Writing

The simple things that brought me joy this week.

I write every day. I only publish when I feel worried enough. For the past few days, I haven’t published — I haven’t written words that I feel have pieces of my soul in it. I don’t even know how to explain what that means. I just know when it’s not it. This week, I haven’t found it.

So, I’ve been trying something else.

My drafts contain the reason why this week is critical to my career. It involves severed bonds, coping mechanisms and healthy ways to stay on top of personal failures.

In that draft folder, I also have a recollection of the video games I played with my brother; how much they made us who we are today. It wasn’t until I wrote that down that I realized how much video games had impacted my life, and still will.


These three things include things whose roles in my life I am just coming across. It is the minimalist call of these actions that brings me gratitude in times when I need that feeling the most. What are they then?

1. Long walks

With my cab fare in hand, I’ll latch unto my backpack and do something that brings me peace in ways I never appreciated.

I’ll walk.

I don’t exercise regularly. I don’t pay attention to what I eat. I suck at all sports. I don’t know my MBI. One thing I do know though, is that for the past 6 months, not walking has made me seep into this mental place where I don’t like the shape I see in my mirror.

By most descriptions, I am definitely not overweight. But I don’t look so athletic either.

I still need to figure out why or how I am able to walk these long distances or stand all day and feel nothing. I might be a mutant. Nice.

I’ve turned to observing the city as I walk down home. I imagine conversations and describe scenes to myself. Sometimes, I take out the coins to pay for the cab, but I just hold unto them, then, walk home.

It casts a soothing spell on me. I feel a healing from the inside. It’s as though the city hears my pain and swathes it with every footfall.

2. Random Notes on Evernote

I’ve completed more texts on Evernote in the past week than in the last month. I’ve also found that I enjoy leaving sentences halfway, knowing I cannot finish them at the moment. It’s a daring anticipation, waiting for the words to come as I pen the ones already present.

It was strange at the start. I usually start and finish my poems or posts immediately. I hardly leave texts to be edited later. This, I found, through massive consumption of how-to’s on Medium, wasn’t a good practice. Now, I l edit at at later time, taking up to weeks at a time.

This has allowed me to provide a skeleton for the book ideas I have and to do so freely. I don’t have to complete the work I start at that time. I know I will. And even when I write a complete text, I let it simmer for a bit.

Given the number of incomplete drafts I now have, I know I cannot lack what to write about every single day. Is this a bad practice? I don’t know. Between you and me…I don’t care.

What you’re reading was written straight on Medium a few hours ago. I think that writing down my thoughts allows my ideas to flow more. It’s less limiting and it reduces the pressure on my desire to create work that touches the soul.

3. Face to Face Conversations

I am an introvert. I have learned how to be comfortable around people in a way that makes me seem extroverted. But, if given the choice, I’d rather be by myself.

I do my best work when I’m alone. You should see me after a party — a wreck, physically unable to accommodate humans.

One of the most common problems introverts face is energy level management: knowing your threshold. It’s important to know how much of humans you can handle, for how long, and how long it would take to recharge.

I take one full night of alone time after spending a day around people. But, if I have to interact with these people, it could take more. Last Saturday for example, I attended a party. I had fun. A lot. I danced, drank and slept on a couch. I really, really needed to let out that night. Guess what? It took me two days to recover. Not from the hangover, but from the interactions with other people.

However, I’ve been able to get inspiration for posts, stories, articles, and even just be entertained, by having face to face conversations.

Because I found it hard to create what I wanted, I started paying closer attention to the people I was with. Listening to what they were saying. Watching their body language. Asking questions. Laughing at their jokes. Paying compliments when necessary.

It’s one of those simple things that make life incredibly worthwhile: having a conversation.

I have lots of them with myself. But it’s only when I talk with others that I hear myself even more through them.


A lot has changed in my life recently. A lot more is coming ahead. I’ve never been this grateful for everything I have and glad that I am living in the greatest era of all time!

From the bottom of my heart, I’d like to thank you for reading this. Please, click on the heart to recommend this piece. It gets more readers to see. You know how much my self-worth depends on this…so…euh…thanks. 😀

If you enjoyed this post, please share using the social media buttons below. Don’t hesitate to ask me anything on twitter.

This post was originally published on Self-ish.

Why I’ve Not Been On WordPress all this while.

Incidentally, it is also why you’d be seeing more of me hence.
You see, I have fallen deeply, deeply in love with Medium. For the past three months or so, I have put all my creative energy into it. Soaking amazing content and writing a lot.

What is Medium you ask?  This quote from The Atlantic sums it all:

“So what is Medium? Medium is a place to read articles on the Internet. Medium is a blogging platform, like WordPress or Blogger. Medium is the new project from the guys who brought you Twitter. Medium is chaotically, arrhythmically produced by a combination of top-notch editors, paid writers, PR flacks, startup bros, and hacks”. Read the article here.

In my love for this new platform, and like my mother would say, I saw Christmas and forgot Sunday.

I forgot my family- you.

You are the reason why I have been able to blog for the past fours years. I started this blog with nothing but an idea( and internet access, and the computer my cousin gave me ( thank you Aunty Tie!)) and I had no idea where this was all going.

It was 2012. I had just made it into a degree programme I loved and I heard of this thing called a blog. Truth be told, this is not my first blog. But this is the only one I have been consistent on.

I have so many blog ideas in my idea grave. I call it…wait for it…the idea grave! Lame huh? I know.

Now I have more than 197 subscribers!! 197 people thought that they would want to keep getting my work!!! 924 people liked my Facebook page!

AWESOME!

The reason why I keep writing is because you’ve been reading and commenting. I got the courage to open an Instagram account where I started this picture story thing that got some attention.

Then, in my usual Kamga style, I slacked off. Then I came back…and slacked off again. But I am back now. 🙂

Then I started a Masters at the University. English Language. Yeaup. Who does that? Who spends his days perusing Theories of First Language Acquisition?
Well, I do now. And to be honest, it’s fun.

Handling school, writing on medium, (as well as some projects I haven’t told you about) …all these things haven’t exactly been peachy.

But I know I can do better. You deserve better.
Which is why I will do all in my power to keep writing here.

I wish I could just copy what I write on Medium and paste here. But that would be super lazy and unfair. And I cannot ask you to move to medium as well now can I? That would be rude.

I am mean. Not rude. So, this is what we’ll do:

First, if you want to catch-up with what I’ve been doing, I started a publication with my very good friend Anne Marie Befoune. She’s a terrific blogger and incredible writer. She’s also my best friend. She lives in Senegal. And we’ve never actually met. How cool is the internet?! I knooow!

Together we do our best to post every single day on the platform. We have three themes- self improvement, content creation and human relationships. So, it is a lot of my regular spiel about how I get back from feelings of sadness, how I create content and my love life the relationships in my life.

If you don’t have a Medium account, don’t worry. You can sign in with Facebook or Twitter.

On Medium, you can ‘follow’ publications. So, if you want to follow ours, click here. It will take you straight to the page. Anne Marie writes in French and English. If you love my writing, I believe you will love her too.

I know I do.

We also have a Facebook page where we put links to the articles we write. I strongly suggest you follow the page on Medium though. You get to receive letters with shpeshial content.

We have plans for Self-ish. Plans you’ll love. hehehe

But! Back to why we’re here.

I have written on Medium ( ugh, I know…stop rolling your eyes) about my mentors. Gary Vaynerchuk is one of them. I have consumed his content so much I may have acquired  a lot of his idiosyncrasies.

Why do I bring this iconic American hustler to my apology for dumping my WordPress Family for Medium?

Because 1>0. One is greater than zero. I got that from Gary.

Because you have been with me for all these years, sending me words of encouragement, reading my posts, commenting, sharing.

Because I met incredible people on this platform that I cannot neglect.

It is because of you that I have been able to do a lot of what I am doing now.

So…SECOND! You are my family. And if that means working a little harder and smarter to make sure you get to read me here as well, then I will do that.

Thank you.

If you’re on Snapchat, hit me up let’s chat. I’m doubling down there too. Even though I get weirdly super shy sometimes. My username is @tchassakamga. Or you can just open your app, point your camera to the code below, hold you finger on  my teeth my picture and wait for your device to scan the code.

snap

I must tell you, a lot has happened. Hint: I am writing a book.

It feels great to be back. I know it’s going to be hard. Like coming back home after studying abroad. It’s been an interesting couple of months.

Thank you for your patience. It will be worth it.

Forever yours, Tchassa Kamga.

P.S: Ask me any questions on my Ask.fm. I would gladly answer.

P.P.S: Here ( in no particular order) is  a list of my personal top five posts on medium. Don’t forget to recommend the ones you read!

  1. Dear Marketer, this is why I write.
  2. You’ll never be ready.
  3. Five lessons from my selfishness.
  4. Scrawny kid and pretty mouth. ( You should start with this one!!)
  5. How should you feel after a near death experience?

The Alter Boy Who Panicked #Poetry

Not long ago, in a church yonder,
A suave neighbor swept Martha.
I was there, I watched from the altar.
The Mass went on, and me, being a server, couldn’t falter.

They giggled and wiggled during the sermon.
The itch in my throat grew strong.
An attempt to clear felt wrong.
Even the priest seemed worried. It showed in his stare, long.

Mother had warned me of love come fast.
In the age of twitter”, she said, “these things do not last”.
I could feel her eyes on my skull as I stared into the crowd aghast.

The burden of loss is never a light one.
To ponder alone at the time all was fun.
When I thought my Martha was my only one.
Even against my mother’s wishes, I’d promised her we’d run.

When mass ended. I rushed to clear my robe.
The crowd moved slow-a well played joke.
I found Martha crossing the road with the bloke.
I screamed and cursed at the heavenly poke.

Now, here’s the real joke, that was Martha’s long gone cousin who just came back from four years out of the country.

She was so excited she literally burned all her home including the pantry.

When I found out, I rushed in tears and reached her home panting.

She took me into her arms and said those words I needed to hear: It’s okay boo boo, I am not angry.

I remember her touch.

As well as her kind gaze and warm smile.
They way she gleamed and held her head high.
She left her hand in mine.
Confident that the world wouldn’t mind.
Especially, when we went out to dine.

Fortunately, that time is now behind.

I remember my nickname.
She’d laugh at my sneer, knowing I’d go insane.
She’d pick on me when no one looked,
Only to make that face I’d hate to imitate.
Our kiss? She’d initiate.
Long, tender, nuzzle free meal I’d gleefully partake.

Alas, that time is in my wake.

I remember our goodbyes.
Her sad scream and dark eyes.
Long texts and fake fights.
The stakes were high.
I still hear echoes of her curses in the middle of the night.

The black hole in my soul, sucking, had never seemed so bright.

Why Should You Write?

On your happiest days, to remember what joy is.
On your saddest days, to remember what pain is.
On your angry days to remember what hate is.
On your sweetest days to remember what peace is.
On your lonely days, to remember what solitude is.
On your crowded days, to remember what company is.

What should you do after you write?

On your happiest days, share the love.
On your saddest days, share a friend.
On your angry days, start a revolution.
On your sweetest days, convert a heart.
On you lonely days, listen to your heart.
On your crowded days, laugh with your heart.

Why all this?

I have never seen a writer who could not appreciate life in his or her unique way.

I have have never seen a human who sees the world like I do or vice versa.

I have come to accept that my thoughts line up clearly when I am on a keyboard.

And that my anger can be directed towards a purpose that is nobler than its cause.

Although not everyone can be a great writer, everyone can write. And I personally believe everyone should write.

You don’t need to use words that require a dictionary to express pain, love, hate, or anger.

In fact, the key is about expressing thoughts. Not impressing readers.

I love writing.

I don’t think I am a good writer. I don’t even consider myself a writer. But I have come to use this as a tool to channel a great deal of stifled emotions.

It is what is it. It’s more of a sanitary process than the creation of beauty. Which is why I pay so much attention to grammar and spelling.

And why I am back.

Because I am, truly, angry.

Just Another Face #Short #Fiction

“Miss Bright?”
“Pim!”

The old cab pulls over. Surprised, I am, to find that I am the only passenger at 7.50 pm. Unless I am in a different time zone, on weekends in Molyko, the day starts at 9 pm.

Eta Palace
Apart from the customary hum and occasional gear change, the vehicle moves silently. I love silence. I don’t bother looking for an identification document. I barely see inside the vehicle, why remind myself of my already incompetent visibility in low light conditions?
He is old. 50 at least. His gaze never leaves the road. Mine, the sidewalk. The silence eats our thoughts. The necessity of quiet is usually underrated.

Total

A bevy bunches up at the entrance to Dirty South, the street just after the Total gas station. The rainbow striped crew clearly has a Sunday evening outing. The kind that usually culminates in : a refurbished sense of moral decadence, lowered standards of truth and a renewed archive of dirty little secrets. He doesn’t stop when the couple points in my direction.

Mile 17
I reach for change. 200Frs. On evenings when I am particularly excited, I argue the fare with, tease and try to get the best of cab drivers.
Today, I just want to go home.

Kawah
I hate it that I don’t see properly in the evening. Just like Dad. This makes me grateful every time I get into a cab.
A bittersweet reminder of the diversity and complementarity of all humans.

Miss Bright
“Miss Bright?”
“Yes.”

Coins clink. I step out. Will he give my 50 frs?
I watch him hesitate for a split second- wishful thinking that I would start moving into the street without taking my 50frs. He catches my gaze, smiles in the dark and stretches his arm.

“Thank you”.

He knows he lost the battle when he flinched. I know he is not in that taxi because he admired cab drivers as a child.
We both know he doesn’t deserve the extra 50frs.

Miss Bright Junction
It’s six past eight. The street light reflects on my glasses and blinds me for a moment. The bar squeezes the peace out of my ears. As the bikes beckon, asking if I would ride them into the pitiful excuse of a tarred road, I wonder whose father he was. Whether he had made the day’s quota and whether he was strong enough to carry on such a grueling profession.
The thought didn’t stop me from arguing with the young man dispensing pawpaws. I wondered if in another life, he would be retired and reaping the fruits of a well invested youth.
I wondered if he would remember me. The nonchalant, lenses borne quasi-blind dude.
Did I look like one of these Pawpaw fruits? Identical except with slight curves, color and fruity attitude?

“How much?”

Would he remember our moment?
“Cent ngoma for this small thing massa? Noo. Take piece.”

Did he consciously ignore the couple or was he just pleased that he had a passenger who didn’t want to be bothered as well.

“Thank you boh”.

Maybe. Maybe not.
In the end, like my pawpaw buddy, I would be just another face.

Give up?

1.16 a.m.
Screen, blank. Stare. Tears. Blink, twice. Home, silent. Headphones, blaring.
You should sleep.
Maybe.
You should lie down and continue tomorrow.

Maybe.

What’s the point working on a piece only you see everyday?
No one might enjoy it. In fact, you could be hated for it.
There is a chance it will be nothing like the picture in your mind.
This is not the first time you’ve felt deleted from history. Probably won’t be the last.

“I’d better be deleted than not to have existed”.

So, you sit up. Crank up the volume . Type.
No one got rich lazy. Plus, I am at the prime of my life.
My future self would never forgive me if I gave up now.
I won’t.
I can’t.

We can’t give up now.

You never hear of talker’s block. Why do we talk of writer’s block?- Seth Godin

Seth Godin is one of my favourite bloggers. He says:

You never hear of ‘talker’s block’. Why do we talk of ‘writer’s block’? Just write what you’d say.

It sounds like a logical argument doesn’t it?  Sometimes, however, the reason why any writer faces  ‘block’ is because of the quasi-constant comparison we perform almost unconsciously.

Because ( as a writer) you read a lot, you compare your writing with the best and EXPECT your writing to be that good- after  MONTHS of writing. Welcome to the club.
Say, for example, you( I really mean ‘I’) just read The Alchemist. The beautiful story. The awesome plot. The brilliant lessons.The next time you’re on a computer all those positive nuggets come to haunt you. Maybe not you, but they haunt me.

I’m like: ” Oh shit. I’m never going to write like Coehlo. What do I do? Did I choose the right path? All my enemies( I don’t know why I always think I have enemies) all my enemies will now mock me. I’m doomed”.

This , my dear friend, is my definition of writer’s block: when as an avid reader you realise you need to work hard to write better.Simply. 

Writer’s block reminds me I need to check out my dictionary.
But more importantly, that I need to write.

Happy Tuesday dear friend.

What if I were a girl?

I have had a headache now for three days. I don’t want to take medication. First of all because I don’t trust anything that gets into my system (except food) and second, I think I deserve the pain.

Every once in a while at least.

I have difficulties sleeping too. I start reading books and I can’t stop. I read till 3a.m. I always considered myself a book nerd. Now I am certain I wasn’t.

I AM a book nerd.

 

  Black Holes and Confusions

This post is not about my headache or insomnia or reading. Like every other post I have written from my heart, is it is about a certain kind of confusion.

Who knows…maybe it is the confusion that has clotted an artery in my brain and is giving me this pain.

Or maybe I just need to sleep. Meh.

Anyway, what if I were a girl? I am not the typical male. No, I wasn’t born with both sexual organs. And no, I am not attracted to boys. Let’s leave anatomy and homophobia for another time.

I am not the ‘alpha’ male. I am not particularly handsome and I don’t have the required ‘charisma’ to hide it.

    The Charisma-ed Knight

A lady once ended our two week relationship because (true story) :  She: “You have no…what is the word…’charisma’…yes. You have no charisma”.

Me:“…”

She: I don’t think this can work out.  Then she left.

Me: “What the fuck is ‘Charisma‘”?

She didn’t reply. She had left the room and I had been so confused I didn’t see her leave. Story of my life.

Anyway, what if I were a girl? Not being the typical male…little or ziltch charisma…horrible build…astigmatic and short-sighted( you need to see me without my glasses, you’d weep for my mom.  Oh…and for the record, ‘The Charisma Story’ took place in 2012. And yes, I have moved on but no, I have not completely been over it. Seriously, what the…is Charisma?

To Break or Not to break?

If I were a girl would I break up in that way? I don’t know. I mean…we all have our goals and aspirations, our dreams etc. Maybe she needed King Charisma and I was just Dude Typical. I was hurt.

Yep. I would probably have said the same thing if I wanted to make a point. I admire her focus. She knew what she wanted. I hope she’s found it.

If I were a girl, would I sleep better? I don’t know. There is a period of the month ( or so I have heard) when human biology provides( for a select female quota of the human race) a surmountable amount of pain and non-deadly liquid exudes. That is as far as my euphemism can go. Maybe I would feel pain and not sleep well.                                 But, we both know I need to sleep early. So, forget that.

   A Question of Stereotype?

If I were a girl, I would have to wear make-up and gossip and talk about boys…and….                                                                                                        HA! See your face! You were already thinking:                                         “This dude is just another ‘dude’…thinking every girl does make-up and talks about boys…

Well, guess what? You’re right. I think a majority of ladies wear make-up. That is why the ones who don’t stand out.  Oh…I know guys who wear make-up too (Yes…I was shocked when I found) .

I also know boys who talk about boys (and no, they are not attracted to them. Think of t politicians; I want to believe Mr Romney talked a lot about Mr. Obama in ’08’). My lady in ‘ The Charisma Story’ did not wear make-up. Not that I remember clearly. But she was pretty. Still is.

If I were a lady…would I wear make-up? I don’t know. That would depend on many factors. I am sure one of them would be what I’d eat for lunch. I know it doesn’t make sense.

 

My Unadulterated Love For Food

I don’t know how to cook like my mom does. I wish I could. I love her food. If I were a girl, would I be able to?                                                                 Yes.                                                                                                                                         My younger sister is an excellent cook. I don’t think that is fair.  That , now, is the age old African Stereotype: the woman stays in the kitchen and the man in the parlor reading a newspaper.

I wonder what the ‘typical man’ read before the Newspapers….parchments?                                                                                        Who cares?

I would be an awesome cook if I were a woman. I would relish my mother’s food and I would probably not lose all the weight I am losing now because of poor feeding.  Fact.

I still relish my mother’s food. Fact.

 

Purpose And Other Truths

Last, confusio! (yeah…I just had to pull the Harry Potter card):

If I were a woman, would I write this post?                                                            I don’t know.                                                                                                                          I write to figure things out. I write to think. When I start writing, it is because I have a problem I need to address. I am a coward. So I run around and the problem is stuck at my heels.

Writing makes me stop and turn around.

I will never be a woman. I will never bear a child and I will never know what it is like to break up with a dude because he ‘has no charisma’. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Just like I don’t know where I will be in a few months. I don’t know many things.

Here’s the fun part: It doesn’t matter!

Only through imagination can we live other lives. Through books and movies (and food).

I love those. I love travelling in my mind. I sometimes laugh alone. It doesn’t matter whether you are a man or woman, you’re alive.

You will have problems and you will find solutions. Maybe not. But you’re alive. That is all that matters.

So far as you’re alive, you can either sit on your ass like me and pretend to solve a problem by writing about it or get out there and live.

I need to sleep. Maybe I will find out what ‘charisma’ is in my dreams.

 

P.S: I love this song. I think the best age for rock music was 80s. Enjoy.