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In My Wildest Pipe Dreams

A pipe dream is an illusory fantasy or idea that will not work.

It’s probably because I caught the service for humanity bug when I went to South Africa last year, but I have this recurring pipe dream where I travel around Africa holding village seminars with young writers; female writers, specifically.

When I was about 9 or 10, there were three things I wanted to be: a baker, an actress and a writer.

I never imagined that becoming a mother would propel simultaneous careers in all three spheres, as I now spend a fair amount of time baking and acting for my children. I must say, I am GOOD at it. I can whip up a bowl of pancake batter from scratch and re-enact all 30 scenes from Barbie and The Diamond Castle on cue. Remuneration for my efforts comes in the form of sloppy kisses, “thank –yous”, and scattered crumbs on recently swept floors – none of which is going to get me any closer to an Oscar or that spread in Harper’s Bazaar – but are nice to have all the same.

Since my path in life has taken me firmly away from Hollywood’s gilded streets, I am left with an inordinate amount of time to day dream about what my life would be like if I were a celebrity writer with loads of free time and good will. My first order of business would be to procure a trademark accessory, like Bono’s sunglasses or Angelina’s ever present head cloth for use in the Middle East. I think mine would be an afro pick. Afro picks are incredibly useful. From straightening tangles to picking locks and fending off wildlife, an Afro pick is an indispensable tool.

Pick in hair and laptop underarm, I’d traverse the expanse of my beautiful Continent, seeking out young girls who like me, want to immortalize their words in written form.

My first stop would be Mauritania, largely because I’d be guaranteed a good meal. Mauritania is the only place where a fat divorced woman is the most desirable of the lot. The fatter a woman, and the more times she’s been divorced, the greater her attraction. In the rural areas, Mauritanian girls are force fed from pre-pubescence and discouraged from exercise. What must that be like?

I drank milk until it came out of my nose, I can imagine one of my student’s writing.

And what did that feel like? I’d ask.

Like I was drowning in a sea of camel’s milk.

For no justifiable reason, other than I would be in search of excellent jollof and mud cloth, I’d take my trek to Burkina Faso, where my group of elite students and I would sit under a baobab tree and discuss everything from the village whore to the best utensils to grind pepper with.

Use words like slattern and slate, I’d instruct. These are excellent describing words and alliteration can never be used enough in literature, as far as I’m concerned.

What is alliteration?

After instructing them to pull out their dictionaries, I am dismayed to discover that no one has one. This is a mud village in Burkina. I should have bloody brought one myself. I make a mental note to do that when I head over to Sudan.

After making sure that there will be no Janjaweed on my tail, I finally persuade the village elders to allow a small group of girls to join my writing class.

Make sure you tell them to write about how to fetch water, says a withered old man.

At first I balk, thinking: How chauvinistic! But then I concede. Perhaps it’s better for these girl to write about more mundane topics rather than revisiting the horrors of rape, murder and pillage at the hands of blood thirsty Arab marauders.

With 56 countries in Africa, my pipe dream would prove monumental, if not impossible altogether to achieve. The logistics and finances involved to bring it to bear would be a nightmare. That and my failure to get my own children to read independently make it a far less plausible possibility.

I don’t seem to have the patience to teach or persuade anyone to read, let alone write.

What’s the craziest pipe dream you’ve ever heard – or had? Go on! Tell!

This article has 17 comments

  1. Winnie

    “Pick in hair and laptop underarm, I’d traverse the expanse of my beautiful Continent, seeking out young girls who like me, want to immortalize their words in written form.” Malaka, you’ve just sparked something in me. I am one of those-an Afropolitan- I like to call myself (yeah, I know; self aggrandizement at its best) that writes on African issues too. In fact, my editorial this week in my school newspaper quotes your Kony piece (which I asked you to write a few weeks ago). Let’s make this dream come true! It’ll be your African legacy 🙂

  2. Winnie

    oh and I think you meant crumbs, instead of crumps?

    • Malaka

      No. I meant “crumps”. You got a problem with crumps???

      Just kidding. Maybe I should ass proofreader to my list of pipe dreams.

      Arghhh!! I did it again! I meant “add”.

      But in all seriousness, wouldn’t that be an amazing feat? I think a team of writers could do it. That’s totally reasonable! Looking forward to working with you Winnie! You’ve been conscripted. 😉

      • Winnie

        haha Malaka, wo as3e oo… and um, you have managed to avoid answering my request :p

  3. NM

    Mine? To be a professional Karoke singer….don’t judge me. LOL!
    In my quiet time especially after falling in love with a song(the latest one is Adele’s Set Fire To The Rain), I find myself fantasizing about singing on stage complete with hair(I alternate between an Afro and a weave depending on the song genre), makeup (gotta have fake eyelashes) and wardrobe(mostly items things I wouldn’t dare wear in my day to day life; like a rocking pair of leather pants.). I’d be on stage singing while swinging my hair, dancing (in impossibly high heels) and tossing the mike around like rock stars do. **giggling** So yeah…..

  4. malota

    I cant share it here, its a bit vulgar 🙁

  5. Kwaku

    Cage fighting referee at an old folks home. Some of these senior citizens have some fight left in them, and I’m sure a lot of people will pay good money to see them put it to good use.

    • NM

      LMBO! Alright then @ Kwaku! And I thought my dream was outlandish!

    • A-Dub

      After they cage fight – maybe they’ll be down for some “elder romance”…

      Anyway, to add to this…Imagine – the old guys cage fighting and you have an old lady – droopy titties, arms, legs and all with a bikini holding up the ROUND # sign! Ahhhhh yes!

  6. Wanjiru Mungai

    @ Kwaku, oh LOL!
    @Malaka, although I sit no where near a baobab tree and have no idea what ‘mud cloth’ is (gotta check it up, after replying to you, I must tell you that thanks to you, the writing spirit is ablaze in me… Today I wrote about yesterday7.00pm’s silver and very light lavender and smoke grey skies in my town ….

    ‘Sunsets and a thousand coloured clouds, playing, and the slanted silver raindrops falling on the bonnet as I drive home on a 10pm evening… these make my emotions dance, and my eyes tear… In these spaces, I see God’

    PS. And my hair is cornrowed.

  7. Winnie

    oh, sorry to spam your comments section, I had not read your full comment. Oops! You’re on!!! 🙂

  8. siaj won

    Just like you my pipe dream is to become a Writer…That’s why you amaze because you have been added to the list of African female Writers I admire..Mariama Ba(Senegalese..author of So long a Letter)…Talabie Aisie Lucan (Sierra Leoenean..author of Jeneba)…I eagerly await your book.There is a saying in Africa “From your mouth to God’s ears”…It will happen for you..I pray so..The closest I came to being acknowledged for my Writing skills is a piece I wrote to commemorate World Post Day (October 9) years ago.I am considering ghost writing..scared of limelights…

    • Malaka

      Wow!! That is so sweet! I take your praise to heart :). I look forward to seeing your ghost written work soon, Phantom Editor 😉

  9. Andrew

    I also want to write. My problem is that my moments of ‘inspiration’ are few and far between. That would mean two lifetimes for my book to be published, by which time the target market has moved on…And not knowing what I want to write doesn’t help. As for my craziest pipe dream, let’s see….moon landing and speaking 10 languages. I want to go to Somalia, Chile, Lebanon, Hungary, Rwanda, Russia, China and may be Iceland and not worry about translations….long pipe dream, no..

    • Malaka

      Oohhh!! That’s one of my pipe dreams! To be able to just bust out a foreign language on demand!

  10. jones

    Now you’ve got me googling mauritanian women.lol.

  11. Faith

    okay, brace your selves for this one ya’ll.
    an Internationally celebrated stripper. hmm but I never pray about this cause I feel I would be insulting God if I did.
    Malota, i dare you to say. yours can’t be worse. Right?

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