A writer writing about another writer is an elixir on its own. It is looking in the mirror, and writing about the reflection. The mirror is an interesting phenomenon, but the True Mirror is even more thrilling. The True Mirror is a phenomenon invented by a brother and sister, who realized that if you put two mirrors at right angles and remove the seams, the images bounce off each other. What you see in that mirror, is exactly what other people see when they look at you. The difference is, when you look in the regular mirror you look for the reassurance that you are beautiful, or young but when you look in the true mirror you don’t look at yourself, you look for yourself. Writing about another writer is like looking in the true mirror.
The Art of Being Yourself Caroline McHugh TeD Talk
Like the ode of writing, too complex an entity for the simple mind to break down unless you summon the creative genius. If writing is your ‘great lifelong love and fascination’, you must have encountered your elusive creative genius Elizabeth Gilbert. She is neither the first nor the last writer to write about writing, but she was perfectly close to breaking down the ode of writing. According to Romans, they believed that the disembodied creative spirit was a genius, a magical divine entity who lived where artists lived.
Your Elusive Genius Elizabeth Gilbert TeD Talk
Truth is, most writers barely live a full life. Unless you go through a harrowing experience or a near-death experience that pushes you to the awakening and in the process, you find God. Most creatives are more likely to be mentally unstable than any other geniuses. People tend to think that writers live this fancy lives, writing from beautiful spaces while travelling around the world. Well, some do. The rest of us work from creative spaces as little as our bedrooms in our parents’ house pretending, we are applying for 8 to 5 jobs. But for Juma Ogutu, he is the embodiment of a creative genius and a whole lot of other things. I have met talented creatives, brilliant scientists and smart engineers, but I have never met one who is a conglomerate of all.
Forgive my wandering Jew of a mind. It has that habit of veering of thought lines.
One evening, I log into my Facebook account, and I get an inbox from one Juma Ogutu. He had dropped his contacts and left a message.
‘Whatsapp me, tuongee vitu za maana.’ (WhatsApp me, we talk about important things.)
I take a quick peep at his profile to establish any acquittances. His Facebook bio reads, |Writer|Guitarist|Poet|Art|Love|
My first encounter with him was on a post he had tagged me on my timeline.
The Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
It took me a while to read it, because I had a phobia of meeting my tribe (fellow writers). This one time, I was added on a WhatsApp group with a group of other creatives. The main objective of the group was to come up with a magazine that encompassed different voices. At first, I was elated. The thought of being part of something bigger than me. But then, every week one member would give out a theme that everyone would write about. We would then send the pieces, and read the other members’ pieces and critique. I did a piece on I think poverty or domestic violence and this one guy said how my piece was plain and not up to per. That there was nothing creative. Writers should not critique fellow writers. There are editors for that.
When Juma inboxed me, I had to rush to my timeline and read the Boulevard of Broken Dreams. It was a timely piece, deservedly descriptive and God, the nuance it emitted. If I were to judge myself against his prowess, I was far behind. That time I mostly opined on politics on my Facebook account. He inspired me to dust off my pen and get down to painting pictures with words. I tell him I read the Boulevard, asked if he was an impersonalized persona- this is basically someone who writes about other people’s experiences and owns them, mostly me. He says, no. This piece is a scene from his life, one time he had been fired from his job. He took a pen and a paper, or rather his laptop and typed it all away.
Taken a back, we struck a cohort association. We are both doing this writing thing so we would occasionally holla at each other. But sometimes being a wallflower gets in the way of everything. I just mute on people I know or love, to recharge and regroup. It is nothing personal.
Juma and I are alumni of the same university. We were not the same cohort, we shared a circle of friends but never really had Tet a Tet. Like waves that travel million of miles for a single clash, writing led us to each other. He is a graduate engineer, but has never bothered to add it on the bio. I bet he chooses to let his passions define him. Have you sat across someone, you are sipping some fine wine, in one of those beautiful spaces people imagine writers write from enjoying the coolest playlist in town and out of the blues he pops the question, ‘Apart from your career, who are you?’
You can drop by his blog for soul pieces. Here’s the link: