I haven’t been heartbroken enough in my life, which is a surprise because I always wear my heart on my sleeve. When I like someone, I don’t know how to keep it to myself. I tell them. The same goes for those I don’t like. Because I spend most of my time online, I get to meet boring people in the streets of Social media, pretentious people who suffocate us with stale moral stories that begin with “A poor man once knocked on a rich woman’s door. .,” religious people who remind us that no matter our huge following, we are just mere mortals, and then smart people who write beautifully and you can’t help but stalk them online, people like Paula Norah. If you pronounce her name wrong, you, Mister, are going to have a problem.
In her Facebook Profile photo, with a background of green trees and maize plantations from a distance, Paula is seated on a rock, dressed in a black sleeveless top, a yellow flared skirt and black shoes. A black necklace stops right above her cleavage and to finish off her elegance is her lovely smile, which she wears like you would your Sunday best back in the days. Her ebony skin glows and I reckon if I were to wake my little Natasha up from her sleep, show her this photo and ask her what she sees, she would say, “Angel?”
Angels, by the way, are black. Jesus too.
Being a fan of her blog, Pepper Life, I slid into her DM and professed my love for her literary works. I honestly expected her to reply after the general election. Not this one, the 2022’s one. And not because I imagined she is full of herself, it’s because I imagined that members of Team Mafisi led by the outgoing Chairman, Bakari K. Bakari, were camping in her inbox. But she replied instantly. After niceties, I went straight to the point and told her that I loved her and wanted to marry her. Haha, okay, I said I love her writing skills and wanted to interview her for my blog. She is in Kisumu, so I figured we could have a lighthearted chat on WhatsApp and then bring that chat here. I called her last Sunday and we agreed I will ask the questions on Monday. On Monday, I called her and she was on a mat, when I asked her if she was still studying or what, she asked, “Are you interviewing me already?”
I said no. I eventually did and here is what happened.
Why the name Pepper Life for the blog? Does it mean something?
My partner came up with the name while still using WordPress. It was meant to be symbolic to represent how life is. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves.
Who is your partner?
He is Lewis Martin. I have known him since my second year.
Would you ever let your folks read your blog?
Sure. They know about it. My mum has read one story, (which)I wrote about her.
What did she think of it?
She laughed her lungs out. I narrated an experience with her as it was and she loved it. I did not expect that though.
What does writing do to and for you?
Writing keeps me sane. When I write, I speak my mind and express my thoughts with others without actually doing it. It’s like a behind the scenes thing. My (written)words speak for me. I have an overactive imagination, sometimes it gets too much and writing helps me keep that in check.
Are you ever insecure about your art? If yes, what are your insecurities?
Yes. Sometimes I am insecure. I fear people might not get it. But my biggest fear with my art is being irrelevant. How to handle or come back from that seems like a challenging task.
What will it take for you to consider yourself a successful writer?
When I get to publish my stories. It’s an eventuality.
Your best writing time?
I am spontaneous. I have the best writing place. (and that is her bed).
If you were to write your 12-year-old self a letter, what would you write in the last paragraph?
“I will not bore you with pieces of advice because you won’t listen. You will question all that. Your inquisitive nature cannot allow you be limited to living by some set rules. But all I can tell you is believe in yourself. It’s okay to do a mistake, you learn from that. So do not live your life full of caution, embrace each moment as it presents itself. I want you to set the pace for your journey without any sort of influence from me. Whatever path you choose, I know you will end up here. And here is a happy place for you.”
Are your friends cautious around you now that you are a writer?
Some are, now that they know I write.
Ever wrote something before that you are embarrassed about now? If yes, what was it about?
Yes, I have. It was about me. But I never published it. It was at a time when I tried convincing myself I can keep a journal. Two pages in and I burnt it.
Your father is a preacher, right?
Yes, he is the Bishop of Bondo Diocese
Growing up as a preacher’s kid, have you ever considered being a woman of the cloth?
Never. I believe being a preacher is a calling. Few get called to it. And I don’t see it as my calling. It would be pretentious of me to consider it. (I imagine her holding her cheeks with her both hands) Sometimes I tell people my calling was to be the kid (of a preacher).
Does being a Preacher’s kid affect what you write and how you write it?
No, it doesn’t. I know as a PK(Preacher’s Kid) society expects me to act in a premeditated way and conform to some specific standards. But when it comes to writing, I do it as me without thinking I am a PK.
Beauty. What’s your definition of it?
I actually don’t have my own definition of beauty. There are some terms that I don’t think should be limited in definitions and that’s one of them. It’s all about esteem.
What type of men can’t you stand?
I have a big problem with liars.
The disloyal ones.
If I were to ask you out for an impromptu date, what will be your go-to- dress code and why?
Jeans, Sneakers, and a sweatshirt would be my first choice. I feel very comfortable when I don’t have to think so much about my dress code. Plus with that dress code, I am not limiting my date to a particular area.
Assume you are a guy and I am a girl; seduce me with two lines and convince me to give you my number
(She laughs and says this is quite a challenge. Then takes a long pause and comes back) “Honestly, I can’t come up with shit!” I want to believe that would get me a chat and eventually the number.
Are you dating?
No, I would be wasting someone’s time if I did date right now.
To Paula Norah, it was an honour. Click here to add her on Facebook, here, to like their Facebook Page and here to check out their blog, Pepper Life, which she co-writes with her partner, Lewis Martin. Also, if you are doing something interesting and you would love to talk about it and about you, send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.