A day in the life of a writer

Writing is easy peasy until you start to call yourself a writer, then it’s the most soul crushing, life sapping, mind bamboozling activity in the universe. Sure, there are warm, spurty feelings to be enjoyed after you finish a story, but mostly, it’s crap. Today, we take you into the comically sad but smug life of your average writer.

3.00am: I’m ejected from dreamland by Rihanna howling about love and hopeless places. I hate that song. I hit snooze.

3.10am: Ugggh. I don’t think I’m very talented at waking up. I hit snooze five more times

4.00am: I throw my phone under the bed so I can go back to sleep unmolested by that woman’s whining.

8.30am: I get up. Sure I’m late, but I’m not going to panic. I’m a ‘creative’, which my employers take to mean unstable, eccentric, lazy and brilliant. To get fired, I’d have to do some really scandalous stuff. Getting to work one hour late is nothing.

9.40am: I saunter into office and head straight for the kitchen. Coffee must be had. Peter’s fruits must be sampled. That guy eats too healthy anyway. Any healthier and he might start sweating fruit juice and shitting fruit salad. So really I’m doing the guy a favor

9.45am: My ears alert me of heavy breathing and snorting right outside the kitchen door. I hear somebody gurgling phlegm. It’s the boss and I think he’s smelt me in the building. Quickly, I arrange my face to resemble that of a sick bunny, slump my shoulders and splash tap water around my nose

9.46am: “Why you disgusting puddle of nothing. You unproductive sow! You heifer of unproductivity. You…you…why are you late?!”

9.47am: I say nothing. We’re both aware of the dynamic here. If he fires me, I’ll be broke for a while, sure, but he’ll have lost me. Where will he ever find such cheap cleverness again? So I saunter over to my desk and open multiple youtube videos.

9.49am: I creep back to the kitchen, fill my basin of a mug with coffee and proceed to wake up.

10.00am: Angst

11:00am: Disorder

12.00pm: Pain, suffering. A brief but violent episode of sobbing under the desk. I consider throwing myself down the three stairs that lead to the parking lot. I disregard this dumb thought. Why is writing so hahaharrrd? Waillll.

Fuck

12.30pm: I walk out. You’d say for lunch. I say in protest.

2.30pm: I return yelling “I can do this! I can do this!” and then recite a couple of positive affirmations

3.00pm: I read dampsquid.wordpress.com for inspiration and inform everybody on facebook and twitter how happy dampsquid is making me.

3.10pm: “Why have I not received any work from you yet? Do you think you’re here to play? This is not your father’s farm!”, yells the boss.

3.12pm: I write some brilliant stuff

3.14pm: I send this brilliant stuff.

3.15pm: I leave office. I’m done with my work, aren’t I?

4.00pm: I play video games/ read books/ drink stuff.

5.00pm: I sleep.

And then I do it again.

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Don’t smile while you’re bleeding.

Smile is a good song; one of K’naan’s best. It advocates plastering a huge smile on your face whenever you feel about as cheerful as a wet rag and not allowing people (stupid enemy haters) to see your pain*.  This sounds reasonable when K’naan is spitting verses in that attractive way of his through your earphones, but it doesn’t translate very well in real life.

First, before we continue, quick question to all of you who drink hot beverages on a regular. Do you or do you know anybody who knows how to go about this drinking business without messing up the sides of their cup?

Like this

I Bring my cup to my lips, sip, not slurp, gently and still, still a thin line of coffee cuts through the lipstick stain at the top, rolls down and pools in a gross ring on my desk. By the time the coffee has worked its magic and made me fit for human society, I’m too disgusted by the mess to be productive (we all know how easy it is for cubicle workers to get demotivated). Is there a less disgusting way of consuming hot beverages that doesn’t include straws?

Here are 3 ways to deal with your crushing feelings of misery that don’t involve smiling like a clown on gunpoint:

Hold babies: Lucky for me, I have the cutest one in the world at my house so when sorrow and its relatives come to visit, I wave her in the air like I just don’t care and they leave. Bastards. If you don’t have a baby at hand, make one. That’s always fun.

Ride your bicycle over the worst road you can find. If you live in one of those up market pothole-less neighborhoods, come over to Komamboga. Here, we don’t even have the tarmac for potholes. We have upturned caves in the middle of the road. The discomfort you’ll feel during that ride will leave you no room for misery. Ha. Jokes. A bruised butt has never been a way good of solving problems. Find something to distract you from the pointlessness of existence, preferably not a bullet to the head. Good luck.

Go hunting: Its grasshopper season isn’t it? Great! Take every grasshopper sighting as your cue to let the inner hunter/ huntress out. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle of an important board meeting. Leave it to the P.R chick to explain your behavior to the client. Isn’t wolokoso P.R’s job description? Take the insect’s presence in the boardroom as a dare, a challenge. If it tries to jump away, jump with it. Keep your mind on the job and not on the likelihood that you’ll be dismissed/ demoted. Pretend not to remember anything when you next see your workmates.

If life is being insanely hurtful and uncomfortable, why not be a little bit unpredictable (not mad) back?

These are only half serious, obviously**, but if you continue smiling while you’re bleeding, glossing problems over by grinning like a drunken hyena and not taking time to acknowledge and deal with the ugliness of your situation, smiling will become just another way to wail and before you know it, you’ll go mad.

* To be fair, the message here is more “don’t wallow, move on, be strong and survive” than “smile like your cheeks have been possessed by demons.

**Totally serious

Food HATES your guts

Hello, hungry human being. What, you’re not hungry? On a Sunday? That’s a joke. Everybody is insatiable on Sunday, which is one of the reasons why (so many) Ugandan men have such huge hips. Insatiable on Sunday Disorder.

So. Have you had your first five meals of the day? No? Fantastic! Because food hates your guts.

Say whaat?

Food abhors you. Notice how desperate it is to get out of your stomach? When it’s feeling particularly hateful and intolerant, it can push, splash and struggle its way out from both ends of your body.

Its such a hater, it distends your gut to make it look less pretty.  After a heavy meal, it head butts your stomach into strange shapes. Haven’t you heard of food babies? Food even makes you pregnant!

I tried to get my stomach’s opinion on this, but all it did was send up a smelly burp  which I took to mean that it was too busy shooting digestive enzymes at the enemy within to pay attention to my questions. The stomach, which has known of this war ever since you were slimily assembled by your parents, never lets its guard down.   

Also

We eat ghosts. For anything to be edible, it has to be dead (or in the case of oysters, dying). We’re constantly ripping life out of things so that we can eat them. Do you think that they’re impressed? Of course not. Which is why they take revenge by making your digestive system suffer.

Things I have eaten that haven’t killed me (because my stomach is a ninjette!)

Soil samosa: If you have a kiosk next to your office, you know the ones I’m talking about. Tiny triangles with about four peas each. They take me straight back to P.1, which is why I buy them for breakfast everyday. Not because I’m broke. These plan B people pay me too well for me to be too broke to afford a decent breakfast. Anyway, for every 6 that you buy, two of them have soil instead of peas. Inflation has made their maker have to deprive some of the samosas of their four peas and put soil in them instead. This is a nasty shock for a first time buyer and an assured laxative for a regular. How does one become a regular eater of soil samosas? Ask my boss.

Cosmetically enhanced fruit: Fruit salad is healthy. It makes you glow like a pregnant woman (with an actual baby, not a food or a Beyonce baby) which is why we lovingly reward the women and men who come with their fruit salads to our offices with 1000 shillings. The problem comes in when your fruit provider is obsessed with their skin, because this means that your salad is going to be cosmetically enhanced.  The last time I bought one, every fruit tasted of a different cosmetic. Samona fenne, Clere sugarcane, Movit mango, etc.  The woman must have used a different one for every centimeter of her body that day. This is the conclusion my stomach came to in a language called dios-indigestion-ohshit.

GIGGLE THERAPY (It works. For realz).

A few weeks ago, I was lying awake in bed at 3 in the morning, giggling. I had a good book, (On becoming a fairy God Mother by Sara Maitland) open in my lap, but I couldn’t concentrate. Why? Every single molecule that was Apenyo was focused on a certain guy. Yes, he looks nice, can spell and his behind could maybe win an award for shapeliness. Nothing too special.

I was feeling rotten, ecstatic and nervous at the same time, like somebody who’d been forced to drink several cups of cupid’s urine. Questions like: Oh my God is he thinking about me? Did he look at my fb page today? Shouldn’t I find a clever link to put on his wall? were fighting for space in my head.

Because I like it when people swerve off the path of disaster by taking my advice, here are three things you SHOULD NOT (under any circumstances) do under the influence of droopy-eye-jelly-knees syndrome:

Read their blog (s). Jesus Christ. You will stuff yourself with too much information about your sweet mutimzy and then sound like a creepy stalker the next time you speak to them.

Steal their phone. Whatever your mind tells you, sneaking his/her phone into your purse is a bad idea. I know the plan is to look like a big hero when you inform your crush three days later (after reading all text messages and sending rude messages to your competitors) that you have miraculously! Found! The missing! Phone! This is a horrible idea because you will be found out.

 Take the crush too seriously. If you start to have daydreams that feature you bravely giving birth to your crush’s twins in the living room of the beautiful mansion that the two of you live in, and then phoning him breathless but happy to tell him to rush home with an ambulance, you might want to cut down on the time you spend ogling his profile pictures.

So, how do you jump from feeling crush-whipped to feeling fantastic? You want to know? Really? Really? really really? OK.

How giggling kicks despair’s butt.

By hee hee-ing and tee hee hooing, you poke misery repeatedly on the forehead until it stomps away, muttering bitterly like Squidward. You also trick your brain into manufacturing synthetic endorphins. As you giggle, your throat spasms in a way that your brain associates with laughter. Your teeth are in the air. Under all this peer pressure, your brain has no choice but to suck it up and reward you with happy-hormones. WIN. Also, if you can tickle yourself, go ahead.

Giggling saves you from the ugliness which comes as a result of frowning because of your crush induced misery. Come on. You can’t lose twice. OK, so your object of affection doesn’t feel the same way or you’re being tortured by the gorgeousness of their face. That’s no reason to get ugly about it.

Lastly, it can be turned into shoes. How? Right now, as of this warm and fart-y (or cold and drippy) Sunday, I’m spending your eyes on an article about giggling/crushes. At the end of the month, I shall cha ching my way into a new pair of shoes. You feel me?

Do you know any despair busting methods that don’t involve giggling?