Sunday, 17 June 2018

Everything is Love is a Shadefest - A Review

I haven't memorized every lyric nor do I know the Carters well enough to know all the names they drop but still, after an (illegal) listen to the album, the only conclusion I can come to is that it's a shade fest.
First of all, let's start with Apeshit because I love it and there's a video out. To summarize for you what it says;
Fuck Trump
Fuck Spotify
Fuck the Grammys
Fuck the NFL
Fuck low concert prices
Fuck the haters
And fuck you too if you fuck with all those people.
In short.
Beyonce raps.
She's quite good at it even though I, personally, find her accent distracting.
Then there's Friends.
A nice politely juvenile song about how the Carter's friends are better than yours. This song not only shades Kanye but all of his friends too. I think there's a bit of Drake shade as well. I might be reading it wrong.
No new friends guys.
Nobody wants them.
If you don't' have old friends you're fucked.
Apparently, this guy (Kanye) who they're shading changes friends like halftime at the NBA. In short, a lot? I guess that fits with Kanye continuously cycling out team members and hanging out with people because of well, shall we say mutual dislike of Jay? Dame Dash comes to mind. But...not only do they shade Kanye but Kanye's friends too. What Chrissy and John do to them doh? Those are the only friends I know who are Kanye's real friends. Maybe they meant someone else?
The Kardashians?
Anyway, the shade doesn't stop there. They also shade themselves. There was some 'You really broke us' lyrics from Beyonce and...okay so Jay Z didn't shade her back as far as I can tell. So everyone but Beyonce got shaded.
Aside from that, it's some really good music. You can tell work went into it artistically. They also tried some new things and the visuals for Apesh**t are nothing short of stunning.
Of course, there's the usual fan obsession with the fact that JayZ cheated but if Beyonce is over it, why aren't you?
Probably because it's not about Jay but your own life?
Solve your problems.
Speaking of solving problems, I read this thread from a formerly abused woman, explaining why she stayed even after he did a lot of fucked up things. She explained that she felt alone and this guy made her relate to him and pledge her allegiance to him and she just clung to him because she didn't feel deserving of love.
Okay,  I see.
You stayed, you even begged him to take you back because you felt unworthy of love. But you loved him. And you wanted him to stay with you. I'm not hating. I just want you to see some of the lies we tell ourselves.
The truth is, that she was afraid of being alone. Because she ended with "I'm now in the most loving relationship I've ever been in."
Not "a loving relationship."
She felt the need to qualify.
Which tells me she's still bending over backward to be in a relationship because person B treats her better (maybe) than person A.
And that's the problem.
The focus is so much on the relationship and not personal growth. Jay and Bey are trying to show you personal growth and all you can see is wherever you are in your life. the cheating you're tolerating to 'be in a relationship.' Because God forbid you are ever alone.
Alone isn't the same as lonely.
How can you love and be loved if you don't love yourself? When Jay says black women saved him, he means they taught him what love is. Because he didn't know. You can't blame someone for something they didn't know. So black women saved him, doesn't mean YOU have to save whatever fuckboy you're dealing with. Save yourself first.
Always save. yourself. first.
I have work to do and a football match to watch. It's 1-1 Brazil vs. Switzerland so things just got thick again. Who are you rooting for?
When I said I was rooting for everybody black I didn't know that meant every team except Iceland.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Anxiety Mistakes You Don't Want to Make

Good morning.
I have an assignment deadline to complete soon so naturally, I'm writing a blog post.
Hey, one cannot just have breakfast without distraction.
And I have been remiss in my posting. I apologize. Blame it on the reason I'm writing this post.
Let me recap.
Once a year or so, I get this run of bad luck where everything, and I mean everything seems to go wrong. I seem to be slap in the middle of that time right now and I can tell you, it's not a fun place to be. Right now, the light bulb in my office and my living room aren't working. These are the two rooms I use most in my house. My electrician niece has decided she hates me so she keeps blowing me off. I can't just get some stranger off the street to come and fix it. And of course, church mice are doing better than me right now financially. Oh and my fridge suddenly stopped keeping things cold, the repair people took a week to even answer my calls, another week to find the problem and then, a few more days before they fixed it. If I had money for groceries this might have been a huge hassle but since I'm hand to mouthing it, I make sure to only buy enough food for the day. It's been crazy.
I stopped using tap water to cook though and I haven't been sick since so there's that.
It's small every day irritabilities made bigger by the fact that they keep coming.
Oh and I also got told, right in front of my salad, that the reason I don't get lucrative contracts on upwork is because of my location and race.
I mean, I knew racism was real but it really hit me hard that one. I had thought I finally had a place where I could be judged solely on my work but we are. It made me tremendously sad to know that much as I was hurt and it was shocking, there are people who live with that sort of second classery in every area of their lives.
The reply came in response to a question I posted on the community forum about why, if my feedback was all four and five stars, could I not get the really high paying clients to respond to me. I was hoping for stuff like:
"Well, there is a certain way they expect you to write your proposal."
"Do you upload a recent resume with every proposal?"
You know, stuff I could do something about...
The point is, all these things might be my present reality but I know that I can change that reality with the power of positive thinking.
Wait! Wait!
Don't go away, I'm not about to go all motivational speaker on your ass. Except for how...I am.
My problem is anxiety. When things start spinning out of my control, I get anxious. Then I think about how out of control everything is and get more anxious. I wake up already thinking about
"What do I have to do today?"
"Oh my God, I haven't paid my rent yet, gotta get this work done."
"What date is it? Shit, the month is half over and I haven't...."
And on, and on and on...
That's before I even brush my teeth.
It's even worse when my son is home and has problems of his own I need to solve.
Yes! I know he should solve his own problems, I'm a work in progress.
Anyway so instead of starting the day with positive affirmations, a feeling of gratitude and belief that I already have everything I want and all I have to do is wait for it to manifest...
There I am, running around like a chicken with its head cut off, not really getting anything done.
Even so, without that calming centering I need so much yet apparently can't find the time to do, the universe or karma or God has my back. I watched Infinity War last night. Yeah, like, for the first time. And after I watched it I thought to myself, "I gotta write a postapocalyptic post-Thanos fic featuring Sam and Dean where they are terrified one of them is gonna disappear."
By the way that ending was so much bullshit...
Anyway, so I'm thinking that, and getting back to work and one of my former clients (who thinks my work is INCREDIBLE by the way) messages me that she wants me to write another short story for her - the one I'm supposed to be doing now. And I say okay and she sends me her requirements and I say I'm thinking postapocalyptic story and she's like "Yeah! me too, that's what I was thinking too!"
So the universe enabled me to write the fic I wanted to write anyway, and get paid for it.
The power of positive thinking isn't about meditating things into being. It's more about focus and intent and belief.
Anxiety gets in the way of that.
And how do I manage my anxiety? By getting stuff done. If my anxiety sees movement on things that are making me anxious (such as getting contracts) it calms down. That's why I'm able to write this morning (afternoon) because I'm less anxious.
Okay so I really need to go write a story.
Are you excited for the world cup?
I'm rooting for everybody black.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Happy Pride Month!

"I am a dirty computer.
I am not ready to be cleaned."
In fact, I am reveling in all this dirt; discovering new textures and tastes...the thing about being in your forties that they don't tell you is; you can set yourself free if you want. Free of the assumptions that society puts on you, the ones that you put on yourself without even realizing, the ones that insistence has made you accept...
All of these can be thrown out as you embark on a real journey of self-discovery, fuelled by Janelle Monae's music of course. Don't believe me? Just watch Jada Pinkett Smith's Red Table Talk
So, of course, I support everyone else's journey to find themselves and be proud of who they are. This month, it's the LGBTQIA community celebrating the choice to stand up and be counted. To say, "Here I am. Take me as I am or leave me alone. What you won't do, is change me."
Isn't it a glorious thing to be? Proud of who you are?
The narrative these days emphasizes so much all the things we have to be ashamed of. Our electoral choices (booo!), the way too much weight we carry around (bleh) the mental health challenges we grapple with daily (Kanye, here's looking at you kid) our struggle writing (whose?) that we sometimes forget how truly awesome we are.
Yes, even you.
Yes, you.
Yeah, I'm serious.
Don't feel bad if you're not quite there yet. It truly is about the journey, not the destination. Why just yesterday I discovered something so interesting about myself that I had no idea was even in me. It was so exciting to know this new thing about myself. It was like falling in love all over again. Yes, me with my big age, still discovering new things about myself.
Too often, we look to other people to tell us who to be; who we are allowed to be, how we're allowed to express who we are. We live in prisons largely of our own making when the truth is, living for other people never made anyone happy.
What is happy you ask?
Gabrielle Union was on Jada's red table talk last Monday and she said that her life coach asked her the same question. The only answers she could give at the time were food related. And goddamnit, food is allowed to make you happy but many times we turn to food for comfort. So technically it's not making us happy. It's just helping us forget that we're unhappy.
Although, gah, homemade french fries are the shit. You cannot be unhappy and eat homemade french fries at the same time.
What makes you happy?
I'll tell you what makes me happy. Creating stuff. Be it a blog post, a story, a graphic, my child...I am a sucker for creation. Watching true love makes me happy. That's why I love Supernatural so much. It's great to see people who truly love each other interact. And the bonus with Sam and Dean is that they are soulmates and the actors who play them are soulmates. It just makes me feel soft and content to know that true love exists.
I have a thing to say about soulmates. I think many people confuse being soulmates for being romantically in love and that's not true. Being soulmates is a thing where one soul recognizes and connects with another. Both souls have to be open to it, to let each other into the very core of who each other is.
My son is my soul mate. I see him. He sees me. He knows who I am beneath all the masks, even the ones I am unaware of. And I know who he is. This isn't a mind-reading thing. It's not something that can really be explained. But you'll know it when you find it.
In honor of pride month, I'm gonna be highlighting some books I have written and read that depict LGBTQIA people just living and loving like the rest of humanity. I think we get so caught up in categorizing that we forget that we're all the same. Who makes your privates stand up and pay attention is your business. Do you even know for sure who rocks your boat?
Are you sure?
I'm in the questioning phase of my life so all bets are now off. For Ben and Anders the question wasn't who rocks their boat, it was, am I gonna be brave enough to acknowledge it? For Miles, there was no question. Small town living made it impossible for him to do anything but hide.
Are you wondering who the fuck those are? Well, Ben and Anders are our heroes In Search of Paradise, and Miles is the best friend in the Child of Destiny series. And that's all I'm saying about that.

graphic lyrics from Janelle Monae's dirty computer album.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Sixes of One By Annemarie Musawale

ixes of One By Annemarie Musawale: Sixes of One is a Flash Fiction by Annemarie Musawale and has been published on online platform to read books for free. It is written in `English` language.

Hi. I have stories on this site that you can read for free. Sixes of One is one of them. Go read, enjoy, share with your friends. Happy Madaraka Day! Or happy Friday for the rest of the planet.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

How Do You Get Readers for Your Books?

I really hope you don't think I have the answer. If I did, I would be on the New York Times Bestsellers' list. So let me put in my disclaimer that I'm no expert. I'm just in the simulation, trying to read the patterns.
So the first thing that you should probably know is that marketing is in the mind. Get in the right mindset. Whether you're self-published or traditionally published, the bulk of the marketing will be left to you. When a traditional publisher looks at the potential of your books, they also look at your social media following to see just how many 'fans' you've managed to accumulate for yourself. I see many authors asking, "What exactly is the use of an author page?"
Well, my answer is, "If you're inviting people over for tea, you're gonna need somewhere for them to sit."
It is not possible in this day and age to be an 'anonymous' author who just writes, publishes and waits for readers. Even authors using pen names have forums where they interact with readers. Not just authors, but anyone with a product to sell...It's a whole new world people, and social media is king.
The thing with social media though, is that you can't just post "buy my book" and expect your audience to be like, "Oh. Okay, den."
Let's talk about readers, shall we?
There are two types of readers. There are those readers, and they are the majority, who you can find on so-called reader forums. Some of them have blogs. They usually have 'reader' or 'reads books' in their Twitter bios... These are the readers whose attention everyone is trying to get. Because they're the low hanging fruit.
Or so it seems.
The thing with this reader though, they are deep in the simulation. They want to read the books everyone else is reading. They practically run down the New York Times Bestseller list as their TBR list. They like recommendations from influencers. If you're a lowly writer without the resources to influence the influencers these are not the people to target.
The second kind of reader may or may not list 'reading' as an identifier in their social media bios. They don't care who the 'next big thing' is. They're just looking for good stories.
Do you write good stories?
Then this is your demographic.
You gotta keep plugging your stories. Putting them out there. Letting people know in whatever way you can.
Hashtags are great.
Just use the right ones.
Lots of authors like to use #amwriting and they might get a few likes and even retweets get likes and retweets from other authors who are just as thirsty as you for READERS. So stop targeting other authors. That's like all those sales reps I see on the street, crowding together when they're selling the same thing be it airtime or whatever...instead of spreading out and increasing your chances of finding your own customers. It's like artists who all try to copy Rihanna in an attempt to poach some of her success. Although this strategy has been moderately successful in some cases, (Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lopez) ultimately it fails. Because Rihanna releases an album like Anti and you don't know where to start copying it.
I digress.
#greatreads #goodreads #fridayreads #tuesdaytales...these are some hashtags that might net you some random passing reader. But you can't just do the hashtag, you have to hone your captioning skills man. This is your elevator pitch in 280 characters or more (if it's Instagram or Facebook). The hashtag has made the reader pause, now you gotta reel them in. Make. it. good.
It's a marathon, not a sprint.
Everything is against you.
Amazon will put the books in front of readers that authors have paid them to.
Sometimes they arbitrarily remove your book reviews making it difficult for you to move up the totem pole.
Some book sales get lost in a black hole somewhere.
It can be very demoralizing.
The thing is, you have to factor in the fact that you will get demoralized if things aren't happening as fast as you'd like. You have to be prepared for that shit. Wallow in it like a hippopotamus in the mud. And once you're all covered, all good and proper, get out, shower and get back to the work.
Plug. Plug. and Plug away.
Every day, do something small to put your book maybe in front of that enthusiastic reader whose gonna recommend it to their friend. Their book club. Their family.
Word of mouth. That's how you get the word out.
It's an uphill battle and many will fall by the wayside.
It's up to you if you reach the top.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Happy Mothers' Day - the Dreams and Nightmares Edition

Or should that be American Mothers' Day? In Kenya, we celebrate both US and UK dates so we get two mothers' days.
Still only one fathers' day though...
I spent the day pretty down.
I had an awful dream where my son "accidentally" murdered someone and then tried to say it wasn't him in spite of the dead body on the couch.
Of course, I believed him. He's an accomplished liar.
Then I had a vision that showed someone's arm, ax in hand, swinging downward...
I knew that arm!
I birthed that arm!
When I confronted him with my evidence he admitted that yes. He'd done it. It was an accident! Inexplicably, his hands were now bloody.
I'm freaking out about paying for legal advice and everything. My hands are shaking. And my son is totally unbothered because mum'll take care of it, right?
I'm trying to call my big sister (she's a lawyer) and my hands are shaking so bad I can't dial.
That's when I wake up.
...To the sudden surety that Jared Padalecki is dead.
I know.
It started like this; yesterday, before I went to sleep I was reading tweets from JIBCON which is a supernatural convention in Rome. Convention goers reported that Jared said he was unwell and were posting pics of him looking a bit bloated and miserable. Jensen and 'em were keeping a close eye, attending what was supposed to be his solo panel, etc...
I wake up from this nightmare and clearly someone has to be dead right? And since Jared was sick the last I heard, my mind latched onto him. Anyway, so I headed straight to Twitter to confirm that there was no announcement of Jared's sudden demise. The first thing I see is a tweet about Jensen Ackles and unicorns...and I am immediately reassured. No way Jensen would be playing with unicorns on stage if Jared was lying dead somewhere...
Ugh. So morbid.
As a result of this less than stellar beginning to my day, I've been living in the cold pit of despair from all the residual feelings. They're a bit difficult to shake off. Kinda like Tay Tay.
When I'm in my feelings like this, I like to analyze why I'm in my feelings. Just like I do for other people. And I thought that maybe my mind is still miserable about the whole 'domestic violence is okay if it's Chris Brown doing it' thing and the implication of my failure as a parent; which resulted in a murder dream. Then it's mother's day and my mother was sick for like a second and then died so clearly my mind just looked for the nearest sick person that I like to project my fears on. Mother's day is never a day that I'm gonna be super happy. But this week has been particularly miserable; what with Becky, my dog, dying suddenly in a way that I could not prevent. It's been triggering.
So I began to think to myself what would be different in my life if my mother had lived? Would I still be a writer? I began writing to combat the deep depression I was dealing with as a result of my mother's death; and the trials and tribulations of single motherhood. If she'd lived, my life would likely have looked very different.
Would I still have started writing?
Or would I be dutifully giving out drugs, "Take one twice a day after meals," bored out of my mind? Or maybe I'd have my own business because for sure she would have supported that idea.
Bottom line is, I like my life the way it is. And it took all that struggle to get here.
Negative emotion and life experience can bury you or it can make you grow. Without it, you might never know who you could be. Just look at Riri.
In any case, writing this has made me feel better so thank you for reading and sharing my redistributed pain. In the spirit of motherhood, I gotta share with you my experience of fast food from a few weeks ago. Remember when I told you I was done putting things in my body that wouldn't make it happy? Well a few days after that, I found an old piece of chicken in my bag. I'd stowed the doggy bag in there a week before and forgotten about it. I regularly use that bag but it was in an outer pocket. There was no smell of rotting meat to alert me that I still had food in my bag. I found it totally by accident. I pulled it out and it had that same fried chicken smell that permeates fast food places. There was no mold. The chicken looked exactly the same as it did on the day I put it in there.
Whatever that was, it wasn't food.
 I was so freaked out.
I meant to tell y'all about it as soon as possible but I guess I forgot. Fast food chicken is not food people! Stay away!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Thank You for Coming to My Ted Talk

It's a disappointing time for the XY chromosome. So much so that I feel the need to turn my back for a bit and just live in a sea of estrogen for now. I don't know why but illogical behavior has reached peak levels recently.
I've been analyzing this behavior, trying to understand it. Trying to see why a full African man would be a Trump apologist when Trump would not even grant him a visa to visit America. And if by chance he got in, he runs the risk of being mowed down in the street for such crimes as being in his grandmother's backyard.
Yet I've seen them twist themselves into unrecognizable shape so as to justify his existence.
The first thing you want to do when looking for logic in the illogical is to look for common threads. You can't always find them because the trigger is usually emotional and don't let any man tell you different; they are super emotional beings.

Just looking at my cohort which admittedly consists of people on my timeline who are vocal about regurgitating Trump's talking points and excuses; it all goes back to Obama.
Obama seems to evoke strong emotion in people. They either love him or they hate him. He's either the savior or the villain. Very few people see him as just a man.  Mostly they see him as a reflection either of their failures or their triumphs.
So if you a struggle guy with seven baby mamas and without a steady job, or you feel ignored because Obama didn't invite you to the White House or you expected that Obama would somehow elevate Kenya into a first world country while he was president or he's good friends with someone you don't like or you just even associate him with someone you don't like...then you support Trump because y'all have something in common.                                     
The rest is details.
And it's not even that these men support Trump that's the problem. It's the logic or lack thereof that led to that behavior that really gets me. It's like there is zero thinking going on.
The lights are all off.
Nobody's home.
No neurons are firing.
Brain is surplus to requirements.
It fills me with such despair.
All of this negativity is mitigated by the existence of David Beckham in the world. Did y'all see the birthday hug between him and his son Brooklyn? It was like five minutes on a one-minute Instagram video. David was so happy to see him. he hugged him like the world was ending. I watched it like twenty times because that's as close as I'll ever come to having a father hold me like that. Then I read the comments underneath his post and three-quarters of them were people envying the happiness of a father in seeing his son and contrasting it with how their own fathers would react to their surprise appearance.
The XY chromosome ruins even the brightest light they have going for them.
Oh, the other quarter posts were pure thirst about how Zaddy! David Beckham still is. Like he's eighty or something. I guess those are kids with daddy kinks...because their fathers are absent. XY chromosome wins again.
Jada Pinkett Smith debuted a new show called Red Table Talk on Facebook where she held a talk with Sheree Williams, Will Smith's first wife. They were discussing the dynamic of being a blended family, the tough beginnings. I certainly could relate. Will at least, seems to have a few neurons firing, so there's that.
I need hope.
Or to just give up completely on the male species.
I can't do that though. I need them for my stories.
Thanks for coming to my TED talk.