making up make up for the astonishingly large Ugandan market


LAST Wednesday I had two girls giggling at me over the incredulous looks on my face as they recounted tales of make up that I could not understand.

I was meeting both of them physically for the first time ever and their facial appearance had not been an issue in my mind for the first forty five minutes we were together in conversation before the topic of make-up came up.

When it did and they entered into that zone females do that is the stereotypical equivalent of some men talking about soccer or motor vehicles, I kept trying to draw them back until one mentioned that they had first met when one paid the other Ushs20,000 for some lipstick.

They were at a Blankets and Wine event and the first girl was walking past the second girl when the first girl was struck by the lipstick the second girl was wearing. She stopped to ask about it and voila! Money exchanged hands and a friendship began.

The fourth person in the conversation was a fellow man, called Primus Agaba, who made me feel inadequate because of his vast knowledge of women and make up. He readily followed their conversation and even joined in even though they kept meandering into terminology that I recognised as english but could make little sense of otherwise.

He made me re-assess my position as a former boyfriend, ongoing husband, father, uncle and brother of various girls. After hearing him talk for twenty minutes, the only females in my life I wasn’t worried I had offended over the years with my blatant obliviousness were my darling mother and grandmothers before her – because they had zero involvement with cosmetics and make up. I suspect that I am still married probably because my wife is almost the same.

 

The conversation went on for a while longer before it occurred to me that the Ushs20,000 mentioned earlier might not have been paid in exchange for a tube of lipstick, so I paused matters for clarification.

The first girl had paid the cash for the tube of lipstick to be unscrewed by the second girl, then applied onto her lips, after which the other screwed the cap back onto her lipstick, pocketed the money, and put both into her handbag (presumably).
I was flummoxed. I could understand the concept well enough, of course, but up till that point it had not occurred to me that such payments could be made in exchange for the mere application of make up.
First of all, the idea that a person could be walking through an event where food and drinks are being sold and would enter into an impulse expenditure of Ushs20,000 was a little jarring. That’s a double whisky in moderate places, and I don’t find it easy to fork it out fwaaaa. It is also the equivalent of four face-paintings at a children’s event, which expenditure I absolutely dread whenever I am walking into these things.
Digging deeper into the matter brought starker realisations – one of them told me that at one point in her life she spent about Ushs150,000 for a tube of imported lipstick. She has since found much more affordable (I like using that word instead of ‘cheap’) options, but of course they are all imported and some of them have names that make the eyes of the more knowledgeable female dilate when they are spoken.

And they told me that sometimes a lady you might know will spend Ushs140,000 for make up on an ordinary work day because of a job interview.

 

woman-getting-makeup-applied

 

But that’s nothing if you compare it with the cost of make up for a wedding!
Apparently a bride and her entourage will pay these incredible sums for make-up to be applied sometimes during rehearsals, just to see what their different options will look like on the big day, and then again on the big day itself. That morning, make up is applied by professionals and a premium may be charged if that application is done earlier than a certain hour. Not only that; if the make up person is required to do any additional work later on in the day, then more money will be forked out – but the more frugal bridal party might pay a sum up front for a make up pack they can carry with them the rest of the day.
All of this costs hard cash that ordinary mortals such as myself have been unaware of all this time – it’s a whole separate economy.
And I realised that over the years that is one of those items on wedding budgets that I have never paid much attention to – so I called up a couple of those emailed to me and realised that in most cases it was hidden or thrown in under ‘Salon’. The Make Up expert broke down the numbers for me to my total astonishment, and the ladies laughed even more at my incredulity – while Primus smirked that smirk of a man proven superior over his neighbour.
I didn’t care for my status at that point – I had to check what components went into make up in general, and my first stop was lipstick: it’s basically waxes (beeswax, paraffin, and carnauba wax) oils and fats, emollients (the stuff that makes it soft), and pigments.

 

skaheru makeup 2

 

All this can be found in Uganda – even the Carnauba wax. We CAN make lipstick. We SHOULD make lipstick.
Because if girls are ready to pay each other Ushs20,000 for a few swipes of the thing to be applied onto their lips, then there is no shortage of demand. If you do more complicated mathematics and presume that there are 1,000 weddings taking place in this country every Saturday, and that each bride (ignore the rest of the entourage for now) will spend at LEAST Ushs100,000 on base make up, then that is Ushs100,000,000 a weekend being spent on make up.
Is that not enough reason to get scientists and entrepreneurs together to mix waxes, oils and fats, emollients and pigments?

 

the Japanese are promoting Uganda’s organic agriculture – what about you?


The Japanese are well known the world over for being efficient, precise and so highly sensitive about integrity that legend has it they will commit suicide painfully (‘hara-kiri’, or ‘seppuku’) if their personal reputations ever come into question.

It is the first two characteristics that make them such manufacturing and logistics superheroes that they have produced more cars than any other country in the world for the last fifty years.

They even came up with, and rolled out to the rest of the world, a concept called ‘Kaizen’, described as “the practice of continuous improvement…recognised an important pillar of an organisation’s long-term competitive strategy.”

In Uganda, the vast majority of our interaction with Japan is obviously the second hard vehicles that we shuttle about in…or so we thought:

Late last year I went for an Organic Farmer’s fair at the Acacia Mall; every other Saturday the Mall opens its rooftop up to small scale or cottage industries and sectors

img_20160206_095904.jpg

Photo by Simon Kaheru

in Uganda to exhibit and sell their wares – a corporate social initiative we don’t often see but that is high impact for the beneficiaries.

That day the exhibition was staged by NOGAMU – the National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda.

The exhibitors were mostly ladies, and their wares were exciting to see, especially for a chap like me who dabbles in backyard gardening and hopes to one day do some full-blown agriculture.

I walked through the displays of sugarcanes, paw-paws, fence, some massive cassava tubers, and even smoked fish. Weaving through the table stands I was pleasantly surprised to find that they even had packed products such as herbal teas and dried fruit snacks, all the way to soaps and oils.

The ladies (and a couple of young fellows) were all pleasant, welcoming and courteous – and they even had bits of products for us to chew on or sample, as part of their effort at enticing us to buy – “jaribu”, we used to call that, back in the day.

When we eventually got to the checkout table I was surprised to find I was being processed by a young Japanese lady – wearing one of those hats (you know the ones) but without a camera slung round her neck.

She wrote down my purchases quite neatly in a ledger, did the mental maths, then punched the numbers into a calculator to double check before writing me my receipt.

“What is this about?” I asked her, and she handed me her http://www.on-the-slope.com business card. We couldn’t engage in the type of lengthy discussion I would have wanted to, as she was at work and perhaps my enthusiasm was more than she cold bear at the time.

But I accosted one of her Ugandan colleagues, a very well-spoken young lady, who also gave me a business card and offered to make products available for home img_20160206_095851.jpg delivery if I so wished.

That is a whole different story, so I’ll stick to this one.

I went to the www.on-the-slope.com website and found the tab ‘Uganda Project’, and scrolled through many nice photographs of ordinary, healthy-looking Ugandans in healthy-looking upcountry rural locations holding up healthy-looking fruits and vegetables.

The quality of the photographs was not surprising since the Japanese famously make those cameras and lenses, but it was pleasing to see such positive energy about Uganda on a foreign website.

The text was in Japanese so Google translate didn’t tell me enough of what was happening, so I still don’t know much about this project besides the obvious – the Japanese are promoting Uganda’s organic produce.

The lady working with NOGAMU is part of the project, probably here short term to intern or do some skills transfers.

More importantly, to me, if the Japanese are here promoting Uganda’s organic agriculture, shouldn’t we be taking more notice ourselves?

It would appear, from that website and other links it led me to, that some organic food is already being exported to Japan! Are we exchanging this food for the second hand cars? Definitely not – but somebody else pointed out to me that we should be doing so in a big way, because:

Japan appreciates us. Japan likes organic food. Japan has no space for growing their own food. We have that space. We grow organic food quite easily. We are good enough for the reputation-sensitive Japanese to come here and identify with us.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

there is NO ZIKA in Uganda


Aedes Aegypti

The Aedes Aegypti – from http://www.outbreaknewstoday.com

THIS Zika virus is pissing me off quite a lot.

The damn thing is causing excitement and concern in Brazil and other Latin American countries, and people have contracted its related diseases in the United Kingdom and the United States.
NO ONE in Uganda has contracted the disease.
In the last 70 (SEVENTY) years there have been TWO (2) people who got the Zika disease in Uganda.
But believe it or not, Uganda has entered into the story. You haven’t noticed yet, but there is already at least one travel advisory that affects us – Ugandans.
THIS has pissed me off, of course, because those less discerning than most will immediately assume that we have Zika viruses floating about in the air over here, and will begin to avoid us. Or they’ll come up with some silly extra airport checks for people who have been to Uganda, or have names similar to ours.
There is no predicting what could happen.
The last time a strange, scary disease broke out in West Africa we had sanctions and cancellations in East Africa. There is 7,000 kilometres of very bad road between Sierra Leone and Uganda, but people in the UK still felt that it was worrying enough for the disease to exist THERE, for them to avoid coming HERE. Sierra Leone is closer to the United States than it is to any East African country, but ignoramuses would still be more scared of coming here than going to the US.
(That statement about distances from Sierra Leone might or might not be true – so go and read up on the continent of Africa a little bit, just to be sure. The one about ignoramuses is true.)
But that’s not what is churning bile into my throat.
The casualness around which people – journalists inclusive – are talking about Uganda in this story is infuriating!
It took just a couple of days for people to misread the Wikipedia statement, “The virus was first isolated in April 1947 from a rhesus macaque monkey that had been placed in a cage in the Zika Forest of Uganda, near Lake Victoria, by the scientists of the Yellow Fever Research Institute.”
Personally, like most of you who haven’t just heard about it from the title of this damn blogpost, I first heard of the Zika virus and the Zika forest about two weeks ago – in that order, separated by a couple of days.
On Monday the World Health Organisation declared Zika an “international public health emergency” and by that time Uganda was on maps labelled ‘Areas with current or past evidence of Zika’ (see http://www.nytimes.com – I won’t be supplying the link).
Within these last two weeks we have had journalists and ‘scientists’ (or science officials) make comments that simply fit into the expected narrative but don’t tell us much that is accurate or even useful.
They could have read the Wikipedia article in full, as well as embedded links therein such as this scientific-looking linkhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2819875/
before launching into the Zika Forest for their stories, but…
Take this story headlined, “Ugandan forest where Zika hides”, complete with a photograph of an old Uganda Virus Research Institute  (UVRI) signpost in front of a patch of grass in what is clearly NOT a forest <—incomprehensible. The height of laziness is in NOT taking a photograph of even a single TREE for an article ABOUT a forest.
That article states with confidence: “Most local cases of the virus were mild, resulting in a rash, fever, and red eyes. Global health authorities barely took notice until an outbreak on the Micronesian island of Yap in 2007.”
Yap is NOT in Uganda. The Micronesian islands are NOT in Uganda. There are NO LOCAL CASES OF ZIKA that the story cites, but that sentence, by-lined by AFP, is on the internet even though in Yap, according to the Wikipedia article on that outbreak, 73% of the island’s population above the age of 3 (three) had recently (by then) contracted the disease!
Later in the story the AFP states, “Uganda’s health ministry is keen to point out that there have been no known cases of the disease in that country, and that the outbreak in the Americas did not originate in East Africa.”
This is because it is true, though the story indicates that it is just a claim.
Why not, “There have been no known cases of the disease in Uganda (in recent years) and the outbreak in the Americas did not originate in East Africa.”?
The reporter could have done some simple research within the Wikipedia article and benefitted from this sentence: “There are two lineages of Zika virus, the African lineage and the Asian lineage.[19] Phylogenetic studies indicate that the virus spreading in the Americas is most closely related to the Asian strain, which circulated in French Polynesia during the 2013 outbreak.”
But the AFP could not be bothered.
And it even closes the story with, “There is no vaccine against Zika, which has spread to over 24 countries in the Americas.” <—the Americas – it has become like Africa. Would you imagine, reading that phrase, that anyone in the United States has contracted a Zika-related disease? Or that anyone in the United Kingdom has one? You think the AFP story would mention even that most amusing detail of how Brian Foy, a biologist from the Colorado State University, in 2009 returned to the US from a trip to Senegal and sexually transmitted Zika on to her?
Nope.
It doesn’t even mention that SIX (6) cases have been confirmed in the United Kingdom – which detail I have only discovered today! I thought it was three – 3 – until this afternoon of February 2, 2016 when I surfed through various links to get to this one.
See, the text on the discovery of Zika in the UK says things like, “ZIKV does not occur naturally in the UK. However, as of 29 January 2016, a total of 6 cases have been diagnosed in UK travellers.”
Did you notice the use of ‘ZIKV’ there, instead of Zika? That’s deliberate so that you find fewer instances of internet searches linking the word “Zika” to “UK”.
This is from an official government release – and our Ministries of Health, Foreign Affairs and Tourism should take a leaf from this and have all public officials comply; take A LOT OF CARE when making statements about matters sensitive.
The United States’ Centre for Disease Control (CDC) announced that, “No locally transmitted Zika cases have been reported in the continental United States, but cases have been reported in returning travelers.” <—again, distancing themselves as a country from this disease, and suggesting that “only travellers” (which they mis-spelt) have it.
Meanwhile, it would take me (I am too simple) too long to establish how many travellers to the US have actually been diagnosed with the virus, but I bet they are more than Uganda’s ZERO!
The UK reporting also keeps talking about “UK travellers” so that in your mind the disease is never RESIDENT there.
It is RESIDENT elsewhere. Maybe in the ‘Americas’ or Africa – and the same advisory states that travellers should avoid travel to “areas where any mosquito-borne diseases such as chikungunya, dengue, malaria and Zika are known to occur”. <— see? It has started already!
But if anyone tries to cancel a booking to Uganda on the basis of this advisory, then please point them to this link from CNN which states with authority that, “the Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, “which are found throughout the U.S. and are known for transmitting dengue fever and chikungunya, may also transmit the virus, the CDC said Friday.”
 
So the UK advisory discourages travel to the United States, as much as it discourages travel to Uganda.
The BBC also sent a team to the Zika Forest – where they also met the same guide, poor Gerald Mukisa, who is now quoted everywhere.
The Associated Press report of the same site states that the Zika Forest “is, now fittingly, a research site for scientists…” even though everywhere else on the internet states that it has been a research site since before 1947! <—but that’s a small point, so ignore it.
Or, maybe just to get into the meat of things, it might not be ‘now fittingly’ – the reason they probably chose the Zika forest as they would any other part of the world to conduct such trials back in the early 1900s, might be the availability of specimen such as the monkey.
The longer version of the AFP report, meanwhile, quoted one Julius Lutwama, 56, described as “Top UVRI scientist” who says: “Zika virus has always been a mild infection. Out of say five or 10 people who are infected, only one or two may actually show some fever that is noticeable.” <— WHAT THE HELL?
The BBC text report on the same subject quoted the very same Dr. Julius Lutwama saying that only two cases of the virus have been confirmed in Uganda in the last seven decades. SEVENTY (70) years.
‘This is because the types of mosquitoes that would transmit the virus to humans don’t often come into contact with the general population, says Dr. Julius Lubwama, a leading virologist at the Uganda Virus Research Institute.’ reads the story.
So is it only two people as the BBC quoted Dr. Lutwama saying, or “out of the five or ten people”, as the AFP quoted the very same Dr. Lutwama?
I called up the Uganda Virus Research Institute and was told that there was only one Dr. Lutwama but was told he was out of the country – hopefully in Geneva attending the emergency meetings that resulted in the WHO declaration. I was given his colleagues number, one Dr. John Kayiwa, but he didn’t answer his phone and I had to post my blog so I went on reading, only to find this in the  BBC article:
“But as Dr. John Kayuma, one of the laboratory managers told me, one of the reasons why there are few recorded cases in Uganda could be because not many people have been tested for it. ‘It is possible that there could be several people, or so many people out there with the Zika virus infection, but because many people do not seek treatment in the hospitals, we could be missing out”‘
They don’t stop there.
“‘And also the surveillance has probably not picked them out. There’s a possibility that there are more cases out there.’”
THAT is the kind of comment that has me shaking my damn head.
(Pause for breath).
And the story ends on the dramatic note of: “In the meantime, Dr. Lutwama and his team say they are keeping an eye on the type of mosquitoes in the country in case any of the ones that are good at spreading the disease enter Uganda.”
THIS is the BBC?
They can’t spell Dr. Kayiwa’s name right – so marks off for that.
But then, do you see how the narrative is being kept alive here? That “it is possible” that people have the disease “but they have not been checked?”  We are to think that people are walking about possibly suffering from Zika but they have not been tested for it so cue music of impending doom and sickness?
Quite simply there is NO story here unless someone finds that damn monkey that was the subject of those tests. While looking for it, though, please take in our thousands of other monkeys and apes, the magnificent wildlife, the great scenery and the extremely pleasant hospitality of Ugandans who are so kind we will smile and say what you most likely want to hear just to make you feel at home – sometimes to our own detriment.
At the back of your mind, please be aware that “it is possible” that very many people out there have a cold, or mild forms of malaria, or even cancer, but they have not sought treatment in hospitals.
Brazil is there with 4,000 cases of babies born with microcephaly (the birth defect that the Zika virus is said to cause), the United States has 30 cases, the UK has six, and we are here saying “see Uganda”?
It is these reports that have me looking a little more seriously at bloggers, or what some people call conspiracy theorists, because those ones appear to put more effort into their work.
Like one Jon Rappoport, who blogged last week: ‘Is the dreaded Zika virus another giant scam?’
Rappoport, unlike our international journalists, goes into the science behind the Zika virus, and the tests that would have to be conducted before certain declarations are made, and then even raises links that answer the question, ‘Why did we not know about this between 2007 and 2016?’ (let alone 1947 till now!). Why is it spreading so fast and frenzied in Brazil and Latin America?, and then (read his blog, by the way, rather than wait for me to reproduce it here) the link to pesticide use in Brazil and so on and so forth.
Then there’s sheezacoldpiece, who posted, ‘The Zika Virus – What They’re Not Saying…’, in which the blogger raises a vaccine that the Brazil government introduced in 2014 and says “The recent outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil is now being linked to genetically modified mosquitoes developed by the British biotech company Oxitec, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.”
Leaving the corporate bodies out of it for a while, the blogger raises a point some other people have raised in the comments on Zika – what is the role of science in all this? Even in the 1947 tests, according to this scientific narrative – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2819875/ – tells you that they were not just walking through a forest and noticed a monkey shivering with an attack of the Zika.
There must be some scientist out there who can decipher for us the meaning of the phrase, “was first isolated”; does that not indicate that there was some clinical laboratory work going on that could have involved placing a sample or something into the monkey in order to study its results?
I am clearly not a scientist.
But also, if, as the bloggers suggest, the microcephaly or Zika disease is a result of additional factors beyond just a thirsty band of mosquitoes then our scientists have lots more work to do than monitoring the borders to ensure that these vectors don’t get in.
Reading https://brazilianshrunkenheadbabies.wordpress.com/about/ you will find a lot of blogger-insight (see links at the bottom of that page) that sensibly argues how the use of medicines or pesticides untested for your area or blood type or genetics can create such alarming results.
As for the journalists, we have even more work to do so that we are more convincing than the bloggers and conspiracy theorists; if we can’t even spell a name right when covering such an ‘important’ story, how the hell are we expected to be believed on the science?
Image

an advertisement – spend valentine’s day in Uganda


Shiyaya Valentine's E-Brochure

the versatile blogger award


versatile-blogI’VE collided with this assignment quite by random and will endeavour (FACT ONE – Endeavour Uganda was the name of the first company I ever registered right after I finished my University Degree; it was a tourism promotion company that could, if we were ever struck by the need, build ships)…<—I apologise for using those three dots so early in this one-post relationship (FACT TWO – I tend to use those three dots a lot because I am shy – in real life and also when writing. I can’t explain that quirk because most people seem to have a very different idea about me, both in real life and when reading what I write…anyway, prepare to step out of the parentheses to complete the sentence we started at the beginning of this paragraph and connect the dots)…to stick to the rules.
(FACT THREE – I sometimes appear to stickle, most manifestly when writing and editing, but also in real life. It amuses my children, and irritates my wife though she is secretly happy whenever I do it…I think…, and it infuriates the ordinary mortals I come into contact with, most especially those who find comfort in mediocrity because they discovered long ago that lowering one’s standards makes it easy to appear to excel – which makes me a problem to them in presence and in fact.)
The rules of this assignment are straightforward, from what my nominator – a word I doubt having ever used before – posted, and I paste them below so that the persons I nominate – called nominees, which is a more popular term – find it easy to carry this tradition on until we are called up to receive this Award to much fanfare narrated by a trending twitter hashtag and featured on millions of timelines:
RULE 1. Thank the person that nominated you and include a link to their blog.
(FACT FOUR – I give thanks A LOT! My daily prayers are  almost a litany of thanks to God, and if there is one thing I want to pass on to my children it is the readiness to give thanks; I had it passed down to me by my parents, to whom and for who I give thanks, and I give thanks to God that I have been given the opportunity to teach my children how to give thanks.)
I therefore find it easy to give thanks to Joel for nominating me – and for being such an avid blogger and a serious Ugandan (which I have only surmised from reading his blog these so many months).
RULE 2. Nominate at least 15 bloggers of your choice. When considering a fellow blogger for the Versatile Blogger Award, keep in mind the quality of their writing, the uniqueness of their subject matter and the level of love displayed on the virtual page.
(FACT FIVE – Contrary to the last bit of this rule, I do not believe there is a high level of love displayed on my virtual page, which makes me comfortable blogging. I am extremely uncomfortable with public displays of affection, which discomfort began dissipating when I started being a father. Now, visually step out of the parentheses for the rest of this…)
First of all, right there before you visually stepped out of the parentheses I was itching to use the phrase “step over” but that would have required me to use the singular for that pair of parentheses, which word I cannot find at short notice. ‘Parenthesis’ refers to a word (look it up yourself) rather than one of the brackets that form the pair of parentheses I have had you hop in and out of.
Back to the Rule, though, luckily for me, it does not say that the ‘level of love’ displayed needs to be high or low, so I will therefore use my discretion to select my nominees, who are:
(I do not like leaving so many people out, so these are the fifteen who have come to mind this evening, and I left out an eleven-year old boy just so I don’t appear overly nepotistic, but I have him in mind as I type this:)
7. Stompie (You guys don’t know this name) 
10. Norah
12. Paul
13. Aur
15. Zelah
This list is too short for it to be fair, and everybody who isn’t on it must not develop those uncomfortable, unhealthy feelings, because we need not justify why we chose who we chose…we being nominators (twice in one day!). Today being a Saturday, my thoughts were mostly themed along lines that probably reveal themselves in the collection of bloggers I have chosen. (FACT SIX: I love Uganda and always try to find a way of highlighting our positives, or correcting our negatives so we can stand out. This is where my family lives, and so I must make it my paradise, so that my family can be happy. The objective that some call ’the pursuit of happiness’ came to me in childhood because of our social and political environment, that was so despondent that we little people had to find ways of fighting back with our spirits. Being happy was hard, but not impossible, and that’s why I found myself voluntarily avoiding negative influences – since life around me had more than enough of them without my adding to them by watching sad movies or reading thrillers in which children died and crime went unpunished. To this day, there are many popular icons of entertainment I have deliberately let go by just so I can be happy; likewise, and more seriously, I go down paths unpopular for most just so my family can be happy…because if we are all happy, Uganda will be happy.)
RULE 3: Link your nominees and let them know about their nomination.
QED. I like the way this either stands for Quite Easily Done or Quod Erat Demonstrandum. Don’t ask which teacher in my past wrote the latter onto my answer sheet because that is as irrelevant to this post as this post would be to the question I was responding to that warranted said abbreviation elaborated in latin.
RULE 4: Share seven facts about yourself. You will find that I have done so, and a little bit more because, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I am a Writer. (FACT SEVEN: I am a writer. I have always been a writer. Just the day before yesterday I was thinking back to when I first started writing – at the age of three or four…yes, I kid you not, and I believe the evidence exists somewhere in the files that my father fastidiously keeps arranged in cabinets locked up tighter than cash-laden safes. Cash holds less value in our home than our memories do, and many of those memories have been recorded, in writing and photography. I am a writer, I know, because I would rather put my feelings down on paper by medium of lead and ink than speak from the mind. My pens are in my last will and testament. Buying a pencil is still as exciting today as it was back when I was a child – more, actually, since I can afford more pencils now than I could back then. I have notebooks that serve the function of comforter blankets, that I reach for when anxious to be assuaged by the sight of blank pages on which I can squeeze words in the event of a disaster. If the world suddenly threatened to come to an end, would I get to write about it? I hope so. Because I am a writer. A writer who blogs. A blogger who writes.