Location: The Murumbi African Heritage Collections.
This weekend my sisters and I were invited over to dinner at a cousin’s. It’s one of those situations where it’s a distant cousin– our gukas (grandparents) were cousins, which technically makes us third or fourth cousins (?) and while we’d seen each other once or twice at family get togethers, we hadn’t really had the chance to hang out. When our parents were our age, though, they roomed together for a bit, which gave the whole scene a feeling of deja vu, like history was replaying itself during our dinner. Our cousin is also newly married, which meant that we were meeting his wife for the first time. You know when you find yourself sitting with a couple that’s so beautifully in love that it just kind of extends throughout the room to everyone? That was the experience of dinner, and I’m still moved by the warmth of your love for one another, and by the genuine way in which you welcomed us into your home. So, to M and D, before I go any further, thank you for dinner, for wonderful conversation and for sharing the story of your love.
In our old family home (and probably yours, too) there’s a cabinet that’s filled with photo albums. We’d look at them once in a while on our own, but when they really came out was when we had visitors. After lunch, or during tea, guests would receive a stack of photo books whose height was directly proportional to how long it had been since they’d last visited us. First time visitors got the whole tour: spanning pre-baby photos to present day reality, more common guests only got only the more recent ones. People who visited all of the time usually would get nothing. The ritual was reciprocated when we visited other people as someone played the narrator, giving us context as we pored over volumes of family memories on our laps.
I don’t tell this story much, but the first time I cut my hair in college, I hid away for a day or two. When I finally left my room, I kept my hair hidden under a Kenyan flag bandanna, so that for about 2 days none of my friends– with the exception of Princess Daisy, who had cut my hair– had any idea. I felt like the self version of Coyote Ugly. Before college, I’d only had my hair this short many years before as a five year old, an age during which I looked so incredibly awkward that my hair would have been the least of my concerns, if I had even cared about how I looked.
Two things: if unusual shots of little items removed from their context and disembodied hands are your thing, then boy oh boy do I have a treat for you. As I discovered while taking these photos, playing around with different arrangements of miniature baskets and little items can be a very therapeutic experience and a good antidote to stressing about your own life or about choices that other people are making that have nothing to do with you or about all of the things in this universe that you have no control over.Continue Reading
I initially wanted to name this post “Shadows” but in the final hours before posting, the one word “Quiet” won the auction in my head. So, here we are. Which makes sense, really because:
Darkness and quiet go hand in hand on some occasions: the hours just before the sun starts rising and before the birds start chirping; when you’re just about to fall asleep at night, the “pregnant pause” before a stage performance.
I’m in a quiet mood of late. Wanting to gather all of my thoughts close to me, and to express myself in ways that are not verbal. Writing and speaking take energy. Sometimes you need the refuge of stillness to regroup. Continue Reading
Cockroaches can survive a nuclear attack, and so can some soap opera characters. They live through earthquakes, fires, storms, road accidents, gunshots. Basically, they are so valuable to the storyline that no matter what happens, you can be sure that you’ll be seeing them in the next episode. Or a few episodes down the line. Or sometimes many episodes down the line. Continue Reading
Generally speaking, there are two types of twins in soapies:1. where the entire story revolves around the two switching places, and 2. where the switching of places is introduced somewhere down the line as a plot twist. But either way, the twins are pretty self explanatory. They are twins. They look identical.
But of course, what would our soapie be without “The Guy”? The Guy holds within his hands our hopes and dreams for the soap opera, and has the power to keep our candle of hope burning or to extinguish it through his actions. If he ends up with Ms. Sugar and Spice too quickly, then we have no reason to keep watching the rest of the series. But too long and we could lose all hope, so he has to keep the suspense ever present and ever building but not so high that we give up on them.
The Wicked Witch of the West keeps the wheels spinning. She singlehandedly is responsible for most of the “opera” in “Soap Opera”. She favors dark red lipstick and heavy eyeliner TOGETHER, even though all of the fashion rules say not to, but let’s be real, the WWW doesn’t follow the rules.
One of the most tropey of soap opera tropes, Ms. Sugar and Spice is pretty much everything the ‘good girl’ should be: beautiful, sweet, can’t harm a fly, loyal, suffering gracefully throughout the series… The problem isn’t so much her niceness as it is her underdeveloped-ness of character. (See Chimamanda Adichie’s “The Feminine Mistake“)