I got this gig with True Love. A relationships column. This is my second month in. I’m supposed to be advising ladies {me of all people!}. “The tone has to be light.” My editor, Cate Odera, instructed in an email.
The column comes on the second last page of this glossy magazine. Right before Jackson Biko’s The Last Word. So I sort of curtain raise for this really cool guy, writer extraordinaire. Who could have thought! ‘Curtain raising’ for Jackson Biko, the pope of creative non-fiction writing. It’s an honor. A privilege. And it’s magnanimous to have a byline in true love.

It’s magnanimous because writing gives me inexplicable ecstasy and fulfilment. The afterglow lingers on much longer that even migwatos.  Don’t roll eyes, I’m serious.

So the magazine is essentially “for women by women”, {Cate’s words} but they need a few male voices. Hence Biko, Chris Hart, and I. it’s like breaking bread with kings from Sparta. No, really, it is. I kid you not. It’s a helluva feeling.

So this is how it started. I receive a call from Cate on a weary Thursday evening. It’s five-ish. I’m in the office alone winding up my day. {I was still working for this nondescript magazine that never paid me. So I had to quit, even though I would have loved to stay longer because I loved the job, and the guys in the office, and the tea}. Her voice is mellow. Her English crisp – with a distant British twang’. Hadn’t met her before in person, only in ‘Twende’, a travel and lifestyle magazine that closed shop way back in 2009. That and Adam. Remember them?

By the way, talking of employers who don’t pay their workers. Or delay payment without the basic courtesy of prior communication. I feel my innards churning. Can I just vent for a minute, please? Good. I feel it’s utterly immoral to hire a person, talk them into accepting your meagre pay {I’ll refrain from flaunting the word peanuts here}, offer lofty {and insincere} promises of a speedy review, only to turn into an insensitive coward by snubbing their calls and ignoring their text messages when they try to reach you fifteen days after pay day. It hurts. It’s obnoxious. It’s odious.

Anyway, I walked away {from the nondescript magazine, not Cate}. I would have done something stupid like say pick a gadget from the office to compensate myself. But because my folks took me to Sunday school, and because I know that this freaking universe has a way of handing you back that which you give out, I let it slide. I sent a note to the editor {a very lovely lady with lovely locks called Ciku} and ambled away.

But my bills weren’t letting it slide. They stood there, hands akimbo, and glowered at me. Our eyes locked. We tussled.

If you’re reading this, and you happen to be an employer, please, for the love of God, have the courtesy to pay your workers. Or if for any reason you’re facing cash flow challenges, have the good sense and judgement to communicate that in good time. Pronto. And keep your word. Empathize. Employees will understand, trust me. And it’ll earn you respect. Lots of it. But don’t make people pay fare daily, jostle to beat traffic so as report to work in time, work their asses off to see your company {and their careers} grow, and when it is your turn to honor the deal, you suddenly become too busy. They suddenly become a bother. It is sacrilegious. It is impious and wicked. It’s obscene. I think these are the people who will crackle and light up hell. These and people who say waaaw instead of wow.

End of homily. Catharsis right there. I can now go pee. Hehe.

Where was I? yeah, so Cate, in her distinct crisp English, briefly introduced herself and got down to it. She asked me to bounce a few ideas and crank out a copy{ies}. She obviously wanted to see how I flow. My voice {something I’m still struggling with}. My word play. My dexterity in handling dicey relationship issues and whatnot.

She shot me a terse email a couple minutes later. I gleaned over the instructions and floated two ideas which she bought right away.

She needed the copies the next day. That night I went to bed late, leaving her copies simmering. I garnished them the following morning, and punched the send button.

Delayed response.

I waited. Fingers crossed. Incessantly glancing at my phone. Checking my emails. Zilch. I waited some more. Life is all about waiting, and so is getting anything in this town.

She called in the following week, Wednesday. “I like your tone,” she chimed.

“Haha I wrote to impress. It was a bit of a pressure. Didn’t come out really tight as I would have wanted,” I reverted.

“No worries. You’ll be fine. No one starts out impeccably.” The consolation worked. My lips curved into a sheepish smile.

Deal it was. I was in! {This is the point where you blow the hell out of those vuvuzelas, folks! Or for the city sophisticates, raise those long glasses of mimosa!}

So one October evening, a Friday, I stroll into Nakumatt Lifestyle {where a crowd of U.O.N students in tight pants and dusty sneakers had clogged the entrance and were howling in the pretext of chilling out}, hands deep in my pocket, feeling cool, tagging my ego along.

“A lifestyle writer!” I whispered and winked at ego.

“You got it baba. You’re cool like that!” Ego winked back, tapping me on the back.

I studied the article back in the house. Something I don’t usually do with my published works {as a rule, I don’t read my published works. It ravages my esteem to the level of a half-eaten hotdog. Makes me feel rustic. Stupid. I always feel I should have written better}. But because this was ‘auspicious’, I did.

But seriously, guys make me feel as though I have fans. Grab a copy of true love this month. Read opinion before you read the last word. Tear through it, I won’t cry. Write in. critique. Make me better at this craft.

So Si let’s link up there and have that beautiful conversation, ama? Cheers!

 

true-love
Source: HP
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