Wednesday, 21 July 2021

This Little Light of Mine

 Here are some thinky thoughts I've had today about being yourself and living authentically. This should probably have been the title of this post.

Anyway, let us begin with this Instagram post about my son and his first time wearing nail polish.


My son has been playing with the idea of nail polish for a long time. He had hesitancy about applying it because girly, toxic masculinity, blah blah.

But now that his hero A$AP Rocky wears nail polish and his girlfriend is wholly on board with him coloring his nails, suddenly it's A-Ok. I'm glad because hey, self-expression. But I also wish he'd come to these conclusions on his own without the need for co-sign.

Because I think the need for co-sign and fitting in with the crowd is really responsible for a lot of our misery.

I'll give you another example.

I signed up to do a Big Bang - which is simply the collective writing of fan fiction stories based on a theme by a group of fandom writers - because I wanted to find my way back to my other fanfiction somehow. You guys are not the only ones I've been neglecting. 

Anyway, I'm doing a crossover fic featuring the movie Attack the Block. 


Sam Winchester is Moses. 

It's going well. 

But I asked that it would be good if my artist had watched the movie because if you've seen the movie, you know that it has a very distinct vibe.

So I get this artist, yeah? And the first thing she says is, "Oh I haven't watched the movie but I'm sure it'll be fine."

Huh?

So I ask her if she's at least intending to google the movie in order to get the vibe and she goes silent on me. So when the mod checks in, I just go ahead and tattle because ain't nobody got time for this shit. I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to produce the best work I can because it's all my legacy. 

Well, after I complained to the moderator, the artist gets back to me with the "Sorry I've been busy with work but somehow my lack of communication is your fault."

White girls, I swear...

Predictable as fuck. 

I don't know how y'all be living with them.

Well anyway, I decided that I'm not twisting myself into a pretzel to accommodate her bullshit. I made like Meghan Markle and quit her. As in I wrote to the mods and said, give me another artist or else let my work stand without one. I've never heard of anyone doing this. It's probably unprecedented. Will likely make me unpopular. 


But my conscience is clear and my peace of mind is paramount and my work is uncompromised.

Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

All this to say, hooray to individuality.



Wednesday, 5 May 2021

A Voyage of Discovery

 So I've been spending all my time working and trolling on Twitter which might not be the best use of my time I will admit. Well, the work has been very beneficial but I'm not sure about the trolling.

It's just that I've been reading things on there.

About being neurodivergent.

And I'll be damned if it doesn't sound like me.

It kind of freed me, to know that my character flaws - the brutal honesty especially - might just be a condition of my neurology and therefore completely out of my hands. I've been seeing a lot of Kenyans on the journey of discovery, finding out about their neurodivergence as adults, chronic medical conditions, mental health issues, sexual awakenings...and every story triggers a reaction in me.

Do I have that?

Am I that?

I'm 46 years old and I'm still discovering new things about myself. It's nice. You can't be finding new things and feeling old.


There's a curious freedom to knowing who you are or in the process of self-discovery because you let go of expectation and deal with reality. It's fun too. Happy making.

There are just so many people out there who are not happy right now and they take out their misery by trying to make other people unhappy - hence the uptick in my trolling. People stay coming for my faves and I have the skills to make them have a seat - so why not use them?

Besides it hones my wit and my clapbacks which I can then turn around and use in my stories. 

win win.

I lied before it seems.

It is good use of my time to troll.

Just this last month, we had someone trying to harsh Jared Padalecki's usually very mellow vibe, which led to a whole three days of #weloveyoujaredpadalecki trending on twitter and a campaign of giving to TWLOHA. 

That's what I call doing trolling right. 

Of course the troll still insisted that Jared was hating on her because his fans made him trend for three day because of her comments. *rolls eyes right off my head* 

Why are these people like this?

Jared is really helping me with the motivation to get fit. That, and moving to a house not on a hill and so easy to walk to and from. Also swimming pool. 

Not to jinx it but this is a good time in my life.

I'm even finding time to work on my book and my fanfiction. 

I don't know if anyone is still even interested in Marcus Devereux but that's not the point. 

I am interested.

I wanna see how it ends. 

If anyone else cares to come on the journey with me that's great. You're welcome and it's definitely worth it.

I've seen a lot of white authors on the internet today, complaining about Meghan Markle and her new children's book that is being released. Apparently her writing a book automatically negates the efforts of thousands of hypothetical authors and ensures they'll never be published. I'm guessing all these authors are white middle aged women with 80s hair, and unseasoned books about raisins in potato salad.

I snorted when I read that. 

Nobody can take your shit away from you. If it's yours, then it's yours. Nobody can come along and take that away from you. It's 100% jealously and anger that the Sussexes are not failing at their new life once they ran away from home. 


You know how it feels when you wanted desperately for people to fail and come crawling back to you and then they insist on prospering and not needing you at all? 
I hear it's painful. 
I think my neurodivergent ass is not capable of feeling such time wasting emotion or maybe that's just me but like I said, I'm enjoying the mudita of it all. I love to see people prosper without thinking it will impact my own prosperity.
Mudita? Look it up. Chrissy Teigen taught us all this word this week.
What does affect my prosperity is you buying into me, and my stories. I hope you can still do that even though I'm neglecting you as fuck.
I'm sorry, okay? I might be here a little less than I was, but I'm still here. Just expanding my repertoire a bit. I might even do a new episode of my podcast. 
Just coz.
Anyways, back to work. I hope this blog post makes sense. 




Thursday, 15 April 2021

They Want Unique But Not Really

 The other day, I saw this call for novels from Scribd and I decided, why not? So I sent them a few links for a variety of my books.

Even as I did it, I realized that they weren't going to pick any of my books. It's not because the stories aren't good enough. 

No.

It's that when people ask for 'original' stories, what they mean is, 'this story should be recognizable as something already out there in the market, but unique enough that it's not plagiarism.'

They don't really want ORIGINAL original tales.

Listen, ain't nobody going to buy a story about African gay guys, one of who plays rugby and who are caught up in the apocalypse and fighting resurrected Egyptian gods. Who's written that book before? Chimamanda hasn't. Nnedi hasn't. Definitely, all the white interchangeable authors haven't. 

If you're an African you better write Half a Yellow Sun, Things Fall Apart or else, you write a generic story featuring white people doing white people shit. This encompasses everything from fighting aliens to being all sad and depressed about their looks and/or shitty parents, the classic love story; whatever it is. You've read it before and now you want to read it again and pretend it's new.

So even as I submitted my books, I knew that Scribd would pass on them, even as they were specifically looking for 'minority' writers. 

So I moved on in my mind and let it go. 

"But Annemarie," you might ask, "why bother to submit if you knew they weren't going to take your books?"

Well, for one, dear reader, I only came to that realization after I'd already initiated contact. Secondly, it doesn't hurt to try. Sometimes you underestimate people. Rarely, in my case, but it happens. So never disappoint yourself on behalf of other people. Always give them the chance to disappoint you themselves. 

It's the surprises that live in between that space that make life worth living.




Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Rinse, Repeat or Resolve?

 Do you sometimes feel like a hamster on a wheel, constantly running at the same spot? I wonder to myself, does the hamster mind not moving? Do they know they're not moving or are they thinking that they're going somewhere?

Unfortunately for my own morbid mentality, I don't only wonder this about hamsters, but also people. Do you feel like sometimes we just do the same thing over and over, and expect a different result? 


Yes, we'll vote for the criminal who wants to be president to escape the ICC but this time, it'll be different.

Yes, we'll go to the streets and riot because a cop shot another black man and this time, they'll listen.

Yes, I'll mix my drinks and get falling down drunk again; it's different than all those other times because I'm doing it socially, I haven't seen people in ages. I'm just celebrating.

Just one more soda then I'll stop drinking them. I'll only drink water from tomorrow.

And around and around we go.


Wouldn't it be better to just acknowledge that we're going to stay in the spot we're in, forever? No ifs or buts just, 'this isn't working'. 

 Thus leaving you free to scrap it and find a plan b or...live with it.

I've come to terms with the fact that I will probably never stop drinking sodas completely. I might go long periods of time where I manage to avoid them but sooner or later, I'll probably find myself chugging a Fanta. 

Sorry Jared Padalecki. 

(Yeah okay so context: Mr Padalecki is part owner of GoMantra Labs and as part of their marketing, he's been encouraging us to stretch, drink water and sleep for at least 6-8 hours a night. So I happened to reply to him when he asked us how we were doing with the water drinking and I said I'm still drinking soda in addition to water. And he said I should try to stop. I told him I would try.)

One thing I've realized about myself is that locking myself into a routine is tantamount to shackles on my wrists, in my mind. So I watch y'all videos where you have a whole thing that you do when you wake up from face masks, under-eye lotion, teeth shining, makeup etc, and I'm like dude...I will commit to brushing my teeth morning and evening and showering every evening. That's it. 


The rest is too much.

I just don't care enough about how the world sees me or whatever.

I do want to live healthy, free of pain and disease and have a long life. These are actual desires of mine and so I will go out of my way to achieve these things. If I look at drinking water not as something I have to do but as a way for me to have more energy and be more healthy, I drink more. However, Fanta is still addictive. Especially Kenyan Fanta and sometimes my body just wants that sugar (and sometimes it doesn't). So I'll drink my soda guilt-free because I've let go of "I'm not supposed."

That's my solution to the issue of drop soda, drink water. I'm gonna drink soda, drink water, not feel guilty and go about my day. 



Three questions to ask yourself:

Am I deliberately hurting anyone?

Am I hurting myself?

Is it anyone's business but my own?

Once you know the answers to these questions you shall find peace.






Monday, 12 April 2021

Writing One Book For Years

 Alright, first of all, preorder Marcus Devereux here because you need to read this shit. 

Let's get down to it straight away. I started writing this book sometime in several years ago. I wanna say 2015 but it could have been as early as 2012. Life has been hectic. 



Now, as I write my books, and write stories for others, my style grows and changes becomes more refined and less wild. When I started writing Marcus Devereux, I wasn't even a professional ghostwriter yet. I was an academic writer with two books under her belt who decided to try out a new style. 

The closest pop culture reference I had to my style of writing is Baby's Day Out. The youngins might not know this movie, since it came out in 1994. Why did I decide to write a book using the 1st person POV of a baby during a time when I didn't even know the phrase '1st person POV'? 

I don't know.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

It still seems like a good idea and I don't think even after all this time, that it has been done before.

When I tell people or show people some of my work, they tend to get bogged down by harsh reality. 

"How would a baby know this?" 

"This language is too advanced for a baby."

Hello, I'm writing a story about a magical baby but I'm gonna get cockblocked by not making the baby only say goo goo ga? The Sussexes said their son's first word was crocodile or something. And he's not even magical. That's a three-syllable word.

Hello.

It's fiction. Its fantasy. Open your mind.

But going through my work, I definitely see the progression in writing style. This weekend is the first time, in a long time, that I have no client work to do and so I decided to sit down and finish the manuscript. Considering the trajectory of the story I started with, the content is definitely affected by my life experiences. I'm more cynical about the relationships, the slant is more real than fantasy romance. Leo and Mya still be having plenty of sex but I think there's a lot more angst, and fighting and misunderstanding than earlier me would have thought to put in a story. 

In any case, it's a fascinating process, and I cannot wait to present to you, the finished product. I think by the time I'm done, the book will have undergone as many metamorphoses as the cover.






Tuesday, 16 February 2021

The Magic of Word of Mouth

 Hello,

Yes I know, its been forever. Remember that time I told you I was having trouble getting work because my JSS score went to 80%? Well, it's back to 100% now so every day I have to ask myself the question: to take this new job offer or no? The correct answer is no, of course, because my plate is pleasantly full, but the lessons of 'putting all my eggs in one basket' have had a lasting effect and I always think, "What if..?"

And so I consider every offer, as long as it's a good one. It's nice to have the luxury of immediately rejecting any offer that isn't financially sustainable. Of immediately rejecting the jobs I genuinely do not want to do because I hate the genre or they leave a slimy taste in my mouth or they're just not interesting. 


The downside of all these clients, of course, is that I am left with very little time to pursue my own shit. Which means I haven't had the energy to update you on what's happening in the book world, or my world or give you unsolicited advice. I've also had to delay Marcus Devereux's release by another four months...sigh. 

Being a one-person entrepreneurship has its challenges. 

I'm not complaining. I know that if I got my shit together and truly got organized I'd spend less time in front of a computer screen because I'd get more done when I am in front of the screen. That's my bad.

Self-awareness is great.

What gave you these insights, you ask? 

Well, I have recently been feeling rather like a fat ass who is gonna wake up one day and choke on their own neck (true story, I actually had a dream about it). So I woke up all scared and motivated to actually make time to do some form of exercise on the daily and not just when the mood takes me. I'm even thinking of risking getting in a public pool if the sun is out for two days in a row. 

I also managed to find a leash my dog can't twist out of, so I'm using dog-walking time as also exercise time. Anyway, here I am, a little more active, and feeling like, 'Oh, so I have time to exercise allegedly and still work? What else can I fit into my routine? Taking time off? Doing my own thing?'

The possibilities are mind-blowing.


Weirdly enough, it also helps that Trump is out of office, which seems to have precipitated some sort of turning point in worldwide happenings. But also it gives people on my Twitter timeline space to talk about other things aside from hatred, white supremacy and how doomed we all are. My Twitter timeline is curated to have representation from different bubbles, and the tone and cadence of them all has changed now that The Orange One is out of office.

Which means doom-scrolling has changed to "Oh, that's happening over there better retweet for awareness, and oh, that's an interesting thought what do I think of it?' again. So I too felt free to go back to tweeting about Supernatural (the show), as well as anything I happened to be watching (Walker) or reading (Fanfic) and of course Social Justice. 

Did you watch Judas and The Black Messiah yet?

I did.

Oh my God.

Fred Hampton

This guy was 21 when he was killed and he already had life figured out. I think many of us do at that age because we see things clearly without the obscuring lens of Shades of Grey. And we have the confidence to speak on it. 

Maybe we don't need to figure things out. We just have to remember. 

I think we can thank Trump for its creation at this particular time. Without his blatant hatred and racism, this movie would never have been greenlit. But now everyone is so eager to bend over backwards to prove they're not like Cheeto Satan (newsflash, They are. They just hide it better) that they couldn't risk refusing to produce this movie. 

Fred Hampton's grave is still riddled with bullet holes from White Supremacists who can't even let him rest in peace.


I was wound up within ten minutes. 

All it took was one speech from Fred Hampton brilliantly channelled through Daniel Kaluuya. 

What it came down to is loving yourself and loving the skin that you're in and loving your people. It was about selflessness and bravery and integrity. That's what being a revolutionary is. Living life out loud

It was about opening your eyes and seeing the invisible network of connections that binds us all. 

Watching it truly woke me up. I thought I was awake but I was just lying on my bed watching, commenting but not immersing myself in it all.

Fred Hampton through Daniel Kaluuya taught me that Love is Action

I cannot claim to love myself if I'm abusing my body with endless sitting, working, not resting, barely eating...everything cannot be about work. Disappearing down the rabbit hole of Daniel Kaluuya interviews in the aftermath of Judas and the Black Messiah made me think, even more, look around me more, and realize that I can Do More.

Daniel said something about 'abandoning himself' to the service of the characters he was playing and I could really relate to that in terms of abandoning myself to my work in service to my clients. Such blatant neglect of self should be criminal. 

But Capitalism.


In one of his interviews, Daniel mentioned that he was listening to a musician named Omah Lay from Nigeria. Now I'm not a real fan of Naija music through no fault of its own. It's just that Kenyan musicians love to copy what's popular and so there was a time when the proliferation of Naija-inspired music was ubiquitous and annoying. I will say that Kenyan musicians seem to have gotten their shit together since and are now producing some truly inspiring music. 

Shout out to Sauti Sol as usual.

Anyway, so because he mentioned it, I went to find Omah Lay on Deezer and I have to agree that yes, absolutely, that was some good shit.

It struck me then, how word of mouth works. I downloaded Judas and the Black Messiah because people were talking about it on Twitter and I was interested in what they were saying. I watched it and it struck me so much I'm now urging everyone I know to watch it - including you.

And that led me down the rabbit hole of interviews because I wanted to Know More; about Fred Hampton, about William O'Neil and about Daniel Kaluuya. Which led me to discover a new musician and text my son to check him out. 

And that's how word of mouth works. So I'm asking you, if you read and enjoyed anything I've written, tell someone...and that's my self-serving plot twist.



And now, with companion podcast. Enjoy.

Friday, 1 January 2021

Going on a Trippin Trip

 Dear Diary,

This is so embarrazzing. I don't know what I was thinking. Okay, that's not true. I do know what I was thinking. I wanted to get away from them.

My parents.

They're constantly bickering about petty shit and even now, when we're here in this perfectly picturesque place, they can't stop for five minutes. I tried to go to my room, shut them out but their voices are too loud and this Airbnb is too small. So I got into my dad's stash of weed brownies and ate a whole one. I thought it'd make me too high to pay attention.

Boy was I wrong.

Instead of floating me off to cloud nine like I'd seen it do in the movies, it just enhanced everything; sight, sound, hearing, fears, anxieties, insecurities...I felt like I was drowning in every thought I'd ever had. I had to get out. So I climbed out of the window and ran.

Yeah I know, we're in the middle of a damned National Park, there are animals and shit, and I ran out into the wilderness at dusk. 

Stupid stupid stupid.

On the bright side, my senses are so overwhelmed with so many sensations that it's hard to focus on just one. So I push away the anxiety and instead marvel at the way the light falls on the leaves in the trees, the wind soughing through them, making them sway in a way that almost communicates something to me. Like they're commiserating or warning me.

I know I sound like a crackhead, leave me alone. 

Suddenly there's a ummm, a boy? in front of me. He's really dark-skinned and all muscle. I know because he's wearing nothing more than a piece of red cloth tied at the shoulder, his chest is mostly on display save the multicoloured beads that crisscross it. His legs all long, lean and muscled are also on display. He's wearing black sandals that seem to be made out of the same rubber as car tyres. 

He's holding a stick and surveying me as if I'm the exotic thing around here.

I scramble around for the little Kiswahili I'd read in the travel brochure. "Er, jambo...?"

His lips twisted as if he wanted to smirk but was restraining himself. "Unafanya nini hapa?" he said.

"Er..." to be honest, Jambo is the only word I know. My dad is from here but he emigrated to the States years ago and he didn't bother to teach me his local language. Or rather, from the many fights my parents have, I guess it's a clash of beliefs. My mother believes that we should grow up as Americans and not try to integrate any other cultures, while my dad goes along with it but resents the fuck out of her because of it.

So here I am, somewhere in the Maasai Mara and I can't speak the language. I am in so much shit!

The man? boy? huffs before saying, "What are you doing here?" in perfect English.

I won't lie, I was taken aback. I mean yeah I've seen the Twitter memes making fun of how much Americans don't know about the rest of the world but I truly was not expecting to find a...relic of another age who could speak perfectly to me in my language.

Don't tell me how stupid I am. I know.

"Er, I'm lost I think. I'm staying at Chui House, d-do you know it?"

The male specimen nodded.

"Er, I'm Angela. What's your name?" I had to stop calling him man-boy.

"Letoya."

"Oh. Hey Letoya." I smiled nervously, waving my hand at him like a dork, "It's nice to meet you."

Suddenly there was a huge shadow looming over him. My eyes widened in shock and I looked up to the shadow and then down to Letoya, wondering if I was tripping balls or he could see it too. He remained unmoved which was worrying on many levels.


"Er..." my voice shook with fear, "Is there er, an elephant behind you?"

Letoya just smiled and then pointed to the north, "If you follow this path, you'll find the lodge. It's not far."

"B-but...the elephant...?" I stretched my shaking hand, pointing at the huge shadow behind him.

"She will not harm you. Go."

I just continued pointing and shaking. She seemed to fill the entirety of my vision, coming out of the mist like an avenging angel. She could kill me with a swish of her trunk. My knees were weak, I doubted they could support me for much longer, let alone let me walk.

Letoya made an impatient sound and the next thing I knew, I was hoisted over his shoulders like a sack of potatoes, bouncing up and down as he strode down the path he'd directed me to. I kept my eyes on the elephant who seemed to be watching the whole scene with something like amusement. I couldn't take my eyes off her. I felt as if I could see every wrinkle, every whorl, every crease, every blemish in her flesh. She stood out from nature like a god, and I, a worm that did not deserve to look her in the face. 

"Oh God," I murmured, "Have I lost my mind?"

Letoya put me down and turned me around and I saw the place we were staying, looking serene in the soft rosy evening light, no sign of the strife that awaited me inside. I turned to my rescuer. "Thank you."

He nodded before turning and disappearing down the path and into the mist. I blinked a few times, looking around and then I began to wonder if I'd imagined the whole thing.

I turned to the house, still unsure of anything and everything. Out of the night, came a loud trumpeting which seemed to echo along the hills. My head jerked around, limbs flailing before I tripped over my own feet. 

I sat on my ass, in the dirt, breathing hard. "Fuck. I am so high."



I promised my Instagram followers a story on the first of January based on the pic of the elephant. And here it is. Enjoy. Accompanying podcast to follow. Click on the link at the top of the page to listen.

happy new year!