Written by Faith Oneya
About Chris Lyimo and ‘My Side of the Street’: Chris is a 40-year-old incorrigible optimist and mellowing cynic.This is his story of The Search very well knowing The Find may not exist but The Road certainly does.He usually take the one less taken. He is thoroughly fascinated by The Process of The Search. My Side of The Street is a journal of that process and is a manifest of The Marching Orders he receives along The Road.It is a personal process. This is what he shares with you.(Source: http://mysideofthestreet.wordpress.com/about/)
LC: Tell us about your book…how was the idea conceived? How would you describe the book in a nutshell?
CL: Like I have indicated in the acknowledgements section, I had always wanted to write a book. Though I was not clear what the book would be about, I knew it would be addictions/alcoholism & recovery related. I was in a space where I was so thrilled by this new lifestyle and I wanted the world to know about it. I just didn’t know how.
LC: How did you come up with the title?
CL: I had been journaling consistently from the year 2000- 3 foolscap pages every morning. I found myself calling the Morning Pages, My Side of the Street because it gave me a free space to express myself without judging, condemning or even fearing myself. I realized there is nothing anyone could do about what, who, how, when where, why I dealt with my side of the street the way I did…
LC: What do you do apart from writing?
CL: Ahhh, the inevitably Kenyanese question…and Living a day at a time does not suffice, does it?
I talk about recovery, recovery, recovery and the wonderful possibilities of recovery, recovery, recovery…whether as an Admin manager at Real Estate firm or giving talks at universities, churches,corporates, homes, rehabs or as facilitator in the parenting ministry at Mavuno or being with my son, Roogz at an IMAX movie (one of those things that is a MUST DO)
LC: What did they call you as a child?
CL: My Kikuyu name, Nduhiu at home and in primary school, Evans, both named after my grandfather (Note, I added the ’s’ -it sounded more suave or whatever. I have four names. A fact that I am not too proud off though, all initials and/or names are represented in my signature.
One pal still calls me Digs- though he was then, still the one pal, who called Digs. I can’t quite remember where it came from.
LC: Do you have a favorite book from childhood?
CL: No, not really. Though what shows up on my radar screen, as I write this, was Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Story series. I used to get stumped at how I didn’t see-that-one-coming thickening of the plots. And I was too lazy to re-read. Then the drinking started and I was resigned to the ‘footnote’ articles in Readers Digest magazines.
LC: What books do you re-read?
CL: The Inspirational and mystical, new agey, kind. Not one for fiction – though I am given to the occasional mystery or legal novel especially given that my love for reading has come in sobriety.
LC: Have you ever fallen in love with a fictional character? Tell us about it?
CL: Jonathan Livingston Seagull- This is character, or bird or someone, who had the courage to think differently and act differently without being brash about it.
LC: If you were to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
CL: I would consider Iyanla Vanzant as a mentor. Raw, raw bearing of her soul.
LC: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
CL: That’s a hard one. Let’s see.
Keeping it real and honest, especially with the imagery, was especially difficult.
There was a temptation to give it up altogether as I rehashed lots of stuff I thought I had dealt with; the dilemma of what content to include and which to omit; taking on the editor’s differing viewpoints as personal criticism; asking myself several times, ‘Why am I doing this again? What will so and so say when they see their name in print despite giving their permission to be included? What will people think of my mum?
To sum up, I think the hardest thing was to keep it really on my side of the street.
LC: Do you have any questions for us?
CL: As a first time published author, what is the most effective way to handle both negative and positive criticism? Is it necessary to respond to a critic, whether the review is positive or negative?
LC: We believe that a critic’s work is simply to respond to what is put out there by writers etc. How the criticism is received( positively or negatively) remains the sole responsibility of the reader.Case in point: Binyavanga Wainaina’s book ‘One Day I Will Write About This Place’ which has received a fair amount of what his ardent fans would term ‘negative’ criticism on his book.
We leave you with a quote from romance writer Danielle Steele: “A bad review is like baking a cake with all the best ingredients and having someone sit on it.”
- One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Launch And A Celebration! (literarychronicles.wordpress.com)
- Book Launch:One Day I Will Write About This Place (literarychronicles.wordpress.com)
- Sold for a Farthing by Clare Kipps (vulpeslibris.wordpress.com)
- One Day I Will Write About This Place, by Binyavanga Wainaina (theglobeandmail.com)
- Opportunity:The Kwani? Manuscript Project (literarychronicles.wordpress.com)