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Joe Black Is Back…Sort Of

Maybe out of my subtle intimidation or just pure strength of character, Joe Black decided to write something about his writer’s block, as he calls it. It’s vintage Joe; wonderful prose, scintillating sentences that rise out of paragraphs like a disgruntled landlord; abruptly. This particular gaunt-faced article is rich with his bravado spurred by youth and cheek and that smoky “voice” that made us love his work the first time he made a debut here.  My favourite sentence in this piece made so much sense to me I almost felt like I wrote it in another life.

“Every sentence you try putting down on paper feels leaden, the rich prose and elegance of the plots of the classics haunt you, paragraphs take hours to put only to be later wiped clean off the screen, for their utter mediocrity.”

Oh yes. Mediocrity is the ghost that relentlessly haunts us writers, and any professional really who gives two shits about their body of work. Quite often you trudge onto a blank word document and you find him (mediocrity) seated there rocking from a wooden chair, grinning widely with a big cigar burning from his lips. Sometimes we fall into his open arms and acquiesce, other times we pluck courage and we stare him down and win.

Joe stared him down in this piece.

***

By JOE “BLACK” MUNUVE

I’ll come clean and explain my hiatus. It has been so long since I was last on this platform. No, I haven’t cracked and started meditating in the sun (yet). Or gotten rich off a tender. I am not frolicking in sandy, Caribbean beaches with Boricua honies building sand castles on my chest either. Yeah, I’m in campus now but there isn’t anything particularly interesting here to keep me from the pen; the lectures are mild, the bureaucracy crass and the chics don’t pay me no mind so I pay them in kind. There are a lot of stories packed in those few opening lines but hold onto your knickers, those are stories for other days.

What has been plaguing me …… drumrolls, is an acute, nasty case of writer’s block. I can’t write shit. I can’t write to save myself from piles.  I have run out of juice. I am like a car whose fuel ran out so long ago the only thing that can revive it, is wildebeest piss, straight outta the Serengeti. Hell, I couldn’t even write to right my roaring wrongs. That’s why I resort to inane rhymes like that. I have been reduced to a rapper and with all my puny skills; I might as well as put on a wrapper. Every opener sounds corny in my head and more banal when put down. I’ve taken to striking most of them off quick but sometimes, I vow to stick with a story to the end and try to force the words  but then I digress a lot and lose track of the plot, or the flow trickles down and putters out somewhere, not from lack of words but from an emptiness of will and purpose.

It is so easy to get disillusioned by writing as one grows up.

Now, I know that it is easy to belittle writer’s block, dismiss it as a sentimental triviality. It is the vogue to throw around idealistic notions like “it is all in the mind” and “what the mind can conceive it can achieve.” I know they are in good stride, harmless phrases to spur action but one has to become pragmatic and dwell on the matter-of-fact rather than abstract assumptions at times. Well, yes, it might be all in the mind but it is not the only thing in there now, is it? Writer’s block is like erectile dysfunction. By their very nature, both afflictions strike at the epicenter of manhood, the culmination, and indeed justification of maleness- the ego- and deflate it quicker than punctured silicone and the more you think of them, the more unlikely they are to launch. That the gravity of such a sensitive situation should be reduced to lame generalizations is further insult to injury. It is not all in the mind. Some of it may be in the elbows, ashy and dry as they are. Wherever else it might be, it all nuts down to the fact that Muse has deserted me, the bitch. Spiders hold court in the yellowing pages of my notebook. My pen lays dusty on the shelf; I cannot get it up (no pun).      

I have had my fair share of writer’s block before but none this severe and intense. I do not know any writers’ intimately. I am often in the company of blokes who don’t give two shits about writing, who don’t care for any type of book much less writer’s block. As long as it doesn’t prevent me from doing my dishes, my roommate is cool with it and if I can show up for class, if it isn’t too much weight on my shoulders to cause me to miss eight lectures in a row my lecturers are unruffled as well (once they get back from the strike, that is). It isn’t skin off anyone’s nose, except mine and my nose’s pretty thin as it is, you might think it’s on a diet.

I have a feeling it has something to do with the heavy reading I’ve been doing lately.

After having fallen for the allure of eBooks, I’ve been reading a lot. A lot more than I used to and that’s saying something because I used to read a lot. I never consciously believed that reading a lot could have any negative effects, not even when I used to read novels under the locker during math lessons but I stand to be corrected. I’ve been pining for my writing to reach a point where it mutates into a cohesive, therapeutic, soothing balm to my soul so that every word I pen is, and can only be referred to, in the superlative.  And why shouldn’t it? After reading literary marvels like the Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, peering deep into the depths of human nature, the lengths to which men would go to seek excellence and perfection and the allegory build up by philosophical nuances and rhetoric; after delving into the intricate Southern society- their values, culture and tight kinship ties- through the eyes of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, and the subsequent disruptions of their orderly lives by the American Civil War, until the death of a way of life; tracing Ifemelu’s experiences in Chimamanda’s Americanah, watching the events of her life that lead her to America and back to Nigeria, the circumstances she had to fight against, the internal demons she had to overcome in her quest for self discovery, you cannot help but feel compelled to bring forth works of the same glorious standard or forever hold your pen.

Madame Bovary’s witty prose has a perfection to it that makes it stand almost alone, a down to earth subject tackled with the mastery of poetic language, a pure masterpiece of narration. I will have to learn French just so I can read Gustave Flaubert’s original works. Anna Karenina on the hand is another classic that makes me want to learn Russian. It is such a flawless piece of art, allowing us to peer into the Russian society, and the fate of doomed love, told in such a gripping narrative that envelops you in its richness and scope. Tolstoy takes his characters seriously and explores all aspects of their lives, emotional, physical, spiritual, philosophical, leaving you with no questions but a profound will to live, and to love life. Henry Miller’s coarse Tropic of Cancer is a moving, accurate depiction of the life of the true artist- a renegade, an outsider, a sufferer. The novel is cloaked in a strange yet satisfying oddness of style and frankness of narration that always blows me away. It is as formless as it is excellent, setting the gold standard for graphic depictions and language, which made it to be banned for a generation.

There are books- good ones, average ones, interesting ones, shitty ones, disturbing ones, long ones, factual ones, fictional ones, trashy ones- and then there are great books. I’m not talking about your average interesting novels, or even bestsellers, those are a dime a dozen. What I am talking about is a rare gem, one you stumble upon accidentally, as you would upon cow shit in a drunken haze. A book that transports you into its world and holds you captive, body and mind, so that you share in the pain, joys, anxieties, disappointments, dreams, fears and frustrations of the characters. A book that seeks out the best and worst in men; reaching into the crevices of your being and tearing you out mercilessly, answering questions you would have never thought to ask. One that has you tearing into its pages, wanting to read as much of it as you can while at the same time wishing it does not come to an end, that the pages will keep on mutating, the words weaving into more words because you do not want to let go of such magnificence, afraid of what lies beyond the unparalleled penmanship. And when it does come to an end, it does so with dignity, tapering off to the essentials, giving you time to soften the blow but when you finally flip over the cover, there is nothing to fill up the resulting void. It leaves you high and dry, taut and trite; plagued by a harrowing emptiness that hangs around like damp air, or the missing link to your life’s essence. Have you ever finished a book that moved something deep in you, bruised your sentimentalities, left your mind in such a turmoil that you needed a drink, a scalding shot of vodka to calm your nerves? Tony Mochama can relate.

Tell you what, show me a book that leaves you pining for a drink or whatever your choice poison is and I’ll show you a great book.

Biko referred to the feeling as a ‘book hangover’. Apt, but not quite so. You can shake off a hangover with aspirin and the good ol’ marondo soup. The feeling is more like an abrupt end to a wild, passionate relationship. A hard hitting breakup. You move about sullen and angry, putting the book on a pedestal of its own; confident that no other book written will ever surpass it, right until the next one comes and knocks the wind out of your sails and takes you to the same depths. A great book humbles and belittles you; it leaves you in awe of the writer and shifts something in your core. A great book goes right to your head like a heroin hit to a relapsing addict.

If you are nursing writer ambitions like yours truly, you’ll want to live out your talented writer’s fantasy and then try penning your thoughts. Every sentence you try putting down on paper feels leaden, the rich prose and elegance of the plots of the classics haunts you, paragraphs take hours to put down only to be later wiped clean off the screen, for their utter mediocrity. You take to feeling angry at the authors. Nothing lives up to the awe of a beautiful book. Or to put things in context, the indomitable aura of a beautifully written book. A great book can either take you to the harrowing depths of writer’s block or elevate you to wuthering heights of writing excellence where you’ll feel deserving of either.

Now that you know what ails me, I must mention that I am working on it and I’ll soon be back on the grind. I hope to dazzle you but meanwhile, grab a great book, won’t you?

 

156 Responses
  • GRACE NJOKI MWANGI
    21.03.2017

    First




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    • Munyambu
      21.03.2017

      After all this ‘awesomeness’ that’s all you had to say?? Sad, so so sad.




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      • Roland
        21.03.2017

        Am I the only one that wonders what people do after they have commented first? From observation, it’s safe to say most haven’t read the article before they comment. Competition bees tight like that. Do they sit the whole day, refreshing the tab till a new post appears? Do they then rapidly click it and hope their internet connection is not feeling depressed on that particular day?

        There is a time they used to give out airtime during shows. The MC, with a lot of fanfare, would tell the broke members in the audience to get ready. OK, he’d tell the entire audience, but the message was specifically meant for the desperate broke ones since they are the ones that had the time to finger their phones violently in order to get a little extra bob of airtime. And while we are on the fingering topic, bambi the poor girlfriends of this target audience. I guess I should include the boyfriends too. Yep, definitely including the poor boyfriends in my moment of sympathetic reflection. Anyway, the MC would dramatically scratch the card while the broke target audience, the sharp ones anyway, would put the relevant *’s and #’s where they needed to be so all they had to do after entering the number was press dial. Guys, while we are still in sympathetic mode, let’s have a moment for the poor MC’s at these functions. They must all be suffering from different degrees of finger (this word, again) cancer if the conspiracy theories are to be believed. After, infecting themselves with finger cancer, the MC’s would then read the number on the scratch card slowly. After they were done, the person with the fastest fingers (maybe their better halves aren’t complaining after all) would let out a whoop of joy and everyone else would give them the stink eye because their phones had suffered more damage and they had nothing to show for it apart from bruising for their better halves (or themselves, for the single ones) due to a reduction in tender touch skills.

        But you see with the winners in this scenario, they went home with airtime. What do the first commenters get out of this? Does Biko let them touch his forehead? Is there a WhatsApp group for first commenters where Magunga is the admin? Or, betters still, a heaven on earth for which gaining entry is commenting first here? Kinda like the executive bathroom in that episode of family guy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1t1OVRfmMik)? Is Magunga the St Peter of this place? Does Biko read bedtime stories to the members? Are the characters from the various posts all chilling here? Does God have a comedy show every Wednesdays featuring the various individuals he has chatted with on this site? Do first commenters call their mothers after to tell them how they have made it in life? What do the analytics for this site look like on Tuesdays before the post? Is there spike in traffic before the post goes up that’s bigger than the spike after thanks to the refreshing crew? Do their workmates know they were the first to comment? That they have spent the better part of their Tuesdays being productive (the majority might argue that this is total unproductivity but I chose to look on the bright side) at refreshing this website. Are their workmates all participating in this moment? Like, are they standing behind the determined member of the refreshing crew, watching and waiting as for the post to arrive, Do they collectively bite their fingernails as the 1000th refresh reveals a new post, and then join together to put that teamwork talk they got at the last work retreat to use by fanning and cheering on their workmate as they opens the link and scrolls to the bottom where the comment section awaits, commentless and waiting for them to claim the first spot? Does Beatrice collapse coz her asthma was not meant for this kind of pressure? Does Joseph who has had a crush on Beatrice forever snatch this opportunity and administer CPR to Beatrice while everyone else is watching the screen (Shame on you Joseph btw)? And when they refresh and find that their comment is indeed the first, does the whole office burst into ululations as they lift our hero onto their shoulders and do a victory lap? Is there a bottle of champagne they have been keeping for this special occasion? Do they drink this champagne to drown their sorrows away if our hero is not the first and then buy another the following week? What if gundi with the corner desk also wants the first comment? Is a bitter rivalry formed? Do the office workmates take sides? ….

        So many questions? More than 21, even.

        Beautiful comeback, Joe Black. If this is what your block looks like, I can confidently say you are destined to join the leagues of all these writers you have mentioned in this post, to write books that will knock the breathe out of us and leave us angaz for sizeable periods of time. And with you mastery of words, let’s hope you don’t decide to kill all this time you have on campus by confusing peoples daughters. For their sake.




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        • KevBosire
          21.03.2017

          Haha…Now this is interesting




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        • Tim
          22.03.2017

          Much better read than what the bloke wrote. We dont want chronicles of what youbhave read!




          0
          • Joy
            22.03.2017

            (**sigh**) Not the only one who thinks so, after all. Didn’t even finish reading it




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        • rolex
          22.03.2017

          And for today the bonus read was better than the first serving.
          You were also to mention the pick pockets who wait for the opportunity to snatch your phone as you ‘finger in’ the digits.
          Better read than the blocked guy.




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        • Keenjoz
          22.03.2017

          Damn!。。you’re really really good.




          0
        • Nava
          22.03.2017

          Aki youguy!




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        • Muhaari Muhaari
          23.03.2017

          This counts as the post for the week, sorry Joe Black…




          0
        • Chao
          23.03.2017

          Wow! I would love to read more from you Roland, have a blog? You give me a reason to check the comment section more often…




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          • Steve
            24.03.2017

            I second this. Chocolate man, Roland deserves a day here. 2 great articles in a week!! I hope you consider him. If not, I am starting a petition and getting signatures form ‘The Gang’, the Kenyan way.




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          • wanjikuWaNgigi
            01.04.2017

            just click on his name..that’s the link to his blog




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        • Sue
          23.03.2017

          Do you realise you just stole Joe’s show?




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        • Nyambura
          23.03.2017

          Very interesting




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        • Horo
          24.03.2017

          I found thi blog this week and your comments are hilarious, please send us the link to your blog if you have one.




          0
        • Chico
          24.03.2017

          bloody hell…this is a foxtrotting home run…very tight @Roland




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        • wanjikuWaNgigi
          01.04.2017

          best read in a long time!




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        • Naomi Wango
          06.04.2017

          Better than the original post. Love, Love it.
          Biko should hold you as a guest!




          1
        • Joe kimani
          07.05.2017

          Nice article, I’d say yu have pulled a biko zulu there. Saying one sweet nothing in multiple paragraphs, while being sweet enough to make us forget you’re talking about the LOWLIFES who comment “first to comment”




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        • Mtushmode
          02.10.2017

          Halfway through this comment, I Was already thinking that I was reading part of the blog only to realize that I’m looking at the analogy of the first commentors in deep detail and such well arranged prose. Glasses high to u sir




          0
    • Sheenan
      21.03.2017

      Hehehe chic you are loyal….Even in his writing block you stand with him heheheh




      1
    • Mutea Lorna
      07.10.2017

      Unbelievable!




      0
  • Ngeshlew
    21.03.2017

    Very nice!




    0
  • Denno
    21.03.2017

    ***




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  • Wabushes
    21.03.2017

    Never disappoints!




    0
  • Kigwaini A.
    21.03.2017

    Welcome back Joe Black… Nice piece




    0
  • Lither
    21.03.2017

    Joe Black…feels like you never left!!




    0
  • Amani. S
    21.03.2017

    It’s been really long Joe. You are part of us!
    Nice to hear from you again.




    0
  • Buganya
    21.03.2017

    Joe Black still got it those puns are intended.




    0
  • Joseph
    21.03.2017

    Nice one Joe. You make it seem so easy!




    0
  • AJ
    21.03.2017

    Joe nice piece,i can see you never gave up on writing keep it up and you will go places,literally like Biko here.




    0
  • Naomi
    21.03.2017

    Great book grabbed!




    0
  • Wahito
    21.03.2017

    This is a good start, Joe.




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  • Kendi
    21.03.2017

    Too wordy




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    • Riri
      21.03.2017

      Thought so too.




      0
      • Esenam Allen
        21.03.2017

        Yeah. He has told us how he got here. Judging from all the books he has read,this piece makes sense. Doesn’t it?




        0
  • Kimani
    21.03.2017

    First, thank you Biko for “subtle intimidation” because JB is back with a bang. That little push i am sure have made you feel satisfied when you finally find such sentences.
    JB, i am hoping the block will soon be over.
    All the best




    0
  • Ike
    21.03.2017

    Nice read Joe,you will get there.Don’t you worry




    0
  • Christine
    21.03.2017

    Sigh, if this is how writers block looks like then I want to be there when you are cured from it. Absolutely beautifu. Don’t abandon us Joe Black.




    0
    • Getrude
      21.03.2017

      My exact sentiments




      0
  • Imagine Care
    21.03.2017

    Wow! Joe-black’s sentences are solid.




    0
  • Kris
    21.03.2017

    .. and grab a great book I will




    0
  • Rael
    21.03.2017

    Thanks for sharing Joe…on to reading Some of those books that have been keeping you busy. http://www.shesatomboy.net




    0
  • esther waiyura
    21.03.2017

    nice one




    0
  • David
    21.03.2017

    Noma sana




    0
  • Martin M
    21.03.2017

    Impressive use of adjectives. He really describes the love affair one has with great works of prose. Writers block aside, this is the makings of greatness.




    0
  • Lumbzy
    21.03.2017

    Well done Joe Black and all the best.




    0
  • Gash
    21.03.2017

    Great to have you back! looking forward to being dazzled!!




    0
  • Trish
    21.03.2017

    Welcome back Joe. Your writing is on another level. You are going places…




    0
  • Kadonye
    21.03.2017

    I wish Biko was proud of me:( And Ayn Rand was a bigot.




    0
  • Martin
    21.03.2017

    Wow! That’s HOW to bounce back from a writer’s block!




    0
  • Kemunto
    21.03.2017

    Had a nasty breakup with Eyo by Abidemi Sanusi. Yet to get past that relationship




    0
  • Nasike
    21.03.2017

    Wow, welcome back joe




    0
  • Ali
    21.03.2017

    If this is writer’s block better build a great China wall. This is good. I see my high school self in you,though I didn’t read below the desk during math lesson. I was always reading …. The passion left. It’s all work punctured by a little of Biko and a few other chaps here and there. We can call it a readers block.




    0
    • Ythera
      21.03.2017

      I am not alone, I see. ‘Readers block’ is real!




      0
    • Nasike
      13.06.2017

      I read below the desk during Maths and Chemistry lessons. Read with a torch at night in my bed. Then I stopped- because grades mattered. It was hard getting past the ‘reader’s block’. Thanks to the Nairobi traffic, I am back to reading




      0
  • Esenam Allen
    21.03.2017

    I understand you JOE. Like the book I’m currently reading. THE GOLDFINCH by Donna Tartt.
    I took Biko’s recommendations seriously so I got a copy.
    This book makes you want to bring the characters to life so you can talk to them and share the warmth of their friendship.
    You actually feel so sorry for a character you just want to hug them and assure them with the words “everything will be fine”.

    Being buried in a great book is a wonderful experience and I’d love to relive these moments all my days on earth.
    I still love Marlon James’ “A brief history of Seven Killings” but Donna Tartt has won my heart with her choice of characters.




    0
    • Wakweika Felix
      21.03.2017

      I can’t accurately describe what I went through as I read The Gold Finch.




      0
    • Kim
      21.03.2017

      GOLDFINCH!!As Jeff Koinange would say – That book is smoooooking!!!




      0
      • Benn
        22.03.2017

        Can I get a copy please? Where can I get one?




        0
        • Esenam Allen
          29.03.2017

          Unfortunately i am not so keen on ebooks. A friend bought me the hard copy from UK. I am sure people here will have the soft copy. You are in a good place just ask.




          0
        • Ruthie
          07.04.2017

          Go to the Bookstop at Yaya Centre… Great read.




          0
  • Yay! Joe Black is back!
    Hadn’t read his other articles, but I did and loved them..really captivating and easy on the eye.
    I googled Joe Black the movie and watched it. Weird in a morbid sort of way. Interesting how this guy had death stalk him everywhere he went, sad that not many can have that opportunity to negotiate for time etc.




    0
  • ngina
    21.03.2017

    acquiesce….new word. googled it, listened to the pronunciation, waiting patiently at work to use it, then sit pretty and observe confusion.




    0
    • Karendi
      14.04.2017

      Hahaha!…and observe confusion




      0
  • Wairimu Wa Chege
    21.03.2017

    Wow! Well done piece! I have the hangover already.




    0
  • Mimi
    21.03.2017

    Joe Black this is good, really good. I cant believe you are still in college. Your creativity is at another level particularly considering that you went through the 8-4-4 system. Its simply a talent.




    0
  • Jen
    21.03.2017

    Oh. My. Goodness. Isn’t this the most beautiful piece of literature that I have ever read? And this is you, Joe, with writer’s block. Sasa without? How good will it be?! Thank you Bikozulu for the subtle intimidation. In fact keep intimidating this young blood, he needs to write. This is beautiful




    0
  • Mumbi Muchiri
    21.03.2017

    Hi Joe Black..This is a step in the right direction.. Keep it up, the reading(no pun)




    0
  • Kevine
    21.03.2017

    Kumbe it’s not only me. After reading and reading and readiiing…. writing becomes a problem. Good writeup, though I had a feeling the descriptions are a bit oversalted




    0
    • Moha
      22.03.2017

      I thought so too.




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  • Gilbert Nyarondia
    21.03.2017

    Good piece Joe




    0
  • Mish
    21.03.2017

    Nice read Joe Black. You never disappoint!




    0
  • Mitani
    21.03.2017

    Joe writes well, his writing is not a photocopy of someone else’s voice;his is original.




    0
  • abdullah omar
    21.03.2017

    ‘like erectile dysfunction’really?




    0
    • Moha
      22.03.2017

      hahaha




      0
  • LILYS
    21.03.2017

    Very nice….
    On a lighter note,I kinda felt it better when I rapped the second paragraph.




    0
  • Kisaingu
    21.03.2017

    And blackie is back..nice work




    0
  • Gachihi
    21.03.2017

    Captivating! I love your writing… And your taste in books.




    0
  • Wakweika
    21.03.2017

    I am not surprised that Joe came out and wrote something after that Biko post about how talent dies if not consistently polished. That post made me feel horribly guilty too about not doing enough to fight for my art, which, is true, to an extent. And we all know too well that the truth can be so uncomfortable. Keep reading Joe, your future exciting pieces will have new life drawn from new inspiration.




    0
  • sylvia
    21.03.2017

    Wow Joe you couldn’t dissapoint ; I knew it !




    0
  • Riri
    21.03.2017

    For the first time I couldn’t read a post here to the end:(




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  • Gerald
    21.03.2017

    The s writer’s block makes me…. Sad




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  • Watitwa
    21.03.2017

    Easy on the hard words Joe…..




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  • Munyambu
    21.03.2017

    Oh my God!! This guy is so good. Welcome back Joe Black, you were missed. it really is time to grab a book, after reading Amenicanah, I haven’t read anything. I will grab a book, a goodbook.




    0
  • Wanjiku
    21.03.2017

    Keep plugging away Joe boy….




    0
  • Maureen
    21.03.2017

    Bland




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  • ces
    21.03.2017

    I’m dazzled. You’ve still got your groove!!!




    0
    • beee
      21.03.2017

      unsubscribe me from this emails pleasse……i have tried to no avail




      0
  • Jay
    21.03.2017

    ” A great book can either take you to the harrowing depths of writer’s block or elevate you to wuthering heights of writing excellence where you’ll feel deserving of either.”. …..I see what you did there. Fountainhead,Wuthering Heights,Anna Karenina,Tropic of Cancer and Madame Bovary..if these are the books which make you think your writing is mediocre then I think I’m reading the wrong books.




    0
    • Kate
      21.03.2017

      LOL. Took me forever to read Anna Karenina.personally I think its overrated and like 1000pages tooooo long.sigh!




      0
  • Krystal
    21.03.2017

    Not a cushy post at all! I see some complaining about the weight of the words. I find that writer’so block is similar to that feeling of being unable to orgasm. You see the peak, it shimmers in your peripherals but when you reach out for it I vanishes like smoke. That said, the fruit of your “writer’s block” is robust. Get it up and keep it up.




    0
    • Moha
      22.03.2017

      That feeling of being unable to orgasm, nice!




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  • tom osanjo
    21.03.2017

    Joe Black welcome back. And we were supposed to have a Kikao, right? Nitafute omera….




    0
  • Esther
    21.03.2017

    Kudos Joe!! I certainly see why Biko has not given up on you. Beautiful writing




    0
  • Winny
    21.03.2017

    We all need that little push from time to time. Welcome back Joe Black.




    0
  • marits
    21.03.2017

    Hi Joe, good to see you, you can learn French and Russia too as you put your acts together.
    Then about this thing of people reading during Maths Lessons, i used to do Maths during Swahili lessons, is that the reason i struggle to put a sentence together? ‘thinking face emoji’




    0
    • Fayc
      21.03.2017

      That makes two of us. And I am really pathetic at Kiswahili




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  • Dk
    21.03.2017

    Khaled Hosseini’s ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ had me lost for days…




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    • Jennys
      21.03.2017

      Me too.Infact all Khaled Hosseini’s
      books.




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      • NellyRita Makena Muriuki
        01.04.2017

        The Kite Runner for me……Boy oh boy…




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  • Erick Wabwire
    21.03.2017

    Joe Black, you are far much better. I was nothing close to how great you are. You know your shit, man – what ails you, your interests. Some of us were just going through the system.




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  • Kay
    21.03.2017

    Joe you really are talented even when writing about writers block.Biko you should let joe review books in the books section that died a very silent death.or start a mini book club.




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  • Brio
    21.03.2017

    Wow. And like all great books, he left us high and dry. Pen the next piece soon Joe, please? Meanwhile as i grab a book… Gustave first




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  • SN
    21.03.2017

    There you go! You’re a true mentor Biko. Well done.




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  • Mugabi P
    21.03.2017

    JB is back with a bang.
    (The ugandan in me is tempted to say well done *man*)
    Anyway,

    I think Kenyan authors should be included somewhere in that list.
    I stumbled upon small great books by Kwani Trust.Like the COCK THIEF by Kantai P.This is a tale across the borders of Keny acrooss Ugnda.

    Intriguing ,just like this piece.




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  • Kez
    21.03.2017

    Currently Markus Zusaks ‘Book Thief’ has my undivided attention.




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    • Sylvia
      21.03.2017

      I can’t bring myself to read up to page 10. It just sits on my pocketbook waiting to be read by an unmotivated reader. Hope I get to that level of interest




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  • Clara
    21.03.2017

    This is good!! Thank you Joe.
    I crave that feeling you describe – being lost in a book, when the characters live in mind and become part of my life..well until I’m done reading. Going for The Goldfinch




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    • Clara
      21.03.2017

      *in my mind




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  • Githogori
    21.03.2017

    Great




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  • Anthony Mathu
    21.03.2017

    I really hope Joe will put in the work to realize his full potential, the boy has so much talent , no doubt about that.I ve just grabbed Anna Karenina..




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  • Wambó
    21.03.2017

    Back with a bang!Welcome




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  • Leah
    21.03.2017

    Neatly woven in such a rich tapestry that you keep asking for more.The second paragraph did it all for all.Welcome back JB.




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  • mukiri wa mkuu
    21.03.2017

    I don’t know why I didn’t get an email.but all the same,welcome back Joe




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  • J Omwenga
    21.03.2017

    I had to set aside time to read this. Having read this, I, now, also feel high and dry!




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  • Ray
    21.03.2017

    WUEEEEH among those books your dictionary must have been icluded




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  • Tonny
    21.03.2017

    I think I know Joe Black




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  • simotien
    21.03.2017

    great piece, the construction is unique and the wording exemplary. kudos Joe Black. keep em coming




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  • simotien
    21.03.2017

    great piece, the style is unique and the wording exemplary, kudos Joe Black. keep em coming




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  • Gathoni
    21.03.2017

    I will choose a great book over a lover any day.
    Welcome back Joe Black




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    • Moha
      22.03.2017

      Am in awe




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  • Ythera
    22.03.2017

    Couldn’t finish this 🙁




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  • Missy Missy
    22.03.2017

    Am i the only one who read this with a Spoken Word kind of tone. I was rapping my way through it all in my head. Hahahhahhaha.




    1
    • VIVIAN
      22.03.2017

      hahahaha me too




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  • Jules
    22.03.2017

    This is how a Readers’ Block ends…Thank you JB and to you Biko, the push was well deserving.




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  • Alfred Kalwe
    22.03.2017

    Joe, why can’t we team up and bang ‘The African Novel’ everyone has been waiting for? That is, after you move round the block. I’ve already started, take it at Chapter 3. I feel that it will be banned in 107 countries for the first three weeks, then made a compulsory set text in 107 countries again. BRIMSTONE!!




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  • Chrenyan
    22.03.2017

    Written in point form, as I read the article.

    1. Joe Black is growing up.
    2. When he first makes mention of his writer’s block, I was going to advise that he should read to get out of it. Then it turned out reading is what put him in it to start with. I think when I read, and I find something I agree with, that helps me write. Or when I find something I don’t agree with, that helps me write too. Sometimes more. So to read, and not have a reaction that is worth writing about seems – odd? How dark is what you’ve been reading, are these books black holes where creativity goes to die?
    3. Or is it the fact that such high standards make the quality of your own writing seem puny by comparison? So what? They are not you, and you are not them. Only one person can write a book by Joe Black, and that is Joe Black… and I actually wrote this before reading “…you cannot help but feel compelled to bring forth works of the same glorious standard or forever hold your pen.”
    4. I have felt, in the past, that I wrote best at about 8-10 years of age. At that time, I would write something and be satisfied with it. Settled. Content, is the word I’m looking for. Reading this I discover that that wasn’t true – what is perhaps more true is that I had read so little – and that little of books meant for my age-group – that my own writing seemed best, or at least satisfactory to me. Only once or twice in my adult life (once about two weeks ago) did I write a piece and say “Yes. The world might hate it, but I am willing to put my name on that say that that is mine.”
    5. “Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic.” – Jean Sibelius. I guess the problems start when we are the critics of ourselves.




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  • tweety
    22.03.2017

    your writing Joe Black leaves me in awe.
    beautiful read




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  • Lynet
    22.03.2017

    Joe Black, why don’t I teach you French then you can read all of Gustav’s works? (+254 720 994 760) Good to have you back BTW.




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  • MJ
    22.03.2017

    I feel you Black,I feel your pain. After attending Bikos class i felt sonewhat discouraged,but thd truth is i was not reading enough. Now i am back to books and whenever i try to write i feel so much shame. So much shame that i can’t come up with beautiful phrases like, “Irony was the final polish ov the shoe,the ultimate dub og the clothes brush.” Phrases like these,elegant ones make me wonder what are my words worth? So i guess i will imprison myself for a while,make sure that i got enough grease so that when i cone back,i ain’t going to be squeaky.




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  • Martha Nderitu
    22.03.2017

    I love it, Joe Black! Imma find those books 🙂




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  • Mwakisha Makoko
    23.03.2017

    There was Joe Blacks post which as a creative I can relate to in fact it should be called a creativity block it happens to almost every creative at some point, and then there is Roland’s comment which left me in stitches and contemplating if I should join the league of first people to comment just to see if we get the privilege to touch Bikos’ Forehead hehehe




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  • Farhiya
    23.03.2017

    Amazing Joe, amazing!




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  • fancy
    23.03.2017

    Awesome!




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  • Nzamsa
    23.03.2017

    You still got it Kid!!!




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  • Amanda
    23.03.2017

    Dear Joe,
    When you come to Uganda, let’s have tea…or vodka.




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  • Victor Ambuyo
    24.03.2017

    A great book can either take you to the harrowing depths of writer’s block or elevate you to wuthering heights of writing excellence where you’ll feel deserving of either.




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  • Victor Ambuyo
    24.03.2017

    I can relate Joe.. Sometimes reading a good book invokes writers block in you because you develop this notion you can’t be half as good as the author but don’t worry.. The fleeting stretch will come an end at some point.




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  • Msaniiwasanaa
    24.03.2017

    Nice




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  • Richard
    24.03.2017

    Such excellent prose, such mastery of language. Leaves me wanting to read more of his work. More importantly, this has reignited my desire to read a great book.




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  • Bob
    24.03.2017

    I read “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand a few years ago and I’m yet to find a book that takes me to the same heights. I can relate.




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  • Kennedy Okong'o
    24.03.2017

    Can i take the prize of being last and while at it orgasm with Gold Finch?

    Last




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  • Richard
    25.03.2017

    Its interesting how what you have read grips you and takes you to the writers world, as I read this I am pulled to your world and see you in campus and feel your inadequacy as your read other writers works.if this is when you have a block pray you always have a block.




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  • Isaac
    27.03.2017

    The article is a great sales letter deprived of specificity. It sounds like contents in most blurbs selling a book. Enriching and attractive.




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  • Evelyn
    27.03.2017

    Joe Black you have awed me…. i hang on to every single word going on and on and not wanting it to end….you are good…and deep! If This is how you have blocked you are a deep soul! I need more…




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  • Mohamed
    27.03.2017

    Man….am dazzled…that’s a cheap shot…after reading grudgingly…t that’s all I get…okay.I’ll hold you to the promise…great piece




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  • Michael Owino
    28.03.2017

    Good read Joe Black and I do feel you as I can recall the emotions I went through when I was reading Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Michener’s Hawaii and Grisham’s A Time to Kill. I was literally hooked to those books,even missus raised hell one time and I had to bench Hawaii for a few minutes to keep her happy otherwise I would have joined the list of the divorced. Totally feel you bro




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  • Leeken
    06.04.2017

    Cool stuff.
    Check out
    leeblogscom.wordpress.com




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  • Ava
    25.07.2017

    Living, breathing and being transported to the streets of Peru and Marseille . I remember watching the Davinci code (pronounced as Davinchi) and got so angry because i couldn’t get the thrill i got from reading the book through the night and not being able to keep my eyes open.
    Note to self:”never watch a movie that you have read the book”.




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  • Mtushmode
    02.10.2017

    Hoping u finally melted the demon that is writers block… I feel u dude..




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  • Eric
    27.10.2017

    Amazing comeback brother. We want more. starve us




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