On Sunday the 17th of March, 2013, I attended the first Hisia Zangu workshop for writers and poets this year. I had literally put the weekend aside for this special event for over a month and, although I joined the discussion fashionably late, it was worth all the waiting and anticipating I had endured to the day.
I listened to beautiful words and my mind painted brightly colored depictions using words and I, for hours which I wished would never come to a close, felt the long-gone desire to do something worthwhile and enjoyable slowly seep back into me.
A few times now, I have had trouble explaining in the most accurate fashion what it is that actually drags me through a non-stop 4 hour session of words and emotion after laundry, house cleaning and cooking. The thing is, sometimes words fall short of explaining what something means to you. Especially, when this something is the chance to grow, laugh, mingle freely, learn, vent, feel and come alive.
Before Hisia Zangu I had written numerous little pieces of something about some fantasy, fear or burning issue I couldn’t help but pen down furiously. I have lost most of my old works; the less refined but particularly memorable dotted with innocence and framed in inexperience. What am I saying? Nobody needs experience to feel? No one teaches you how to fall in love or soak in envy or burst in a fit of rage. At my first workshop, during introductions, I had said that “I write stuff”. As soon as I was done reading ‘Do You Remember?’ it was stated quite clearly that I couldn’t go around selling myself short by stating that I wrote stuff. It was at Hisia Zangu that I first got labelled a short story writer; a title which I still hold in high esteem.
It was also at Hisia that I would eventually learn how to let the words and feelings flow together with greater ease. I learned how to relax a little. Best of all, I made friends who now mean a lot more to me than some of the strangers I call family members. People who offer you a place to stay when you leave home; people who call you in the middle of the night when your bouts of insomnia set in; people who fill your life with loud laughter and good music; people who share the passion of reading and writing; people who can or can’t sing, who can or can’t dance, who live everyday as it comes, in whose company you can never indulge enough and whose presence leaves your brain and heart glowing; people you invite home for tea and popcorn, who meet you in town for uji and cake; people who really know what you want out of life, who understand you pretty well and don’t care to judge even when you give them reason to.
The English translation for the Swahili phrase ‘Hisia Zangu’ is ‘my feelings’. If you didn’t know this,well, now you understand why I went on and on about my feelings towards the amazing experience that has been my life after Hisia Zangu.