Hollow

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So there are two ladies. Vicky and Ciku. Very sharp chicks. Both ferocious readers. Vicky, an artist at heart, read The Road by Cormac McCarthy in three hours. She sniffs books. The only thing she probably spends more on – apart from shoes – are books. Her English is crisp. She is the kind of person who will finish an email by saying, and I quote “your magnanimous nature is appreciated and regarded with high esteem,” (roll eyes) only for me to realise later that it was a sarcastic jab at me.

Ciku, a doctor, on the other hand is studious, keen and curious. When they say the devil is in the details, they mean Ciku. She will pick nuances in language. They both have one thing in common; they hate typos. Grammar Nazis.

They would constantly write me emails berating me about my numerous typos. So, to save the world of my grotesque spelling mistakes, they offered to be looking at my copy before it runs here. They also offer opinion on what they think about the stories, the length, readability, flow, sensitivities etc. Sounding board. I need it. As volunteers, I don’t pay them in cash. I pay them by buying them books. Everybody wins.

Both are excellent at constructive criticism. They don’t pull punches. They don’t pussyfoot. They are brutal. What I was supposed to run this week was about some glitzy event I attended and my observations of the people there. It was a roomful of important people drinking wine and talking about important things. A roomful of stuffy folk making appearances.

They both hated the story. These are two people who have never met each other. Both said it was shit. Which meant it was shit.

“It just doesn’t go anywhere,” Vicky said of the piece.

“What do you mean, it doesn’t go anywhere?” I asked, slightly stung because, well, writers are egoistic people who hate being told they suck at it.

“I mean exactly that, “ she whatsapped back, “You didn’t say anything in that story. What was your point?”

“Do I have to make a point? Why can’t I just write sometimes for the sake of it?”

“Why don’t you write a diary then, Biko? Then write about your day?”

“Aren’t you sunny today, Vicky?”

“Stop throwing a hissy fit, and be objective,” she continued, “Did you even enjoy writing it?”

“I did!”

“Well, it doesn’t show!”

“You are a mean person.”

“I won’t go to heaven.”

So I asked Ciku what she thought and she said she didn’t “particularly like it.”

“What didn’t you like?”

“You were just dropping names of important people.”

“But there were important people in that room, should I have given them pseudonyms?”

“I just think it’s a hollow story.”

“Hollow?”

“Yes, like it has no soul. It’s empty. Dead inside.”

“Fine.”

“Are you sulking now?”

“Leave me alone.”

“Come on, don’t sulk.”

“You are mean. ”

“Oh, come on, it’s not personal.”

“ You are a hollow person.”

So I binned the story for this week. Maybe next week “some people” will be in a better mood.

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257 Comments
  1. Oh look at you with tears balancing. Poor dude. There there. (you could have tried to salvage the article, I doubt it was thaaaaaat bad – in any case, people here would rush to comment before even reading it.)

    Does Vicky read African titles? If yes, then perhaps she should visit my online bookstore soon. If no, tell her to follow this path http://www.books.magunga.com

    1. Magunga you wouldn’t want vicky and ciku to be your sounding board “with your typos”…. I know Biko would be the one passing the handkerchief kuwa mpole

    1. Why isn’t there a ‘like’ button in the comments section? But let’s be understanding..Biko probably did what’s best for us all.

    2. If we have the time to read the comments, I’m sure that story would have been ok. I respect advice, but go with your gut feeling Biko. That’s why we love reading this blog.

  2. Hahaha!! Biko there are those of us who would just read and comment for the sake of it. regardless of how hollow or filled with sense the story is. interesting piece though.

  3. Hahaha yes I think sometimes you should just write your diary… I’m sure there’s always a point to your everyday activity. I hope Ciku and Vicky don’t come at me!!! #running to hide

  4. Lolest, aki Viki and Ciku surely. We live to read the good, the bad and the hollow. Hehe but spot on girls on the typoz, they can kill a good read. Biko you still rock:-)

  5. Did Vicky and Ciku read this one?? I doubt, it has typos, repetitions etc. I am more or less in the group that hate typos, but occasionally, I do emails and WhatsApp messages with typos, especially when the phone decides it knows what I want to say….

    1. I didn’t notice any typos on this one.Ohhwell…maybe i need Ciku and Viki in my
      life.I am of the other group that reads
      right through the typos.

  6. Just like that, no story
    I always enjoying reading when you write conversations though, they are always great especially with Tamms.

  7. Still enjoyed reading the conversation you had with them.Vicky reminds me of Nadia favre-being brutally honest.Looking forward to next Tuesday.

  8. I deem it fit you still tell us the story regardless of how extreme it is, we loooookkkk forward to this. sorry i look forward to this. let us read and share our feelings to it. Now january is kinda extended.

  9. Biko, Biko, Biko….how many times did i call you? stop treating us that way…ati you were to write about some glitzy event you attended…blablabla…..some of us eagerly waits for Tuesday for your article…you know to make the day….and you are here saying otherwise????…*pulling my mouth in that Nigerian do and insert Nigerian accent* mmmmcheeewwww look at you oooh look at yoo!!!!

  10. Biko, Biko, Biko….how many times did i call you? stop treating us that way…ati you were to write about some glitzy event you attended…blablabla…..some of us eagerly waits for Tuesday for your article…you know to make the day….and you are here saying otherwise????…*pulling my mouth in that Nigerian do and insert Nigerian accent* mmmmcheeewwww look at you oooh look at yoo!!!!

  11. It seems you created junkies in these streets and they need a fix . Well you can give us an update on farouk it was exciting and inspiring in equal measure don’t think you can go hollow on that :)or tell hanafi to write about a calculator or something.

  12. Biko you can admit that after your hollow dead story you felt hurt, felt like eating tissue. You are not alone. Oh you can now tell your other egoistic self to stop rolling his eyes it does not good.

    1. Yeah! I’m just wondering whether Biko has invented Vicky and Ciku as a long-winded excuse for failing to write a “non-hollow” article this week.

  13. You excite me with your email only to find this…..
    And I expected what you came up with after the “mean” and “hollow”..
    Empty foreplay..

  14. Like for real.I have been waiting,checking,rechecking..then this?I hope its a prank and something is coming before the day ends.How am i supposed to go through the day/week?(i am literally crying)

  15. Biko, this sounds like the story of the dog ate my homework…. Are Vicky and Ciku even real????? Now am the one sulking coz I was looking forward to reading this week’s post….and then you played me!

  16. No one wants to be told they suck at writing. Its like telling a lunje they don’t cook good Ugali. I mean when they eat it it tastes okay and it is edible. But some people are simply brutal – overly brutal. They make you want to quit writing and go roast maize with your tribesmen at that palce called Giciengo. Ni hayo tu kwa sasa!

  17. Eagerly waiting for todays’ piece and then this? Vicky and Ciku. you are both going straight to hell, no shukisha beba on your ride. EXPRESS!

  18. The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.Now that they said your story was shit, they should have written one themselves and post it,we need a doze weekly!

  19. Instead of leaving us hanging, you should then post some of the reviews that you got on the ‘long post about life’. Twas inspiring to say the least.

  20. as i always say, i come here for the beautiful stories. i come here to get lost. i come here to read Biko being Biko and i am catching some major feelings that only two people in this gang decide what we will read here at highschool and what will as a crumpled paper in that bin up there…as governor Ruto says…”Biko usikubali kutisywa, mukichesa hii mukutano takwisya”

  21. I’m taking today’s post as a thinly-veiled order from Principal Niko to the Gang to go all gangster on Vicky and Ciku,or is it just me?

  22. Ok should we always write what people want to read, or just pour out heartout there no matter how people will take it? as an “armature ” writer i know my ego will be bruised too,to know that i have to write what people want me to write verses what i want to write. Okay may be you could ask this question next time and let us hear what your audience have to say? Good stuff as always.

  23. All said and done, i think people get to feel you in your articles and
    that is why we all come here for more ,you can be felt in every piece you write as crappy as you write (now am not saying your articles are crap 🙂 ) but the idea that there is always a piece of “biko” in them is what
    leaves some of us if not all of us coming for more 😉

  24. Someone tell ciku and Vicky that the gang is angry! Seriously? We want our weekly Tuesday dose! That is all we care about. Thank you.

  25. I have never commented here but today I make an exception. I always long for Biko’s articles like ma life depended on them. I’m perplexed at those two ladies who could find fault with Biko’s article coz in the world of writing I literally worship him.So hands down to those two.

  26. ignore them. just write you. some we will like some we will not. Side note: I line your blog articles more than the newspaper published ones. Your blog is humorous.

    1. You and I both! I understand though, it’s rough in mainstream media a.k.a newspapers..there u gotta watch your tongue, sorry pen, if you doubt me call Galava. Google him.

  27. You have got us hooked to this blog like steroids and then you cut off our supply for a week…even if its just a week…do you know the side effects its going to have on us??experiencing withdrawal symptoms already…disappointed much…

  28. Hahaha. Am no writer, although sometimes I pretend to be one. So, I have started writing posts, every Saturday, on my Facebook timeline. Yes. Am starting small. I have found that one of my biggest fears now is for people to read the posts and think that they are shite. I need constructive critisism though. Mona Nganga is the name. Indulge yourself, if you may.

  29. By the way The only typo we give a damn about is a typo on a tombstone because it will be a grave mistake. The rest we do not care about.

    1. so after waiting with bated breath for your awesome stories….you come tell us about two girls who chopped your fingers causing us to read your ‘hollowness’?!Kenya is a typo nation and all we care about is a good story :/ No one is marking your story…next time let Wanjikus decide whether it’s Sh&*%

  30. Biko, as much as I adore your writing. Today’s story was not a story. It was an explanation as to why you keep reposting.
    Take a break. Get over the block. While at it, just post stories of the people who wrote to you after the life article you wrote.
    I’m still your number one fan.

  31. aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Biko Haki yetu Haki yetu, We demand our Tuesday dose, what do you mean the two made us miss a story. Just post it we won’t mind the typos, haven’t we been surviving that way….

  32. Asi, just like that you gave the two the veto power? Man, what you write is a blog, just post and let readers like, or not. After all we have read many and felt shortchanged (like the post reviewing the Rover) but we accept and move on. Waache wafanye spell check only…

  33. vicky and ciku I feel like you just performed an abortion. I am haunted. Maybe the baby would have been Obama. Growing up all wrong but turning out great in the end. Playing God on our hollow story wasn’t cool.

  34. I already like Chiku&Vicky, but the hollow story sounds interesting, post it we will tell you whether it’s hollow or not,I means it’s about people in Nairobi who wouldn’t like that!!!Pleeease post it.

  35. Well in all honesty Biko sometimes your stories are a bit hollow.sometimes it feels like you posted a story just for the sake of posting.its good you got a sounding board.

  36. I like that… As Biko mentioned in Mantalk this week as a writer he owes society a duty of care (hehe, Denning be my guide) He can’t just post ANYTHING. Besides, even Biko needs someone to help him (grow?) as a writer.

  37. It happens. Every writer has that moment when inspiration and the right words seem to have taken leave, leaving the mind hollow and every paragraph you churn out ends up dumped in that litter bin. Crumpled. Such a waste! Take some time off. Take a walk. Or do what Vicky and Ciku do best – read. Meanwhile the gang will have to be lenient on you. So must those two savants!!

  38. How many readers do you have El Forehead, a million? You see, you already have a million sounding boards! Ama should it be soundings board, eh Vicky & Ciku?

  39. Vicky and Ciku you need viboko (i propose my math teacher i.e form 1 to do it).You have made our week ( we commentators) horrible but you saved the English teachers in the house.

  40. I will give you a good topic to write on that will definitely ensure you do sound hollow. Write about your wife. It will make an awesome piece for February. Plus I am sure she has always wanted you to write about her since you have done a piece about everything under the sun but her 🙂

  41. Please Biko, you have played the us! These are some of the sins of omission that could get you sued! A word of caution though, just be providing Vicky and Ciku with the drafts early enough so that come the D-day you are set.

  42. I think your articles great Biko. They will not be perfect always. Getting 2 fans here to proofread for typos is one thing, but to ALLOW them to veto stories? Is their taste universal? I think that is a faux pas.

  43. I thought idea was to edit typos not content. 🙂 I applaud them for offering to edit those typos because sometimes they were on another level. We should leave content to Chocolate Man.

  44. In a way, you become attached (ni yangu mentality). It’s an entitlement to myself this Tuesday pieces, my own way of marking the week. For this week it seems hollow

  45. haha, REALLY Biko? and the way i had tacked today’s article to for this precious time. I don’t mind reading your diary, send it to me 🙂

  46. Who are these Ciku and Vicky anyway?… When do they get to decide what is good for the Gang. Two votes against the votes of Biko, his forehead, and the Gang. Just post it, be a little care-free. At the end of the day, we all suck at what we do sometimes… and its OK.

  47. Writer’s block. Admit it, Biko. This reminds me of your previous article ” Confessions”. The gang needs to be more patient and understanding.

  48. Biko, we love your typos! Shows ur human.who needs perfection.you ruined my Tuesday. Who the hell are this ciku and Vicky!!!!! Get lid of them like yesterday.

  49. Ciku and Viki have decided. They are the gods at the bottom of the iroko tree in Lagos. Now i am sulking and hollow because i was literally shaking with anticipation at the thought of Biko’s mind laid bare on a paper or rather on ‘cloud’. Its cool though. Maybe next time.

  50. And you are sulking juu ya hiyo story. Also, I doubt they read this copy, picked some mistakes hapa kule. Live to write another day and to Vicky and Ciku, thanks for this week’s almost missed dose.

  51. On the real though, what about the rest of your fans? Did we all of a sudden stop mattering? These are two out of a huge number. What happened to democracy???

  52. Thanks to you Biko, I have read all the comments posted. Interestingly, I loved the comment section quite a lot. Next time, when you don’t have a story, kindly use a funny picture. Funny pictures make this bearable.

    PS: I usually never comment so I wanted to say that I enjoyed ‘We are Tribal’ post. A lot. Quoted the ‘cabbage being on antidepressant’ part for my mum and she liked it too.

  53. Dear ciku & viki, kindly quit looking for trouble where there’s none! But if you must, look elsewhere … and NO! We cant & wont let your moods determine the fate of our happy *tears* tuesday!! Just leave us the hell alone!!

  54. I should say, i love Vicky. Alot. She is my kinda girl. And the fact that she can tear you a new one has everything to do with it. And Mr. Biko, just so you know, this is also SHIT.

  55. hillarious comments ..but the story is hollow, vicky and ciku did not read through this one, nah? just kidding..i await the next piece.

  56. Aki ya nani Biko….surely….at least you entertained on the Jan Msafiri article. I hope the missus saw the funny side…waiting for next week, and no guest writer tafadhali, cool?

  57. It’s good you have people that can be brutally honest. Wish I had the same (other than my professors, I mean. Theirs is depressing!) The two ladies probably saved your writing career ‘cos it does matter how full your story is for those who read between the lines.

  58. You write for many different people. Some never see anything wrong, whether typos, content or flow of the story….they are ok with it ad long as it’s Biko’s writing…. I just never like grammatical mistakes, especially if they are gross. I care for content as well as the connectedness of your story. However, I may not raise hell about it. I teach English but then again you aren’t my student, are you?
    All the best. Your articles are creative and humourous.

  59. i am mad because those two ladies cost me a story by Biko Zulu and no matter how hollow a story by Biko is, its still a story. If i needed something fulfilling i would have read the Bible. I still demand that story.

  60. This is how it starts…someone picking typos, then changes the story, then its no longer bikozulu. Then its a hostile takeover by other counterfeit Zulus. Then the stories get thinner and reduce by the week, month and and just before elections I go back to read political blogs. Think about your other 1 billion readers sir.Please..

  61. Biko, I am so livid (learned that from PLO 🙂 ). We’ve always enjoyed your writing and commented on the typos and grammar right here. I welcome Vicky and Ciku to join the Gang in tearing you up AFTER we all read the articles, not BEFORE! So please don’t write another story about why there is no story. Please.

  62. Biko,it is better to be charged dearly for the truth than to be heavily invested in the charity of free lies. I also infer that all the “grammar nazis” are imposing on you is to re-engineer the entire story only this time, include the tiny details that weave the fabric of the story and as a result ,we the people, benefit from the usual “fix” that brings hoards to this page.

  63. i do not believe the 2 ladies exist.
    vicky and ciku are to me what -the dog ate my homework-excuse feels like.
    its OK to forget to write a story.
    you can confess here-you are in a safe place,no harm will befall you.
    Biko,the truth will set you free.

  64. This is my suggestion Biko – you know how sometimes the words are flying off your ass (your language not mine) you should bang in some extra 2000 words on such sunny days they will save you when there is a hollow hole – because withdrawal symptoms are real out here.

  65. @chocoman i have a feeling the 2 ladies reside in your fertile imagination. Why not pen the shit here and we be THE ones to tell you off? You must have had too much vodo over the weekend!

  66. I am not sure I agree with your decision to away with your post.I hope when the content is edited and re-edited the gang can still relate.uuurgh, I am just afraid the posts will be sucked dry. Can’t they just correct the typos and not judge the content. Pretty please?We already know you can write Biko. At times we are just here for the giggles.

  67. I have experienced that too. You give a piece your best then the person who looks at it before publishing, i guess every writer or aspiring writer has a person who does that, says that you have written NOTHING. Times you wish you could literally eat the words you wrote.

  68. How about they concentrate on
    correcting an already posted article and leave the judgement for the content to all the
    readers here. After all if we want a story that has gone through all that filtering we get them on magazines and newspapers.
    I remember how you once said you like it here because you are unedited, free to say what you want (not exactly in those words). ..or that has changed!?

  69. yep. Just here for the giggles. So nothing for this week because the blog is under strict supervision . We are not here for perfection anyway.

  70. you’ve lost it Biko..gang doesn’t need validation from C&V on what we want to read, whether the story has soul or not, we will make our own judgement, besides, we like the the typos,some level of inadequacy defines our existence we don’t want you all garnished…sometimes the juice is in the undercooked

  71. I actually don’t buy the story of two ladies. Since when did you care about going somewhere with the writing. You have published other stories going nowhere yet they still caught the gang. Case in point? THIS ONE!

    1. My thoughts exactly.. Biko just found a way to spin this around. Writing a story going nowhere about a story going nowhere… and still getting more than 230 comments!!

  72. LoooL! Biko I run an investment firm and if I listened to all my clients opinions I’d have closed shop by now..Hope you get your groove back though,cheers fam

  73. Now the comments are more than that of a soul-have story!! Bet this also got its high marks… Your Dynasty Biko is much in need

  74. And Biko I miss your fatherhood pieces so.. how about that?. The parent-teacher meetings, carpools, pink shoes, .. Or whatever it is Tamms is into these days, oh and Kim. 🙂

  75. It’s about time Biko! Those typos were a no no. We know you’re busy and we reaaaaally appreciate your blog but it’s like you ordering fine whisky at your favorite whisky joint and someone mixes a cheap watery insult with your fine whisky. Yay to Ciku and Vicky. Now we shall only drink the good stuff.

  76. I always look forward to your posts: A) for the giggles and b)for my insomniac moments like tonight so I do feel short changed….and I hope you’ll get your groove back soonest? Coz we really like what you do.

  77. Biko,
    There’s a little game I play. It’s called “self control”. I refuse to read your post on Tuesdays and hold off until I’ve accomplished something. You killed my reward this week! That’s very inconsiderate of you.

  78. I came here to confirm; 1) It was not a prank- there really was no article!! then I… 2) Decided to read all the comments I guessed, birds of the same feathers flock together. After sulking and accepting the reality of 1, to 3) Appreciate Ciiku and Vicky for saving us from a boring read. IT is what IT is!

  79. Your post made me remember why I love Oyunga Pala. Oyunga doesn’t run his writing past people, just to check the pulse. Oyunga just writes, and we all just enjoy whatever it is is he writes. You don’t like being compared? Well, that’s like
    denying we have KTN, Citizen, NTV and the rest. Key phrase here is ‘the rest’. Don’t be ‘the rest’. Just stick to being Biko. We love your writing, no matter the subject.

  80. I have had the busiest week yet, Leo i finally get some kidogo free minutes and this was my first stop. Aki vile nafeel, is prolly wat mamas feel when they have a jamaa with PE issues. Umetuweza. Now! wat to do?? wat to read??

  81. Can we get a like button for the comments?? Some of them are more suited for likes..not replies..
    This is me thinking out loud though!!

  82. No Biko no piece, The gang voted and umm the two justices of the supreme typo umm declared no story.
    We demand they step aside while the gang investigates…whistling. ..bado mambano while discreetly pushing back into the safety of the gang.

  83. Hehehe, i didn’t see that coming Biko. That’s how you break bad news? Through long winding stories of fictional Ciku and Vicky? Lol. Hands down!

  84. When you discover that my name is Victoria Wanjiku. I could have a split personality but keep the shorter versions of my name…