Blog Soul

Finding my Muses
August 3, 2020

The call comes in on a Thursday night. The Indian Ocean is roaring in the background. Some of his words are carried off by the wind but you get the gist of what he’s saying. He’s walking on the beach. He wants you next to him. Be spontaneous. Be adventurous. Take the train. You’ll book a flight back. You say all right and pack a small bag. In the morning you catch a cab to the Syokimau station. You file onto the SGR train alongside other folks with nothing but an impulsive decision to carry you through. You spend the weekend burdening your body with herb and whiskey. You soothe it with great views, white shimmering sands, and frothy waves lapping at your feet.

While you are living it up in Watamu, back in Nairobi, a new set of events has been set in motion. A job in Naivasha has been arranged. You are to move away and put to use the two degrees you acquired eight years earlier. Good money was spent on you over those five years. It’s been thirteen years in the making. Now it’s time to see if it all pays off. You already know the answer to that question but who are you to disappoint your old man? And for what? A pipe dream? You take the job. You move to Naivasha.

The job sucks. The job sucks smelly toes. You work ten hours a day, six days a week. They flick pennies at you and call it a salary. You miss the fam. You miss your cats more than anything. You miss the city. You miss telling stories about marriage, relationships, and urban life. You miss yourself, your true self. The one you abandoned to go and be the person other people thought you should be. It batters your soul. You lose weight. You wither. You start to get very still and quiet hoping that the internal alarms blaring will go silent too. They don’t. There is a constant rushing noise in your ears. When you close your eyes all you see is red. You are crashing.

It takes three days of radio silence to return to yourself. To beg forgiveness for betraying yourself. To start making it right. Things will fall into place, but first, they’ll fall apart. They’ll crumble, scatter and cause just enough chaos and pain to make sure the lesson sticks this time. Stop abandoning yourself. No one is coming to save you. No one is coming to whisk you off into the life you’ve been dreaming of. You have to show up for yourself. You have to do the work and make the decisions that will bring you closer home. Closer to that life you desire. You have to choose you.

Once you realize this, clarity starts to take hold inside. You can’t go back to the old normal. The consciousness shift won’t allow you. You have to let go of all the earlier mindsets, relationships and trauma responses to level up.

Now the stories you want to tell are different. Your voice has changed. The realization comes at a rather inconvenient time. You’re five chapters into a new story series. It’s set in a life that’s faded to black and white. A portal you can no longer and don’t even want to access. You struggle with it for a few months because you’re not one to leave things unfinished. Loose ties unsettle your mind. But you’ve also got to know when to let go. If you hang onto something past the time you should move on, you get stuck. Everything stalls. You’ve got to keep it moving. And this, folks, is the long and short of why I’m canceling the Eucalyptus Man story series. I just don’t have it in me anymore.

By making this admission, I’m freeing myself up to explore new story ideas. Writers should write for themselves first, but you all have been so kind. You have encouraged my work and stuck around despite my long absences and thus I feel beholden to you. Thank you.

I’m still quieting the chaos of the last few months. My goal is to be still enough that my muses come to me again like butterflies. A story series only comes together if the muses speak to me. Let me crawl into their skin and hear their thoughts. Feel their feelings. It’s a process and this is where I’m at. When the stars align I’ll shoot a flare and we’ll all congregate here on Thursdays as usual. Until then, stay rocking.

Love & Light

Wanjiru Ndung’u


Update: We started a new series we named You’re Still You. Read the first chapter A Moment Longer next.


About author

Wanjiru Ndung'u

Wanjiru Ndung'u writes fiction, poetry and essays. She is an irretrievable night owl, tea-lover and cat mom. She enjoys books, alternative music, movies and streaming shows.

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  • Duchess

    Welcome back. I don’t know whether this is appropriate (i’m not a writer, i push paper in an office and sell skincare products as a passion) but i’ll say it hoping you will feel it’s from a good place. Why not just give random stories? It doesn’t have to be a series, it doesn’t have to be 3000 words long. Just be free. We are all a work in progress.

    • Hooting Owl

      Hi Duchess, I hear you. Every writer has their process and product and mine happens to be long-form fiction. Completing a story arch in just 2000 words is highly unsatisfying for me. I enjoy the process of exploration – the setting, characters, their development, their state of mind…It is something I have thought about though. Whenever I have such a story I’ll be more than happy to share.