When I meet up with guys, first line they hit me with: So you guy you’re a blogger these days? It’s almost annoying, especially if its in front of people (in high school, we called that forumizing things). But I know they mean well so I say, “Yeah, I’m trying it out. It’s more creative writing than blogging though.”
Of course the line between the two is quite thin, I know that, but I don’t like the connotations associated with being a ‘blogger’. There is a genericness about it that is plain unattractive. Like it’s either poetry or fashion or photography. Or a spiteful journalist who bashes guys with blue Subs and plus-size women.
Other than that, I will try my best to avoid such questions by bringing up an old debt but boy, are they unrelenting. They will ask a question I dread more than death like, “But seriously, Tony, about the writing thing. Are you passionate about it?”
Passionate. Passion. Passion is hard. It’s one of those words I steer clear of, like ‘apologize’, or ‘practice’, or ‘liaison’. Hard words.
Passion is what will determine whether I’ll still be writing on this blog 10 years from now. Passion is why Ron, one of my friends from high school – a kindhearted introvert who you’d think has a weak constitution for the macabre – decided to pursue medicine and surgery. And Ron was the kind of guy who wouldn’t hurt a fly, even if the fly cut him off in traffic and flipped him the finger as it drove off.
Without passion, he’d be puking on cadavers during practical sessions in Chiromo.
What drives this endeavor of mine – the blog – is not passion though. It’s the thought of reading these writings when I’m 60. That, I surmise, is my source of drive. Retrospect, it’s that simple. I’d like my grand kids to read these posts in the 2080s and see how it was to live in the 00s and the 10s as a middle-class, Kenyan young-in. It ought to make for a good laugh for them to know their grandfather was once an intern, an intern who hit on chicks in matatus.
It’s a cheesy sentiment, I know. But it’s something nice to say. It’s something people can get behind.
I reckon it stems from an innate human desire to be remembered. Or rather the dread at the thought of not being remembered. Some people might call that a diary but I don’t entertain that. Not at the slightest, because diaries are for pubescent girls named Amber who write in them with their shiny pencils while lying in bed on their stomachs wiggling their feet in the air. Girls who have glittered clothing and are uncomfortably close with their poodles. Girls.
Men on the other hand don’t write diaries. Men write memoirs. Men like Jomo Kenyatta.
But besides retrospection, while I’m at it now, I would like to do something with it, this writing.
I often fantasize about what it would be like to be frighteningly good at writing. To have an innate, unparalleled knack for words. To radiate with colorful narrative and beautiful words, to have them dripping from you even in your sleep like an faulty faucet. To have your close friends save you in their contacts as “tony – literary god” or “tony – mtu maneno”. To be the only one who knows what a logophile is, but not be cocky about it.
And all this, while young. To be emailed by a writer honcho or a senior editor guy to tell you that you have “good prose” and that you write admirably for my age. That you are what he’s looking for: The perfect blend of ‘mature introspect’ and ‘youthful idealism’.
That, “Here. Tony, take this column on this renowned magazine/national newspaper. Give yourself a clever pseudonym and fill it weekly with narrative, fictitious or otherwise, musings, your dreams and ambitions, pretentious criticism, everything. Cuss all you want and feel free to talk smack about Kenyan Television. Now, if you could just sign here.”
How cool would that be. Ideal, right? Sadly, for most of us, that is but wishful thinking. A reverie. The same reverie in which Margot Robbie feeds us grapes donned in nothing but an Egyptian wig.
The truth is we need the truth, us young-ins with blogs. Not just comments from friends, though thoroughly encouraging, but the truth. Objective criticism. We need to pay someone to skim through our writings then give it to us straight. Someone worthy. Someone like Bikozulu.
We need him to lay his hand on our shoulders and push his glasses closer into his face and say, “Hey there grasshopper. I have read your writings and I’m sorry but I have to tell you. You can’t write. Not to save your mother’s life. Your writing is impotent and juvenile and you try so hard to ape a voice that is not yours. While I, and my fellow members of our fine literary art that is creative writing, appreciate the interest you have shown in the craft, we think it’s best that you seek passion elsewhere.”
Of course our chin muscles will begin to tremble and we will start to cry and Biko will say, “Hey hey Tony. Django, whatever, you paid me for this. Please stop crying. Tamms is here, you’re embarrassing yourself”. And then we will mumble, “But I… I really wanted to write.”
And he will hug us and say, “I know, I know. But come on. You don’t see me going to get my forehead surgically removed. And you know why? It’s not because I will die but because we can’t always have what we want, Tony. Please understand.”
And then he’ll kiss our forehead in a fatherly, Mufasa kind of way and hand us some tissue.
But you know us, we are young and hardy. Our broken bones heals quick, a little truth won’t keep us down. We will heal and we will keep on keeping on and ultimately, if nothing comes of it, we will drop it and pick up something else. Like photography or spoken-word.
By the way, my folks at home. I want to ask them for 15k to attend the Biko’s Masterclass, the one in September. I want to, but I know it will turn into a funny joke faster than you can say ‘Proffessor Hamo’. I know what that will be. My dad will turn to my mom then turn to me and then almost simultaneously, they will burst into a convulsing laughter. 5 uninterrupted minutes of laughter as I sit there looking like a maimed dog. And then after they whip out their handkerchiefs to wipe their tears of amusement, my dad will say, “Ebu bring me a glass of water”
And that will be that. It’ll be the first time Biko’s name is mentioned in my father’s house, and the last. But, of course, until next year when I’ll have saved up the money to attend the one then.
Anyway, that’s them for you. Kikuyu parents. I have a draft for a post in the works about them, by the way. It’s titled simply, “The conservative, Kikuyu parent“. Call it my blog thesis on the said matter. There are some jokes in there but also some experiences I’d want to share with my grand kids.
Something else. My mom has started reading my blog and I don’t like it. I don’t even know how she got the address or how she knows blogs, all I know is I don’t like it. Not one bit. I know it sounds a little douchey, but boss, you don’t know my folks. To them, blogs are social media. And social media is things for youth. And youth things are drugs. And drugs are heroin. And heroin is death. Or a huge rehabilitation hospital bill.
She caught me off-guard, out of nowhere, said that she saw my website and actually read a post about Tahidi High, That kwani I have a website? I replied, “Oh that. No. It’s just a kablog I write for” in a way that subtly implies that I don’t actually own the blog.
That’s what I did, I disowned the blog.
I felt bad for doing it and wrote another 1000 words in 2nd person, addressing the blog as a sentient companion, explaining to it how guilty I feel, like the stapler thing I posted. But then I stopped, shift-deleted everything, ’cause I realized no one wants to reads that crap.