Category Archives: Writing

Opposite Ends

Super excited to share two recently published articles – on opposite ends of the content spectrum no less!

I had a lot of fun writing for Yeity because their style is sarcastic and cheeky. Site tagline? Travel that will put hair on your snatch. Ha! It felt good to vent about my experience jogging in Kampala and share some pics. Here’s a peek at what running through town looks like:

A little bit hectic, a little bit rock n' roll...

A little bit hectic, a little bit rock n’ roll…

And now for something completely different…

My favourite Kampala-based publication, Start Journal, is an arts and culture magazine a bit outside the box in terms of content. It publishes many local Ugandan writers’ work on happenings in the art scene here, The criticism in it is meant to question the social-political context in which art (all types) are created.

 And yet, like so many other dictators, not only was Amin a frightening, deeply disturbed man, but he was also effortlessly capable of ineffable charisma and charm. The president clearly enjoyed putting on a show.

The Bad and the Beautiful is my review of the filmic portrayal of former president and mass-murderer Idi Amin Dada in The Last King of Scotland and General Idi Amin Dada: A Self-Portrait. The piece is the result of a discussion on this topic with some of my fellow cinephiles here at 32 East. My essay ended up also being influenced by David Foster Wallace’s brilliant write-up of his experience on the set of David Lynch’s Lost Highway. That is – literally – a topic for another post.

“Art film is essentially teleological; it tries in various ways to “wake the audience up” or render us more “conscious.” (…) An art film’s point is usually more intellectual or aesthetic, and you usually have to do some interpretive work to get it, so that when you pay to see an art film you’re actually paying to work (whereas the only work you have to do w/r/t most commercial films is whatever work you did to afford the price of the ticket).” -D.F. Wallace

Writing inspiration

General intro: I stay at an arts trust when I come back from trips to the village. Internet, charge camera, upload images, work, read, watch, cold shower, sleep. In the library (they have a library!) live books, stacks of texts, dvds, art crits, pop culture commentary, Criterion Collection films; inspiration in general. I pay a modest amount (even for me) to inhabit one of the charming rooms on site for the next few months ’til the next artist from somewhere across the continent swoops in to create/make/play/achieve. I feel charmed and grateful as usual these days. (Yay!)

Digression: A mish-mash of adults and kids who sing, dance, paint all day, sometimes all night. It is noisy. Yet, incredibly, the sound doesn’t bother me like it normally might. As my ongoing hearing issues become more and more a part of my daily life, I’m proud to say that I am slowly (slooowwwwly) learning to cope with it in more peace than before. The past lingers literally in my eardrums, an invisible scar that aggravates. It’s like I’ve taken up permanent residency as a character in The Conversation, a film which, with its brilliant use of heightened sound, somewhat mimics my everyday experience. Digression point: Psychologically, the sound doesn’t disturb me here. This is, to me, astounding. Hyperbole: And, well, amazing. Wonderful, too.

Initial main point intro: I ask my new friend here, how did you learn to write? I read a lot, he says casually. No system, no schooling, no formula. Read, write, read, write, rinse, repeat. Lather. Obligatory eye-roll inducing sexual innuendo: (Are you wet?)

Initial main point: At my prompting, he sweetly recommends a few articles plus a Sontag short-story, which I leave here with you today. Cheesy pun: No drum roll needed, these works have (loud) noise of their own. If you have a slice of time in your possession and brain in need of nourishment, consider ingesting one of these, free of charge.

Catchy-plus-enticing hook: Satiate those synapses…

A Rumi of One’s Own by Rachel Aviv  – Gush: Cutting, witty, subtle, hilarious. Manages to skewer America’s sheep while remaining fairly objective and fact-based. Rumi-lovers, beware!!! You’ve been warned.

On Quitting by Keguro Macharia – Drool: Brave, heartfelt, intimate, challenging. Strikes numerous emotional chords, sans cliche, through unapologetic honesty, shakes brains with vocabulary and heady concepts. Complementary visual art by another talent here too.

The Way we Live Now by Susan Sontag – Fawn: in 1986, on the lives of people living with the affects of the AIDS epidemic. Run-on sentences, conversant, familiar circular self-indulgent chit-chat between friends who’ve know each other longer than they’ve known themselves. Can be found in full pdf version online.