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Friday, December 16, 2011

year one

2 years ago I was mugged and wrote about it and it started a love affair with writing, one of my longest love affairs. I was endlessly entranced by her ability to let me lose myself and her power to help me find myself. She allowed me to think thoughts through for perhaps the first time in my life, to be presented with a philosophical dilemma and sit down and see it to the end without interruption or external input and arrive at a solution that was just mine.

Writing allowed me to put events in perspective, in terms of what they mean to my life and my future whether they have any bearing on the person I have become or whether it was just another funny episode in the comedy of errors that is life. It's got to be that its the best way for me to think, if something bothers me or if I want to reflect on journeys and people, on the overwhelming excitement that signifies the beginning of things or the mad melancholy that accompanies their end.

Well, its been a year since I put up the first post on this blog and to be honest it feels like a year. It feels like a year, a long, long year of writing and editing, of posting and reviewing. My very first piece was entitled why I started this blog, it was easy to write, just a list of the things that had happened to me during that year, things worthy of note and things not. Then I rethought it and realised it was actually because of things I want to remember forever, things that had changed me inside, and altered me outside making my relationship with the world and with people simultaneously more and less. One of those things was the song Hallelujah, even now it touches me, to me its an example of how art should be and the effect it should have on people. A mixture of hope and despair, happiness and misery, beauty and its effects. In short the truth about life that we can't admit to ourselves without a veneer of falsehood, expressed in a way that doesn't immediately include blood and bones, humans and hearts. One of my favourite quotes from V for Vendetta was artists use lies to tell the truth.

But that's not all, art should be easy too, it should make us smile and make us laugh. It should remind us of the simplicity of beauty, the act and fact of finding it in the smallest of things, in the things we take for granted because we are in too much of a hurry to stop. Small things like what we hear in the silent whispers of the world or see in the face of a child running like nothing matters except the run, not safety, not the consequences, not the bone-tiredeness or bone-brokenness that may be a result of it, nothing except the fact that its fun to run. That’s something writing also gave me an appreciation for, it allowed me to stop and attempt a drawing of the world as I saw it. The hues of experience forever change the quality of the colours, the pictures aren't as clear as they could be, the lines not as defined as they should, the paints run into each other in places and obscure the whole landscape making it more often than not an attempt at art rather than art itself. But I have also learned that attempting is better than not. Sitting back with the experience of having failed is sitting back with an experience, not the one we hoped for but a sack filled with broken bottles, shards of dreams and the shattered remains of hope is more meaningful than one filled with nothing but excuses.

A lot happened this year. It was the year I cleared university and finally prepare to come head to head with what people call the real world. I don't agree with the use of this phrase because life at any stage is too real, too immediate to be called anything other than that. Its not oblivion and lack of awareness until we leave school. As soon as we are born we are in a real world, we enter the real world when we begin to define the world dependent on ourselves, when our experiences, our wants and our needs begin to dictate what we see when a table is put in front of us we are already in a real world. Noone lives in the real world , not the president, not the student, not the criminal, not the parent. The only real world exists in ourselves. But leaving university provides an entry into the world of maybes. Until high school no real decisions are required to steer the ship of life, the rudder is set and the radar only registers things like exams, glitches we find insignificant when we pass them by. Even university with its endless choice of degree and unit, its unbound freedom and unfettered permission is still a holding spot when it comes to real decision making. Once you are done life isn't sure any more and whichever path you take from hereon leaves the road not taken that could have led you to a better place. This nagging doubt is a fact of adult life. Maybe its the real difference between us and children, the fact that doubt and insecurity and constant second guessing become a part of life. This may be what people mean by entering the real world.

I have enjoyed having a blog. I have enjoyed the feeling of commitment. Feeling like I should write something even when I just couldn't pull it off and sitting down and getting it done sometimes chorefully and even joylessly but that’s made up for by the instances of effortless stringing together of words. Those posts that seem to have been created in my mind before I sat down. That led me on an adventure since I had no idea where they were going but they seemed to. They grabbed me by the inspiration and took me on a tour just keep typing we'll do the rest and we promise you'll enjoy. Those made me feel light I would be tired as I sat down in front of the computer and as I wrote and wrote and wrote the exhaustion was put at bay. Forgotten like a middle child, placed out of reach in a place where it could be found later when I was done.

Sometimes I believe I have been blessed with a very interesting life, I saw a man bleeding to death, I spent a day in Ethiopia and a part of my life in Egypt. A life that has had a parade of interesting people, a rich tableau of experiences from which to write. The way I write those stories talks about how I perceive the world, maybe fiction says more about how the world perceives me. Says more about how I feel about the world and the direction that life leads us to. I hope not. I wouldn't want my fictional stories to be symbolic of the kind of person I am inside. However I saw a cartoon the other day about these two twins who could both see the future, one could see only happy things and was forever sad since the horrible in life constantly caught her off guard, the other could only predict the bad and was forever smiling since the good in life was a well of pleasure. So I’ll take comfort from animated children’s programmes because I really enjoyed writing the cigarette series of stories. That was probably my favourite run of posts especially the one with the letter. It was another of those stories that kept surprising me and kept me forever interested in what was going to happen next. I spent a lot of time thinking about them between stories, thinking of phrases that conveyed misery or showed love, writing them down hoping to fit them in to the next story and then letting it flow. Reading them made me sadder than writing them did but at the end of them I learned something else about writing. The importance of clarity, the fact that something can seem so clear to the person who wrote it but still present an incomprehensible jumble to someone who was reading it. Convey a different ending than the one intended. This is true about life as well, the road to hell isn't after all paved with clear intentions.

It has been a year and the most important thing of the year is that someone actually bothered to read what I put down. Its amazingly gratifying to see that the blog is visited by people and not just by people I know but by people all over the world. in some places I have a feeling it was suggested by someone I know there, places like Russia, UK, Pakistan, Belgium, Germany, Egypt, Australia and of course Kenya where my friends have lived in but there are the other places like Romania, Ukraine, China, Spain, Ethiopia where noone i know of lives but still found a way to this blog am entirely grateful for the visits therefrom. For vanity lives in all of us and we need to feel listened to, to be sure that what we said had a point in someone else's life. So thank you all for reading so much. It would not have made a year without you. And thank you crystal, nyambura, jere, anonymous, pitzevans, cocktail, spinster and the pharmacy visitors for taking your time to leave a comment. It meant a lot. It made a year seem less.