Lessons From My Story-telling Journey
A True Story
on Mar 20, 2019
Sharing stories has always been the internal force driving me. I love the art of playing with words to create a gripping tale. And my happiest moments these days are when I craft a story that I think is great and someone out there likes it.
I first told a story way back in 1998 when I was in Standard Five to columns of desks in an empty classroom but I enjoyed the experience nonetheless. The story wasn't of my own making; I had heard it on TV.
Then when I got into Starehe Boys' Centre in 2002 for my high school education, I had opportunities to share stories with a real audience. I recollect vividly that year in 2002 as our year as First-formers was coming to an end, I requested our Geography teacher - a likeable lady called Mrs. Mwangi - to let me share a story with my classmates during her lesson. She obliged. Using figurative language, I proceeded to entertain my classmates with a tale I had read in a magazine about HIV/AIDS.
I also shared stories with the whole school during evening assemblies right from when I was in Form 1. When I was preparing to give my first speech in the assembly back in 2002, Rev. Macharia (the teacher who was responsible for approving speeches that students wanted to give), asked me in a sincere manner, "Will you manage to face the whole school?" I told him I would. And I did.
Well, I did often feel nervous as I sat in the assembly hall podium waiting to give a speech but when I stood up to give a speech, that nervousness disappeared like darkness at dawn. I enjoyed standing in front of the whole school to give speeches but some of them were a disaster especially the ones I gave when I was in Form 2 in 2003. Like during one evening talk that I gave that year I was in Form 2, I tried to give the speech without reading it from a paper. Oh my! What I ended up saying was a jumble of incoherent ideas. It made me feel guilty afterwards.
Never one to give up easily, I continued sharing stories during evening assembly as my high school years rolled by. And I got better at it with time. When I was in Form Four, I shared stories with the school about the lives of Albert Einstein and Franklin D. Roosevelt as I had read about them in the 1999 Person of the Century Time magazine. A school-mate called Mulinge Ndambuki complimented me for the speech about Albert Einstein by saying it had been excellent.
And when I entered the institute division of Starehe in 2006 to pursue a Diploma in Information Technology, I still continued giving speeches during Dean's Talk - a weekly meeting between teachers and students of the institute. During the Dean's Talk, I implored the school administration to change its system of administration to match with the technology of our time. If my ideas had been implemented, Starehe would probably still be a great school.
By far, the best speeches I gave during my entire six years at Starehe were the three-day evening talks I gave in January 2007, a few months before I left the institute. I challenged the students to "think like a genius". And then I ended the speeches with a shaggy-dog story that set the whole assembly convulsing with laughter. Afterwards after I finished the talks, a student approached me for a copy of the speeches - a proof that they were truly wonderful.
Although I enjoyed delivering most of the speeches I gave during my Starehe years, I have to admit that I plagiarized them from books, magazines and newspapers. Several school-mates were smart enough to figure out where I had extracted some of the speeches. But that didn't embarrass me at all.
Since leaving Starehe, I haven't had as many opportunities to speak to a real audience as I used to do in the school. Thanks to the internet though, I have been able to carry on with my story-telling hobby by sharing stories in a blog.
I first opened a blog in early 2011 when I was at the University of Nairobi. The blog's title was "Thoughts of a Dreamer". A friend advised me to change that title which I did but eventually, I gave up maintaining the blog. Come 2013, I decided to open a new blog by reverse-engineering a website of Ngishili Njuguna, a blogger I later befriended.
That evening in 2013 after I successfully reverse-engineered Ngishili's blog and made it available online as my own, I felt very elated. Even a lady-friend of mine called Lillian remarked of how good I looked that evening when we met for a choir practice at All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi.
But what I didn't know back then in 2013 was that I still had a lot to learn about blogging. Like I had to do away with plagiarizing stories from books, magazines, newspapers and websites the way I used to do at Starehe. Then I had to learn to make my stories truthful by avoiding lies and exaggerations. And then I had to refrain from poking fun at other people's weaknesses because I, too, have my own weaknesses.
I have successfully put those lessons into practice in my blogging. These days, I am proud of the story-teller I am turning out to be. And if asked the greatest lesson I have learnt as a story-teller, I would say it is this: if you harbour resentment or are immature in some other ways, those weaknesses will tend to show up in your writing. That's all I am saying.
Sharing is CaringLike this story? Then share it on:
Donating = LovingIt takes so much time to research, write and edit the stories and videos in this blog. If you do find any joy in going through them, please consider supporting the author with a donation of any amount - anything from buying him a cuppa to treating him to a good dinner. Thanks to everyone who is contributing; you rock!
The Me of Today
A True Story
on Mar 16, 2019
Over the last thirteen years since I turned 18, I have at times thought of myself as a handsome young man. And the interest some young women have shown in me has helped me to confirm that I am indeed as handsome as I perceive myself to be.
Yes, a couple of lasses have had a crush on me over the last thirteen years. Like some time in the year of our Lord 2011 when I was teaching at a small school in Nairobi called Mathematics Institute of Kenya, one of my female students started behaving in a way that made it apparently clear that she fancied me.
Then in the course of the year 2015 when I was teaching piano at Wynton House of Music in Nairobi, a young woman then of 31 years got employed as a receptionist of the music school. From the instant she was employed, she started showing an interest in me by coming to where I was to share stories with me. But it didn't hit me she was taken with me till one day when she told me of how she liked the way I smiled.
And then there is this lass in my neighbourhood called Barbra [not her real name] who started showing an interest in me way back in 2005 after I cleared my high school studies. In December of that year when I visited her home, she gave me a jumper that I loved wearing when I was in Starehe Institute in 2006.
At another time in 2011, I visited Barbra's home only to find she was all alone with her little child. She invited me into the living room where we talked about sex and relationships, a discussion that I found rather steamy. As our talk progressed, she tucked her little child in another room and then came to seduce me. Somehow, I resisted her advances.
Though I was never infatuated with Barbra, I sometimes earlier in this decade enjoyed dropping by her shop in our hometown of Kiserian to talk about - yes, you guessed it right - sex and relationships. I found her talks insightful and exciting in an immoral way. She at one time took advantage of my visits to her shop by asking me to take her for outings in a posh hotel.
One late evening in the year 2013 as I was taking a leisurely walk in Kiserian, I chanced to meet with Barbra as she was walking to her home, or rather, her parents' home where she lived. When we met, she asked me to accompany her. And like a fool, I gave in to her request.
Of Barbra asking me to accompany her to her home that late evening reminds me of the story in the Book of Proverbs about a young simple man lacking judgement who, as he was going down the street, met a woman who led him astray with her smooth talk. That's why I have said I gave in to Barbra's request like a fool.
And, as you might already be thinking, Barbra tried to seduce me as we strolled to her home. She asked me to fondle her breasts but I resisted the temptation. Then she implored me to carry her in my arms but I again resisted the temptation. Mark you, she was cajoling me to do all that during dark hours as we walked on lonely paths surrounded by bushes and trees.
Looking back, I am feeling grateful that I resisted the temptations that Barbra lay on me that late evening because if I had fondled her breasts or carried her in my arms, I would most probably have explored her further in one of the surrounding bushes during that dark hour. And who knows? I might have picked up a disease or made her pregnant. Today, she could be pestering me to help her take care of a child I wasn't prepared to bring up.
I am feeling grateful for shizzle that the me of today inherited peace of mind from the me of yesterday who resisted Barbra's temptations. And I am now asking myself, "What will the me of tomorrow inherit from the me of today?"
That question has inspired me to keep on making good decisions. Like I will avoid over-eating so that the me of tomorrow doesn't inherit excess weight from the me of today. I will also keep on exercising daily and acquiring knowledge each passing day.
My beloved reader, I beseech you to also ask yourself regularly, "What will the me of tomorrow inherit from the me of today?" Over to you!