THIS MAN

I admire this man. Not like literally, but I admire his art. He writes like a god!

In my short life, I’ve allowed myself to be inspired by other exceptional people. For instance, around the same time last year, I bumped into J. Cole’s music on YouTube auto-play. You know J. Cole right? If you don’t, I’ll try and describe him for you in one sentence. J. Cole is the hip hop storyteller who puts his soul in his verses. He’s that good. I listened to J. Cole’s album – Forest Hills Drive – and every other album and mixtape he had to offer. The album Forest Hills Drive helped me pull out of a depression. A grim state I was in. I’ll tell you more about that in a different post. For now, I’m all about, This Man.

Correct me if I’m wrong, it seems to me that in our Kenyan culture, we tend to appreciate talent and skill from foreign lands rather than what’s bred locally. We adore the West. Too much than we should. We forget that we have gifted mortals among us. Men and women who’ve discovered their path. And they’ve decided to score the best at it. Hence my admiration for This Man.

This Man is a great writer. He’s beyond a single word description as far as his writing is concerned. He’s been writing for a little under a decade now. I took to reading his work for a period of forty days (a writer in the wilderness I was). Each day I read articles on his blog, published work on newspapers, online platforms and magazines. I soaked in and studied his art. And not a day of all that mine-digging was I disappointed. I found gold. A wealth of gold.

He’s chatty (actually describes his writing as such). He’s adventurous. A radical who says what he needs to say without fear. He hates clichés and boy is he funny! I find that a bit odd because from face value, he doesn’t look like the kind to crack jokes. I had the privilege of meeting him three times this year. It was during a three-day writer’s masterclass he was facilitating together with a lady colleague of his. Attending that class has been one of my best milestones this year. I learnt, laughed, was super thrilled and ate some good food at the Hilton Hotel where all this was taking place. Most importantly, I scaled a couple of notches higher in my writing. I gained more than I paid for. His lessons encouraged us budding writers to write more. In a way, this blog is a by-product of that.

This Man loves his family to bits and pieces, mostly his two kids. He has a knack for good things in life and everything luxury. He’s well travelled and yet remains grounded in his African roots. A mysterious man he is. He has an eye for a good story and will pick it up miles away. He turned 39 recently. In a Facebook post highlighting 39 random things he was thinking about during his birthday, he went on to share some valuable insight about his life and writing career. ‘Writing is mainly about insecurities.’ ‘There is nothing to writing, you simply sit in front of your laptop, and bleed.’ The best advice he ever received was, ‘Never believe your own hype,’ he learnt that from Oyunga Pala. Then he said he is a leopard, not a lion. Well, I am a lion. A lion taking lessons from a leopard (hmmm).

This Man is not a lazy writer, he is extremely hard working. He always goes the extra mile. He doesn’t just write, he does everything possible to invest in his writing. He best understands that input equals output and this is seen in the cost endured to present a stellar work. He is an avid reader. He knows and teaches that as a writer, ‘what you read is who you are.’ That good sauce will inevitably be felt in your writing. That good reads spur good writing. He is extremely creative, highly imaginative and a captivating storyteller. I like the way he has an arsenal of words at his disposal. He has a personal relationship with words. Like he’d say, they have a kind of relationship where words fart around him.

If you’ve made it this far, I bet you’re thinking, ‘Muindi, what does your bromance fantasy got to do with me?’ Frankly speaking, I’m not sure either. This is simply one writer paying homage to another writer he admires (his work okay?). And somehow, I feel obliged to do so. From reading This Man’s work, I have grown in my own. A good turn deserves another right? So, if you see the goodness and admiration in today’s post, stick around. You’re almost through. I promise to do the namedropping at the end. Deal?

This Man loves whisky. (You should see the smile on my face when I hear whisky mentioned.) A double Chivas Regal, Glen Fiddich or Johnny Walker black on the rocks would most probably be his choice. Knowing his choice of whisky made me realize I was drinking shit. Hence I’m turning things around. These days I’m discovering new tastes on the rocks in my short glass.

I would love to meet up with him for a chat as we floor a Chivas Regal 18 or 21-year old. I’m not sure what we’d talk about but that’s one addition to my bucket list.

I also learnt that This Man is far from perfect. Just like Don Drapper in the series Mad Men, he is a good-bad guy. A lucky one. Reading his work has opened my eyes to his strong points and weak points as a writer and as a man. And like most, he’s just a man.

His name is Biko.

Long live legend. Salute!

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