Celebrating East African Writing!
It’s been known that writers use many different things, little tricks and tricks to keep them inspired and creative while working on their script. I suppose that those little tricks and secrets depend on what you are writing. And of course research, character sculpting, plotting, and all those things you learn at the writers’ school are extremely important. (I have very good reason to believe there is a school, except that it isn’t the classroom kind of school, otherwise some people who have spent a lot of time in good schools would actually be good writers, and not just people who think they can write.)
But sometimes the mind needs just a little help. Music works for me. Sometimes. Like I said, it depends on what I am writing. When I am writing a piece that is supposed to present like a college thesis paper, silence and lots of dusty books arranged in a pattern that would seem very disorderly to a guest, and my mother, work pretty well for me. But when I am writing the kind of work I am expected to churn out every week, the editor’s note here, the short fiction pieces there, the I’m-crazy-but-this-is-what-I-think stuff a little to the left over there, I need music to keep me going.
I’ve done Swahili Soul and Coffee House Rock to get me in the head of a surbabian college princess. Reggae to get me in the head of the ganja head in Mukurwe-ini. Hip Hop and Crank to get into the head of a teenage kid who thinks what is going on in his little world is as important as who’s going to be President of Kenya in 2012. Latin fever to tap into some of the passion of Juanes and Shakira if they were trying to make a world come alive on paper. A little Bach and Vivaldi when I need to be honest. I even did some Taarab once, with a little Bango on the side, it only made me really homesick though.
So, why don’t you share with us? What keeps you going when you have to keep going and the editor’s number is flashing on your phone screen but you won’t answer because you are still at line 3 of page 2 of a piece that is supposed to be 11 pages long?
After you comment and share at the bottom of this piece, allow me to lead you to this week’s reading.
The Editor’s Pick this week is Freedom’s Ribbon: With a sudden jerk, his hands went to work over his stomach, scratching furiously through his shirt. The bites itched so bad, he thought his body was on fire… Read it, and then vote, prove me wrong or right.
A Ceremony of Pied Wagtails: We always knew that the black-tailed birds were not meant to be hunted, or even eaten. Perhaps it was the ominous black on the …
Pearls of Wisdom: The smoke from the fire stung my eyes, which I now shut tightly, and caused a thin stream of mucus to flow down my nose, but I dared not complain.
Building the Nation: Having tarmacked for five years without securing formal employment, the university graduate had taken into working as a manual…
After the Deed: It all happened on a Sunday afternoon. We had gone to a Jam session in town for some music and alcohol. The club was lively and full of…
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
– Sylvia Plath