This is a novel in progress and an invite for a conversation.

Welcome! Please come on in. Relax and hang your archetypes by the door.

My hope is that this work creates a dialogue about the frequently unspoken territory of what makes a man become who he is and how that impacts the world.

It is vitally important for women to be part of that conversation as well.

In Search of Gumption is a novella about masculinity based on real stories.

In reading this, you might find your own stories inside. If not, get in touch and share them if you feel like it! The book isn’t over yet.

Subscribe to get bi-monthly commentary and discussion threads on the ideas that form this story.

You’ll also be the first to know as I release new parts.

Story Plot

Maskat Zemunke grew up in the male-dominated, hot, sticky, and isolated Lamu Island in Kenya. As a boy, the Swahili culture provides him with many different role models for what it means to be a man, and he has to learn how to seize his masculine power at a very young age where he feels bullied everywhere he goes, including his own home.

He starts wanting more of that power, and the story follows him around the world as he leaves Kenya, rises into a ruthless military soldier, and is then finally transformed through his most dangerous adventure yet: finding and relating to the female within.

Chapter 1

Genre Historical Fiction

You’ll get to learn a lot about the history of the Kenyan coastal Islamic invasions, the cultural Swahili context in the 80s, and the heroin years of the 90s and 2000s. The second part of the story is set up in the US and explores its involvement in the gulf war. You will also get a healthy portion of research about male psychology and psychedelics.

Sources of Inspiration So Far

Stories: My own struggle through the twenties, led me to investigate what our collective narrative is around being a man. Maskat’s life, events, and the characters around him are all loosely based on real people’s stories which have inspired me to write this, including my own.

Authors: Robert Augustus Masters, Brené Brown, Carl Yung, Joseph Cambell, Robert Johnson, Kristen Neff, Junot Díaz, Jim Harrison.

Movies: Fight Club, A History of Violence, Full Metal Jacket.


Omar Shaker
Ex-MD, data geek, and a writer. I think there is a compassion crisis we need to address and my writing aims to make a dent in that.
Khaled sallam
A self-avowed lover of crap. I walk the path because I am fat and I need to burn calories. Just a fun outdoorsy guy you know, existential angst is for her sisters. That Buddha guy though, he is alright, he is a good egg.
Paul Kist
Building an authentic, creative, playful, and healing world through arts/tech/food/community.
Jester of all trades