The Ones Who Make It


I wrote something but then touched the under of its wrist and felt a faint pulse throb. I wasn’t in the right headspace, I will admit. I stood over it the whole day and did what I could but by evening it was evident that what I could for the day wasn’t sufficient. So, I left it on a life support machine to fight for its life overnight. Sometimes you have to let stories fight for their own lives. They have to want to stay alive on the page as much as you want them to. 

For although some stories are born strong and sprightly, leaping off the page, some are born jaundiced, weak, and hollow-cheeked. They lie there, struggling for life. And often, depending on how much you love them, you will patch them up, transfuse them with pints and pints of verbs and adjectives, and plug them with great platelets of descriptions. You nurse them. You fuss over them. You give them mouth-to-mouth. Sometimes they open their eyes and offer you a brave smile. Other times they open their eyes and whisper something inaudible and when you bring your ear close to their lips they whisper, and who the frk are you

“I’m Biko. I wrote you.”

“Oh God,” they groan and they lose consciousness. 

Sometimes those weak ones surprise you at how fast they blossom and dance on a page. And then they become a joy to yourself and others. 

Other times they don’t get the colour back in their eyes. They lie there taking small gasps of air like a baby tadpole. And often you can’t do much for them at that time. You just have to wait it out, and see where their wind of fate blows. 

This story I wrote yesterday is lying on a different page in a different room, fighting for its life. We shall leave it there to do what it needs to do and revisit it later this week and see if we can save her. But only if she wants to save herself. 

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  1. It’s always amazing how language makes it easy for us to “personificate” things.

    By the way, I am the first to comment here today. Drumrolls .

    Leave a like on this comment (just to make me feel, best.”)

    1. amesema if you invest your time, resources, creativity etc to do sth you should leave it if it’s meant to blossom and thrive, it will. otherwise don’t sweat it as long as you have done to your part…

  2. I’m not even mad that we won’t have a story today. You’ve really mastered this art of playing around with words, Biko. This was short, sweet and really palatable:)

  3. i always read this blog on a thursday so that i can read the comment section too ; some comments are just hiralious, makes for a good read. but today i decided, why not read it when its straight from the oven. aiyaaaye the disappointment! wacha tu nirudi thursday

  4. Happens!
    Sometimes a story is just there in the uterus of your mind, very pregnant and heavy.
    But when the moment comes…well, it’s warm in here, is all it says, dismissively.

  5. looooove this………. The same can be said for a lot of life, you can only do your best. Such is life. It is what it is.

  6. No worries Biko. I have a couple of songs that are straddling life and death…and quite a few that had to be let go to let the others live. Live long and prosper,…and may the story be with you

  7. This line “Don’t save her, she don’t wanna be saved” from a song comes to mind. . Routing for her though

  8. Power to you Biko, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to come up with a blogpost every week, to not only come up with a blogpost but to also have it as entertaining, as inspiring, as intriguing as they all usually are. Sending love and light to our patient story on the different page. We hope she finds the light and walks towards it, and even if she doesn’t, we will wear black, lay wreaths on her grave, and water the same with our tears.

  9. You do not write stories, Biko. At least not in the conventional sense. You do something very close to stories but I don’t have the right words for it. You take liberties with our minds, you let yourself in and knock around in parts of the reader’s brains that even they, fear to enter. You poke in, walk around and litter their brains, humor and irony, then you leave your cigarette butts all over the grass and casually pee against the fence. Where it clearly says “usikojoe hapa”. Levity. Every Tuesday, especially when the stories are dark, we camp here, and you wipe your muddy shoes on our comfort zone and go into other places. You anthropomorphize half-bitten apples, or dying plants, grief, joy, whisky, and even procrastination. Reading your blogs and books is like sitting in the room and eavesdropping on a stranger’s therapy session. (I guess your last book was literal about it ). Sometimes the blog posts are hard to finish, because they are emotionally bruising, especially since many of your readers (Or I speak for myself?) will not be in the same room with their vulnerabilities for more than 3 minutes without a phone, or book or booze. I wonder if the writing is cathartic to you or do you accumulate the daemons of those who tell their stories through you? Or the characters you imagine. I told my friend Imathiu to tell you this many years ago maybe she did. Your story will wake up or die, I hope it lives.

  10. Such is the life of a writer… sometimes the block hits hard, but we need to save the story.
    Story, please save yourself, we want to meet you.

    All the best Biko

  11. It’s 12: 06 pm when I started typing this. Thursday 23rd. I have to be at work by at least 2pm. So, I still have some more time in the house before I jet out. I thought of what to do to kill time, and Biko came to mind. So I grabbed my mug-full of warm yorghut—yes, warm, and rushed here, prepped for a long read. 2 minutes later, I found myself at the end of it!

    Ni sawa tu Biko.
    I hope that poor story in her deadbed saves herself.

  12. It’s my fondest of hope that she won’t succumb to the said complications. That she’ll muster just enough resilience and get back to her feet. That she’ll stand virile and dart across the daunting room not without leaving a resolute bang of the door behind-much to the “gang’s” delight. Need I mention that your way with words is undeniably terrific?.
    Keeping hope alive!

  13. Wao, i really love the way you use English, makes it so easy for us to personify…

    I always love your stories.

  14. sometimes allow yourself the liberty to pull it off the life support and tell it to fuck off, then gather us for a memorial service, where we remind it that a day will come when it will be replaced and no longer remembered