“Happy new year 2017.
I know that some of you may have come from far and I know you have braved the sun. It has been a hot afternoon. Know that I appreciate your coming here.
Welcome to THRILLS AND CHILLS book launch.
Speaking of book launch. I could not attend the book launch of The journey of hope which is an anthology of poems , organized by writers guild-KE last year. I had woken up all excited. But when I was getting into the bathroom an insect stung me in the eye.
Gabriel (where is he?) that’s why I didn’t attend. And I lost the opportunity to meet Tony Mochama and Prof Egara Kabaji.
Sometimes you have plans to attend a book launch but you get stung in the eye BUT SUCH IS LIFE.
But many thanks for coming. I wish you knew just how much it means to me.
Thank you Writers guild KE for mentoring, inspiring and supporting me in this journey
To Gabriel Dinda, to Mary Adhiambo, to Kevin, to Rumona, to Logedi, to Gift, to Abuta Ogeto, to to Peggy, to Griffins you have all been magnificient.
To Mr Erastus Moturi thank you for accepting to be the chief guest on such a short notice.
To Dr Job Mogire thank you for telling your story.
To Mr Kiprono for addressing such a timely topic.
To friends, thank you for the sacrifices you have made for me.
To all of you thank you for showing up.
Most of all I thank the Almighty.
It is great seeing old friends and classmates.
And I think it is great to see some of my Facebook friends in real time. You are virtual no more. You are real friends.
But it’s my hope you had A GREAT TIME during the HOLIDAYS. I know some of us have been grieving this festive season…my condolences to you all.
We should be thankful to be here today because, you know, it takes God to see a new year.
A few weeks ago a vehicle carrying incendiary material exploded into flames along Nairobi-Naivasha highway killing more than 30 people.
And also the dreary story of a road crash along Kisii-Kilgoris road in which a couple of University students lost their lives.
Now, I think I should tell MY STORY at this point. I turned 21 in October. I am a writer and an engineering student (it is important to say that too)
Two memories I have from my infantile years: Myself sitting on my father’s coffin and my mum crying. Its hard to say but she was being oppressed by my paternal family and at some point we were chased from our father’s land while his grave was still fresh. The construction project my mum had started with the money from the funeral fund drive was stalled. And at that time my sister was very sick.
Of course, I didn’t know what was happening then but in hindsight, it is a lot of trauma my mum was going through.
We moved to a rented house. But few years later she was laid off from her job and paying the rent was difficult and she went into peasant farming. She used my help during holidays.
Later when a letter came calling me to Lenana School. I asked her whether I’d really go to Lenana School. It is because it was in doubt. I had gotten used to my mum not affording things.
When I got to highschool I was intimidated by the sheer size of the place but then I became used to it. And for the most part, I worked hard. My performance rose exponentially in form two. I was leading in Physics and Power Mechanics in our class. It gave me a sense of pride.
Sadly in the third term I started being sick and it became a major issue for the rest of my high school life and even after. It started with migraines, then photophobia and chronic eye pain..and later hair loss. This was further compounded with the fact that I went to hospitals, spent thousands of money but didn’t quite establish what my problem was nor did I recuperate.
It almost crippled me. OK well, at least academically. With the egregious eye pain ,It just became almost impossible to read or do assignments.
I just came up school, to class, to my desk to sleep or vent by making noise during morning and evening preps. Worse I was the class prefect.
Our school had a policy of finishing the syllabus early in the year, but here I was 44 days to KCSE, thoroughly unprepared, and not having completed the syllabus and ever in physical pain.
Sometimes I could cry.
But regardless of that. I’m one kid who’s always been pampered. God has never quit on me. My life has been a sequence of miracles, even this book launch is miracle. And I’m blessed in infinitely many ways. But sometimes I don’t see it.
Now we all go through things.
May be you are sick most of time.
Or you are addicted to something.
Or friends mock the home where you from.
Or a girl said you are broke and stingy.
Or you are worried whether your project will pan out.
Or the lecturer decided to just fail you.
We all know where we ache and it is merely normal. And we know life is a vicious cycle.. You get happy then sad, sad then happy.
But let’s remember we have great moments too. And we need to be thankful for the people and opportunities we have. We just take them too ordinary.
If you are alive and listening to this. I just hope you know how good you have it… even if you think you are the one person life doesn’t spare.
ON THRILLS AND CHILLS
Friends have been joking saying I’m like an expectant mother going to give birth. That made it sound like I was in labour pains. But that’s not quite the feeling.
But I’m happy today I’m launching my book. When I first thought of writing this book, it was only something dreamy. But now I have a couple of people who have already read the book and they have good things to say about it. It is gratifying.
I started actively writing this book when I was in first year at Egerton University but the inception of the book itself goes way back to when I was in high school in form 3. I started blogging just after KCSE. Most of that was just to help me learn how to write. I then started doing the book, slowly but surely but now here it is.
The book got published in December last year and the printed copies were out just before Christmas.
Days ago a friend of a friend was looking at the cover of my book. When she enquired the genre and I said it is a motivational book she suddenly stopped and returned the book to me very quickly dismissing it. She said she didn’t need any motivation. And she is a microcosm of a few people I will meet who will not be receptive of my muse (even for reasons outside what the book is).
May be saying your book is a motivational book is a spoiler.
When people hear ‘motivational book’ they think of visionary, all feel-good, unrealistic tips or just someone telling them how they should be living their life and, sure, they are not willing to budge.
But my book is not cheap chatter. In Thrills and Chills I discuss life and the hard facts but with a meaningful ,bouying twist.
I talk about pain, positivity, speaking out, masculine stoicism and suicide, upward social comparison, gratitude, impermanence, grit and success.
Is pain a punishment or a necessary impetus?
Just how bad is your life. May be it’s not even bad at all.
The suicide rate for men is three to four times higher than for women. Why is that?
Life, however we may view it, is no simple parlour game. But its prizes call for fighting, for endurance and for grit, for a rugged disposition that will not quit.
Kofi Sekyere Stephen
An obscure background does not put you on a loosing streak.
Thank you. Read Thrills and Chills and be inspired.”