Can a story exist within a bubble?

I’ve been writing for a long time, pretty much since I was a kid and I’ve almost never really made any money off it. A couple hundred dollars here and there for proofreading or ghostwriting someone’s work, but never off anything with my name on it. The thing is I love writing so much… it’s fuckin beautiful! This idea that the world can exist as it does then something pops in your head and you slowly or violently massage it out of your mind and out into the world and bam!- something that never was, before that moment, suddenly IS. And people other than you can SEE it and have opinions about it and hate it or love it and discuss it or instantly forget it, but they’ve CONSUMED it and thus consumed a part of YOU…

I love writing, truly I do.

Ask Diana, who has to suffer my very long texts often about nothing more than trying to make her laugh. Or Jose who constantly seeks to learn new ways to be a better person (even though he’s already an alarmingly good one) and thus tosses any moral quandary before me for the two of us to dissect until we’ve exhausted its every nuance. Hell, ask Esther, who sees beauty in my humanity I’m not even sure is there, and who spends the better part of an evening trading thoughts, GIFs, memories, emojis and pathos with me enough to write a chapter on the impermanence of existence.

I mean look no further than this very post!

I could have just said FUCK HOMOPHOBES AND RACISTS AND PEOPLE WHO HAVE A PROBLEM WITH PINEAPPLE ON PIZZA, but I wanted to write about love instead of anger. I wanted to write about love because with each passing day, this world needs it more urgently. I want to write about love. Yes pain and awkwardness and fear and loss and oppression too, but all of those as an expression of love. I want to write about my love for the young talents who have continually entrusted me with their vision… Gabe, Tuka, Daniel, Edwin, Benji, my brothers and sisters in arms, and those I have yet to discover. I want to write about my love for Yvette, Darlyne and Ella, who I roped into co-creating something beautiful with me, and oh my love for Mildred, whom I reached out to about this amazing short story of hers which she enthusiastically gave us her blessing to adapt. And Baz who’s the first person I reach out to when I’m thinking of any multi-collaborative project (do you have any idea how much content this man creates and puts out on several different platforms?? He needs his own satellite channel). I want to write about my love for the folks who’ve made it a point to support our project financially, those who’ve shared it or commented, liked or in some way amplified it and Nelly who’s always eager to help realize it… mannnn, Minega, whom I can’t thank enough for providing an extensive and endlessly insightful breakdown of our book that caught details even I didn’t realize were in there!

I love writing. Love it more than I do speaking, and I love that too (except over the phone, ugggghhh). I love writing about love in Uganda, which some may see as a “shithole” but which I choose to view as a love-filled, ever-changing, constantly aspiring to be better despite being plagued by certain malignant self-destructive tendencies, uh, shithole.

I’m gonna leave the tags and hashtags for another moment. Right here, right now, I just wanted to write about love and about my love of writing. That’s the thing about writing, really, is that it’s love contained within a bubble. Before anything else, it’s a story you tell to yourself.

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Written by Rich Wagaba (2)

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