Posts Tagged ‘Blogfest’

This year, my dearest treasure is an anthology of stories, poems, essays, and the making of poems.

Its story is one that I am both ashamed and thrilled to tell. Before I chose it for this post, I searched thoroughly for a replacement. But there was none.

Sometime in February 2011, I felt low. Too low. The lowest I have ever felt. So I thought I could buy some pills.

In the morning, I went around town buying them from different shops till I had 280 of them. Then I bought 500ml of water and made my way to Ngong Hills, into the forests and bushes there. I wanted to just lie down and forget the world for good.

But before I could do that, I, somehow, remembered my books and a fierce sense of jealousy gripped me. I said, “Who’s going to have those books?” I couldn’t remember one person who liked books enough to care for them.

So I returned to the house, packed all my books in a plastic bag and took them to the Kenya National Library. From the library, as I was passing the city mortuary on Ngong Road, I thought, “Why should my body rot in the bush when I can donate it?”

That resolved me and I started for the University of Nairobi. I went to the Chiromo Campus mortuary, which is attached to the medical lab, to inquire how the bodies for medical practice were obtained. The attendant said it is a very long procedure involving relatives and lawyers, and that I should visit the legal department in Main Campus for more information.

I thought, “No relatives!”

Needless to say, I didn’t go to the lawyers. But I was still determined to go to Ngong Hills, and so I went downtown for a bus. It was just past 5pm. Given the immortal jam on Ngong Road, I would get to my destination well after 9pm. The better.

But just outside the Kenya Archives, when I could see one of the NMOA buses, which go to Ngong, right ahead of me, my eyes wandered to a book peddler by the road. He had spread his merchandise on the ground.

And there I saw the book. The book.

The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Seventh Edition of Volume 2.

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I’m ashamed to say I picked it up and weighed it in my hands, felt it, smelled it, almost kissed it. It felt so real, so fine, so infinitely priceless.

I saw T.S. Eliot in it. Stephen King had quoted a verse from The Wastelands in The Dark Tower III. It was a great verse.

Mary Shelly was also there, with almost everyone else from Anne Laetitia Barbauld, William Blake, all the way to the likes of Doris Lessing, Anita Desai, Nadine Gordimer, etc. A century of treasure.

How could I just leave it there, huh?

I’m more ashamed to say I bought it. That night, I didn’t kill myself with the pills. I killed myself with stories and poems of invaluable value. They helped me forget certain very bad things.

Later on, I started missing the books I had taken to the Library and began buying them one by one. I have most of them now.

Thank you for reading and for participating in the Cherished Blogfest #CBF2016

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The Cherished Blogfest 2016

Posted: 2016/06/28 in Blogging, Fiction
Tags:

The #Cherished Blogfest is back!

Last year, my friends over at Blog Friends First organized the cherished blogfest  in which we talked about the most cherished objects in our lives.

Well, the #CBF is back this year and we once again invite you to share with us the most cherished object in your possession. Objects that stir your fondest, deepest memories.

cherished-badge16

Tell us what it is, post a picture of it if you like, and tell us why you cherish it.

Visit the link below to learn more.

Cherished Blogfest Homepage

Above all, join us in making new connections and renewing old ones. Visit the blogs of the co-hosts and follow them, even as you increase your own followers and readers.

Add your name and blog link in this Linky List, sign up for the Cherished Blogfest, and share your cherished memories on 29th, 30th and 31st of July 2016.

Place the badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media.

Please use the hashtag #CBF.

I pondered for days over what to write for this blog and nearly gave up, thinking that none of the things that I love is appropriate for public celebration. So I took more time and searched around my house with a greater degree of keenness. When I got to my bookshelf, I paused there for a long time, for it is the homiest place in the whole house. Those books are a treasure to me, and I’d rather lose everything else than a single page. However, the best of them all is my American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language–New College Edition.

AHDEL: It is an antique

AHDEL: It is an antique

AHDEL, I will call it here.

I love words, they fascinate me, and some days I read my dictionary the way I would read any other book. I search for new words, new phrases, new meanings to familiar words and phrases. When I was young and still living in the village, my father gave me an old Oxford Dictionary which himself he had used before. I used to read it like a novel. I knew things I had never seen, places I had never been to (and maybe would never) and words I could not pronounce. It was my Google.

When I joined high school, I maintained the spirit (it was hard not to maintain it). I even bought a 4-quire book for keeping my new words. At some point I realized that my vocabulary was truly fine (and refined). I had a great deal of synonyms for a great deal of words, a great deal of phrases to describe a great deal of things. This, coupled with an even greater love for reading and an affinity for books, in general, made my writing a bit easy, for even by then I had begun to scribble things.

English is not my native language and to speak it and write in it well, I must constantly consume it.

The AHDEL is like no other dictionary that I have ever owned. It is extremely detailed. It gives the minutest differences between words that can easily be taken for synonyms. Bold and courageous, for instance; strange and queer, bolt and dart, etc. It even has the origin of every letter in the English alphabet: from the Phoenicians, down to Greeks, to Romans, etc, and it shows every time the shape of the letter was changed.

I bought it by impulse from a second-hand dealer downtown Nairobi in 2010. It is one of the best books I’ve ever bought. It is my antique.

I also have Webster’s II New Riverside University Dictionary, and Collins English Dictionary, and Oxford—just so I am never speechless (pun intended).

Thank you for reading.

This post deviates from my usual ones, which are strictly fiction. I have not posted anything for three months due to an observation I made one day while stuck in traffic.  It led to a philosophical quandary that still plagues me to date. I hope to pull out of it sooner.

Meanwhile, my wonderful friends over at Blog Friends First, led by no other than Damyanti Gosh of Daily Writes have organized the Cherished Blogfest.

Cherished is the word!

The Cherished Blogfest is about the most cherished object in your possession. I once came across an assertion that life is but memories. Without memories there is no life. Memories trigger our emotions and we interact by our emotions. The things that we love, that we cherish the most, that we hate and loathe, and fear—we treat them as such because of the memories attached to them, invested in them.

The Cherished blogfest is NOT just for the members of the BFF: Peter Nena, Damyanti Gosh, Dan Antion, Sharukh Bombat, Paul Ruddock, and Cheryl KP.

We would also love you to tell us about the objects that spark off your fondest memories.

Therefore, for the Cherished Blogfest, we invite you to talk to us about one of your cherished objects. Tell us what it is, post a picture of it if you like, and tell us why you cherish it.

Keep your posts to a maximum of 500 words, and join us on the 24th, 25th and 26th of July 2015 in sharing memories, emotions, information.

Above all, join us in making new connections and renewing old ones. Visit the blogs of the cohosts and follow them, even as you increase your own followers and readers.

Add your name and blog link in this Linky List, sign up for the Cherished Blogfest, and share your cherished memories on 24th, 25th and 26th of July 2015.

Place the badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. 

The #Cherished Blogfest Badge

The #Cherished Blogfest Badge

NB: The Badge is a courtesy of Cheryl KP and Daniel Antion, both of whom are truly extraordinary people, full of heart, passion, dedication, and love.