Well, unlike last year, this year hasn't felt at all quiet. It has turned into a very productive year, despite starting in tragedy, in an incident that damn near broke my heart. You'll be glad to know that Sophie, Howl and Sen (also known as Harold, thanks to our lovely vet Dr. Arum) are all doing extremely well and sitting here watching me type.
So, moving ahead. What have been the highlights of this year?
- More than anything, this has been the year of travel and pianos. I'll get to pianos in a moment, but I've just returned from an incredible trip around India with Dad & Marilyn. We went to Goa, Delhi, Agra, Chand Baori, Ranthambore, Jaipur and Mumbai, with a Kashmiri carpet thrown in for good measure. Seeing the Taj Mahal has been a spectacular end to the year.
- The beginning of the year was also special. Headed out on safari across the Maasai Mara with my friends Tracey and Celia.
- Had a fun away trip with my friends Jo, Maia and their daughters to Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda, staying in traditional huts on an island.
- Also hosted my cousin Tamsin and her partner Guido as they passed through Rwanda on their round-the-world tour. Memorable night in a spooky abandoned fairground.
- Had some fun times closer to home. Threw my first and only house party for my birthday, which was excellent, and attended Rwanda's first ever Rock Night, which has become a staple on the social calender.
- Another big change that occurred this year was that I've finally relented in my solitude and started sharing the house with some friends. One of whom is an excellent cocktail maker. But this does mean I'm now living in an apartment I made out of the back shed.
On the writing front, it's been a year of ups and downs. Rosy Hours has been stocked in Books & Convenience in town, and CasaKeza, were I teach the occasional writing course through which I've made some lovely friends this year. I have done some writing, but I need to get my mojo back. I wrote a novella. My publisher asked me to write some more stories to create a collection, then, once I'd completed them, they decided they didn't want them after all, and on top of that offered me back a manuscript they'd been sitting on for two years (Children of Lir) because they'd run out of money and were offering all their authors back their manuscripts. Whereas I appreciate their difficult circumstances, and I did enjoy writing the short stories and will probably self-publish them later this year, it's hard to recover your drive after something like that. However, this year is definitely going to be focused on writing and pianos. Only that.
Editing has proven much more successful for me this year and I've done quite well working for ImagineWe and Perdua Publishing, as well as taking on a couple of manuscripts for private clients. I've also had more work proofreading the national textbooks for Rwanda Education Board, which has been good experience and kept the bank account afloat.
So, how did keeping last year's oath go?
I've really enjoyed learning about the inside of pianos. Instead of getting someone to come and tune it, I've decided to turn Lirika into my own project. This year, my oath is to fix my piano until she plays properly, and to learn about piano refurbishment.
Um, well... that got a little out of hand.
Not only did I learn to fix and tune my piano, I now tune upright and grand pianos across Kigali, and I took my own piano apart to start the Kigali Keys project, attempting to become the only existing piano manufacturer in Africa.
So, um, yes.
I think I can cross that one off the list.
Onwards with 2018...
My oath this year is to finish what I started, and complete the first prototype piano in Rwanda.
Saw the Taj Mahal!
To a little more luck on the writing front.