ALMOST THERE BUT NOT THERE------PART ONE
BY SIMON KAHOKO MUREU
I had received an order from my master. In its own finality was a total command. In it, all the power in heaven and Earth were given to me
In its fullness the order reads: “Go therefore I make disciples” of all Nations, baptize them in the name of the Father, the son and of the Holy Spirit …… Mathew 28:19 – 20
I had no way out, no short cutting and no off- side playing. With no excuse in my hands, I agreed to take the tallest order up front
The command comes to me on my dream about becoming a writer that have driven me onwards. “To become a writer”, I thought “was a simple thing” how wrong was I?
I hardly knew I would meet with many challenges, valleys and rivers to cross, mountains to climb up, to cry out and to kneel down to pray.
The long journey had started when I was still young…….. when, after reading some children’s books I desired to write one like them too.
Precisely, long John Silver, a major character in the book Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson was my darling and could always enjoy his moves. I read this book many time
Not long ago, while sorting out many papers which I doesn’t need any more, I found one of the oldest story I wrote back in 1973. Its covering letter was “we regret”. The editor had rights to reject it. It was a “just a story” ……………… only words, I wrote many articles which would end up being rejections from editors
I continued to writing but being lowly educated the going was getting tough. I started reading adult books like the Day of The Jackal together with Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s books among many others. I was lucky because a number of my cousins were attending secondary schools and could feed me with many books of my tast
In 1979, I enrolled for a correspondence course with the British Tutorial College. The course……… modern writing and Journalism proved to be difficult and I threw up the towel.
During this time, I had managed to have many Jokes published. Behind the scene, I was writing a novel which I sent to publishers three times but with rejection. In anger I threw the book mss into the fire, mastering my anger towards the Editors for the rejection. How I hated them……..? I decided never to write again.
Although I decided not to write any more, I continued reading widely. I read many books and in 1987, I started contributing letters to the Editor Many of my letters were published in many magazines and Newspapers. I started to like Editors. By then, I couldn’t count how many days I had kneeled down to pray. I wished God help me become a writer
Before the end of 1987, I started hearing an inner voice in me asking me to write for the Christian magazines in Kenya. I would deject the voice although I had contributed letters to the now banned magazine BEYOND
Later on I agreed with the inner voice and wrote my first Article to Beyond it was rejected. I did my second Article and sent it to the same Editor he accepted it but after answering to some questions.
And just when my article was due to publication Beyond Magazine was prescribed.
I turned to STEP MAGAZINE and wrote to Lawrence Darmani but before I could meet with him he left Kenya to his home country Ghana where he edits STEP MAGAZINES. In Nairobi STEP was left in the hands of Mrs. Connie Kisuke……… to editorship and Training the Writers
I spoke to Commie and later on signed up for step magazine’s writers’ workshop which was being held for two hours once a month at DayStar University.
Mrs. Kisuke, together with Levi Obanyo – Phd Comm and Rita Ashan (members of staff) were good writer trainers and for over two years, they mentored us thorough the workshop. We could write many articles which in return would be rejected. I remember very well when one day Levi told me on face:
“Simon I doesn’t think you will ever make it in writing” I felt bad and cried that evening it didn’t break me heart.
My breaking into writing had been approaching. In September 1989, Levi called and informed me they (step) would be publishing my article. I felt very pleased. A month later the leading publication in Kenya…………… “Parents” published my article Connie rang to me and commented: “I’m glad to be a mother of writers”.
Since then a number of us become Connie’s children.
From 1990 onwards I contributed many articles in both Christian and secular magazines building a strong By-line for myself. I started developing friendship among editors and established writers. I had a feeling of “almost being there but not there”
In 1994 Cook Communications Ministries Sponsored a writer’s workshop. I attended to this training held at Kijabe…….. Kesho Publication. Here, I met with a number of building writers who thought I was much far ahead of them. A number of them argued me to be their mentor. I agree
I later on picked a number of building writers who I corresponded with through letter writing. They would ask questions and I would offer answers and hints to them I did this for a number of years and some of them developed as writers.
I’m glad to have mentored journalists’ e.g. Mugo Mbitu who later on developed from a letter – writer to a columnist. We would decide articles for his widely read column “When the deal is good think twice” published in Nation Newspaper and later moved it the Standard
I also mentored Jane Thuo who managed to contribute to “step, Today in Africa and Ladies” magazines. Mr. Joseph Maganjo was my good trainee and later on managed to contribute too.
On my side, the command from my master I needed to write and reach to other Nations. One day I wrote a letter to Ronda Oosterhoff the editor of INTERLIT a publication of cook ministries.
Ronda was pleased to hear from me as she had heard about me before. She assigned me to write an article. I wrote the story and when it was published in the INTERLIT it brought to me a number of people who were in the Christian media, my mother in writing Connie Kisuke wrote to me too. She urged me to try and join Daystar University.
In 1995 my published work together with the certificate of merit awarded to me by Step and the one from Kesho publication were evaluated. Already, I had managed at least 29 credit hours to their Diploma in Communications’ Program.
I was unable to raise funds to Daystar University. I shelved the idea up to dat
My not joining the Daystar wasn’t a big issue. I enrolled with International Correspondence schools for a diploma course in journalism. I believed I was more better off in this area compared to the tutor assigned to me. It took me seven months to complete the course five months below the intended duration.
I had maintained my correspondence with Cook Ministries and could always write letter to Kathy Tull and Susuans Miller – who were by then senior members of staff at Cook ministries. The two would give me hints in writing from time to time. They late informed me of about number of publishing programs they were developing, they wished to train pupil in writing, editing, designing, marketing etc and signed up for writing program in distance learning.
The course would cost US Dollars 35 (Kshs 20,000) by then I returned the check they had paid for my published article to cover the training materials fee. I would then pay for postage to all mails to U.S.A and for photo copies. I enjoyed this course very much.
Susans Miller was a very good trainer she could understand my hardships and I would understand all her answers to my studies. One time, I tried to evade doing some questions. She forced me to go back to the same before proceeding to any other work. “No short cutting” she had said.
This is just the same with the writers. I have been helping. They always try to evade questions. All they want to is getting their Articles published. They don’t want to plant a seed. It cannot work this way.
At times I fear and pray for the budding writers. We need them to continue with the race we have started. I’m getting old and need to pass on the Baton towards a generational teamwork.
In November 2008, I received an email from a veteran writer, Njeri Kang’ethe subject lined: “I’m sending Linus to you” she wanted to see if I would mentor this young man and why not.
Mentoring is like fathering; you were born and brought up by your parents. Now, you are a mother bringing up your own kids. Tomorrow, the kids would be mothers. The blood line would continue.
Today, I’m writing because I agreed to be mentored by many “mothers” they had paid up a price. I need to pay up my price too. We are in a Relay! The Baton must be passed on.
My master’s big command…………. Make them my disciples would only be fully implemented on into its fullness when I would have passed on the Baton. the hidden clause in the order is “And I will be with you till to the end”.
I need not fear. The blood line should continue.
I am a certified chaplain living in Kenya