June last year, I started writing a novel. By August 2012, I started running out of story fuel. What I mean is the overall story was there but I couldn’t come up with the sentences to continue showing it. I kept the project aside for a while. I was not happy with the linear method of writing such a long thing. That I start from the beginning and systematically move on from there. It felt artificial. I also didn’t like the lined rules of my loose leaf pads (I prefer to put things down with pen/pencil before going to the laptop). The straightness and neatness of it all did not appeal to me. So I bought myself an ‘Artists Sketch Pad’ with A3 size papers. On the big blank pages I could write in curves rather than straight lines. I could scribble, doodle etc. I started putting down the stories thoughts, ideas, plot thoughts, sentences, phrases, dialogue sequences and visions in random fashion. I picked on story parts I liked. So now I have a few filled up Artists Sketch pads and a novel growing and building up from various points. Whether it will work out in the end, I don’t know. E.g, I have finished the final chapter but have no clue how to proceed with Chapter 3, I have written out various cadenza-like sections but many other chapters are quarter or half done and look moth-eaten. Fiction will find a way.
One of the useful side effects of this Artist Sketch Pad method: it has allowed me to write some of my short stories more easily as I can shamelessly steal stuff from my novel scrapbooks. Or use some of the reject stuff in the scrapbook to make a blog post.
Below is a page from one of the Artist Sketch Pads. Reject stuff. And below that I have typed out what’s on the page. Just some random nonsense ramblings etc.
Make way for the soaring rocket that speeds into the Milky Way, slippery as an eel in the cheese of Earth’s gravity, going for a hike out there in outer space.
The Farmer’s Choice sausage gets cold as they watch the 9 o’ clock news on Citizen TV.
I wear a belt to keep my jeans in place; tie my shoelaces so that my shoes don’t fall off.
A forest of Uganda along the way.
Fields of cornflakes in the factory.
Buses of illegal immigrants on the border.
The sky, the violet sea whose waves are the winds that crash on the beaches of cloud, dazzled the dog, the happy creature that wagged its tail.
The hammer fell on her head and cracked her skull.
The bomb blows. The ink drops. The pen leaks. The machine rusts. The accountant calculates. The chessers sacrifice. The city pollutes. The bulb warms up. The plane lands. The Playstation’s lust to graphic traffic terrific horrific magic tragic.
The statue points in two directions. It has hands. It’s name is Tom Mboya. Assassinated when coming out of a chemist shop. A bullet to the heart. Blood on the avenue. The blast sound still alive in a hundred thousand ears. Jomo Kenyatta’s photo, hanging in almost every shop on the avenue, shakes, moves out of position.
The soldiers of Ngugi.
Editors sign Words Reduction Treaty.
Murderer plus kills plus pedestrian.
Booze being flushed down the toilet.
Acres of factory space.
Wednesdays of office work.
Jumbo oats and calories and after-sunset meals during Ramadhan.
If you say goodbye, do you again hope for a hello?
– Where is Holland?
– Three dozen latitudes North; and one and a half dozen latitudes West.
– Why do we call them ‘The West’?
– They take care of the sun when we are in the dark.
– But didn’t that change when we got ourselves Uhuru and bulbsand VOK?
– When they are in the dark the sun is rising over us.
– Does that make it equal?
– They want to have the last laugh.
– So the rotation of the Earth suits them?
– Because the Earth is round, we can say we are to the west of them as well.
– But the Earth. The Earth is also flat, isn’t it?
– It’s how people see things. You can’t see beyond the curve.
– But we have satellites. Rockets can curve around the Earth.
– There is no oxygen in outer space. And The West lives in a space station.
– But there are also Russian space stations. Russia spreads vastly into the East.
– The Iron Curtain cut off Western Europe. The East side of the curtain was communist. The Acropolis monuments sit in Western Europe.
– But it’s in ruins.
– That’s why they are no longer part of the Eurozone.
– But Vladivostok is still in the East.
– Bloodyvostok, huh?. The poles or polarities are going through a change, aren’t they?
– And they practice Eastern religions in New York.
– Witchdoctors and bullfighting in Kakamega.