemporary but I guess there is no harm since at that time I really felt that was super work. I’ll write a query and decide whether to send it.
Otherwise, it has been a good week, even though I did a few things which thinking back I told myself- Some of the things you do Ciss,can only be explained  with medical terms. That felt satisfactory enough, especially after hitting my knee on a crossbar someplace. Don’t ask what I was doing. Just that sometimes I imagine I’m Catherine Ndereba.
I took a walk to the lake and watched some fishermen, they had a big net and caught about three small fish for the half hour I was there, and some frenzied guys on a motorbikes were asking- you alone ah? No friend ah? I wished to show them a video called cat calls by  Amalia Ortiz, try find it on youtube it's funny.
 I  enjoyed the wind and imagined I was at the beach.

Moyo wangu tulia, maisha ni hatua

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