Thursday, June 26, 2014

Am I a literary hoax?

There's a big fat sign in the corner of my blog. Have you noticed?

This is the blog from the Storymoja blog this week.

I have been struggling valiantly to read Dust by Yvonne Owuor. My cousin has hailed it as one of the greatest novels of its time; she says something about nuances and descriptions and the true depiction of Kenyan life evolving through neo-colonialism…something…something…really great…something…something.

I can’t seem to get past page 3.

And I thought it was just me, but I am not the only one. I asked my friend, who reads far more than me, if she was reading it – she is plodding through as well. I even asked the significant other to give it a go – he said that it was too ‘artsy’ for him.
Now before you look down your artsy noses at me (well. I am sure it is already too late), consider this: not everyone loves the greatest books, and not all the greatest books considered so by people are actually the greatest.

Surely though, you protest, she is one of the only Kenyans to have gotten the Caine Prize? (With any luck though, Okwiri Oduor will wow their socks off with her generally stupendous je-ne-sais-quoi. Who’s being artsy now?) That couldn’t have happened if they found her language bombastic, her descriptions overly flowery and her though process convoluted?

Well, let’s just say it’s a good thing I was not on the board. (A girl can dream…)

I like my writing the way I like my poetry and my people: simple. I am planning to release a book of poetry which will probably be the easiest thing to read since the Run Spot Run fables of our childhoods (or Anansi, depending on what your parents preferred). I cannot abide complicated writing.

And this ranges through to the books I read. I won’t read Shakespeare unless you force me to do it – I mean, yes, I will like it, but it will have to be dependent on a grade or a gun to my head. A child I tutor had to read Romeo and Juliet for school last term and I thought it was atrocious that a 12 year old should have to read about love –something she can barely identify with – involuntarily? I mean, I read Romeo and Juliet at about that age, but I wasn’t being forced to take a test on it. I think Shakespeare is a bit difficult even for word lovers.

Is it a terrible thing that I enjoy Marian Keyes and C.S. Lewis more? Is it so horrific that some of my favourite books are children’s ones, with short easy paragraphs and snappy, snarky action? Think of the worlds of Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton, and how much easier being a reader was then. Why must we overcomplicate what we must read? Do we intend to sound more intelligent? Is it that much like a certain tribe that I belong to *cough*, a sentence isn’t a sentence without at least 4 words containing 4 or 5 syllables? Or is it all a show?

Look, I admit it. I haven’t read all the books one who considers themselves a book lover ‘should’ read. But that doesn’t make me less of a book lover and it doesn’t mean I have to keep trying to read *shudder* that book. If I was a manuscript editor (another one of my dreams) I would probably toss ¾ of the material that comes my way and just glance over the next ‘novel of the century’. And that’s ok. Because for every Audacity of Hope/Paulo Coelho touter (yes, I know that is not a word), there has to be someone on the other side able to have an hour long discussion on How Sweet Valley Should Have Ended, right?

...originally posted here.


p.s. Or Hardy Boys...or Tom Swift...or Cricket...whatever your poison...

Monday, June 2, 2014

On the word FUCK

Guess what?

This post has cussing.

:D Also, is a rant. So the sense level, might be, you know, maybe not as up there as I would like. And I've had an emotional evening. So, yeah.

I just watched the Game of Thrones episode where the Mountain (Queen Sersei's champion) fights Prince Oberyn (Tyrion Lannister's champion) (emotional evening). Needless to say, I cussed a lot when it was over. I also hit the rewind button once - just once - to see if what I saw was what I thought I saw.

I then went on Facebook (because what is FB for, if not to NOT spoil everything on every show out there) to express my shock and horror, and my post started with "FUCK." then proceeded to "SHIT." and then to just...onomatopoeic sounds about my emotions.

The first comment on this status was "Wow, so many four letter words. Ladylike?" I felt a sigh welling up in my soul; a deep, bone wearying sigh about why this is still something that people are talking about and indeed; why this is distracting me from onomatopoeing about GoT.

I thought about whether or not to write this post or not, because the person who read it is probably going to read it.
But then I remembered that I don't give a fuck, and even if I do, I shouldn't. #fakeItTillYouMakeIT YOU CAN'T GO THROUGH LIFE CARING ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE THINK.
Unless they're your mom.

1. It was nice to be able to mourn GoT in peace. For all of 2 seconds.
2. Ladylike. What does that word mean? Does it mean not allowed to cuss? Because if being a lady means not being able to cuss, then I am ok with that. If I can't say DAMNIT really explosively when I stub my toe, then obviously, it'll never heal. This is clearly life and death.
3. Seriously, though. Who determines what that word means (the word ladylike, not the word fuck)? Is there a board or something? Is it a word whose definition can be decided by societal obligations/OPoP (OtherPeoplesOpinions)? And why? Could they at least possibly have vaginas so we can discuss it from a point of knowledge?

I don't know.
I do not think, however, that anyone but the lady should be deciding what the word ladylike means to her.
I also think that situational awareness is important. Like, I'm not going to be screaming 'YOU PUNKASS BASTARD!' in front of my dad (at the screen, of course). But on MY Facebook account...yeah. I'm all up in it.
My brother always says I cuss too much, and I'm like...yeah. Yeah I do. Is it going to be a problem, or...
But it's taken me way longer than it should to get to this point and I'm exhausted to be a rent-paying adult still explaining herself. If you're going to like me, I'm going to cuss a lot around you so you can make an informed decision about our friendship/Twitter following status et al.

So at this point...FUCK IT.