Checking In: October Week One

Nine days into October and this is a reflection on what I’ve done so far:

Read 4 books

Started compiling a short story collection

Bought two sets of gym wear and installed the 30 Day Fitness Challenge app, but I haven’t worked out even for a single day.

Completed watching the K-Drama: He is Psychometric

Changed my phone ringtone.

I’ve had a serving of chicken flavored noodles every day since 3rd October.

Started drinking tea every morning

Prepped and ready to take part in NanoWrimo 2021. By being ready it simply means that I bought new stationery, a tote bag full of colorful notebooks and new set of highlighters.

Love this quote by Dorothy Parker:

I will be on the road tomorrow looking forward to an activity filled week, so until then, have a lovely weekend. PS: If you haven’t been watching Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha on Netflix, check it out, it’ll make your weekend swoonworthy!

Updates on life, 2020 goals and everything in between

Life! Well, it’s been one rollercoaster and at some point, I felt so overwhelmed by what was happening that I took a break from writing and in that one week, I set aside everything including my NanoWrimo project.

The good news here is that yes, I aced this year’s NanoWrimo and managed to scribble 55,751words. Don’t ask me about what I wrote because it’s all messed up. I know because I checked and nearly lost my wits so I will let it simmer.

2020 goals: This was set to be my year, where I would workout consistently, eat healthy, write more, join a Writer’s network and invest in postgraduate education. I hadn’t written action plans for all these things, except for writing. And in true form I managed to write, edit and publish one book: Zuri: The Chronicler of Enzi. When it became clear that there would be prolonged restrictions in an attempt to curb the spread of covid-19, I found myself slacking on my goals and in the first week of this month as I was reading through my journal, I came across all the things I was excited to do and it hit me that I took in so much that was happening around me that I forgot to reinforce what’s within me.

So, like the rollercoaster we’ve been on, I installed the 30 day fitness app again🙄 and I have managed to set times for working out. I am on day 4 and already loving the “Rest Day.”🧡

On writing: I just have this awesome idea that sprung up on me as I was writing my NanoWrimo project and I live for visuals when I am writing, so here is what is motivating me to explore it.

On reading: This month’s been a thrill and I’ve read a couple of books that made it easier to get lost in the written world.

  • The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard
  • Diamond Eye by Arthur Rosenfeld

I am currently reading:

I am learning to write goals, and then break them down to tasks that I can do every day or hour so that I am not overwhelmed by the desire to accomplish them. I call it my 30 day reset and it started with uninstalling the Facebook app from my phone plus messenger so I can focus more.

I have also set a writing schedule so I have ample time to revise my draft and write some more because I love having to write and publish a book over the Easter holidays, it kinda gives my readers and major fans here in Kenya (they’re 14 of them 💛😉) something to read over a 3day holiday break

On education: I am still keen on gaining skills and knowledge and I’ll put it out into the universe, may it bring me my desires and success in my quest to pursue policy writing and formulation in the field of Education here in Kenya. I feel like I’ve been on the ground toiling and working with rural communities to improve public primary schools and it’s a great achievement, however I can scale it up, I can see the need for social investment in children on the value of quality education, across the country and what better way to do this than ensuring the policies written and implemented by the state actually serve this need? I’m all about it and I’ll keep working on it, seeking programs, partnerships, scholarships to see it come to be.

It’s been a hectic month for me, and I am hoping for a better now, tomorrow and to be honest, it’s a working progress and I love that I am envisioning it and calling it into being.

2 quick questions: What are you reading this weekend? What are you setting your heart on right now?

Updates on Life, Staying-Not fully staying at home, reading and writing

182 days since we got the #stayathome verdict from the Kenyan government. How are you holding up wherever you are? What have you learned in 2020 thus far?

One thing is certain: we have 108 days to the end of this year and I for one, find myself more aware, present and grateful for every moment I experience.

I have been reading more books because I joined this awesome whatsapp book, admnistered by Prime Book Hubs and simply put- they post books for sale and you get to reserve a copy, pay for it and they ship it to you. So, I’ve been buying books and my first September haul includes a book loaned to me by my sister which I just finished reading.

I absolutely devoured Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan and if you are into books that are set in bookstores with some hidden secrets or puzzles, you’ll love how technology meets print and ingenuity in this book.

I am currently reading Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani.

On writing: Let’s just say that I need to travel a bit, change the environment I’ve been in- read more, or just kickstart my brain into actively writing this next book. I’m taking a leap going into non-fiction and I am learning that it’s not that easy to string words along. Research takes time and I am forever at the phase of “would you tell me that again?” and it’s driving me insane. I need some patience juice! No sugar please, just the patience juice.

And, how do you know you’ve got your writing mojo?

For me, this involves shopping for stationery and nothing speaks to me more like pencils in the dozens! So, I decided to put everything I’ve got working for me and share a picture, just to prove that I am not losing it, or rather, that I should open up a stationery shop…

Whereas the Ministry of Health provides us with COVID-19 statistics daily, I find myself inclined to document and journal what I’ve done in a day, and this is what I call, taking stock of the things that I may have overlooked that made my day.

  1. I decided to cut down on processed sugar and this is my third day without it.
  2. I’ve been changing my sleep cycle; now I go to bed by 10pm and get up by 6am. I am working towards going to bed by 10pm and waking up at 5am.
  3. Pitching articles to various editors is something I hoped to do this year and since last month, I’ve sent out 2, hoping to send some more and explore long-form article writing as well.
  4. My Mom is a huge advocate for Education and it gives because she taught for 30 years. Her challenge to me this year was not to give up on fellowships and scholarships because every year I send out at least an application for a fellowship and 2 Masters scholarships- and I get turned down. I got so close last year and it tore me apart- and she told me, not to give up, if I could come in fifth, then maybe I’d get it.
  5. Fitness is not easy. I can write everyday, because I worked on getting this done, but working out has been a challenge that means installing and uninstalling fitness apps- working out two consecutive days then quitting, so I’ll stick to walking. It may do me some good.
  6. I finally gave my visual threshold a chance- and watched two series: The Witcher and Cursed...and can I just say that I am looking forward to the next seasons? Who would have thought that grunting could say so much- because Geralt of Rivia, in The Witcher grunts in response to almost everything!
  7. Comedy! Yes, I’ve always loved Trevor Noah and this month, I discovered K-Von Comedy.

I am looking forward to reading more books, a bit of travel for work because we’re focusing on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) projects this round-and most of the schools I’ve visited are in dire need to latrines, hand-washing stations, access to clean treated water and most of all- in need of some infrastructure development.

Have a wonderful week wherever you are.

New month, some new expectations and old fears

Hello September, it feels like I was enjoying the first week of March and then I blinked and you were at my doorstep!

Well, how are you holding up wherever you are? I’d say that this first day of September holds promise, but if there is anything I’ve learned during this COVID-19 pandemic is that you can plan all you want- but the universe still reigns, the only control you have is on your thoughts and how you choose to react to whatever happens. So, I am choosing positivity and let me tell you, it’s working out…slowly.

I read some good books this past month:

If there’s a movie I’d love to watch this month, it’s gotta be Love, Guaranteed- and it premieres on Netflix on 3rd September.

On writing: I haven’t written anything for most of the past two weeks and my sleep cycle is suffering more because I am worried about work projects and feeling like I have to do much more to impact the lives of children in terms of accessing quality education. I feel like I need to revise “In The Quiet” and explore the option of printing copies but even that is scaring me out of my wits.

I’ve received some good reviews of Zuri: The Chronicler of Enzi and I keep asking myself , what next? When and how? So, once I work myself to the right headspace, I’ll start the next writing project.

  • I carry the fear that we’d be staying at home longer due to this virus and also the fear that I may miss out on getting the facts right for my upcoming project.
  • I’m hopeful that I’ll get lots of writing done and ready for publication in the next two months.
  • I’m also super hopeful that I’ll stick to my workout regime this week, okay, let’s just try this week and see how it goes!

Until then, I’ll be reading one of my favorite Poets – Billy Chapata‘s upcoming release “Flowers on the Moon”

Updates on Social Distancing, life, writing and everything in between

It’s exactly 159 days, 21 hours and some odd minutes since the Kenyan government called for the need for us to stay away from public gatherings and essentially #stayathome.

In that time I have:

  • Published a book: Zuri: The Chronicler of Enzi
  • Written a shortie short story/ novella: In the Quiet
  • Traveled back to my area of work to see to the construction of 4 classrooms , 2-per community school
  • Gained weight
  • Started, quit, started, forgot about, started working out.
  • Consumed at least 3 cups of tea a day/ some days at least 4 cups of coffee
  • Drank more water
  • Slept in (and I love sleeping in on Saturdays)
  • Signed up for online classes: I just quit the one for African Leadership Institution because with over 1,000 participants and the never ending telegram messages, I missed out on signing in and with 5 error messages- I was done!
  • Got accepted into the New Heights Leadership Program: a 3-month online intensive session that merges both Christian Faith and Leading with Integrity in the modern world.

On reading: I just finished reading Honest to Greatness by Peter Kozodoy and he explores how transparency is key to sustaining organizations, companies and our interactions not just with people but also with what we create.

“To get the most out of your people, you must tell them why they matter.”

Status Check: A friend asked me yesterday, on a scale of zero to one hundred, how pissed off are you with the corruption in the Kenyan government? I shot him a look and he simply said “that pissed off?” See, people have been displaced, lost their jobs, their loved ones, our health care workers are at the frontline yet they’re unpaid, without PPE kits and it doesn’t help that the body set in place to regulate all this is busy trading with kits that could save lives. Wouldn’t you lose it if someone was stealing billions meant to ensure your access to health care which you are over taxed for?

On this new WordPress Editor: Yes, I’m learning that free is expensive, because I don’t like it one bit and switching to the Classic Editor means installing it and yes…I’ve got to be on a paid plan to do that. Or maybe I’m just sleepy- who knows, I will look into it when I can, if I hate it…it’s always good to explore options I guess.

I’m looking forward to September! Who knew we’d be this close to ending 2020 when we started out in January?

Have an awesome week. Stay safe. Stay hydrated. Above all choose kindness, we need it.

Stacking up the Shelves

I hope that wherever you are as you read this, you are safe, well hydrated and if you’ve got an elderly person near you- you’ve checked in on them. Called in to say hello, or helped share some essentials you stocked up on that they don’t have.

I have been writing mostly and simply trying to get myself in motion in the house- so here are two things that I learned help:

  1. 30 Day fitness challenge App: the 5 to 10 second workouts are great energy boosters
  2. Drinking lots of water and listening to music.

So, I was in Nairobi this past weekend and the Kenyan government’s call for self quarantine came in right after I’d done my book shopping and I’m glad I got to get these titles to keep me busy.

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What are you reading?

Whatever you do, stay hydrated, wash your hands frequently with soap and call your loved ones…neighbors, colleagues, just check in on people.

August: Updates on reading, writing, travel and love

I have been writing this post in my head for the past eight days. Procrastination is the fuel that I can never shake off, just like my love for pencils and erasers, I know how to put something on hold until I cannot anymore.

This is evident in my writing and publishing journey and for a long time the pressure to just get up and do it, haunted me, until I woke up one day and shoved it down my throat with a slice of chocolate cake at Java.

August is here and I love the sun! I am loving the heat more than I thought I would 🙂

On reading: I have been reading some awesome titles and sharing my views on them on Netgalley, Goodreads and Amazon. On working with people and building relationships, I got to read People First by Mike Nutley. On always staying on top of your game, taking a step back, re-evaluating your goals and pressing on, I got to read Tired of being Tired by Juliet Jones.

I’m currently enjoying Scout by Sanjiv Lingard about this 17 year old girl, Scout, who has the ability of tracking. It started with her being able to find any misplaced item, to her Mother-when she would up and leave, and now the police want her to help them find a missing child.

On writing: My most recent posts have been inspired by love and I am glad that happened, however, I am looking forward to improving my focus on writing a full length novel by September whilst talking to a Publisher here in Kenya, to work on some terms of engagement that would lead to publishing the manuscript.

On travel: I was looking forward to traveling this first week of August but had to cancel my plans due to a pending meeting at work. However, I’m not bummed by it because this meeting means a lot more to me, for it will chart the course for the next projects I’d like to work towards.

I did however get on a matatu to Kisumu so fast when I heard that my nephew was around looking forward to spending his holiday in the city. We always have a good time together and I hadn’t seen him in a month!

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On love: I wish I had the right words to explain this and more so, to name the precise moment that I had an epiphany on love. The truth is, the greatest thing I’ve learned this year is that love comes from within and the most difficult journey is loving yourself first and always. If you achieve this, then for some reason, the world is drawn to this light that stems from you and that’s where it gets tricky…and I really wish someone would explain to me why it is that when you meet someone, suddenly everyone wants you too?

So, this August I am challenging myself  and I came across this Ted Talk at the right time because I’d love to try something new every day for the next 30 days!

How’s your August thus far?

Have a wonderful new month!

Outrageous things I’ve done for the love of Books!

I was scrolling through my reader yesterday when I came across a post on BW Reviews and I could relate to everything written therein, and it prompted me to keep the conversation going.

Here’s a list of some outrageous ( even though when I do them, they are classified as quite normal) things I’ve done for the love of books.

  • Read while cooking. I do this a lot, and in my case I’m known to burn onions on more than one occasion.

  • Missed a stop. This happens to me when I am in Kisumu or when I travel to the field for work, sometimes I get so engrossed in reading and I miss my stop, sometimes forcing me to go back by foot or take a boda boda.

  • Lost a friend and never bothered to make amends. Well, not everyone believes that Fifty Shades of Grey and the Twilight are over rated…so, yeah, lost a friend over a five minute rant about what’s so wrong with Fifty Shades of Grey.

  • Read during work. I do this every day. It’s not outrageous, have you read Fear is my Homeboy by Judi Holler? She talks about an important thing called DEAL: Drop Everything and Learn…see, that’s why I read at work.


  • Requested to read books from either authors or sites. If you look on the right side bar of this blog, there’s a badge from Netgalley that says I have done this for over 500 books. This has introduced me to authors from all over the world and genres that I never paid much attention to, but came to like one or two books.

  • Missed a meal. This has happened so many times that I find it quite the norm. If I’m reading and I’ve got coffee, then I won’t get up to prepare something until I’m done.

  • Deleted emails/labeled email accounts as spam. Oh, internet! I don’t think this is outrageous but writers struggle to get their work published and I’ve deleted emails and labeled some as spam just to stop people from either sending or requesting for pdf copies of books.

  • Stayed up all night. Guilty as charged! If I say I’ll read one more chapter in bed, chances are I’ll read the whole book. If my reading device runs low on power, I’ll pull the extension closer to my bed, plug it in and read until I’m done.

That’s my outrageous list, what’s yours?

Aki si I have been quiet!

Can we just take a moment and appreciate this moment right here? Happy Saturday world, or should I say blogiverse? Well, it’s been a minute (as Kenyans, Nairobians in particular love to say when they haven’t seen you over two years) and I have so much to share and adventures on the road that involve Chinese contractors and a bit of conversation around politics and whatsapp.

I visited Homabay county last week and in my stack of cards it means I’ll be relocating to the county to work with various communities as scheduled in my time frame. So I boarded a matatu from Kisumu and settled in the front seat right next to the driver. He was chatty and threw in a few jokes here and there but as were approaching Oyugis, this guy just slowed down and turned to me and asked “Mrembo uko na shuka?”

I shook my head as aggressively as I could because hey, I have seen to many Nigerian and Bongo films to know that no stranger is allowed access to my personal items, what if I start doing handstands in supermarkets? Or worse off barking like a dog? Eh, gaki!

So he says, “Hawa wa Chinese wanatengeneza barabara na vumbi iko hapa, hata mimi naiogopa.” I released the breath I was holding and told him not to worry about it and he does his best to shut the windows even though his window doesn’t go all the way up…he drives off and let me tell you, there’s nothing as interesting as stepping out of a vehicle and spitting dust! If there’s anyone from Oyugis…please, drop a comment, ease my tender soul and tell me to suck it up, it’s just dust!

So, that was the beginning of my short visit and turns out there’s a lot that Homabay county could serve but hey, you know a place that’s in need of a shake up, because it’s like a sleeping giant, well…that’s how I felt and still feel about Homabay.

I loved visiting the Mbita Tourist Hotel because the fish+kachumbari+sukuma is to die for and the view, amazing because I’m a water sign and a daughter of the Lake, so water’s like my feel good, peace out, chill out vibe.

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My view from the restaurant, it was a bit cloudy.

Now, it’s been 21 days since I wrote anything and my manuscript progress report could easily be scored as an F, but I am not so worried about it. Given how much time I’m spending on getting things done at work, I feel too drained to write anything coherent and will have to work harder to build up on my process and schedule writing time.

In other news, I can safely say that following (10 reasons why I’m not fit to be a Fashion Blogger) I have since become a better sister, keen on the instructions my younger sister gives me while she’s taking photos of me. She’s still peeved that I do not wear make-up, my attempt at wearing a red-lippie still didn’t cut it.

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I think I aced this pose, but Jackie thinks not 😦

On reading, I’ll say that I read Sidney Sheldon’s The Silent Widow and that book gave me shivers. I’m looking forward to reading Grit & Grind by Rhonda Vetere to get my mind in the frame of hard work, passion and goal pursuit.

It’s all good world, have a lovely weekend and I’ll probably share some village chronicles once I settle down.

 

A Reader’s Life: Things I do not want to hear in 2019

There is no greater joy than losing and finding yourself within the pages of a book. However, life’s tough for any reader both offline and online and I’m setting the record straight on some comments/remarks/questions that I sincerely do not want to hear this year.

Oh, so you read that?

Yes, I read it. I will continue reading it and do me a favor, keep your nose in your book/phone/online profile and let me enjoy my reading time.

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How do you manage to read so many books? Where do you get the time?

I can bend time, so instead of 24 hours, I get double that just to read, have you tried it?

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Why would you review a book?

One, given the advent of social media, a review is currency gold for any author. I should know this because I have written a few books and it helps having someone say “your book was recommended by so and so,” and they go ahead and buy it.

Two, every book is an experience and instead of posting a #selfie I would not mind telling you about this world I traveled to.

Three, if I love a book, I’m not going to keep quiet about it.

You ask for free books to read?

Yes! I do. There’s this site called Netgalley. I signed up simply to read books by authors who are trying to navigate the web and get the attention of readers who are lured in by millions of other things.

So, yes…if I am intrigued by the blurb, author, or sometimes the cover of a book, I’ll request to read it, preserve the content, respect the author’s copyright and read a review.

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Romance, seriously?

Have you read any romance novel of late? I can recommend a gallery of them if you do mind. I understand that the plot is predictable and you are guaranteed a happily ever after conclusion or sometimes it’s delayed until you’ve read three or four books of a series, but romance is interesting.

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Well, you should read more African books

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

I am African and my reading has been largely influenced by masterpieces like Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Grace Ogot, Azenath Bole Odaga, Okot pBitek, Chinua Achebe and so with this, I have no qualms save for it not being the only goal or genre aspect that I have to adhere to.

If I’m intrigued by it, I’ll read it.

For how else would I know that most books written by Irish authors make me both nostalgic and melancholic? Or how delicious British humor is, or how in-depth Caribbean writers can get.


Those are some of the comments I really hope I never get to hear again this year but all in all, have an awesome year, and I hope you read a book or books.