15 December 2006

Thanks to Matt

Hello all. I didn't realize that Matt's never done this before--had a guest blogger--something he failed to mention when he suggested I try it...
I apologize for having kept you all waiting--I realize Matt meant for this to come on sooner, but I've been having cold feet.
But, I'm very excited and grateful to Matt for the opportunity. He and I had dinner the week before his departure, and our conversation has stayed in my mind. The prospect of his visiting my hometown had the curious effect of making me feel as though I had just arrived in the US, as opposed to having lived here for several years.
I also realized, with pleasure, the swarm of connections that each person has the ability to make by simply leaving one place and going to another. Perhaps there will be time to talk in some detail about these connections in my entries. I feel in this moment generous enough to make a number of philosophical remarks about chance and fate and so forth, but as my papa says, this would be just "winetalk".
I'm simply happy that a friend of mine has the chance to see the place where I'm from, a chance so few of my friends here have. I'm also happy that SLS is providing a much needed fulcrum for the literary efforts in Kenya and in the region, efforts which a change in the political climate has allowed to thrive.
That there are now, in Kenya, not just Nairobi I hope, fifteen year olds writing bad poetry and nursing the stirrings of literary ambition who have the opportunity to know of such an event as SLS, let alone attend or be close to it in some way, is itself a watershed.
I look forward to the emergence of an open, vibrant literary culture. I want those same people, my neighbours, my relatives, my friends, who fed me with all sorts of books, with the skiffy that made me want to become, well, a skiffie, to see "local produce" on their shelves.
With that in mind, let me say that the next entry will be on "local produce", so to speak. I'll be talking about Binyavanga Wainaina's "Ships in High Transit", which Matt mentioned.