I am a college drop out.
I had to drop out of college not once, but twice (out of Accounting and Mathematics) before accepting that I might possibly be called to more creative pursuits. It was a tough choice to make because having been born and raised in Kenya meant that certain career choices will never be deemed as “serious.”
From an early age I enjoyed reading everything I could get my hands on. Most kids learn about the birds and bees from their playground buddies. I found out by reading a book on parenting. I was eight years old at the time, and I pinched it from my parent's bedroom. Shortly afterwards I came across a set of encyclopaedias called “The New Book of Knowledge.” I read most of them from cover to cover, just for fun. That’s why to this day I’m really good at Trivial Pursuit. My head is still stuffed full of largely useless facts.
One of my favourite genres as a kid was science fiction. I loved Jules Verne. “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” was my favourite. It still is.
In high school, I buried my creative interests beneath the mantle of the science subjects, finding an outlet in the annual creative writing competition. I ranked first in a couple of them, but I still didn't get what the universe was telling me. So it got mad, and decided to teach me the hard way. A cruel twist of fate saw me begin a course in Accounting, which I failed and was discontinued. Fate wasn’t done with me yet, though. I ended up enrolling for a degree in Mathematics at Nairobi University. That time around I quit before they could discontinue me. If you can't beat them, run away before they beat you.
I moved to South Africa, where I studied a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dramatic Arts, majoring in Television and Film. It was lots of fun and I won a couple of awards and scholarships. But then in third year, I read a book called “Art and Scholasticism” by Jacques Maritain. I almost dropped out again because of a very convincing argument he made - from first principles - about why art cannot be taught in schools. It deeply resonated with the doubts I had had since day one of my degree. And as a result of that, I jettisoned any thoughts of a career in academia and dived deep into the world of praxis.
I started a production company, Coal Stove Pictures, with some of my classmates. We launched before we graduated. Looking back, it was the best decision I could have made at the time. That was when my education really began. Over the course of ten years, we produced a number of television series and TV movies and a “blockbuster” film by South African standards (heh, heh). I also won two Writers Guild of South Africa Awards and the Kenyan Kalasha Award for writing.
After 10 years, I was ready to step away from running a company. I wanted to return to my first love - spending hours alone in a dark room, writing, smoking and drinking coffee. Okay - I don't really smoke, but the image was worth a thousand words, wasn't it? And this is getting a bit long-winded, so I need to speed things along. I dropped out of running a company and got back to full time writing - but with a twist. I decided to write novels. Why? Because novels are finished products. Screenplays are not. Plus novels aren't subject to budgetary constraints at the manuscript level. Nobody will tell you "we can't pull off that stunt," or "we can't afford Lupita Nyong'o." By the way, working with Lupita is on my bucket list. Just putting it out there. Let's see if this law of attraction stuff really works.
“Love Back” is my first novel which I co-wrote with Cheryl S. Ntumy. “Lwanda Magere And The Shadows Of The Past” is my second novel. After a two year hiatus from social media, during which I deleted all my accounts, I opened new accounts at the handles below. Follow me there.