There are days I can’t write. Days when words turn into powder that a gust of wind suddenly comes and blows into someone’s soup at the next table. Those are the days my deadline stands over me brandishing a big stick, and I have nothing in my head and even less in my heart. Tormented days. Then there are the days words come oozing out of my ass and the tap won’t close. Days I wake up with a start at 2am with an intro in my head, and I have to tap it into my Samsung Note 4’s S Note, the best thing that has come with a phone. (Hey Samsung). Do you know how beautiful it is to have the right intro in your head? Those are beautiful days. Days I feel like the sun is on my face and I have the world by its nuts. But those moments are fleeting. Most times it’s a grind. It’s a slog. You are either chasing deadlines or being chased by the demons of the pen.
As a rule I never read my published work. It embarrasses me. No matter how much I enjoyed writing it I never go back. It’s like going back to a scene of a crime you committed. The only time I go back to my work is if someone says that I was offensive, only then will I go back and see which parts offended. For example, the night I posted How to Bury A Kikuyu, the missus said that she thought it was “kinda insensitive,” so I asked her which parts. And she just sighed in that way that women do when they think you are a moron. So I apologised and told her I would have it pulled down first thing in the morning. Only, in the morning she said, “It’s OK, leave it.” But I went over it again to see the offensive parts.
There are tons of people who ask me, how do you manage to churn out all that content across all those platforms consistently? Simple: It’s because I love writing. Even when I can’t write I still love it. I love words. I love how words sit on a page. I can walk around with a catchy phrase in my head for days, dying to find an opportunity to use it on paper. There are words that I want to adopt and give a happy home. Words I feel sorry for. Like Chi-Chi. Such a lonely word, sitting there hyphenated because it’s not strong enough to stand on its own. Like it’s just recovering from measles. A word that tiptoes onto a page and hovers alone in the corner, hoping that a word like “brouhaha” would come over and do more than haha at her.
So I churn copy because I love it. I love it because this is what I want to do with my life. I want to write until I’m too old to see. Then I will dictate stories to Kim’s kids to write for me, as I groan grumpily; “I said cork damn it, not cock!” Hehe.
The best part of writing is actually the re-write. When you get to polish it up, smoothen the curves and sharpen the edges, when you gloss it up and blow it off, when you let it sit there in the sun and you stand back with a smile and say, “she is ready.” Then you send it off to its other owners (you now) and from that point on I don’t know what you do with it; you can lock it up in your basement and deny it food and light for all I care.
I get quite a bit of mail from budding writers asking me to teach them how to write. But here is the “dhing”; I don’t believe that you can actually be taught how to write. Not anymore than you can teach a goat to play the flute. I think like most things, you have to have a passion for it. You have to want it so bad someone can smell it off your shirt. Secondly I think to be a decent writer you have to read a hell of a lot. You have to have a very personal relationship with words, so intimate they can feel free to fart around you. Then lastly to be a decent writer you have to write. Daily. Every week. All the time. You have to explore better ways of breaking into a story. You have to throw away all the handbooks on writing and just find your own voice and stick to it, even if it sounds like a girl’s.
This year will mark my eighth year of writing. I’m ready for two things; I’m ready to write a book and I’m ready to share what I have learnt with likeminded folk.
I, together with some passionate people, are starting a masterclass which I will head. I won’t teach anyone how to write, I will share my craft with this class and maybe from there they might get something that will inform their own writing. There is a charge. I could have done it for free, but Tamms joined this ballet class and she needs ballet shoes and those short dresses. Do you know how much ballet shoes cost?
I’m only looking for passionate people for this small class of 20 people maximum. As time goes on we will have a smaller group. Interesting? Click on this link to sign up. Have a look. Come join me. Let’s make words sing.