Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Weekly Sneak: Not Too Shabby, Folks.

I can't quite believe it was only about 8 weeks ago that the Draft Constitution was released to the public for review. When I heard that the deadline for the consultative process was going to be the end of this month- this Saturday to be precise- I got my metaphorical bag of popcorn and sat back to watch the show. Could it really be done in two months?

Apparently, the answer is yes. In spite of a few false starts here and there with the Barazas, and a few instances where political agendas tried to creep in where they were not wanted, the Constitutional Reform Commission seems to have managed the near-impossible. It has accommodated the views of a large swathe of Tanzanians on the ground, in our civil society and political organizations and every iteration of grouping (well, almost). This is great. 

Now, on to the next challenges: Draft Number Two, that debate and the referendum to follow. I can only hope things continue to go so well, and mad respect to Judge Warioba and his team. It's not a an easy job, but they make it look doable. Old school work ethic, that. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

This Writing Life: Stress and How to Read Dreamscapes

It's been quiet around these parts lately, hasn't it? About two weeks ago I had this terrifying nightmare involving Bill Cosby, take-away sushi and zombies made out of chocolate cake filled with ganache. Describing dreams is almost always an exercise in futility, but let me tell you: the theme song titled 'Kebab-i Man' is still playing in my head and it's terrible. Think tinky "parisian' accordion meets repeat loop from hell with only one line of lyric. 

Anxiety dreams, eh? My very first ones involved the devil (thanks, Catholicism!) and then progressed to ghosts (thanks Catholicism!) and finally settled on some reasonable fears. Nightmares about flying and the ocean, both horrifically thrilling experiences and understandably challenging for the landbound. But when Bill Cosby is trying to kill you on the side of a hill and you can't even sever his head because he grows a new one out of a thick sweet emulsion? You need a break to get yourself together. 

As so many have pointed out to me over the years- what's the point of being a near-destitute writer if you can't drop out from time to time to indulge the need for rest/adventure/whatever? They're right. 

So, been reading real physical books with real dust and real time-stained bookmarks. Took a 24+ hour offline break just a couple of days ago to curl up around a few things I had been meaning to get to, items of cultural conversation that will soon be repatriated. Been watching hours of free documentaries on the tube, learning about life from misfits like cooks and stand-up comedians and astrophysicists and sexologists. Coasting. Resting. Thinking. Taking refuge from modernity and it's 'always on' discontents.

If you don't mind, this pace is going to continue for a little while since I have to replenish the reservoir. It takes me time to visit new ideas, get my vocabulary refreshed and expanded, sniff the political winds. I have to fallow and fertilize the old mind-garden again, see if new varieties of thought might be interested in taking root sometime. 

In the meantime the Weekly Sneak format will continue and hopefully I will have a few non-EA posts to share as well. And for the record, the food dreams have improved. These days it's all shrimp and roasted tomatoes, fresh breads, curried goat and golden syrup. Happier times. Hope you're dreaming healthy. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Weekly Sneak: ...and then there are those days.

Okay, I phoned it in this week. 

I wanted to write about a woman as president, then lost interest 3/4 of the way into the article and the deadline was no longer ahead of me but a few steps behind and the panic was getting uncomfortable. There are 52 weeks in a year. This kind of thing? Happens. But there are few things more frustrating than underserving a good topic and disappointing a faithful readership. Sorry about that, folks. Anyways, here's a peek: 

"One way to break that might be to make things diverse, politically speaking. At present, the group of people who have traditionally held power- middle aged and old men- are running amok, some of them being far more dangerous to society than any other group one could think up. We just haven’t given ourselves an opportunity to shake things up and dabble with alternatives. A woman as president would distract us usefully from all our petty schisms- race, religion, what does it mean to be a leader- and might pave the way for other future presidencies that deviate from the conservative norms."

When I figure out exactly what it is that I wanted to say, I might swing a bat at the topic again. But maybe let it rest for a while, neh? You can only torture an issue so much before it dies on you. 

A little birdie told me...

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