Tuesday, September 05, 2006

LETTER TO SELF

Yesterday I saw the beautiful African sunset. Before my very eyes, the vast maasai plains were turned into that delectable Kentucky-fried shade of brown. Suddenly, a surreal vista of undulating hills sprang at mefrom beyond the whistling thorn trees. Every moment was of subliminal silence punctuated by the chirp and trill of the weaver bird calling out to its mate.

I felt as though transported to that instance in time when the primordial oozed had coalesced into the uni, then the multi-cellular and finally those two vertabrates of the avian species. Somehow I knew that those two birds would mate; all the while evolving into erectus, sapien, sapien sapien...right before my eyes.

Maybe I had become a god; maybe I had finally encountered the primitively romantic beauty of the African bush; or else I was trying to be Karen Fucking Blixen.

All that I am not, so lets cut the crap...

I am in the heart of maasai-land with Binyavanga Wainaina and Billy Kahora. Now this Binyavanga guy won the Caine Prize and I have just read his short story from KWANI? 02, and I am huko thinking, enyewe Potash... Caine Prize... hapana. Sawa, it can be achieved... you jua! Ati Potash, Caine Prize Winner... Kwani! But I have got to get my fiction on point, first. I have got to pull myself up by the bootstraps and no maneno of sijui, Dr. King, "... but we have no boots...!"

Potash, here is pen, here is paper, give us your masterpiece.

Oka, not leo... but you jua, we have to actualise the dream. Yes, that dream- The Great Kenyan Canon can be achieved... Taban Lo Liyong are you reading me? A lot has changed, Taban, since you been gone.

Thing is I, ask myself- I, The P, that is- what will be my contribution.

Oh, me... you jua, I was semaing to Timi- that is my boy...
Zii...

Okay, sawa, deal is; you jua that Nas song that goes sum' like: "... the first rapper to bring the Platinum Plaque to the hood...," yeah, that one, si you jua it? Now me, ehh,me I will be the first writer to bring the Caine Prize to the 'Hood. Can you imagine the hullabulloo? All those farts from the BBC and sijui nani pushing the sales of the Lonely Planet Guide to Nairobi up the best seller lists only to discover that my part of Nairobi is unmapped...

And huko in the 'Hood,things is platinum mpaka some hoodrat that sucked my dick some six years ago, when I was KOed, is doing interviews for Buzz, or some shit like that coz they is Celebs now. But my boys... ish... they is crazy like. Just jua that for like six months there will be no Rizla anywhere from Diani to Daadab. Yeah, so some of the boys will just have to tear up some Bibles and copies of Pocket Shakespeare and improvise- what a profound breaking-of-shackles metaphor that would be!

And the plumes of smoke that will rise over Nairobi that night will make Hiroshima look like a monday night wank- unremarkable! We are talking here 'bout a right royal piss on The UNEP parade. (It is a whole effing economy, innit? The Potash Economy- UN dudes get to push more paper, tabloids push their sleaze and every peddlar from Dandora to Uthiru pushing a VX.)

Maybe I will cut it and maybe I will not, but a man can try. It is about time to move on from the; I can write into the, I have written because the writer's place is to write. Yes, I write and leave the reading to the readers and their, often times, shallow interpratations and antagonistic attempts at pigeon-holing.. (yeah, yeah...Potash is a forty year old... go fuck yourself, or sum'...) All I think I got to do is be true to myself and my art. Oh, and maybe prostitute my art a bit; as in surely, if all an Editor wants is copy, I give him copy... yes, some of the times, but not all the times...!

Then I got to tell stories about my Africa. Trouble with those stories is that if I do not win the Caine Prize or some related blah... blah... blah... I will die a struggling writer. Dude, do I look like I am gonna die waiting for the big one, huh? Me, what I am gon do, eh... wacha I tell you the deal... I am going get me a plastic surgeon, an exotic name and a six figure advance on my seminal; 'The Mating Calls of the Maa People of Eastern Africa.'

mmhhhh... subliminal shit that... recommended by the New York Times for long haul trip into the Heart of Darkness...

... oh, here goes: Maasai fella, check... phrase book, check... This is Research 101.

"Jembo... jembo bana... mimi BLIKS ewe maasai, eh!"

12 comments:

egm said...

Just the Caine Prize? Why not go for it all and aim for the Nobel?

Too true. Such a feat would definitely spur others to try for literary fame. I am sure reading will spike up as they study how others have pieced words together to come up with masterpieces. And I hope that is something that would be more than just a fad!

Represent away brother!

Njoki said...

Do. Do write. Don't just tease a girl. Write.

mdkims said...

write away ... arundhati roy sold bottles before she won the booker prize ... potash sold ______ before winning_________

mdkims said...

arundhati roy sold bottles before she won the booker prize ... yours is also a glorious journey

Don_quixote's said...

Nice post/letter to self, where are my manners,

Jembo(by the way does it have a "w" in the end or its just my ears?), a really nice post/leter to self, i just have one question, if am not allowed to ask any its ok too, curiousity never killed a human just a cat sio. A writer must be a reader too(just my assumption) so what is the best book you ever read?

Don_quixote's said...

Nice post, where are my manners,

Jembo(by the way does it have a "w" a the end or its just my ears) i just have one question, if am not allowed any questions its ok too, if what i hear is true curiousity is yet to kill a human just cats. A writter must be a reader too(just my assumption) so what is the best book you have read according to you?

POTASH said...

EGM: There is crazy stuff that goes into winning the Nobel Prize...politics and all, all awards got that anyway. I think the Caine prize can be achieved because a bunch of peeps who are published in Kwani? have either won or been shortlisted. It gets really close to home because they are everyday people I can get to talk to and read their stories as they develop.

Man you know, generally Kenyans don't read...but yeah, we can get them reading because if my book is coming from through a foreign publisher, suddenly Kenyans will want to read it.

@ Njoki; lol a boy can only try, and this girl has to wait on just a little longer... at least you will have earned brag rights for being one of my earliest fans.

@Mdkims.. okay that one made me smile...lmao... we do not want to know what potash sold, now, do we? But rest assured it didn't come in a bottle.

@Don... ish... jembow...heikyuna metiti... mimi soma vietambu mengi saana. 'pana moja sema murwa shinda yote. Lakini bana mimi iko soma soma saa yote, kweli. Wekati mwengine napenda soma ile 'No Feast for Kiundu', 'Truphena the Student Nurse... na mengine ya toto ndogo. Alafu saa nyingine mimi soma Plato, Descartes... ile mezungu yote ambaye na kwisha kufa- DWM!

Όstalgia said...

you got my head ringing on that one... yeah... go

Kabinti said...

that response to Don kilt me

Girl next door said...

You've got writing skills, so keep doing it. You never know where it may take you.

POTASH said...

Mhhh... yeah, we is trying...to write...yeah, the hood is waiting...

gishungwa said...

Too good, LOL
"Wekati mwengine napenda soma ile 'No Feast for Kiundu', 'Truphena the Student Nurse... na mengine ya toto ndogo."