The Star (Kenya)
Life’s struggles: A letter of gratitude
This weekend’s article marks a year of Society Talk column. In light of that, I thought I should write directly to you to share my gratitude for sharing the year with me. I also wanted to share my journey with you in the hopes that in some small way I can encourage you on your journey.
Society Talk was born in the darkest period of my life. This time last year I was unemployed (still am), newly married and living apart from my spouse because of extenuating circumstances. The only thing I had that was a constant was my weekend article.
I had started freelancing for the Star back in 2011 when I was still working for the parent company in radio. I became friends with one of the editors on the Features desk and asked if I could try writing for the paper.
I have been writing for as long as I can remember, and before I got the job writing for radio, I always expected to work in the print sector. Hence, I picked up writing for the paper, contributing on a variety of subjects. When I joined university in 2014, I could not help but feel something amiss when I was not writing.
I proposed a full-time film review column. My editor (a different man at that time) was hesitant; he did not believe it could be possible to write about television every single weekend. He was pleasantly surprised when I proved him otherwise. Review I did … for five years without a break. Until last year when I learnt from my current editor that my column was being scrapped as the paper underwent transformation.
I am still unsure if I was sad or relieved for a change. What I was sure of was that I still wanted to write. I proposed yet another piece, an idea I had been toying with for years. A column where I could talk about issues affecting us as a society. An opportunity to have an open dialogue with readers, lawmakers or administrators. It was at this point I realised that opportunities rarely come knocking. Often, we have to kick in the door and create those opportunities ourselves.
I could have wallowed in my feelings about my review column being scrapped, but I had to act quickly. I had to find another sustainable way moving forward. I don’t believe that I am talented, I just write because it is the only way I can communicate. I started wondering if I was making any kind of impact with my writing. It is normal to question if what we do serves a greater purpose in the world.
One day, I received an email at 2am from one of the biggest review sites in the world. They had come across my reviews and enjoyed them so much that they wanted me to be a featured critic on the site. Five years I had written the column without a comment, compliment or complaint. Here I was, six months after the column had been scrapped, being talked to about the impact of my reviews. Finally, some recognition.
There you have it, dear reader. Sometimes, it might seem like what we do is futile. You work so hard and wish for some acknowledgement to encourage you on your journey. You might get frustrated that no one is noticing you. Hear me when I say, if you do what you love and do it well, you are making an impact on someone somewhere. Recognition will come when you least expect it but need it the most.
Therefore, to mark the first anniversary of Society Talk I would like to thank you all for your contribution to my story. If you are reading this, thank you for enduring my long-winded articles. If you are editing this, thank you for helping me be better. Paul, Wycliffe and Tom, I am forever indebted.