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I’m going away on a tour of duty to a very remote part of DRC Congo.

I will miss many things in that outfif,but I guess reliable internet is certainily going to be a headache.

I’m just addicted to putting something for posterity,everyday.

But today,I want to share how I got addicted to writing,and incidentally,my biggest encouragement and commitment came from the least expected of all my acquaintances,a hooker.

I must hasten to add that we had no monkey business going on between us,me and that hooker that is.

But then here is the bit of that story for you!

Back in my College days,using black ink I wrote short stories on a hard-covered book, stories about escape from the mundane things of this life, something I was gathering
courage to do for later in life.

Of course I showed nobody these
literature, essentially because I didn’t think much of them.

They were a vaulted narrative of my
misery, of my rut but I always felt they drew me closer to a personal redemption.

Below the bedsit where I hanged my worn Jacket, lived a hooker, or rather a pretty chic I suspected was a hooker.

I say suspected because she always left at 10pm when I was coming in from work, dressed in short shiny clothes, and pitched back at 6am dressed in short shiny clothes and tired make-up.

Well,that’s a hooker,isn’t it?

We had water problems in that block and once in a while she would come up and ask me if I would kindly go down and close her tap if water came in the middle of the night.

One day she saw the notebook in my hand when I opened the door to
take another please-close-my-tap instruction and asked if I was writing a diary.

Standing to my full length, chin thrust defiantly in the air, I muttered
that diary was for girls.

She asked to see.

I remember her standing there for longer than I had thought she would, raptly reading that hard covered notebook, very slowly flipping the pages like they were brittle and they would shatter.

The word, engross, comes to mind.

She stood patiently at my doorway, a hooker reading a random story from a notepad.

Of course I was ill at ease, because I was afraid of judgment, even from a hooker.

But I waited patiently leaning on my doorwayand to kill time I stared at her cleavage that stared back indignantly.

When eventually she looked up – slowly – she was wearing a different
look; a questioning look.

“ Maybe you should just
write,” is all she said before bundling down the staircase, her burgeoning and overheavy cleavage struggling to catch up with her.

“Maybe you should just write.” Those words stayed with me for a very long time.

I’m certain men have been told more interesting words by hookers: “Woi, mimi siendi Mushadha,” “Ngai
Mwangi! Si hiyo underwear ni mzee sana?”

But all she said was, “Maybe you should just write.”

And those words, even spoken by a hooker, is sometimes all that can stir motion.

And when you start hearing them from different sources, it
gets into your head the word ‘maybe’ is introduced into the equation.

And when that gets in your head, it doesn’t leave; it squats there
reading a newspaper until you do something about it.

And I did.

I look at those days with envy,because I was deranged with proving something.

Now, I don’t.

I don’t need to.

My ego is grown up.

Let me break this down to gang, very slowly.

You sit in your office, crunching figures, fixing systems, balancing books, setting up communication strategies, troubleshooting IT,
selling products, recording in studios or writing course works…whatever your hustle is.

I don’t just write poetry to feed the arty ogre in me.

I don’t write part-time to balance out my life, to purposefy* it.

I write for a living, I write to live. Writing is my safe-boat in these seas of life I ride.

It’s all I have.

Since not many people want to pay top- dollar for some tight copy, since many people imagine words come out of the holes in your ears, they won’t pay you your worth because they won’t appreciate your art (that almost rhymed, “worth and “art”…
eh?).

So you resort to peddling your word art to the people who can pay you the most.

You write your fingers out until they bleed.

That’s what I have been doing the whole year; peddling words.

Are we together, so far?

Because I can stop here
briefly and let Hardened Mama MIA there go use the bathroom, she seems squeamish in her seat.

As I was saying, this simply means you write as much as you can, you work as twice as hard to
make half what those white-shirted chubby yuppies that work for blue chip companies make.

Those chaps that throw more office parties than they change the printer’s toner.

You write to pay bills yes, but you also write because it’s who you
are.

Folk say, you shouldn’t be defined by your job, that such bollocks, those are guys who are motivated by living through to end month for their jobs to seem relevant.

Take away my pen,and watch me drift off to an abyss of confusion
like a hollow trunk.

When you churn out over to 10,000 words a week for a year, you will burn out.

And that’s something you can put in your pipe and smoke.

I knew I was burning out, hitting a plateau.

That straight line.

I could feel it; I took longer to write
intros; I lost creative consciousness in the middle of sentences; I struggled with thought and
construction, I stared at a blank word document longer.

And that blank stare scares you.

I’m at a point where I’m having a conflict with my art, I’m insecure of it and I’m questioning it.

For months now I acted like I was okay and like the proverbial ostrich I buried my head in my Sandals.

Sorry, sand.

But when one or two of my regular readers – Fra
and Mufasa – raised a flag I had to be honest with myself.

I had spread myself out too thin and it was showing in everything I wrote.

When you write for a living, you don’t have the luxury of burning out.

You keep writing.

You change the times you write, you change the desks you write from, but you don’t stop writing because stopping is a learned habit that
eventually works against you.

Here is my confession.

There is something I do; I never say bye to people I’m drinking with. It’s
called an Irish Exit. You slip your portion of the bill under your half finished glass and you step off your stool to go to the loo.

And you don’t come back.

You can’t adequately say bye to folk
on alcohol, they will whine and ask you to sit down for just one more.

They will make fun of you, and offer to make a call home to extend your
curfew.

So you save yourself that drunken
gibberish and you slip out unnoticed, like a dark knight.

Last week the blog wasn’t under construction.

The jury was out on it.

I had the half mind to shut it down.

I really did.

To walk away without a word and concentrate on gigs that actually pay me because the blog takes the best of me and someone who takes the best are usually the ones to destroy you.

But first I bounced this idea to my
Mentor, because he walked away
from writing at some point but got seduced back by the evil temptress that is words.

“You’d be foolish to walk away!” he said.

It’s hard to walk out and bang a door when you are not sure you won’t want to knock on it again.

It’s even harder to walk away from who you are.

So what I’m going to do here is, I will put my feet off the pedal of this blog and post only twice a month.

First and last week.

And during this time off, I will head to the Congo forest, where I will
live with the pygmies and do nothing but hunt,fry and eat monkey meat, grow armpit hair and swim buck-naked in meandering forest rivers of DRC.

And I will not read any form of literature save for primitive inscriptions in caves and on the backs of their women who are slightly taller than coffee
tables.

And if I’m lucky, I might just be made
King of the Pigmies.

I’m going native and primitive.

Fans, it’s not you. It’s me.

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