I have too much to say about 2017, but I have a limit of 2000 words. If you need a bathroom break, please rush now and while you are at it, kindly do so silently.
I feel I should start by recognising my editor. It would be rude not to. While the blog bears my name, and the photos bear Mukiri’s name, it would be easy to forget the paramount role Esther Wanene plays in every Monday post here. She is efficient, she is thorough, and she is my 2017 unsung hero. Her blog is youngmomblogsite.wordpress.com. There she inspires people; she tells you her story as a young single mom. There you meet Leanna, the light skin princess of cuteness and smiles. There you meet stories, milestones that people go through daily, and there you will find faith, hope and the truth about God’s will in our lives.
To illustrate just how efficient this girl can be. On one fateful Sunday afternoon after all the lovely effects of good whisky from the previous night had worn off, and only the nasty ones were left; a splitting headache, Essy texted. She was demanding a post from my hangovered self and truth be told my creative side of the brain was shooting blank synapses on this day. My post was supposed to go up the next Monday at 11 A.M. and here she was asking for a post.
“Where is my post”, she asked.
I did not want her to know that I had been drinking so I lied…
“Estherville, I am so glad you texted, you’re just the motivation I needed”.
“Why are you evading my question, Denisovich?”
I needed a new tactic
“I have been staring at an empty word document for two hours. Nothing is forthcoming”, I lied.
So I rushed to the shower, brushed my teeth and took a mugful of coffee. When I checked my phone, there were three messages all from Essy.
“Keep staring at it until you come up with something.”
“The idea is somewhere within you kiddo.”
“Send it when you are done.”
I had no other option but to type every word that came into my mind, and by evening I had come up with something. I sent it to her, she complained of the many typos but did her job regardless. Esther is not just a mere editor but a reminder of duty, consistency and passion. Estherville, 2018 is all yours. Thank you.
Mukiri Gitiri says that every good artist goes through a plateau stage. At this point, an artist feels like he or she has been doing the same thing over and over. He or she feels like something needs to change, yet in all confusion, does not know what exactly is going to change. Such a situation is depressing and frustrating. Mukiri says an artist should take a bird point of view on his or her art. Observe from a distance and do nothing for a while. She calls this ‘plateau stage’. She suggests that at this point, an artist should take time and learn from others. Find their motivation and singularly make sense of his or her own.
It is at this stage an artist gets bigger and better. I find a lot of wisdom in this. I find her wise and an invaluable asset to this website. She is our resident photographer, sole contributor to the Mukiri Gitiri column of photos and words written about and from each other. No one needs to be Sherlock Holmes to realize that she is my girlfriend, my inspiration, my muse and the reason dennispetersblog has proudly been standing and running for four years. She says, to be a real artist, the art comes before disposition. That an artist is tasked with the job to represent people’s way of life. I am sure we will see more of her on the website in 2018.
I ran for Faces2Hearts Worldwide Blogging Competition late this year, and while most of you showed up and voted for me, I did not manage to grab that opportunity. The winner deserved it. He was a Rwandese. He had done stories on genocide and covered it exceedingly well. He stood for something, and the European Union saw that and made him the Face2Hearts Face of Africa.
Like all life challenges, I learnt a lesson.
So, I am starting a new category inspired by an article I did in the year (Read Here). A true-life story about rape. After the article, I received calls from several of the readers each with an almost similar story, and it touched my heart. So much goes on against women behind closed doors. So much hate, undermining, disrespect and inhumanity. For this reason, I did a couple of interviews that will feature here, in the new category (I do not have a name for it yet), early next year. The category will consist of real-life stories of women by women. Like all my stories, this category will be in the first persona and will cover themes such as domestic violence, sexual assault and gender discrimination among others. I am excited about this!
Slay Kings without Swords
We went for a family gathering in shags on Jamuhuri day. As the warus boiled, the chapos baked and the goat lost its head, a heated discussion begun. It was politics (rolls eyes). I’m a very opinionated person in political matters. I may not go around bragging, but no one should ever try competing with me when it comes to politics. My overwhelming political knowledge is cemented by the fact that I have read memoirs and newspapers almost 300 out of 365 days in 2017. The debate got heated, and like the wise man I am, I interjected historical facts into my points, quoting a proverb here and there. I would have easily won the debate if it were not for my cousin who ruined everything by saying that I argue like a slay king. It hurt. I would have somewhat preferred him punching me in the face like normal men do when they disagree.
I did what any man could in a home full of family. I followed him, asked him why he thought I was a slay king and what exactly slay kings do to be called slay kings. I like the king part, but the slay part was questioning my intelligence in a way I did not like. We were in the garden getting warus to take back with us home like it is in Kikuyu custom. You cannot leave shags without waru. It is a written law. He tells me that slay kings use long captions on Facebook and Instagram. That slay kings have imaginary lavish lives online compared to their normal lives. So far, I had no arguments about the definition, but I pushed on, “do they smoke sheesha in noisy clubs and post it online too?” He said that was a slay queen characteristic, but then I needed to know about the intelligence levels of slay kings so when he explained; he said that he thought that these type of men are not stupid, they have a lot of information but selectively apply it.
This is something to think about before 2018 begins, is it not?
In 2017 I had two favourite reads. There is BlackAss by A. Igoni Barret from Lagos, Nigeria. Igoni is an exemplary and liberal writer. The main character starts off as black, then white but with a black ass, literally. Igoni himself is a character in his own book and he is called @_igoni on twitter and he is a writer in the first part but then becomes female with dreadlocks in the other part. Are we still together or did I lose one of you? He is vivid, he is splendid, unconventional and a great writer. Get that book, get it from Magunga Bookstore. It is worth every cent and every second.
Then there is Goldfinch. Except for the small fonts, Goldfinch expresses everything I would like to be when I finally decide that it is time to publish my novel. It is written in the first persona (like most of my stories), it is vivid to the very detail. It is brutally honest, real, and creative and you can barely tell whether or not it is fiction. You might not get it on Magunga Bookstore since it is not African, but look for it on Amazon or Kindle, Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.
I did not get a chance to read Drunk by Bikozulu, even though I have it. I think I will just wait for the hardcopy. Reading from a screen depresses the hell out of me. No spoilers please, okay? I had an excellent time reading his ‘over 40s’ category from his website. Very insightful, inspiring and disturbing in some instances.
Game of Thrones
I am told that we have to wait for 2019 to see the final season of Game of Thrones? Why now? This is just sad.
In the past four years, I have kept a record of the good stories I wrote during the year. This evaluation came with the emotion and the fun I had writing my posts. This year I find myself unable to judge, each title triggers some feeling that is so distinct from the other. There is Damien, Hidden Thoughts, Rape, Dear Mother, and Fatherhood. If I list them all, I would have the whole year in this article that is not cool because I have a word limit.
I wish I had a list of accomplishments for this year. 2017 has been that trial step you go through without any tools. You get into the trial house, and the first blow comes straight to your face, and when you lie down in pain and anguish, you start calculating how lucky you would have been if you had brought a helmet. A little later as you keep walking, a bullet comes straight for your chest, and then you wish you had bought a bulletproof vest. You keep losing and losing and getting hurt, and you keep learning and learning. There is nothing else you can do; you cannot change course, so you keep going receiving punches and bullets and hope that by the time events start recurring, you will have brought the right gear for the coming year.
I cleared campus this year, and I think that counts. But only the Lord knows, I will not survive another trashy year like 2017.
There are some instances I will sit down with a friend or a stranger, and as they speak, I will be recording their events in my mind, and when they are done, I will ask whether I can write about their experiences on the blog and somehow they always agree. Then I ask for vivid details, and they will offer them helpfully like I did not just ambush them.
I want to pass my gratitude to all my characters (the real ones) from my stories in 2017. Sometimes I have been ferociously honest it has even scared me, and when I forwarded the draft to them, they quickly approved and I was dismayed. It takes a lot of confidence to tell a personal story and an even much more courage to let your account be written down and become a lesson to other people. These stories might have a dark past, but the fact that you are willing to talk about them means you have grown past the experiences.
The plan is to have more nonfiction than fiction in 2018, to have the Mukiri Gitiri’s category back, to bring back the travel category and to kill the poetry part.
That said, it’s Merry Merry Christmas from dennispetersblog, a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2018. Read a lot, travel even more and never forget that what we chase after each morning is happiness, everything else is beside the point and a misplaced goal. Keep winning.
Last one to switch the lights off. See you all in 2018. Happy Holidays.