Sizzle, no steak

I am mighty fatigued. I was in Machakos over the weekend holding my kid brother’s hand as he wed then married.

The last time I was this fatigued, Lupita was douched in fake sweat in a fake sex scene too timid for its own educative good, in a small-screen production titled Shuga. Lupita. She played Ayira. Look now where she is. Bett. She played Florence. Look now where she is.

Mightily fatigued.

I had two story ideas from my weekend in Macha. But the mistake we – me and my mind, me and my physicality – made was that I got mighty fatigued. You have to understand, fatigue isn’t good for a young writer, like myself. Fatigue means I will sleep through the night. Without such fatigue, my eyes snap open at 3AM. And I am kept awake for over an hour as sentences and whole paragraphs of my story ideas are constructed in my head, or spoken to me. That depends on whether you side with the science of the subconscious or with the folklore of the Devil’s Hour. Either way, 3AM is when the sassiest sentences come to be.
Fatigue also means my bus rides will be just that: rides. Ordinarily, the chunk and thud of the bus engine, and the conversations and the musty smell of sweat from blue-collar Nairobians taking the bus home after a day of hustling to make their hay, is hefty enough to spur a story idea from conception to birth.

But fatigue. Fatigue aborts these ideas.

So I hit the blank page and my aborted ideas wasted away two hundred words later. Stories with as much breadth as a midget and a toddler. Here I am now. With nothing. Writing you a story about nothing – all sizzle and no steak, all bubbles and no champagne, all Rolls Royce and no engine, all promise and no youth, all flavour and no butter, all… OK, you catch my drift.

Sizzle, no steak.

In the six days I have taken to write and rewrite this (piffling) story, there have been threads of hours I warped and wefted between listening to Oliver Mtukudzi’s discography, and sitting on the street benches next to the Six Eighty Hotel, reading a used book I purchased from the bargain section of a bookshop at the Yaya Centre. A novel by Philip Roth. An American writer who just turned 81. Roth is as elderly as the Kenyans I have been sharing these street benches with – senior citizens who are in Nairobi to collect their government welfare. I surrender. The last time I read a novel… I don’t know. The last time I read a novel, such mundane activities weren’t the aching reprieve to a week of post-nuptial writing. Such activities were the tapestry of the writing itself.

But like I mentioned earlier, I am mighty fatigued. I wasted my ideas. I wasted my story space. And I have wasted your time.

If this story was good for anything, let it be good for easening the unwarranted and apparent neglect of this blog’s writing.

Try again next time.

Gentlemen of the Round Table
Guest writer: The Call

Comments (6)

  1. AMS

    :) Fra, you ‘wasted my time’

    • fra

      Me and you both AMS. Me and you both.

  2. maina_maitha

    hebu write. Since kinyatti introduced me to your writing, you have inspired me to write again. This piece was a total waste of my brain cells(think some died in the process).

    • fra

      Hehehhe. How do I apologize without saying ‘I’m sorry’?

  3. Jecinta

    Fra, at least you tried. That’s what counts. And I’m very proud of you, for trying, even when common sense shouted, ‘Who are you kidding!’ Don’t beat yourself too hard, next time it will be better. This coming from someone who is also rewriting her life story should count for squat…i mean, i understand fair and tough days, and everything in between. Keep writing, even when you have nothing to write about. Just don ‘t stop. And when you look back, it will surprise you how far you’ve come, and how many people gave up along the way. Fra, that is where the difference is. In never stopping. Go.

    Ps. Do me a favor, please leave the ‘me and my mind’ business. My mind and I know Fra can do better. Bless.

  4. dskuwe

    Happens to the best of them

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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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