Happy Birthday, Book!


It came into print the same way it came into my head: calmly and quietly, with only myself.

Technically, I began writing In the Place of Many Zebras: Stories From Kenya on Culture, Courage, and Change about 5 years ago, on a cool, foggy morning on the edge of the Rift Valley in Kenya.

I didn’t mean too.

But, as the first line of the book tells us, I woke up early one morning, before the sun, writing a story in my head.

I remember that morning vividly, laying on a top bunk in the dark, my mind thinking like it was writing a story.

I don’t know how I was processing my time in Kenya in any kind of sensible way while I was in the middle of it, but my brain woke me up that day with it’s own agenda. And the lines that were there that day became the first lines of a story that shaped my first book.

One year ago today, I sat alone at a back table in the same library I am sitting in now. It was after school hours; all was quiet.

I clicked a button, and a message popped up, congratulating me on publishing. I smiled to myself, and remember my breath catching.

That was that. It was a book! It took four years to figure out what to do with those lines that rolled through my head early one morning in Kenya, but I am proud of what they became. Now, a year after publishing the book, I am happy to say that I have had the opportunity to share it with hundreds of people (not thousands, or tens of thousands…but that’s okay 🙂 ), and to talk about its subject matter with some of them. I have connected with others who have spent time in Kenya and other countries in East Africa. And I can say confidently that I grew more as a writer while writing that book than at any other point so far.

So, I take this opportunity to say Happy Birthday, Book, and thanks for the journey so far!

Typing notes under a tree in Kenya

Typing up interview notes under a tree in Kenya, 2010.


2 responses »

  1. Hi Cece! I enjoy reading your blogs, especially this one! Brings back a lot of great memories. I remember you sitting on the top bunk with your little headlight on, typing away, and I think I took the pic of you by the tree. The only place we could connect to the internet (sometimes).
    Congratulations on your book’s 1st Anniversary! I hope we can get together before you and Alex head out on your next big adventure.
    Love you!

    Sent from my iPad


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