The Abuja Writers Forum continues with its Guest Writer Session on 24th November, 2018 at the Fountain Hall of Nanet Suites from 4pm to 7pm. The guests in focus for November are Madeline Agoba and Chiemezie Onqubalili. The session, which is open to the public, will feature entertaining readings, live music and a raffle-draw for books, amongst other fun literary stuff.
I don’t come here too often but don’t worry, I am still around. So, I will be reading from three of my multiple award winning collections of short stories and poetry at the Abuja Literary Society Book Jam on 31st August 2018. Venue is Sandralia Hotel, Jabi, Abuja.
Well, poetry speaks to us in many ways and comes to us in different ways. It is that place where there are many of us rushing in, especially with this whole advent of the social media. Now, while a lot of people have argued and bashed people who write so-called bad poetry on their blogs and spaces like Facebook, I’ve told these ‘critics’ to cool down. We are simply moving with the times. No writer should be judged for such posts. The only time when such a person should be judged is when the poem has been put into a book. So to say, when the poet has declared it final.
First, you must look the part. It is important to look like an African writer. Find multi-coloured kampala fabric and use it to sew shirts which you’ll wear to all writers’ events. Or an old t-shirt. You shouldn’t look like a model or banker. Your precious time is spent thinking of plot and theme and words, not on dress and grooming. Your hair needs to be unkempt. However, nothing says authentic-tortured-African-writer like dreadlocks. Please, note that in Nigeria there is a difference between dreadlocks and ‘dada’. Dada is less refined, naturally matted coils of hair due to superstitious neglect. Dada is uncool. Dreadlocks are deliberate. They are cool. They make you look wildly creative. If someone asks; no, you are not a Rastafarian. You are an African writer.
As a writer, you must flaunt your vices. You need to show that you are a flawed character. If you drink, drink too much. If you smoke, do it at inappropriate times. Show up at an event reeking of booze. People will understand. Vices are a tool of the trade.
Now, you have the basic tools: a multi-coloured kampala shirt, cool dreadlocks, and vices. You must set about the business of writing.
You do not need to read a lot to be a Nigerian writer. In fact, as a Nigerian writer you can make shameless statements like “I don’t really read much”, in public. All you need is a burning desire to write. It is sufficient to have read Shakespeare and Achebe, and maybe a little of Chimamanda Adichie for contemporary reading. The only thing you need to really study is a dictionary or thesaurus.
Please, note that all Nigerian characters are Africans who act the same: children are respectful of elders; parents are always responsible, wise individuals teaching children valuable lessons of life. Characters do not use cuss words or talk about sex, even when in the company of peers. Nobody’s mother smokes and we have no homosexuals in Nigeria.
Use big words instead of small words; ‘Discombobulate’ instead of ‘confuse’. How can you write like a layman when you are an African writer? It doesn’t matter how many people read or understand you. What matters is that you impress those who do.
Use many words. It is always better to err on the side of verbosity than to err on the side of brevity.
Protect your work fiercely and always insist that people give you constructive criticism. Anyone who points out, rightly or otherwise, that your writing isn’t quite there yet, is evil and an enemy of your hustle. You must believe that there is nothing like bad writing. After all, you were inspired by the spirits before you began writing – what do critics know?
Do not waste your time or money on editors. Editors are failed writers whose life ambition is to frustrate the hustle of real writers like you. Show your friends your work. But only the ones who are not jealous of your hustle, and who remind you that your writing is the best thing since point-and-kill. Find some popular person from your village who will write you a foreword without actually reading your book. Then, go to press.
Go to Ibadan or Lagos. Find a cheap printer who can print 1,000 copies without ink smearing on the pages coming out lopsided. Arrange for a transporter to bring your book home.
A book is not complete without a book launch. In Nigeria, a book launch is a fund-raising ceremony. It is not important to have writers at this event. Well, maybe the book reviewer. You need your state governor (who may not come but will send a representative with a cheque or a pledge); your Local Government chairman; your Pastor or Imam to bless the event; and any minister, senator or rich person that you know. It is important to find a Chief Launcher who will encourage others to donate to your hustle. Do not leave it to chance or the discretion of the Chief Launcher, unless you are sure of his capabilities. In Nigeria, nobody is allowed to embarrass the Chief Launcher by giving more money. So, if you can, gently hint that you know he will set the bar high for others to follow. That is the job of the Chief Launcher – setting the bar as high as possible.
You do not need a marketer, publicist or publisher. These people eat into your profit margin. If you have a car, carry a few hundred copies in the trunk at all times. Be your own marketer. Steer conversation toward your book and tell them you have written this really cool book. Someone will ask for it and you will tell them to hold on for a minute while you get it from your car. If you don’t have a car, have a big bag that can carry at least 10 copies. Do not be ashamed to carry your books to public gatherings. Book by book, God blessing your hustle, you may end up selling off the 1,000 copies your printer produced, and maybe even go for a reprint.
Get an award. It doesn’t matter what. It may be from your church bulletin which you have been writing for since you were in secondary school or your old boy’s association newsletter. You can even have friends get together to organise and award you the ‘Roforofo Prize for African Fiction’. Then, you can have on your book, ‘Award Winning Author’. No need to state what award it is. An award-winning writer is a good writer.
It is my hope that you make it as a writer and have many successful books in the market. And with well organised book launchings, you can be sure that God will bless your hustle.
ElNathan John is a satirist and award winning author of the novel, Born on a Tuesday. He blogs at http://elnathanjohn.blogspot.com/ … Follow his tweets at @elnathan
He is the creator of the Nigerian ‘How to series…’ Google it! You might also want to check:
The ANA 2017 Literary Prize Winners were announced by one of the judges, Dr. Owojecho Omoha of the University of Abuja at the ANA Convention awards dinner on Saturday 28th October, 2017 held at Royal Choice Inn, Makurdi, Benue State. Only three categories (Drama, Poetry and Prose) were awarded out of the six contestable ANA Literary Prizes. The judges did not find any work worthy enough to merit the ANA/Maria Ajima Prize for Literary Prizes, ANA/Abubakar Gimba Prize for Fiction (Short Stories Collection), and ANA Children’s Literature Prize (for ages 7-13 years). However, an ‘Honourary Mentions’ list (for commendable works not strong enough to merit the award but worth mentioning) were announced alongside the shortlist release in September 2017.
ANA 2017 LITERARY PRIZES WINNERS
ANA Prize for Drama
Winner: Magnetism by R. C. Ofodile
1st Runner Up: The Masked Crown by Tunji Ajibade
2nd Runner Up: General Ologbosere by Dickson Ekhaguere
ANA Prize for Poetry
Winner: For Every Homeland by Obari Gomba
1st Runner Up: Of Waters and the Wild by Ebi Yeibo
2nd Runner Up: A Child of Smell by Seyi Adigun
ANA Prize for Prose Fiction
Joint Winners: Across the Gulf by Dul Johnson
What It Takes by Lola Akande
1st Runner Up: Devil’s Pawn by Kukogho Iruesiri Samson
2nd Runner Up: Goodbye Tomorrow by Ike Utuagha
The Honourary Mentions and their categories as announced in the list released in September are:
ANA /ABUBAKAR GIMBA PRIZE FOR SHORT STORIES
• A Tiny Place Called Happiness by Bura-Bari Nwilo
• Gates of Dawn by MSC Okolo
• Tales From Our Past by Lucky James.
ANA CHILDREN’S LITERATURE PRIZE
• The Adventure of Three Wild Boys by Wale Adewale
• Sodality: A Tale of Friendship by Chioma A Diru
• Dancing Tree by Stanley Okeke Oji
ANA/MARIA AJIMA PRIZE FOR LITERARY CRITICISM
• ‘Radical Theatre and Criticism of anti-People’s Culture: A Study of Esiaba Irobi’s Hangmen also Die’ by Nwagbo Pat -Obi
• ‘Vicarious Idiosyncrasies: The Mother-Daughter Ligament in Ernest Emenyonu’s Listen, My Momma Pays Your Taxes’ by Fynest Elvis
ANA 2017 LITERARY PRIZES JUDGES
1. Prof. Nelson Fashina – University of Ibadan
2. Salihu Mohammed Bappa- Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
3. Dr. Ismaila Bala Garba – Bayero University, Kano
4. Dr Owojecho Omoha- University of Abuja
5. Dame Joan Oji – Educational & Literary Consultant, Abuja
For a detailed review of the 2017 Literary Prizes Shortlist, check here.
There is something about writing and capturing young hearts, young people, teaching, relearning and making things better. It has been a passion for me. Fortunately, in 2012, I was made a member of the Association of Nigerian Authors’ National Teen Authorship Committee alongside three other fine people.
WE had our first official conference from the 27th to 30th September, 2016 at the Logos Secondary School, Awommama, Imo State. That school is as big as a university! It should be one soon. Well, I will not bore you with the story of my journey from Makurdi to Owerri though I can tell you it was an amazing adventure. I joined public transport and had to take the Bayelsa bus, to drop in Owerri. Believe it or not, fellow passengers from Makurdi included live fish put in water, loads of yams, cassava, rice, orange and all you can talk of. We stopped in Aliade and Otukpo to get more passengers – and load. By the time we were set to fully hit the road, we also had live chickens on board and humans behaving like wild baboons! Oh, but I said I wouldn’t bore you with the journey so let me pity you. Maybe I will write a travelouge on that one at some point.
All delegates were lodged at the Disney hotel, where mobile network bars were shorter than a midget. Members of the Association of Nigerian Authors (from 20 chapters) were represented in addition to members of the National Executive and the National Committee. We went to the School for Day 1 of events on Wednesday 28th. We had heavy brunch in the Senate room of the school – I skipped though. IT was a lovely table with people like Denja Abdullahi (ANA President), Professor J. O. J Nwachukwu-Agbada, Professor Sam Ukala, BM Dzukogi (one of Nigeria’s most ardent Teen author activist), and Usman Nurain Muhammad (a teen author from Gombe who schools in ABU Zaria, who I quickly made friends with).
We walked to the field where we were to have the welcome ceremony and stared the sun in the eye as we introduced ourselves to wild applause by the gathered students and other guests. Professor Nwachukwu-Agbada (who was the Chairman) and Denja Abdullahi gave their speeches, then Professor Ukala (who won the NLNG Prize for Literature with his Iredi’s War) took the stage delivering a powerful keynote address ‘Mentoring Teen Authors for National Development’. I was working on my laptop and paying passive attention but soon, I had my head up. Ukala’s message mainly stressed that the artist is the visioner who sets the pace and redefines thinking, setting a course which humanity should take. He said that if our country is to grow and become the land of our dreams, then teenagers need to be groomed to think different, write better and redefine the orientation of our society. He got a standing ovation and I had to get my books to him quickly. BM Dzukogi spoke on the testimony of the Hilltop Arts Centre in Minna. BM was one of the originators of the National Teen Authorship scheme in Nigeria. As General Secretary of ANA, he also inaugurated the Logos School Arts Centre in 2012 which has now published three anthology for students and teachers. BM spoke of his son, Saddiq Dzukogi who has published three books and more (Saddiq has been shortlisted for the ANA Poetry Prize twice and is an editor to many fine poetry journals online). He spoke of other alumni of the Arts Centre which have continued to triumph because of their early start. He urged other states to go and start their versions of the centre and do their creativity campaigns.
John Sarpong (a 69 year old Ghanaian writer who was a part of the conference) gave a speech after ensuring that everyone danced. When he stood up to talk, everyone wondered what the Baba was going to say. Then, we were all dancing, then laughing and when he left, we were sober. So, what did he really say? A lot. Bottom line, with children, you have to entertain and in that moment, also teach. More like what literature should do, no? (He would later recite a million poems from his head to me; largely sound poems. Ah, Sir Sarpong is a funny man!) Then the Principal of the school spoke, with the occasion rounded up by the Director of the school, who in his vote of thanks gave another speech! Well, don’t worry, we will give small details at some point, hopefully.
We had dinner and went back to the hotel, where I was greeted by the death of the Israeli statesman, Shimon Peres on CNN. I pondered on his life, 93 fruitful years of service to teh earth. And now, he had gone the way of memory. What would time say of us all? I thought as other news items passed including that of OPEC nations trying to work a deal for better oil sales. We had a small writers meet in the lobby. Aha! I also watched a movie, The Walk. (Oh! That’s not meant to be part of this post… But I learnt much from the movie and was inspired. The movie is about Philippe Petit, a high-wire walker who walked a line between the two Twin towers. You should watch that movie. I even picked up some French and Mathematics from there. C’est la vie… C’est la vie!)
Day 2: Well, to save time, we had a fast meal in the hotel and waited, then waited, and waited… till we left for the school late. By 12, we had barely started. Then, we had to wait again. What were we waiting for? Maybe Samuel Beckett would help there. 🙂
But we started at some point, and the Director gave us an opening speech speaking on the value of writing and learning. He told us he had some manuscripts and he had declared to use the conference to learn writing, then finish his work. President Denja Abdullahi gave his speech and then it was time for the main workshop. BM Dzukogi was the first facilitator with his engaging ‘Mentoring as a Strategy for Creative Writing: Perspectives on the Hilltop Arts Centre, Minna.‘ (Click to read all about it.) After his paper which was well received, Professor Joy Eyisi, a Professor of English stood up to deliver her paper (without a paper!) She gave a talk on teaching English and drilled us on grammar. Ah! Most of us learnt we didn’t know how to speak English at all! There are some common errors in English that are so embarrassing! She told us she had been commissioned by the World Bank to teach teachers of English (teach the teacher) in a workshop to hopefully better the grades of students that have kept on falling! The first question she had asked was ‘What is the reason for the falling standard of English performance in examinations across the nation?’ Trust the teachers to give answers like ‘Dying reading culture.’ ‘Facebook.’ ‘Poor home manners.’ etc etc.
Professor Joy had presented 20,000 Naira and a new dictionary to the various participants, at each of the various areas she had taught across the federation. The deal was simple, if anyone could get up to 45 spellings right out of the 50 simple common words she was going to dictate, the person would get both money and dictionary (she added that any strange word she dictated would be withdrawn if they protested). Sadly, the highest result was 17 (or was it 20) out of 50! She kept her money and dictionary, and the teachers kept their shame! We all learnt from the fair professor.
Workshop over, Mr. Anaele Ihuoma gave the vote of thanks. Then, we went on a tour of the Arts Centre of the school. We were impressed. We took shots, smiled, made noise and headed out to Owerri town for a meal. It took us an hour or two to get there but the food was worth it. When we were through, our bus got caught under a live wire from an overhead electric pole! Don’t ask me how it happened. It took us time for the agberoes there to clear everything. When they were through, they asked for 7,000 Naira! We settled after much pleading and moved on. We got to a short cut and after a small traffic jam, found out the road had been closed. So, we took another route and finally arrived at our Disney hotel.
We refreshed and came down to the lobby to talk. Mr. Thompson Abutu (from Kogi chapter), David Onotu (from Plateau chapter), Moses Oginni-Momodu (from Oyo chapter), Richard Inya (from Ebonyi chapter), Okechukwu Onuegbu (from Anambra), Anaele Ihuoma (the national auditor) amongst others, all had one tale or the other. I walked from one side of the lobby to the other, sharing a laugh where necessary, frowning deeply alongside anyone who needed it and just being a comrade 🙂
It was soon time to drag a tired body upstairs and I did. I checked on Usman Nurain to be sure he was fine and headed to my room. I tried writing but ah, as one of my aunts would say a million times; you can’t cheat nature!
Friday morning. Farewells and I headed out to find the park. Now, instead of heading straight to the place I had been directed, I decided to sightsee and made a friend at the Cathedral of Assumption! The Igbo man swore that he would soon sell his blood – or anything else – so that he would go abroad and make money! He laughed a lot and agreed to be my photographer. When I was leaving, we shook hands and he smiled his gratitude.
The Owerri people on the streets were really nice and kept rushing me to the park, some a bit irritated if I stayed a second too long. Well, I made it to Benue Links, got a fair seat while my fellow passengers were a bit squeezed behind. We had no chickens, fish or baboons but I am sure some people would swear that the driver was an ass. What was my business? I enjoyed what I could and headed back to Makurdi, thinking of how best to write better stories for children, inspire others and be my best, working with all the people I can to promote literature, development and the ideals I believe in. I know I wasn’t alone in that thought. Owerri was that inspiring.
Thank you Camilus Ukah, National Teen Authorship Coordinator for the experience, BM Dzukogi for pioneering much and Denja Abdullahi for all the work you have done and are doing.
Whatever demons we have, may time exorcise them and life give us the opportunity to make every second count.
Day 1…in pictures up and Day 2 down…
I am not ashamed to say that I have found the greatest pleasure under covers. Being intimate with just one soul, usually one. But there are those days when there are a number of us. It is always fun. Lovely…lovely, books.
Books are amazing and have done so much for a whole lot of us. Where would we be without books? It has continued to grow from those few papyrus pages of yore.
Take a minute and think – where would we be without books today? They have come together to form the tales that are our lives. We are almost like books in some form of the writing stage.
Today, I think of all the various books that have shaped my life from the great books of Literature, the Bible, other books of religion, my development books. More than these, I am thinking of the Kobo reader that gave me a vista to new books that I never might have read. I remember fondly now that I read Khaled Hossein’s The Kite Runner and other titles from him plus Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s Angel’s Game there. The same reader gave me the chance to share with loved ones, Belle, Debbie Iorliam and a few others. Wait, have I told you of the people I met from books? Kunta Kinte? Okonkwo? Dr Zhivago? Gabriel Van Helsing? Ah! The writers? From Achebe to Hemingway, Habila to Aristotle 😉 Okay, the comparisons aren’t coming out too well 🙂
But before I sound too nerdy and some people start talking of how people are no longer reading or all, let me say that I am also grateful for the gift of the world’s most famous and used book now: no, not the Bible. No, not the Koran or any top book you want to think of. Wait, did Ikhide just say ‘Facebook’? Top marks! Who else would have gotten it? Well, that is one book that we can’t do without, no? I have met so many lovely people after reading from that book.
Books have come to hold a more special meaning for me considering I have had four out and am working on more. As an editor and publisher, there are more that I am playing with too. There is nothing as beautiful as finding life in books. Really, where would we be without books?
Lest I forget, it is also Shakespeare’s birthday! Yaaaaay! I celebrate him as well as my friend, Ozioma Izuora, the amazon that keeps fighting. You don’t need to hear that she is from UNN to feel her lioness roarsShakespeare taught me much and I still remain mesmerised reading him. It is sad that his works are hard to enjoy on stage since the beauty of the words of the maestro are lost while one tries to look at the actions of people. But we will manage. Reminds me of that movie, Shakespeare in Love? Have you seen or watched it? Ah! You should if you haven’t. That is if you appreciate romance, thriller, adventure and the grace of verse. Should I start quoting some Shakespeare now? When it comes, it just feels like speaking in tongues: ‘There’s no art to finding the mind’s construction in the face…’ So, let me hide what else I have in mind.
Okay, two last lines: think of many romances books have brought…why don’t you spark life up some more again with a book or two. Happy World Book Day, Happy Copyright Day and Happy Shakespeare Day!
Special dedication to all those who books blessed me to find, amazing friends: Belle, Hyginus Ekwuazi, DaMore, Servio Gbadamosi, Omadachi Oklobia, Xikay, and the one million and whatever number else of the people on a dial that make my life worth it every day. Thank you, really much. I shall write some tales on books and love found from covers, maybe plus some shared between covers. Aidee thinks that we can be really cliche with our telling but maybe if I do just a few more cliches that come from the heart, we will all be fine. Love it or hate it, the books will still rule! Cheers.
Did I tell you that I now do reviews for that lovely website, http://wawabookreview.com? I do, and they are great guys there. Somehow, Belle got to be reviewing after getting the contract from the editor, the deeply intellectual Biyi Olusolape. I decided to join the train and it has been fun. My first book of review was The Road to Mogador. I named the review there ‘Of Transitions, Agendas and Bad Balls.’ You can go take a look.
Now, I was given two books to review for December and yes, don’t envy me. It was Elnathan John’s Born on a Tuesday and A. Igoni Barrett’s Blackass. I have known ElJo since the early Abuja days and he has remained one writer that leaves me smiling, always – whether he’s criticising, lashing his satire or just writing. Only problem with my affection for him came in the person of Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, another talented writer who has come to be a friend and troublemaker who I respect and honour. Abubakar and ElJo write alike such that sometimes when I read one, I feel like I have read the other. Their lives also seem to be going in the same circles. Any surprise that they have been to a lot of workshops together? Okay, you didn’t know that one, abi? How come they were first shortlisted
for the Caine Prize in the same year? And read the Caine collection, A Memory This Size and tell me where one’s story starts and the other ends. Any surprise now that Born on a Tuesday and Season of Crimson Blossoms came out at the same time? Wait for the next one. Cassava Republic is also publishing the UK version of Abubakar’s books. Ah! But let me not talk much about their similarities; a scholarly paper will be better than this my plenty grammar abi? Na you know. Sha, the thing is, when I read Abubakar first – and I get to do that usually, him being closer and all, then I get to read something similar in ElJo’s hands, I feel like I have read the tale before, so it feels one kain. That’s the feeling I got with ‘Bayan Layi’, the Caine 2013 shortlisted tale. My friend, Pever X, wouldn’t let me be because of the tale. He was head over heels for that tale. I like it, but I had read a similar one in Abubakar’s book. There are times when I am lucky to read Elnathan John first and wow! If you have read him, you know… but…
Now, Bayan Layi has been turned into a book and I have been forced to review it! Chai! What do I do?
I started reading the book with some fear… There was no need for the fear! It is as if, finding its spirit into a book, Bayan Layi transformed into something else. I enjoyed it this time around. By the time I got to Chapter Two of the book, the stress of the road overcame me. I was on the sixth leg of my journey. I had gone for the ANA convention in Kaduna, then gone to Nasarawa, then Abuja, Lagos and to Abeokuta for the Ake festival with Belle. We were on our way to Benin from Ibadan. There was road stress, work stress, and they played with my emotions too. 😉 I decided not to let the book waste. Haba, such a fine book. Oh! I should mention that at the festival El Jo and Abubakar were given 200k for their books alongside three other fine Northern female writers.
At some point, I decided to pick Blackass after an encounter with Igoni, the author at Ake. The guy is cool sha. I didn’t like his other book, Love is Power or Something Like It (a collection of short stories) which most people especially Belle think is all that. So, I was wondering what lay behind the covers of this new one. When the book sold out thrice at Ake, I had to go like ‘Wow! Okay o!’
Long story short, I read the book and I can say it is one of the quickest books I have read. The 300 or so pages melted away as my thumb pushed one page over the other in sharp succession. I laughed and laughed and laughed.
Summary of the story is this: a dude, Furo Wariboko wakes up on the day of his interview to discover that he is now a white man. He has some adventures and gets to meet Igoni (the author o!) and a lovely lady who takes him in and discovers his black bumbum. A lot of adventures happen and we see Naija proper. Igoni takes us on a tour of Lagos through the eyes of a white man who has a Nigerian soul. We see the way Nigerians behave towards their fellow blackies and to the whites. A lot of people have this set view that we all behave in one way towards the fair skinned guys but going through this book gives you an idea of how it really goes. Igoni also takes us to Abuja and gives us a tour. In several instances, we are introduced to certain aspects of our culture gaining grounds that we might not readily read or know about: transgender, the use of whites to our whims, the feeling of helplessness that lies within a lot of people who we think great and the like.
I will be reviewing the book shortly and yes, I will share the link. With this tale, I think Igoni has found a space in my heart. I will try to read past those few ten pages of that Love is Power book again. Whatever feeling I get from there, I know that the guy is truly gifted. If you get the book, please read it. It is one I will recommend over and over again. How many books can take your mind away from your boo? Okay, don’t answer that. Even your boo geti boo! Hee hee hee.
Have a lovely week ahead and in all you do, make every second count.
Yaaaaay! So, ladies and gentlemen…
After a loooooong wait, here we have our FLOOD collection covers… It has been a long wait since 2012 when we started the project but here we are. We have over a hundred poems in the poetry collection with entries from Niyi Osundare, Hyginus Ekwuazi, amu nnadi, Aondosoo Labe, Servio Gbadamosi, Jennifer Emelife, and a whole lot of beautiful people. Ah, trust me, it is a book worth waiting for. The Tale book has Pever X, Seun Odukoya, Sibbyl Whyte, Sewe Leah Anyo, Dotta Raphels, to mention a few…
Schedule for the full release online or rather, talk on that, can be found HERE…
We are working on the SEVHAGE Women Collection too, we had far more submissions than we bargained for… But we will soon get to that. Anyway, we were talking about the flood… So,
without further ado, find here then, the covers…
These days it is very easy to find anyone and perhaps, everyone, say they are writers. It gets really yuckish… You go like ‘I am a writer’ and discover, you could easily have said ‘I am a human’. But that isn’t our talk for today. Question is simple: Why are you writing?
The question has been on my mind for some time as I work on new endeavours in poetry and yes, my prose. You know, the famous poet, Christopher Okigbo once said ‘He writers poetry for poets’ and so had his verse in tangles that till date are a bit more difficult than untying the Gordian knot with one’s hands. For some of us too, we simply just write without giving a thought to what our words are saying…
For a few there is the pressure to write in a certain way especially because some awards have been placed on one’s shelf… Others need that award and just write in certain ways… Recently, I was working on a few pieces and discovered some writer buddies speaking oddly. So, you see someone say: ‘I have had my chattels purloined by bandits who have left my existentialist preoccupations exacerbated.’ And you wonder… Eh? Say what?!
But it gets worse with poetry. And that is where the major issue comes… Poetry can be a tough bone to chew. It doesn’t help matters when some people decide to simply just jumble lines and throw them at you…
So, I bring this question to you today: simply, why do you write?
If I were to give my own answer as I have come to realise it more and more, I would say we should try to be as more open as possible. There’s much to say and a lot of people will love to hear our thoughts… Who knows, your words might be the soothing to get someone out of a particular pain: and it doesn’t matter if you are simply ‘rambling’ about your day like my sister, Yemie, or flowing with the spirit like DrSwag…or even Topazo… who knows…Izza with her poetry…Anoosha? Whoever you are, don’t underestimate those words or what they could mean… So, why waste them?
These days it comes to me more often, the value of our essence. The beautiful essence of our presence in words, art or just living… Each moment counts, every word relevant… would you make yours worth it?