The bell has rung

Something beautiful happened after I finished writing my book.

Heads up: I am going to talk to you so much about this book that you will get nauseated, ha-ha. You will want to put a sack over my head each time you see me opening my mouth to speak. ‘Bett, I swear, if you are going to give us another story about your book. Sweet Jesus, grant me patience because if you give me strength, I will smack her across the face with that Paybill she keeps waving at us.’


‘Should I? Your questions about money.’ By Florence Bett

I haven’t put up an image of my book cover because I’m having a slight issue with the space in my WordPress gallery, I can’t upload images. My bro is looking into it. I would have told you that the techies are looking into it but that would be a lie – I am the only one here now. Everyone has left. Even my beloved Mike. There is a post-apocalyptic desertedness that now lingers.

Anyway, you must let me talk about my book.

You know why?

Because it was almost like magic, some supernatural shit, how all my bad habits were vanquished with completing that book to publish. Vanquished… poof. Here now, gone like a fart in the next. I don’t even know where they went. Or if they took a hiatus, waiting to set up camp in my person again soon. But they’re not here anymore.

Like you, I trot around this town with the baggage of my bad habits on my back. I haul it about as a farmer would a gunia of potatoes to the market. Like you, I get weary from hauling the baggage around – each time I rid myself of it, it somehow makes its way back to me. My own ball and chain. Trying to run from my bad habits is like trying to run from my own shadow.

Never mind this, it was as though the Universe pulled out its magic wand and tapped on the sack once, twice and it had vanished in an instant.

This is important because there is a whole New Age industry that has been created to diagnose and manage the symptoms, treat the diseases even, associated with unlocking your highest and truest self. YouTube videos, podcasts, books, apps have spilled a lot of ink about ‘how to be productive’ and ‘how to be more motivated’, ‘how to stop being lazy’. Ask Google, it will return to you 1,180,000,000 results in 0.53 seconds.

Don’t get me wrong, I have sought the wisdom in this material time and time again. Frustration at how I operate has had me take studious notes, go to bed with earphones stuck in my ears listening to affirmations for guided meditation, collect recommendations from kina GB and readers like James and Judith, diarise how my days pan out so I can smoke out my symptoms, my disease, get a prescription for my aches.

It was all in the pursuit of higher self, but the ultimate masterclass for me came when I was writing my book.

All my unpleasant habits sort of just fixed themselves in one fell swoop: Tardiness, procrastination, self-doubt, hopelessness, mistrust of self, commitment for the long haul, fixing my eye on one goal, that terrible habit of starting things that you abandon along the way, when it gets difficult… you name it.

All of them were vanquished. Gone. Disappeared. A plume of smoke. Hell, I even lost weight in the process. Oh yeah – I moved from a 12 top-14 bottom to a 10 top– 12 bottom. My clothes no longer fit me, I have had to buy new jeans, which worked perfectly because all my old ones were making my ass look like a baby elephant’s.

I became a changed person while writing my book.

One of the reasons I am keen to write another and yet another is so that I can operate on that optimal version of self yet again. Aargh.

The book is selling now (and selling relatively well, I thank the Good Lord for that) but what you are experiencing now is the aftershocks of the Earthquake that shooketh me while writing it in the second half of 2021.


More on that another day.

(Yeah, there’s more, hahaa.)

To imagine the vastness of your mind, I want you to imagine a mansion that has many rooms upstairs. Countless rooms. Rooms in rooms. Rooms you didn’t even know existed. More rooms than you will be able to discover, whose doors you will not open. Some rooms have doors you don’t want to open ever again. And that’s also OK.

I kept trying the doors and they kept opening and opening and opening.

I am no longer interested in staying in the open-door rooms downstairs. I can’t. Not after I have tasted the beauty of what’s upstairs, not after my eyes have seen what they have seen.

I want more for myself now.

One of the doors that I opened was to a room with a piano in it.

Upright piano. Steinway & Sons. One of those vintage ones in walnut brown I am too knackered to describe. It had that tangy smell of old used furniture, furniture that tells the stories of all the hands that have touched it.

I have always wanted to learn to play the piano – always – but the odds were always stacked against me. There was always something missing that unbalanced the equation.

I wanted to learn it as a child but I didn’t know where to begin explaining to Mr and Mrs Bett that I wanted to learn to play the piano. Me, Flora Chemutai (L.O.L), fourth in a gang of seven, wanted them to pay for privately tutored piano lessons? With which piano? In which house? What money?!

Mr Jo Bett, a telecom engineer who is all science and no creative art, a cause-and-effect kinda guy who wouldn’t comprehend my thirst. (No, I’m being unfair – he finds art in his science, just not the artistic type but the creative type, the one that hunts for solutions to problems.) And my mother, Mrs Liz Bett, a primary school teacher who had learned early to regulate her ambitions; she just wanted us to be grateful for what we already had.

So I buried that desire because, you know, you can’t get everything you want, when you ask for it. But how these things work is that at some point they will awaken and ask to be given attention. The hibernating bear will arise from slumber. The bell will ring. The song in your heart will start playing again.

Last week, GB and I had a parent-teacher meeting with Muna’s class teacher. One of those that we should have had as soon as they closed school in December, a few days before Christmas, but by then we were already tipsy from sipping on the merry cocktails of the season’s festivity.

In less colourful terms, we forgot.

Well, we had the meeting last Thursday, a week after they had opened school in January. The teacher told us stuff we already knew about Muna’s performance – she’s good with numbers, handwriting and colouring, awful with Kiswahili, needs more improvement on spelling – and we left. A quick 20 minutes.

It was right before we took the stairs down that I heard a piano being played in a room next. I cocked my ear and told GB to let me nip in. He said sawa, “I have some calls to make anyway. I’ll meet you at the car when you’ve finished.”

Two schoolgirls in uniform – 11, maybe 13 years, you can’t quite tell nowadays with these early bloomers – were on their pianos reading from those sheets that music people read from. Clefs and octaves and notes. The language of the soul.

Their tutor – who is now my tutor – stood over them listening and watching, hands in fluid choreography, doing that thing with his face that I now catch him doing with me.

I stood transfixed. Transformed.

By the time I left that room some 30 minutes later, I had already had my first lesson with my tutor. (Tutor! I have a tutor! Hahaa.) I had been pointed to where to get myself a decent keyboard on Moi Avenue, phone numbers had been exchanged and schedules discussed (So we only need one lesson a week?! For 30 minutes only? Wow, that’s quite doable. So are you better for Monday or Wednesday?)

The bell had rung.

As a grown woman the odds to play have always been stacked against me.

When I had money, I didn’t have time.

When I had time, I didn’t have money.

I still don’t have enough of either now, hahaa, but I will do it anyway. This life has taught me that you will never have enough of what you need to take that first crucial step.

Playing the piano will add plenty of richness and beauty into my life, I can already tell.

I am learning to play the piano for myself.

I don’t plan on becoming the next Aaron Rimbui. You will probably never see me in a collaboration with Bien of Sauti Sol. Or with Jacob and Kavutha Asiyo. I may have a band someday – operative word ‘may’ – but it won’t be stitched from the same yarn as Ricky Nanjero’s band.

I won’t release an album or anything of the kind either, no body of artistic work. I won’t become ‘so good at it that they can’t take their eyes off me.’ Hell, I won’t run a Masterclass on mastering the piano: Piano for beginners.

I won’t burden this art with eking me a living, as I did with my writing: I won’t ever force you to let me play at your son’s wedding. Or at your grandmother’s funeral. Not even at your cat’s birthday. You will never see a Paybill from me asking you to support the creation of this content.

This is one pursuit I will engage in simply for pure joy.

But when guests come to our house, rest assured, I will make GB do the dirty work of forcing them to stand around the piano and hear me play. And they will have to listen to the end and clap for me, never mind how terrible my set is. I will put a mason jar there so they can tip me while at it.

I am already drawn to the genre of jazz swing.

It’s an upbeat, retro melody that sounds very Billie Holiday, very timeless, the colour of sepia.

The colour of yet another door opening wide.

The colour of the bell ringing.

Let’s try this again
Make your bed…. On second thought, don’t

Comments (2)

  1. Moraa

    I will be looking out for a video when you learn your first full song or audio. Hehehe

    • Bett

      I don’t want to sound like a music producer, hehee, but it’s ‘Coming Soon! Stay tuned for updates on our socials!’

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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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