Years ago when i was a little boy, Waithera my mother lovingly subjected me to the world of books and excellent private school education which ensured i spoke and wrote English really well. I cannot recall a time i ever had a shortage of reading material. I owned an entire collection of Hardy Boys, Famous five, Secret Seven, Nancy Drew and a couple of Sweet Valley High i borrowed from Mary, a girl who always gave me a run for my words in Grammar and composition.
My uncle, Jungle was his nickname, used to read James Hadley Chase, which i only looked at when no one was around coz of the semi naked girls on the cover! I did try to read it once, my heart beating and praying that mum does not catch me with it. I expected to find something vile and not suitable for readers my age; somewhere in the middle of the second chapter i realised that the story had no connection to the explicit cover.
I was done craving for Hadley Chase, never even as much as touched it again.
Somehow, even at the age of eleven words moved and elevated me beyond my imagination. There was so much power and life in the stories and novels i read that i always inevitably found myself lost to another world of characters and thrillers, drama and suspense.
I read the late Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart when i was around 13. Ok, i did not understand a thing but the thought that a man very much like me but differing in age and of course years of experience in the literary circle could string together words so powerful and deep was simply mesmerising.
I always tried to put myself in any writer’s shoes, or pen so to speak. How they created the characters and brought them to life with astounding alacrity, how they got me as the reader hooked right to the very last full stop. How they left me yearning for more, staring at the blank cover page wishing the story would continue. How i would toss around in bed after finishing a story feeling like my life had ended with it!
My grandpa whom I am proudly named after as Gikuyu culture dictates was an Engineer courtesy of lessons learnt while he was in the army. Goodness, this man could curve anything out of nothing, like he was always repairing stuff at home and improving whatever he could.
He really desired to see someone inherit his Engineering prowess since none of his sons exhibited any inkling of doing so. Uncle Kenny had taken to soccer and driving, jungle on the other hand was a jack of all trades; he was a lumberjack, mechanic, butcher, land broker, liquor dealer (he used to sell some illegal eish drink called Tornado) or rolled into one. He was like a tornado!
None of the engineering chips had fallen on either of his sons. The apple had fallen miles away from the tree!
Grandpa took to teaching me lots of building tricks but i proved to be a greater disappointment than my uncles. Man, the way i bent nails while desperately trying to hammer them into wood gave a whole new meaning to bending it like Becks! I was a total failure in that department. I however, to sooth my hammered ego, would lose myself in a novel later and he would find me so engrossed in reading that he totally gave up on the idea of using me for his projects. Besides, i had already bent enough nails to earn me a certificate of non compliance in the building industry!
I got to score high marks in grammar and composition as well; always following the teacher later asking why he wasn’t awarding me 40 out of 40 in my compositions considering there was not a single red mark on my paper. He always told me, much to my chagrin that nothing is ever perfect!
Then one year ago i started this blog after i had bumped into two Kenyan blogs which i totally fell in love with, Bikozulu and My Dear Doris. The content on these blogs was devastatingly mind blowing, eye opening even and i was like, man i can do this, i gotta do this, i MUST do this!!
My first post here was very long and i had intentions of doing a part 2…i never did! Somehow, it scared me to have my content on the internet domain getting viewed by anyone who could bump into my blog. I was scared people would find my writing wanting, devoid of life, poor in structure or grammar, perhaps lacking in style. Maybe nobody would visit my blog or even leave a comment.
Then i got a few likes and follows. I posted a few more times and the follows kept increasing. I found myself checking my blog every now and then even at night. I was still single when i started blogging so there was no crime in checking it out or even adding a post late at night.
What started as a fearful, faltering step into blogosphere gradually developed into something worth looking forward to. It became the impetus to try my hand in different kinds of writing since i was no longer scared of sharing my writing to the world, and to keep writing to improve myself.
So, really, what keeps us writing? What inspires us to continue doing so even when on our bad days we just stare at blank word documents wondering what to write?
It has to be the thrill that comes with having an idea in your mind that you shape into a formidable story, building it from nothing to something. The feeling of great accomplishment after posting something that kind of makes you feel like you have just treated your blog and followers to a sumptuous lunch. The battle of numerous ideas and characters in your head, all fighting for their 15 seconds of fame in the Galaxy of your blog.
It is the many times you find yourself smiling to yourself in a public area after an idea hits your mind and you want to put it into writing before it disappears, and any writer will tell you that these fleeting ideas vanish the moment you lie to yourself that you will remember to note them down later.
And there is nothing as heartbreaking as having an idea that could probably change the world and forgetting it just after a few minutes.
It’s the feeling that people really do appreciate your work and that you have ardent followers who even share your posts on other platforms.
I know many people out there want to start blogging. My advice to you is this- go ahead and take a chance. Fear is normal, but you never know what you are capable of or how courageous you might be until you take a chance.