Saturday, December 29, 2012

Time Travel (A Journey Through 2012)

I miss many things that made my childhood awesome, but one of the things I miss most is my time machine. In it I would embark on adventures, breaking the laws of time and space, going back in time to ride dinosaurs, or into the future to stop the bound to happen zombie apocalypse. My time machine would take me whenever my heart would desire, that is of course until my mother asked me to stop being an idiot and get out from under the bed. I would leave my time machine, amused by her simple mind’s inability to decipher the intricacies of time travel.

As I grew older, I too would suffer the same fate as my mother. Time travel, lost its appeal. But occasionally, I would long for the good old time travelling days, mostly while enduring an afternoon double lesson, I would yearn for the days when I would travel into the future; or after exam results were out I would long to go back to the past. Sadly though, the older I grew, the more detached I was from time travel. Then a few days ago, while staring for a long time at nothing in particular, I had a brilliant idea; and from this idea, the time traveler was reborn.

So what if I had become too big to fit in my old time machine (plus going under the bed at my age is just unnecessary and wrong) I would still travel to the past, but leave my body in the present. Yes people, kind of like Inception.

Any moment now and she'll leave the room

This is how I would do it, I will write to a letter to my past self, then send it back in time, then…
As we come to the end of this year, there are a few things I feel I need to know before I get into this year…you see? Inception. I feel I need to be warned about 2012. Maybe future me will thank me, maybe I’ll mess up with the time-space continuum and cause the world to implode. Let’s see what happens.

Dear Ras of 2011,
So I finally rekindled your old passion, time travel. Yes, I know you are excited, yes, you are welcome. Now calm down…get from under there it works differently now! Anyway, I’m writing this from 2012, December, oh, ya, the Mayans and the makers of the movie 2012 are idiots, the world did not end. There were a few floods, but only on Lang’ata Road, nothing serious.

I thought you’d be better off if I let you know a few things that happen in 2012, then maybe your year won’t be [I left out this adjective to add some suspense. Some motivation for you to come to the future and slap me].

So you know that girl you are ‘in love’ with? The one you almost broke up with her last week but thought she was the one you’ll end up with? Ha! You are wrong…again. Turns out she wasn't the one and you’ll get your heart yanked out and stomped to little bits, before she puts in tiny shards of glass in it then stomps on it again.

But wait, before you text her, you’ll have some good moments somewhere through the year, but you’ll still be punched in the gut by cupid, so if I were you, and I am, you’d run like a man attacked by bees (and that’s really fast).

Well he should have run faster...

You know how we don’t like Valentines Day? Well, you’ll run away from the pressures of the ‘big day’ and go on a road trip with the boys. I feel like saying spoiler alert; but you won’t make it to Tinderet. The six-gear Toyota Alex you’ll be in will veer of the road and roll severally. Don’t worry, you won’t die; no one will. The next morning you’ll look at the car, totaled, then you’ll have mushy existential moments that will make you appreciate life, you’ll even blog about it. Of course you’ll ride on that story for a while and then people will move on, then you’ll come up with some sappy story, but no one will care because in that story you don’t almost die.

Oh snap! I was in there?

Life will be hard in the coming months. You’ll hate your job, you’ll be in a relationship you really shouldn't be in but you won’t see that because you are an idiot and you’ll be in love; two things that shouldn't mix. But you’ll take a bold step: you’ll quit your job. That of course doesn't help at all because in addition to food and rent, you still have to woo a certain lady, so you will have to embrace poverty.

Just as life hands you a few more lemons, your heart, as I mentioned earlier will be…okay fine, the first time was enough. So jobless, loveless, and almost hopeless, you will say F.U. to the world and go on a pilgrimage on Mount Kenya. Of course to you it’s just a trip but wait till you come back.

On the mountain you will see God, you will see a new you, who looks really like me now, a much less crappy version of the current you, you will be broken, you will lose all will to fight for that relationship, you will push yourself beyond your limits and you will achieve everything you had set out to. In addition, you will meet a girl. Now remain seated you dim bulb.

Yes, she is an amazing lass, you will like her, she will be everything you ever wanted, she will let you in and you will let her glimpse at your sorry insides. It won’t be anything serious at first, but she will leave an impression, and you will blog about her, and in the coming months you will spend more time with her, but your broken heart will try hard to keep all feelings at bay, and that is a good thing. (Future me just wrote me and told me to keep it that way a while longer, just a while…) so fret not, you will learn the art of emotional restrain, but by Jove will she amaze you!

She will challenge you, and ask you hard questions, questions about your life, and your art. Consequently, you will write more; about her, about life, about anything, but only because she will text you every day at 6, and ask you to write, and you will.

Your writing will grow, well people will tell you that. You’ll question your writing, want to hang your pen (huh?) but you’ll keep on. Then one day, something amazing will happen. You will get that job offer you always wanted. And before you are done celebrating, you will get news that you've been accepted for the Master’s degree you always wanted. This will be the beginning of a turnaround in your life. Don’t worry, you won’t mess it up.

You will become him...well not yet

Often you will ponder about the year, how you almost died, how you got your heart broken, how you lost (quit) your job, how you met God on the mountain. You will be more aware of the events in your life, and as you sit through class, looking at your classmates, most of them more than ten years older than you, you will be thankful. 

Somewhere in there after a really cool seminar presentation and later a film festival, you’ll go home late. On the way a group of evil ninjas will accost you and rob you of everything, including your sense of security. Your computer, work, manuscripts, school notes, seminar presentations, and notebook containing all your world domination schemes will be lost. But on the next day, through a miracle of sorts, you will rise (a dark knight) and you will be strengthened by the one thing the robbers didn't get, your hope.

If they looked like this it wouldn't be a robbery.

One day, while you travel through Ukambani, you will picture the whole year in one blog post, you will think of how best to write it and you will think of writing a letter to yourself. As you pass the shady pub on the hill you will smile, remember all the good things that have come out of 2012, you will text her, you will think of the research project you are working on, you will think of this blog, and you will think of your manuscripts yet to be published, and you will wish that you, a year ago, would only know what is in store for you. I know, Inception.

Happy New Year everyone. To bigger things.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Back To School (And Other Stories)

It took me 30 minutes to walk the two kilometer road between home and school. Every morning, for 5 years I walked on the dustiest, and when it rained, muddiest road Rongai had to offer; and yes, we still went to school during El Nino. Most of you might be reading this going, ah, 2 kilometers tu? What a wind bag… but I’ll add that before I transferred to a school in Rongai, I was in a preparatory school. I think that is what people who go for Blankets and Wine call Prep School… Yes? So all my 5 years here were riddled with culture shock and disillusionment; but on some days, something in me would stir, a raw unadulterated force, I think it was the spirit of Rongai, the Rongai-ness within. And on such days, amazing things would happen.

I had gotten to school earlier than most. Jim was the brightest student in our class, well, according to exam results…and they were mostly right. He was also, my best friend, a move I later came to suspect was more strategic than random. I would come early to school all panicky like a doctor in ER, then I’d go straight to where Jim sat and ask for his homework. Of course anyone who was in primary school knows how this story ends.

So one such day, after finishing my homework (don’t give me those eyes… fine!) after copying most of Jim’s homework, (happy now?) I was in the toilets idly staring at the random graffiti, passing time…yes, that was kind of my thing…. I was reading something along the lines of Brian loves Catherine wondering what Brian ever did to anyone to deserve such a cruel fate. Just to put it into perspective, Catherine was the girl who always came to class late, dress all creased, with the distinct smell of urine floating about her. 

The yelp was soft, but still loud enough to be heard. It came from behind the toilet, and by Jove the Derrick in me had to investigate. Nestled between the hedge and rusty barbed wire was the cutest puppy; a very debatable statement. Like anyone, I wouldn’t leave it there, I had to take it with me, and to class nonetheless.

My coolness level had escalated from the kid who went to the toilet to read the graffiti to the kid who brought his puppy to class. I was almost a hero. The girls were all head over heels for me (I highly suspect it was the puppy). I told the story of how I rescued the pup to anyone who asked, and watched as the girls’ eyes became bigger in awe and as the boys’ became smaller in envy.

By the time class was starting I had fans. But they were the fake type, like MC Hammer fans, who when the time came to wipe the poop and pee, they all left….

I was rolling in my glory, basking in my fame when the teacher walked in. He was a burly man, still is. He taught English and music. Now he sings with one of those groups that add ­Africa to their name maybe to sound more authentic.

I hadn’t had much time to come up with a strategy, and so when I saw him I did what the voices in my head told me: I stuffed the puppy in my desk.

The teacher was going on about nouns and grammar and all that jazz while my head was filled with prayers. Please God let the dog not make a sound, please please, I promise never to write in the toilets again. (I’m not the one who framed you Brian, I promise). As the poem Mama by Nkirote Laiboni reads: … but… the gods of small children must have been busy… because the dog did make a sound, and the teacher did hear it. And since everyone in class knew my little secret, none of them could make it to the third yelp. The class was in uproar.

When the teacher, a rock of a man, came towering above me and asked what was going on, I meekly reached into my desk and brought out a scared-to-bits puppy whose eyes matched mine. You should have seen his face when he said, what can I say? Boys will be boys. Take it outside. And as if that was just a normal day at work for him, he continued on nouns and grammar as I walked out of class with a puppy in my hands.

It is in this same classroom glazed with such boyhood experiences that one day my GHC teacher asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. I must have been the luckiest person in the planet. I was honored, or at least I should have been. In a class of 30-something kids, I was among doctors, engineers, pilots, architects; it almost felt like a Kids Next Door version of Rotary Club. But there I stood, lost in all this expectation. When my turn came, I didn’t think much. I said I wanted to be a journalist. I could feel the awkward stares, the have you no vision in life looks and the terse cough that would motion the teacher to move on swiftly, move to bigger dreams, dreams that made the class sink under a series of uuuuhhhs and aaaaahhhhs.

Truth be told, I didn’t always want to be a writer. There were times when I wanted to be a war dog, yes, a war dog. Don’t look at me that way, Chip the War Dog was an awesome movie, you too would have wanted to be a war dog. Every season in my childhood was marked by a new career interest. There was that time I wanted to be a pilot.

My dad had just bought my brother and me a model fighter jet…or as we used to call it jetfaita. I would watch curiously as the toy inched its way across the living room, taxing but never taking off. In those moments I would be inside the cockpit, taking instructions, saying “roger” and “over over”. Suddenly I wanted more. I needed to know what drove this thing, how a mound of plastic and screws would move from here to there, and so at that point, I wanted to be an engineer.

Dad woke up one Saturday to find the expensive toy jet in bits and pieces, strewn between my spread legs. The look on his face didn’t match mine. His was a mix of what the heck and I will kill you, I swear I will. Mine started as hey? Would you believe there is no tiny man driving this thing, to uuhm dad, please don’t kill me, think of what mum will do to you for killing me, and what she’ll do to me for making you kill me.

On such occasions, I wanted to be a ninja; how else would I defend myself against my father’s rage? I would take the beating like a man…waiting to become a ninja and avenge my honor.

But even through all these seasons, I was always like a drawing compass. One leg would move, explore, discover; while the other would always be pegged on one thing, the story books my mother bought me.

Our house was like a library store room; so many books and no shelves. I remember sifting through an old box of African Series Writers books, the likes of Ousmane Sembene, Ali Mazrui, Chinua Achebe, Francis Celormey, random books on amnesty, apartheid, Kenyatta, Kimathi, Mau Mau. Then there was the box filled with Daniel Steele, Sydney Sheldon, Mills and Boons; and another full of Readers Digest, Viva, Drum and Parents. My room too had boxes packed with Ladybird Series books, various Bedtime Stories, the Bible Stories collection and many more story books. On most nights I would get lost in faraway kingdoms, fight evil knights, save princesses, drink magic porridge, chase a magic pancake, a gingerbread man, touch a black rose, pet a cat in boots, climb a beanstalk and all the while as my feet hang above me as I lay on my bed, which often would turn into a ship that would sail away in the ocean of my imagination, each time taking me on a new adventure, and to a new destination.

It was almost inevitable, that I too, would eventually have stories of my own. I would get lost in the woods of my imagination, and when I came back I brought with me stories that were at times incredibly ludicrous. I remember describing a man I had seen in church to my father, and likening him to Rastapopoulos, the villain from Tintin. I also remember my dad laughing so hard that day, that I felt the pride fall on me like a warm blanket. And from there on, I knew I had an audience.

And so as I grew up, met new people, had new experiences, and fought new battles; as new interests were found, and new seasons came, and as I grew up, the little boy who brought a stray puppy to class, who swam against the grain, who always wanted to discover, who always had a story at the back of his tongue, and who was fortunate enough to learn how to put those stories down on paper, still remained in me.

I had posted on Twitter a few weeks back that Ras Mengesha was going back to school, not wanting to put the cart before the donkey (an old Rongai saying) I kept it under wraps until things cleared out. And so it’s with great delight that I announce to you guys that I joined the University of Nairobi this semester, doing my Masters of Arts in Literature. I’d like to thank you guys for always coming back, for the comments and feedback and for the encouragement. And in all truth, the decision to take this course is partly and greatly because of you. Let’s keep on guys, embrace the voices in your head, and strive for greatness, no matter what you do.

Oh, and one more thing, thank you mum…. Okay fine, and you too dad.

I felt I needed a more climactic ending so I thought I'd add these: (I fear the Masters will turn me into one of these)

Then, check out my new stop motion animated short film here:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Jewel of the Mountain

Let’s call her bonnie. She stands there, all 5 foot 4 inches of her. Her smile shines in the backdrop of her dark visage, her skin as dark as smoke dried timber. It radiates (the smile, not the timber). She looks at me with her clear glassy eyes. African eyes, just brown enough, just black enough; they follow me as I run through my mind, as I comb for stories, memories, jokes and her eyes dart around in my mind, picking each story and savoring it like expensive candy. Her smile follows her eyes, illuminating the dark caves that hide my sad jokes, she laughs nonetheless.

She has a 20 kilo backpack on her, probably half her weight, but she walks as if she’s carrying her womanhood, she’s tired but her countenance doesn’t betray her. She tells me things, jokes, anecdotes, thoughts; she speaks, a light lisp glazing over her words. She doesn’t stop, only to listen to my verbiage, and to occasionally take in some air. She gasps at the wind as a clarinet player would, methodically and deliberately. And when she laughs, its somewhere between a cry and a laugh, every chuckle carrying a certain amount of genuineness, and I laugh with her, learning how to laugh, how to be happy.

We stop every so often to take in some air and to drink water. She never stops talking or listening, and when she does, I know it’s time to sit. We rest on the road side, sitting on our backpacks as we sip water from our bottles. A few seconds and her glow is back. I watch her as she recharges, as she regains her energy, as she restores her womanhood. She stands up and puts on her load, I help her, she doesn’t like being helped (women!) so I watch her as she slightly struggles and when she’s ready I get my bag and we walk on, the peaks in front of us, like a carrot on a stick, inviting but always moving with us, away from us.

Later at the camp site, she will sit silent, alone, all dressed up in mountain garb. She almost looks like an Eskimo, almost. She nestles a mug in her tiny hands and stares at the nothingness before her, perhaps taking in the day’s activities, or pondering about tomorrow, or just thinking about nothing. Maybe she’s replaying my jokes in her mind… I doubt it. I go on with my business, talking to other people, playing cards and occasionally rubbing my bare knees (I wear shorts on the mountain, like a boss). At one point I look her direction and she is gone. I’m not worried, just curious, so I leave the table and take a walk, my eyes darting about, looking, searching. She’s seated alone, on a bench overlooking a valley. She stares at the hazy greyness of a cloud gently riding the wind a few meters away. Her back is gently arched as she sways gently to some abstract, unheard rhythm. I leave her there and get back to the banda.

It’s dark now. The valley is dotted with a thousand tiny yellow orbs. The banda is alive with bunter, song and movement. Spoons clink as they feed us. She laughs loudly down the table. She’s talking to some people, some wazungus. They stare at her and she stares back. Only later does she come to me and announce that they are British Army soldiers on training. She goes on to tell me a few more things and I only hear her speak as I feed on her excitement. Her words jump out of her, she goes on and on and I smile, not sure if she said something funny or it’s her joy running across my face pulling my lips apart, forcing me to smile. She has a thing for tall white men who can light a fire. I can light a fire, I think, maybe she’ll overlook the tall and white part, I muse.

4.55 am. I hate this life. I have to wake everyone up.

5.30 am. I am still waking people up.

5.45 am. I have to take my luminous green cap to one of the girls. I burst into the girls’ room and she screams. Well, they all scream but I only hear her. She’s seated on the top bank of the first bed, the one closest to me. She’s not dressed, well at least not completely. A dark leg sticks out of her torso and into a sock. I look away quickly and close the door.

We don’t leave the camp together. She is somewhere between the other hikers. I am ahead. I walk on occasionally looking back. A few people are tired, I rest with them. We talk, laugh, walk, I keep looking back. Later we will walk together, and she will tell me about her life, things she hadn’t told me, things she wouldn’t tell me and for a moment as she speaks, I stare into the eyes of the man holding the mirror beside me. He smiles, I look back at the mirror, at her, and I listen as she tells her story, my story.

We’ve been walking for hours. At one point she stretches out her hand. My thoughts stop my heart. She puts her hand down and wind comes rushing out of my mouth. I was a bit confused there, I say, she laughs, maybe at the awkwardness of the moment, maybe at this fool, maybe at the absurdity of having her hand held.

14 km and she is done. I can see it in her. Her eyes are fixed, her mouth slightly ajar, fighting for air. Her feet barely leave the ground and when she sits her neck droops. I increase pace as we get to a cliff-like climb. I walk on and leave her behind, never looking back. I climb faster and faster; I can feel my heart pushing through my chest in violent protest. I keep going. At the top of the climb I stop and take in some air, you are crazy, that’s what you are, a voice in my head declares. I take a sip of water and rush down the climb. I eventually get to her. She looks like a battered woman. She is pale, her skin looks like ashy timber. I take her bag from her, she protests. I insist, she gives it to me. I walk away, up, and I look back her glow slowly coming back.

10 hours later and we get to camp. She disappears, this time I let her.

Later she will wake me up to have dinner.

1.00 am. Somebody please kill me.

2.00 am and she is still dressing up…or whatever women do when they hold clothes but don’t wear them.

2.30 am we set out for Point Lenana. I can’t see her in the darkness, plus I have to stay behind and make sure anyone who can’t make it is taken safely back to camp. Two ladies have to go back. I walk on. We get to this lake, blue like a mzungu’s eyes. The sun paints the sky, colors I have never seen. Nairobi has never seen these colors on her sorry polluted sky. A few people decide they have had enough, a heart breaking thing for a mountain enthusiast. I try to motivate them but they have had it. They turn back. I am left with three people: two gentlemen and her. She insists on going on, but she is beat. I can’t ask her to go back, so I do the only thing left, hold her hand.

It was really necessary...honest.

She holds mine as tightly as our thick gloves will let her. I feel her determination in her fingers, little frozen twigs trying desperately to make it. My feet are frozen numb, my fingers are in pain, I long for my sleeping bag back at camp, but I can’t let her down so I push on. My hand gives her a sudden burst of energy, a hope, and she keeps going. I too have a reason to keep going.

When we get to the peak, I stretch out my hands and look down on the earth as it hangs off my feet.

She stares into the yellow horizon. She smiles, she looks at me then at the world. Her countenance is back. Her glassy eyes, her skin, her smile. She starts speaking, saying things, I listen to her, to the world, to my heart, to the mountain.

In shorts, like a boss.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mini Coopers and Childhood Memories (Take It Slow)

When I was a little boy, Rongai was nothing more than a series of quarries and river beds. Every rainy season, the one road that led to my dad’s newly constructed house would turn into a raging river complete with jagged rocked rapids.

A normal school day

Since my father, in all his wisdom, had chosen a Mini Cooper over an inflatable raft,

Ideal vehicle

What my father got

We were forced to use alternative routes.

Normally, alternative routes are those that take us slightly from our comfort zones. A pothole here, an unexpected bump there, sometimes a stray dog tired of living might walk in front of your car…you know, the usual; but not this alternative route. If you’ve been following the story, at this time Rongai is made up of riverbeds and quarries, and so since the riverbed is now a bona fide I-will-drown-the-heck-out-of-you river, the next best, and only option is the quarry. Thinking about it, the quarry wasn’t such a bad idea, if we had a monster truck; but a Mini Cooper, that’s like…(be as creative as you can)

Next door neighbour using alternative routes... Damn show-offs!

So due to our car’s limited abilities in doing practically anything, going into the quarry was out of the question (and most of the time the damn thing was filled by brown murky waters of doom anyway) the only thing left to do was go around it. Problem solved. Well not really.

The quarry was conveniently surrounded by bush and boulders leaving a path wide enough for a small car and maybe a monkey. What made it worse was the soil on this path was a well concocted mix of black cotton and clay, and so when it rained, our trusty Mini’s traction was reduced to that of a mountain goat on skates.

Every time my father would use this route, mum would be seated shotgun and I would be at the back. From my seat I would jump over to the left window (I was small enough to jump around in a Mini Cooper) scan the bush and boulders, then jump over to the right and see the quarry which to my simple mind was the equivalent of the Grand Canyon. My mind would slowly do the math, slowly taking in all the factors, no escape to the left, death inducing drop to the right, slippery road, all this could only mean one thing 

As if on cue, my brain would send my body into an adrenaline filled fit of panic and my poor parents would have to deal with the possibility of death by driving into a quarry, or spending life in prison trying to silence me. I’m sure on many such occasions Mum would place her loving hand over my fathers and gently squeeze it and look into his eyes, eyes that would tell him, `Don’t do it hun, it’s not worth it.’ And he would let go of the door handle and drive on, all the while as I jump up and down in a panic fit screaming, `WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!! WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!’


Thankfully, we never did.

When we got home I would quiet down, spend the next few minutes trying to catch my breath and dad would announce with a smile, ‘We are home.’ Never mind a few minutes back he had wanted to kill me, or drive off the cliff just to make it all go away. He would look back at me, and I would stare back, then he would turn off the engine and pull up the handbrake, and that moment would be my favorite part of our journey home.

The metal cogs scraping against each other as the handbrake lever went up meant that I was home, I was safe. So every time I felt like life was going a bit too fast, may be a race in the neighborhood or when dad would drive too fast on our way to shags I would secretly pull an imaginary handbrake lever and seek comfort in it. It kind of became my thing, that and imaginary friends, then I grew up.

When you grow up into what I had become, an icon of rebellion, a pirate ship sailing the seas fighting the corporate slave ships, a freelancer, a Ras, at one point you will lose yourself in the hype and try to catch up with the standards set by the people, the fans. Life then becomes a race, a race to prove a point, to show the world that it is possible to swim against the current, to stick it to the man, your life becomes defined by your identity until one day you realize you are going too fast, in the wrong direction.

Pictured: That guy

And so what happens next is only natural, slow down, step on the brakes, then once you stop, pull up the handbrake.

Life only makes sense when you stop and look around, find out where you are and where you are headed to. Heck, look back from where you've come from for most of the time not only will you find where you are headed to, but you will remember a story that will help you understand your life much better.

I pulled that lever, but not only to stop and observe, then drive again; no I know I suck as a driver. This time I’m getting out of the car and into the back seat, and just like old times, I am no longer doing the driving, for the comfort and security is there at the back seat, the one place we grownups never look.

Thanks dad.


So I cut my locks... Yes, I look good. You can now refer to me as The Artist Formerly Known As Ras Mengesha. NO, not Mengesha,  but The Artist Formerly Known As Ras Mengesha. Yes, its one name, like A Tribe Called Quest...or (you said it) A Pimp Named Sleek Back.

Pictured: The Artist Formerly Known As Ras Mengesha (without the dreads)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I Almost Died! (Happy New Year)

I almost died. I don’t mean the silly social media jargon where your reaction to a joke is death, I mean real dying… the pre-zombie kind. Come to think of it, I have had a few brushes with death this year, but I will get to that.

This is my first post this year so, happy New Year!

This year has been crazy. First there was January, the cursed month that left many freelancers living Meja’s song Landlord, then there was Valentine’s Day, which should be renamed expectations day, then the realization that by the time you are reading this post I will be 25 and all I have to show for my measly life is a blog about zombies, nothing to make my dad introduce me to his friends. These three…things… left me in a quarter life crisis-led rampage, trying out things I had never before while still trying to make sense of the things I was used to doing. This of course, meant questioning everything I believed in, including my writing.
Every week since January, I would open a new document and stare at the white empty space, the white blank landscape filled with nothingness, overflowing with unending emptiness would stare back at me; like a mirror I would stare into the nothingness, see me, see my life, see my achievements, see this blog, then see nothing. I would key in a couple of words then hit the backspace. On one occasion I managed to come up with 300 words then promptly hit cltr+A and backspace. I had become the one thing I feared most, nothing.

Pictured: Nothing
So at some point I gave up and started focusing on other things, after all, this blog wasn’t paying any bills.
By the time February was rolling in, this blog had become one of those things I used to do. I shifted all my writing efforts to work, writing whatever The Man wanted me to write about. Heck, I was still writing. For a while I no longer had unhealthy daydreams involving zombies and unicorns, I no longer listened to the voices in my head, unless they were dictating an email and I didn’t feel the urge to share with the world what was going on in my daft head. By Valentine’s Day, the blog was old news in my head.

For the sake of the story, let me just say what Valentine’s Day, that wretched day, means to me. Picture your birthday, that awkward part when everyone is singing Happy Birthday and you aren’t sure if you should sing or just stand there like an idiot until everyone finishes the song,

or  that time when you bump into your ex at the supermarket and you wish you could morph into a dragon and weld that ugly weave on her head onto her scalp and hopefully heat some sense into her head, or… do you get the drift here? I hate the stupid day.

So on that day (I will not mention the name again) I decided to get away from the bloody (pun) city. On Tuesday, 14th I set out, my boys and I to visit Kisumu and remind ourselves how a city looks without red tents and cheesy roses on every corner. It was evening when we left Nairobi. The sun was ahead of us as if leading us to a promise. Soon it was dark.

Am about to shift tense so I might as well distract you with a picture

We get to Nakuru and have dinner, meat pie and yoghurt…a champion’s meal (just not sure what championship) and get on with our journey. It’s a great trip, am with awesome company, three guys randomly traversing the country, leaving all their cares in a city swallowed by empty promises of red roses and balloons. At some point we all can’t wait to get to Kisumu, but it doesn’t matter, we don’t get to Kisumu.

Here is the part where I almost die. Somewhere between my guts trying their best to digest yoghurt and meat wrapped in bread, and me staring into the dark nothingness that is night, I hear the driver, my friend, a guy I trust with my life cry out loud. It’s not a sissy cry, it’s not a cry a woman would make, no. It’s a man’s cry. The cry you make when you run towards your enemy, when you realize there is nothing left to do other than to brace yourself and fight, the cry Mel Gibson made in Brave Heart. At that moment I know this is it. I brace myself, then darkness.

Oh that's me. Sorry I forgot to smile...

Ignore the plates...too lazy to blur.

The car I was in had rolled several times, in the process shaking some sense into my head, rearranging my priorities and making me realize and appreciate the important things in life. Important things, like this blog.
Happy New Year guys, thanks for keeping on.