Friday, November 21, 2014

What you don't know.

I have been challenged by a mentor to write a CV detailing what I don't know.
At first I thought, "Are you messing with me?" And after we talked about it, I realized that there is a lot more sense to it, because am comfortable with what I know, as compared to what I don't know.
To a reader like me, you also know that there's the desire to grow a library and read more not because you can, but because there's so much you don't know about that's out there.

So, take a look at your CV.

Take a very good look and note down three things you excel at.

Then, note down three things and in this case skills or knowledge points that you are not aware of. For me it's: Sign Language, how to operate a Professional HD camera, and Baking.

So, think of the things you don't know and how you can learn. I learned that my Mentor was trying to make me seek out lessons to learn what I don't know, and not be contented with only what I know.

Monday, November 17, 2014

One displeased shopper

I am angry following an incident that happened this morning at the Tuskys Supermarket here in Kisumu.

I woke up at 5:50am and snoozed my alarm till 6:16am before cleaning the house and braiding what was left of my hair. My hairdresser told me to get my hands on Miadi Scalp Healer to help soothe my scalp given the nature of my work and my 'reluctance' to girlie up! So, that's what I went to buy at Tuskys.

It's nearer to our home, and it was on my way to the Library so I figured why not go in and get the hairfood and then leave.
So, as I was reaching out for the hairfood, one slipped and fell and I returned it. I continued listening to my musi and looking at the prices and reaching out for more products when this lady tapped my shoulder and I turned. She was holding one of the Miadi products, I smiled and prompted her, "yes!"
She said, "umeangusha hii, na sasa itabidi uilipie, hivyo ndivyo sisi hufanya."

I removed my earphones and she went on, "yes, ni wewe umeangusha and itabidi ulipe sababu imeanguka na sasa imepasuka hapa chini, ama tulete camera?"

Wait! Hold up!
I dropped it?
And I made it crack? Where's the crack? How come I did not see it? 

So, I look to see that it costs 430/= and I had already picked the 400g scalp healer which was way cheaper at 390/= and this lady was on my case that I pay for it?

She went ahead to call the man in-charge.
He asked me, "madam how are you?"
"Not fine."
"Why aren't you fine? Tell me what's happened."
"Okay, I was comparing prices of products and I reached out for the scalp healer and this other container must have fallen, while I was at it. I picked it and put it back and it was fine, then some minutes later this lady walks up to me and says that I have to pay for the crack, and she comes insisting that I did it intentionally and that I have to pay, so why can't I pay for what I wanted, besides it's not my fault that you put your products so close together and on the top most shelf- and further more I am not the one who chose such low quality plastic for packaging the Miadi hairfood!"

"Madam, wacha kukasirika, kubali umekosa."

"Haven't you been listening? Ama "not my intention" ndio huelewi?"

"No, you know what! I'll pay for the oil and then give it to someone who will use it, so can I go now?"

"Stop calling me Madam! Mimi sio mwalimu! I am pissed off and you are not helping! Nipe niende!"

I walked back to the aisle, took the hairfood from the lady, and then she snatched it out of my hand immediately and said, "look, I am sorry, listen, take the scalp healer and usikasirike na mimi."

I took the scalp healer, paid for it and now here I am still seething with anger because someone approached a situation the wrong way and made me lose my cool. I know people in business believe that "the customer is always right," and I have been called off for being overtly emotional, but as this goes, I am done with shopping at the Tuskys here in Kisumu.

I could get over it, because it was a small incident, but I have come to learn that "it's my money,my appreciation, and if I cannot be treated with an ounce of respect for it then let it be!" So, now I'll probably take a walk to town to buy stuff or stroll to Kibuye and try out "Westmatt."

PS: Turns out the hairfood was way cheaper at Tuskys because at Ukwala and Nakumatt it's 420/=

Do not let anyone define you.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

You shouldn't be here

"You shouldn't be here."

I turned to look at my self appointed bodyguard at Ukwala Supermarket. It was 3pm and I suddenly had the desire for some chocolate cake and coffee, not that I was hungry or in a good mood. I had the money and the desire and went for it! Sigmund knew about such stuff!
So there he was, in a blue T-shirt and jeans that had probably been to more places than his shoes. He had a smile that would have suited a teenager.

"Hi, I'm Lenny, we are friends on Facebook."
"Okay, and you know who I am?"
"Dora, you write some good stuff, I just thought you lived there in Nai or something."
"So, do you work here in Kisumu?"
"Yes, but maybe we could have coffee some time, I know you love coffee."

I nodded but truth is I did not know anything about him. I have 5,000 friends on Facebook, most of them have read my works and in one way or another found themselves in the list of friends as determined by a social network.
I thought about it for hours after walking out of Ukwala with the cake and promise of coffee time.
I had been reading some romance novels by Elizabeth Lennox with a couple of Sheikhs that were as pompous and seemed like the gods of love that simply being called out like that reminded me of one of the heroines.

I haven't done much writing since Monday, but am working on it this weekend hoping to finish my #NanoWrimo challenge and get moving too.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The New 50 Rules of Work by Robin Sharma

I got this list of 50 rules of work from Robin Sharma that I find helpful when it comes to work.
For now, I will share only six, you can read the rest on his blog:

1. You are not just paid to work. You are paid to be uncomfortable, and to pursue projects that scare you.
2. Good enough isn't just good enough.
3. To double your income, triple your rate of learning.
4. The bigger the dream, the more important the team.
5. An addiction to distraction is the death of creative production.
6. Lead you first. You can't help others reach for their highest potential until you are in the process of reaching for your own.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"FIRE" is available for download at Amazon.

I finally did finish writing "Fire" and I have started working on book two which follows in the series and it's titled "Water."
This project was close to my heart because I had this idea when a publisher told me that he was looking for the "African Voice" in my work and could not find it, and hence he turned down the proposal of this story, and my friend's husband, was so pleased when he read the first chapter that he told me I should write it. 
You know the publishing industry is all about business while writing is an art. It may take a Writer, years or even their whole life to get noticed for their skills and creativity- but am grateful that we have avenues like CreateSpace and Smashwords that allow writers to explore and improve on their writing.
So, I started writing "Fire" last year. At first it was to keep my friend's husband entertained. He loves reading, and he insisted that I write and share snippets of the story with him, little did I know that he was doing this because my friend Grace had asked him to. They were engaged by then, and she was looking for ways to encourage me to take my writing seriously by even getting "fake fans." I was angry when I found out, but the feeling didn't last.

What's this book about?
Fire is the first of four books in the series titled "Currents," and it follows the life of a young Prince named Ustawi. He is brought into the world and received by a father who expects to have the best legacy through him, and though everyone is pleased, there is but one man named Ukweli who has had a vision of what is to come under the boy's reign. Fire introduces the Prince as a boy, while the remaining three books -Water, Wind, Earth will focus on his growth into leadership and also focus on whether the vision Ukweli had would come to pass.
Why should you read it?
It's a family read that's deeply rooted in culture, customs of the African people like the naming ceremony, betrothals, respect for elders and the names of the characters are inspired by time in Kiswahili.
Why Currents?
I took the theme of this series from the elements of nature: Water, Wind, Fire, Earth. 
I believe that we are as dynamic as we can be, and things happen to influence our actions and decisions in life that sometimes are beyond us, so just like there are currents in the water- I figured that this theme would be symbolic in depicting Prince Ustawi's coming of age.

So, thank you for always supporting me by letting me rant about my experiences here and sharing my words with your friends and family. I would also like to request you to do the same for this book.
You can either buy the ebook or the print version on Amazon, just click here and you are on your way to receiving a piece of work by yours truly :-)
Thank you.
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Monday, November 3, 2014

One down, lots more to go.

Yesterday was a long and very determined day for me and the results of my efforts made today even better. What a way to start a week, right?
Well, here's what I'm talking about.

​I finally finished writing book one of the Currents series and it's titled "Fire," so whether self-publishing or traditional publishing is best- I am going the self-pub way and I have to order at least a copy for me to proof and keep in my library as a token of my hard work!

What if you'd like to read it? How, when and where can you get a copy?
I'll let you know in due time once the links are activated, but trust me on this one- this book took a toll on me in terms of going back into history and working through the customs of people who lived long before my great grandfather.

It's been a wonderful year for me and my family- and their support is not lost on me, so I'm grateful and now that "Fire" is ready, let's see how many minds it'll set ablaze!

Though this book is complete, I'll have to admit that my NanoWrimo performance is not going so well. I have written 2,612 words so far and I have 47,388 words more to go before November 30th! :-(
I will get there, I can focus on my off days to achieve it- so maybe tomorrow, and on 5th, something could come out of 48hours of pure bliss!

It feels good to accomplish something, but it gets even better when you set higher standards and work hard towards them, and for this I'd say that I am learning that I cannot do it all- no matter how much I beat myself for failing on a task- I am constantly reminded by Grace and Grumpy that I am doing great. Joseph's been of help too, but he clearly stated that I am a quasi-fan because I did not throw a pity party when Man U lost to Man City. I think it's because I said, "well, they lost this game, but am glad they still get their salary..."

He gave me the Darth Vader look, and since then we have not shown each other our teeth...maybe he'll smile tomorrow when I offer to take Grace for a walk so he can work on his Thesis!
Do not let anyone define you.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The best writing advice I ever got.

I never took my writing seriously.
The first story I ever wrote was titled "Butterfly Gossips" and it was the tale of identical twins Sasha and Tasha who fall in love with the same guy and have to work out their differences to see who the guy chooses.
Straight up drama I tell you.

And I was in form three by then. I had lots of homework to do, subjects to choose, and no boyfriends to brag about save for three guys all in form two who thought I had an accent and I danced better than anyone else.

But even then, I just wrote because I could. It was not serious to me because all I wanted was to study Psychology and spend the rest of my life making the world a better place.

When I got to the university, I realized that I could major in Psychology and take up Creative Writing and Literature courses all under the guise of 'Integrated Studies,' and I jumped on it! I wrote short stories, came across Smashwords and Amazon and since then I have written twenty five ebooks, published print copies of my memoir, and there's more to be done.

So, if you are asking yourself, what brought this on?
The Commonwealth Short Story Writers Competition 2015. I was going through their website and for the third time, looking to submit a story. Having read my previous entries I have to admit that they were not as strong and beautiful as they should have been. And it brought back the best advice I ever got from my Literature Professor at USIU, and his words were "bleed, Dora, it's all you have to do on any blank page."

It has been a wonderful year so far as regards my writing, and with the upcoming NanoWrimo, I feel as though I have more to prove and to go beyond the surface to produce good pieces. I don't know if you have ever been inspired by one person in your life at the point where it felt like no one is seeing you sink. If it were not for my Professor's take on my writing, I believe I would never have worked up the guts to consider going into print, but he did love one of my romance stories and said if he were young, it'd be the best book he'd ever read. He went on to say that I would write so many books, and some may be crap to me but solid gold to others- but what mattered was my writing.
If I stopped writing, I was not a Writer.

So, if you are writing and it seems as though it's not as good or you are not getting the attention you dream of, you'd better read these articles:
Ten things I'd like to say to Young Witers
Tips for Young Witers

And here's my advice: keep writing!
Do not let anyone define you.