“I must know that if Steve Biko died so I could write what I like, then my pen cannot become the weapon that justifies the torture and murder of others” Mukoma Wa Ngugi

We live in world that knows not anything: emptiness so profound that it calls out for answers to fill its echoing desire to be occupied. Thus, in the pursuit of answers, we turn our faces to art. In art, we find answers. Every time someone flips through the pages of a novel, it is an emptiness that cries to be filled…an interest that cries to be quenched. In a newspaper, we find answers…In inspirational books we discover how to be rich in two days. In them still, we realize the importance of having a relationship with self, the value of crawling in life as opposed to running as you will die someday anyway. We turn to soap operas and our emptiness is filled with non-solomonic descriptions of Mr. Right and Miss.Wrong. Art teaches us to love, to cry, what to love, when to cry, why to cry….art controls us. Art holds us in its hands. Music, writing, painting, fashion…they are the shepherds behind whom we stand feeding on the grass that they churn out in their footsteps.

Writing being an art, he who bears the pen caries on his shoulders a responsibility. A writer, I believe is not originally to have been the provider of answers. A writer simply wants to play around with words and feel good about it. Unfortunately, a writer can never enjoy the freedom to play around with words in a world that seeks answers in art. In a world that puts life itself and art on a parallel, the writer needs be careful on what it is that they give to the world.

Words are powerful. They sell. Persuade. “Words even forge smiles, dry tears, heal wounds and abolish fears. They have the power to bring joy and laughter in an otherwise cold and somber world. And of course, words can make you rich.” They are the crux of influence. I will give you a good example. In the past few days, Bloggers have risen up trying to persuade the wills and will-nots of #Kenya28thFeb to jump and stand on this other side. These posts have successfully spewed reactions, most of which have been a change of mind . There. Word being power. A pen playing mighty.

I would however love to be able to play around with my words without anyone looking up to me. Sometimes when you are a writer, you want to forget that someone is going to read you. Write as if you will never be read. Spill the secrets and the honesty of your soul…toss around words like a ball in a game without rules. I would love to enjoy my writing just as you do enjoy your drink and stagger home, I would love to sleep on a trench under the influence of my writing, high on the havoc that the writing creates. But I know the pen that I hold in my hand as a writer/blogger is a sword. With it, I can drive virtual stakes through people’s hearts.

A good friend, Dr. Tom  Odhiambo once told me that this country does not have a problem of ethnic divisions. What is there is a problem that has been created; a problem carefully concocted within words of columnists in dailies; a mindset that has been because it has been talked about by writers. He then asked me why I am drinking his coffee if I am so much infected by this ethnic ‘unbrotherliness’. Am I not afraid that he might lace it given that I am a Kamba and he is not? His point? Deep down within, we are good people. The emptiness , the not knowing is with time tranquillized with beliefs and mind-sets , all picked up from art with which we feed ourselves on everytime we flip pages and switch on channels.

I could go on forever and tell you about columnists that have used their pen to slice the throats of people by inciting; political analysists that have lost a soul too many with their words; radio presenters that have charred morality in a big way. But I so do pray that my point rests somewhere in the velvets of your mind…. A pen is not a sword. It is mightier. Hold it well. Let it not slide accidentally through the hearts of innocent souls.