- Give us a brief profile of yourself.
My name is Abigail Arunga; I’m a writer and columnist. I’ve been blogging for maybe 12 years now? Albeit inconsistently. When I say writer, it encompasses so many things. Scriptwriting for television, poetry from my two books, documentation, social media…many things. Basically, whatever pays my rent. Lol. I mainly write for the Nation, every Friday and Saturday. I’ve written scripts for television (Lies that Bind, How to find a husband, Mascara, etc). I have two self published poetry books out, and I run a bookstore called Rugano Books that only sells books by African authors. I’m spread thin, it’s why I take so many naps. Ha!
- Share something interesting about yourself
When I was 9 years old, I wanted to be an oceanographer. Marine life is so beautiful and wondrous to me. It still is, I just don’t want it as a career anymore…
- What attracted/inspired you into blogging?
I needed somewhere to write about my crushes. Ha! Honestly, I just needed somewhere to share my stories. Mostly about crushes. And reflections, school…then it gave me my first job. Adulthood actually made me blog less. Unfortunately.
- What is the name of your blog and what is it about?
My first blog was called theshynarcissst; I migrated it to akello.co.ke, which is about much of the same thing! Stories of my life, poetry, reviews of movies and books, travel.
- You could have written about anything, why this niche specifically?
I write what I know. I know myself best.
- What accomplishments are you proud of most?
Well, maybe my two books of poetry? I self published two books: the first one is titled Akello, the second is called a side of raunch. I should probably write another But writing books – writing, really, is hard.
- If you could sit down with your 13-year-old self, what would you tell her?
That’s it’s never that serious, and you’re doing the right thing.
- If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
At this very moment? Mercurial. Reflective. Tired of bills. Lol.
- If you could time travel, where would you go?
The future, to see how this Corona thing works out.
- What is the weirdest food combination you have ever tried?
I’m not particularly excited about weird food combinations to be honest! I don’t even do jam on chapati. Maybe fried grasshoppers in Kampala?
- If you were not a blogger, what would you be instead? Do you have a day job?
Blogging is a subset of my day job, which is writing.
- Of all the posts you have ever written, which one is your favourite? Why?
Oop! It’s impossible to pick just one. I can’t even remember that far back. I know people really enjoyed my Mr T Chronicles, but truly, I can’t pick just one.
- What is the most difficult thing you ever had to do?
Finish high school. Lol. High school was quite difficult for me. I wasn’t a fan of boarding, wasn’t a fan of the administration, wasn’t a fan of being treated like a jailbird, wasn’t a fan of 8-4-4, was rudely shocked that it wasn’t like an Enid Blyton novel…
14.Who is the most influential person in your life and why?
There are many. My friends influence me greatly, as does my mother. She knows me best and gives me a lot of grace and space to be the person I am.
15.Besides blogging, what else do you do? What is your obsession?
Sleep. I do it better than most people I know.
16. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
It’s never that serious.
17. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully still in control of my life and my time, but with more money and less work. The capitalist dream. Ugh!
18. Is there a quote/mantra you live by?
Refer to number 16! And also – if this won’t matter in five years, it probably doesn’t matter as much as you think it does now.
19. If you would be a superhero, who would you be and why?
Ha! Batman has always been my favourite superhero. He’s so smart. And rich, hehe. But would I want to be him? I don’t know. Would I want to be a superhero? It looks like pressure. City Council breathing down your back for ruining the city. People constantly expecting you to save them. A tragic past (their parents are usually dead, more often than not). If you don’t have a carefully crafted secret identity, you can’t go out in public. If you do, you have a day job, which means you basically have two full time jobs – ai. Let me just be a norm babe. Thanks.
20. What lessons have you learned the most from 2020 and how do you plan to make a difference?
That it’s important to make space for what’s important. Everything we thought was essential before 2020, is really not. We can work from home – capitalism just wouldn’t let us do it before this because it wasn’t convenient for them. We can be home to play with our kids by 8 pm – we just didn’t think it was important to know them before the pandemic. People can die at the drop of a hat, and if you don’t value them now, you’ll feel much worse when you don’t have them anymore.
21. What is your greatest achievement?
Is this the same as accomplishment? I think it’s an achievement to still be alive, and still be trying to be human, and humane, to live as best as you can, to set boundaries for your happiness. Survival in Nairobi is a badge of struggle and honour. Waking up every day is an achievement. (Every day above ground is a blessing, as Saliva used to say) I’m ok with not having a super lofty achievement, not that it wouldn’t be nice, but like I said in the previous question, what we as a society have decided is important (jobs, pensions, promotions, the bar) is not as important as everyone seems to think.
22. What are some of the changes in the blogsphere between now and when you started out?
So. Many. Bloggers. Lol. And so many more people making money from blogging, which is truly amazing. So many stories. It’s great.
23. Advice to the budding blogger