Book: Brainstorm

A blog called Brainstorm was nominated for, and won, Best Political Blog at BAKE last year (or was it the year before? They should win every year). With good reason. In addition to their prolific commentary on Kenya’s consistently charged sociopolitical scene, they publish and distribute – for FREE! – every quarter (that’s three months, to you guys who don’t do lessons).

This year’s is called Thoughts on Home. It’s about…well, thoughts on home. What we think Home is. What the word means to us. What it means to others. Michael Onsando, one of the editors, introduces it thus:

Home is complicated.
It is one of those things that runs deep with everyone – and it shows. The
work in this book moves and breathes in different ways. In ways that can
only be reached looking inward. In ways that ask to be listened to – and to
be heard.
Home – where the heart is.
Listen, it beats.

This edition is shorter than the other editions have been, spanning only 36 pages, 5 stories. But these 5 stories are compelling enough in themselves. It’s intelligence in a bite-sized (FREE!) piece. My favourites are the one by Cornell Ngare, called Mom’s New Place, which begins:

I am an IDP. If you’ve lived in Kenya for any reasonable length of time, you don’t need me to define that acronym.

It is the longest in the collection – maybe not the best written – but it certainly captures and holds your attention to the end. Because who doesn’t want to know what happens after that sentence?

My other favourite is Michael Onsando’s Going Home. He writes solemnly, reflectively, interspersed with bits of poetry that are enthralling as they are succinct – two qualities I love in poetry.

You have been told to become smaller.
That the things you expect,
no one can give.
That happiness is
two steps
a broken tricycle
6 missed birthdays
4 unwritten poems
and a lonely tear.
That desire is a cat
tame on the outside
but ferocious on the inside.
You must keep your pussy
in check.
Smaller still,
they insist.
You have folded yourself
to conceal,
(not your fault,
this is not your fault
they are not your fault)
You have followed the
rules, and now,
you sit;
steadily racking days into
the past
to die.

Go get it on the site. It’s free and it is much more value than that. Then again, the best things in life are free, right?


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