My second book is out.
It’s called Thursdays.
Small book. Like Drunk. Only there is no alcoholic in there, shagging girls and falling in ditches. Actually, there is no ditch. But there are girls. There are always girls because what’s a book without girls? You might as well write a book about ostriches, then. In Thursdays there is one (a girl, not an ostrich) with a tattoo and one without a tattoo. I like the one with the tattoo.
Took me two years to write this book. And it’s not even that big, just 217 pages – if you don’t count the cover and the little “about me” page where I write about my allergy to honey. Yes. I’m allergic to honey. Makes me itch.
Did I tell you about that time I was bitten by a bee? So, I was seated by the pool of a “major hotel” (as newspapers like to call them) conducting an interview while sipping black tea with honey. I had one leg slung over the other, feeling mighty cool.
The bee was in the cup, probably drowning or just waiting to ambush me. When I raised the cup to my lips, the little bugger stung my lower lip and in two seconds flat my lips ballooned and were covering half my face.
The interviewee screeched, “Oh my God! Oh My God!” while covering her mouth with her hand as if it was her who’d been stung.
“It’s fine. I’m fine,” I told her, but she kept panicking, “Oh my God! Oh my God!”
I didn’t think it was serious until I looked at myself on the phone camera and I said, “Oh fuuuf, oh my Goff! Ohhh my Goff!” because now my lip was really swollen. The waiters looked concerned. They brought me ice to press against the swelling. (Genius). The swelling didn’t care. Suffice it to say the interview ended right there and for two days I went about with a handkerchief tied around half my face like a bandit. Between you and me, I felt quite invincible.
That story is not in the “About” page, though.
Faddy did the cover. He’s called Faddy Rostom. You know Faddy, right? [As I type, Word keeps changing ‘Faddy’ to ‘Daddy’, for some reason. Word is naughty.]
Faddy is a designer. And a cool guy with his tongue always in his cheek.
I think it’s a sweet cover. You see that broken string in the guitar? That’s where the story is, fellas.
In university, there was a teetotaller guy who used to play guitar. He was annoying. Not that he was annoying for being a teetotaller but because he’d go to parties and sit in a corner away from people and start playing his silly guitar because he knew all the girls would gather around him and sit at his feet like he was some new-age Jesus or some shit. Which means, he’d become the party. He wouldn’t even converse with these girls. He was a moody fellow but the girls described him as “mysterious.”
If you were trying to score with some girl at the party, she would be seduced by this punk’s guitar. [He was very talented]. Didn’t also help that he had dreadlocks. Doubly annoying. Took all our girls, that chap. I wonder what happened to him and his famous guitar.
By the way, this is not a poem. I’m just too lazy to write longer paragraphs.
Yesterday I saw a man carry flowers into a restaurant. I was having fish curry. My phone battery was at 13%. He was a stout guy with an honest face. The flowers were lovely. Everybody gawped. However, the girl he handed the flowers to looked embarrassed. She looked like an introvert. The type who sits at the very back of a room and always has a bar of half-eaten chocolate in her purse. There is absolutely no reason why I’m telling you this story.
Took me two years to write Thursdays.
Tamms kept asking, “How is your book going?”
And I’d lie to her. I’d say, “Oh just peachy.”
Sometimes, for months, it would not be going at all, let alone being peachy. I had four main characters and some secondary characters who I had to think about, and I also had to think about what they wanted in life. They crowded my head. Intruded my dreams. There is a scene I enjoyed writing.
Wait, let me find it.
Here it is.
From the word go Magdalene wasn’t a model mother. You wouldn’t say she took to motherhood like a boat to water, to use a common expression in Sindo. Being a mother seemed to make her sad. She would cry all the time. She wouldn’t eat or sleep. She hated it when the baby suckled her breast. She hated what the baby had done to her breasts – they looked like balloons that would float and carry her yonder. And they hurt. She would sit outside the house in a woven reed chair carrying the baby like you would carry a bag of rice, with no emotion or tenderness. She avoided looking at her baby and when she did, she didn’t think, “I can die for this baby. I can run into a burning house for it.” It surprised her how little she felt for the baby. When the baby cried she would become extremely irritated and let it cry. Sometimes she would walk to the foot of the hill where her other baby was buried and just stand there, not from sadness or grief, but because that baby never cried.
I wrote that scene after a friend who had just given birth told me, “I’m so tired of this baby, sometimes I just stand over her cot and let her cry until she starts having hiccups.”
I thought, ‘whoaa’. I’d read about postpartum depression, but hearing my friend’s story made me breathless. So I wrote that scene but twisted it because I didn’t want her saying, “Biko, I told you that story and then you went and wrote about it? Jesus!”
People get their knickers in a bunch when you write about the stories they tell you. Sometimes they stop talking to you altogether. For years – until they forget why they stopped talking to you.
Why do poets not comb their hair?
By the end of today, Thursdays will be up on Amazon, which means you can access it from Ongata Rongai.
And it’s also in major Bookshops.
I’m not hosting a physical launch, obviously, because I’m like that girl who was brought flowers in a restaurant, the one who likes to sit at the back of the room.
But I’m autographing all the books – but with cheesy lines. Nothing inspirational. I won’t quote Martin Luther King. I will just sign it with irrelevant shit like, ‘stop wearing socks to bed!’
I hope you enjoy the book.
I enjoyed writing it.
To buy Thursdays.
Business number: 596419
Account number: [your email address] Amount: Sh1,099
Inclusive of delivery to Nairobi only.
Email your location and autograph details to [email protected]