Posted in LITERARY MISSIONARY, POETRY

SU’EDDIE VERSHIMA AGEMA READS AT PURPLE SILVER: PERSONAL THOUGHTS

purplesilverOkay, so, I did my reading at Purple Silver. It was fun. It had been one of those days. As the time drew near, I got my phone remembering one or the other relations or friends who I could have called but didn’t. Well, big deal, abi? I searched all through for what to read. I had planned NOT to read from my collection. Some of my team at the SEVHAGE publishing house said I shouldn’t let people see much of my book, BRING OUR CASKET HOME: Tales one shouldn’t tell till June when it was meant to be released to the public. So, I went through my blog, searched archives, the system and even went digging through forgotten files. There were some new poems I had written, some extempore, some by a lovely lady. Had in mind to read but it seems they all ganged up to hide. I dashed to attend to the obligations of the day which included attending a wedding on behalf of the Old Students of alma mater and also as a friend of the groom. Spent most of the day and came home to continue my search, without success.

Finally, I grabbed what to wear, picked a copy of my book, a love poem I found which had been inspired some time back and dashed for the road. Midway felt the cold and came back for a pull-over and my traditional black and white shawl.

I got to Symbols and quickly apologised to my friend, Joshua Agbo who had come long before time. We went in and had to wait a while before starting. It seemed some people were abiding to the all famous African time. Well, eventually, Anselm Sesugh Ngutsav and Terver Kise the coordinators soon set the motion and we were on.

We had been discussing rape last week and it continued. This was the introductory session for the evening. We read a poem ‘Forever changed’ by Danielle as performed by Anselm.There were varied views on rape. Joy Kika, my guest drew attention to spousal rape. I mentioned the angle of it being more than just ordinary – it had to be psychological and/or religious: ‘It’s the Devil‘ 🙂 One who did it kept on doing it. Joshua brought an academic twist, trying to debunk me. He said rape was largely due to inferiority complex. This was agreed to by Bem… Mya Agu lent her voice to mine in the view of something being wrong with the ‘head’ of the rapist. There were more views from Kenneth I. Apine, Anselm and a few others. When Anselm brought in the angle that men couldn’t be raped as defined by the law and all, there were many more hands wanting to go on and on… Well, there was a reading and a guest writer in the house. The gist had to be postponed or held for a while. Enter yours truly to the stage as my name was read out with a few errors to my role as Secretary of the Association of the Nigerian Authors (Benue Chapter). ‘Vice Chairman‘ a few voices corrected.

purple silverI read ‘Let there be light‘ and ‘New Year Tales of Subsidy’ (a poem that I explained. It looks at the entire 2012 Fuel Subsidy struggle focusing on lives lost – the 9 year old in Kano, the man in Ilorin, Lagos, everywhere,… the unborn children who had their lives cut short because the hospitals were on strike and there was no one to shout ‘Push’ out’… the poem ends with hope: ‘There would always be dawn’). Other poems I read include a reworked version of ‘Tales one shouldn’t tell often‘ which is a remixed comic version of the origin of sex as inspired by a certain H., poet and friend.  Finally, I took a new poem ‘The moon still shines in its broad smile’ which I am still working on, as in process and the motion of the heart of the subject. Got it from my note pad. ‘The moon still shines in its broad smile’, a love poem that pretty much talks about nature being encompassed in the beautiful essence of the addressed. It starts with the lines of the title and pretty much ends on a similar note:

‘The moon still shines its broad smile
yes my love,
it laughs in your chuckle,
and sparkles in your eyes
In your essence, this dusk would never be dark’

Applause 🙂 (There was some silence during the reading so the applause brought relief. Hee hee hee)

Joshua Agbo, who is a feared critic and author of How Africans Underdeveloped Africa: A Forgotten Truth in History took the first strike. Evoking the subsidy poem, he said the story of the subsidy and its strike was something really sad that truly, one wouldn’t want to remember often. He asked me what had been achieved by the strike. (Well, I had to sigh in relief. Joshua can be a killer when it comes to drilling. Isn’t he an academic and critic!) I responded that the strike had shown that Nigeria was more united than people – including Nigerians – thought they could be. They came together devoid of tribe or tongue, religion or professional difference. It showed that there was courage to the Nigerian spirit and far more than the ‘suffering and smiling’ mentality perpetually labelled on them. This more than anything else was really amazing. I spoke a bit more and all but oh well, you get the point. Mya Agu was interested in ‘Tales one shouldn’t tell often’ and I joked to her that it was the subject that got her tickled. Joy Kika loved the use of ‘Aondo’ (God in Tiv) and a mixture of local languages to spice up ‘Let there be light’. A little more reactions and I was out of the hot seat. Phew!  Sometimes it can hot in there 🙂

Anselm announced the way forward for some projects of Purple Silver as well as the grand ceremony which would be held next week, April 27th 2013 with great performances. He also spoke on a few other things. After this, Anselm and Terver (who both did some great coordination of the programme) called for a group shot. It was something really nice with some efizi as I remarked later. We had some chat, some general questions and answers, getting to know each other more less formally outside the confines of the event … Had commendations, smiles and the rest. Some people had to ask when the book was coming out, price and the like. Was nice. JUNE! Well, it was time to go. 21:00 hrs (9:00pm). I had some talk with the Benue State University Writers’ League President, Sewuese Leah Anyo, who had come to the event after an exam, and a few others more.

Had a walk and some talk with a friend discussing faith, life, decisions and all. Well, that really isn’t part of the reading still so I guess we can leave that as personal 😉 Missed making an important call centred on lunar verses too…Arghhh!

No yawning. I’ve been up since, Sibbyl, tried calling and yup, danced much. Some day it is. Sunday calls. People get to church. The Lord calls. It’s best we answer. We need him more than we know. So, catch you later? Thanks for reading and always being supportive.

Aondo’s blessings. Cheers!

You might want to read my ‘Far too long (The Silence Lingers)‘… I think some people like it. You might too 🙂

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Posted in CALLS FOR SUBMISSION, LITERARY MISSIONARY

CALL FOR SUBMISSION: THE JOSEPH SHORT STORY CHALLENGE (WIN A DIGITAL VOICE RECORDER)

(by Chinyere Obi-Obasi…NOTE: This is a challenge that also has prizes to be won!! Can you beat that?!!)

Hope you have not forgotten the challenge

One of the reasons why I am a hit with my children is because of my fertile imagination. So while telling the story of Joseph and Portiphar’s wife, I tell them for example that Portiphar’s wife represents a female or male boss who wants to take advantage of you and believes he/she has the ability to sack you whenever he/she feels like it.
Joseph represents you with the fear of God. You believe God will establish your home even if you are sacked.
Develop a short story by situating the story of Joseph’s encounter with Portiphar’s wife in modern times.
Best entry will get a prize from me. Spread the word. All entries will be published in my blog.
TIP: You can read about this Joseph/Portiphar’s encounter in Genesis to appreciate it before writing.

THE RULES FOR THE SHORT STORY CHALLENGE.

1. Open to all ages
2. Not more than 2,000 words.
3. Send to me via chinyeresworld@gmail.com
4. Closing date for receipt of entry 20th April, 2013
5. Short bio data to accompany entry
6. Winner will be selected by Dr. Eghosa Imasuen
7. Winner will be announced on 1st May 2013
8. The prize is a digital voice recorder.

If I was taking part, this is what I will do;

1. Read the story from the bible to understand and appreciate the woman’s obsession and Joseph’s trauma. Try to capture their emotional state of mind.
2. To replicate it in modern times, I will think of all the superior/subordinate relationships. Father/child, boss/colleague, pastor/member, landlord/tenant etc. a relationship where you have a lot to lose when you say no.
3. I will not just think of sexual relationship. I can think of something that has to do with somebody asking me to do something unethical.
4. I will then do the plot of three of such different scenarios.
5. I will spend another day thinking of which I am more comfortable with.
6. I will then ask myself which voice i want to use. The 1st, 2nd or 3rd person voice.
7. I will then do the first draft early in the morning or whichever time is convenient to me
8. Then do the second and third draft.
9. Use pro writing to edit the work to remove cliches lurking around, excessive use of a particular work, sticky sentences etc.
10. Send it to a critic for his assessment and help.
11. Take some or all of the corrections or advice and rewrite.
12. Keep the draft for a few days. Look at it again for mistakes before sending it off.

People let’s not make Dr. Eghosa Imasuen’s work easy LOL

NOW PEOPLE, get ready to get that Digi Voice Recorder!!! May the best person win! – Su’eddie

Posted in POETRY

THE MESH (A Poem) by Kwesi Brew

We have come to the Cross-roads
And I must either leave or come with you.
I lingered over the Choice
But in the darkness of my doubts
You lifted the lamp of  love
And I saw in your face
The road that i should take.
 …
Kwesi Brew (1928-2007) is one of Ghana’s foremost poems. His style of poetry writing is largely simple with deep undertones.
Posted in BOOK THOUGHTS, ESSAYS AND LITERARY JOURNEYS

Wordsmiths in Nigeria: Relics of a lost age? by Chika Nwakama

Art is life. Life’s art. Writing is an art, it could also be a life. What else captures the details of the past, intertwining it with the occurrence of the present, yet plodding the way for the future but writing. With just a few words, your imagination travels between time and space, thus making geographic demarcations of boundaries look seamless. The secrets of life are kept afresh and handed down to subsequent generations through writing. So why aren’t the wordsmiths leaving up to their billing?

Arts in Nigeria has gained a lot of momentum lately. The actors, musicians, painters, even photographers and make-up artistes are gaining prominence and recognition in our society. The fashion industry riding on the success of the entertainment industry is recording quantum strides. All, but the writers. How could this be, that the queen and bride of all creative manifestations be relegated to levels befitting of paupers? The beholders of the secrets that lay in the lairs of the deep are fast drifting into oblivion. Some say writers can’t survive in our society. Many others say Nigerians don’t read. Indigenous literature it seems lose their footing to foreign ones. The average girl would hastily grab a Sidney Sheldon over a Lara Daniels. The Dibias would only receive accolades but we stock up our libraries with Grishams.

However, lest we rush ourselves into hasty conclusions, based on the obvious, let us remind ourselves that our counterparts in the sister arts equally faced this clog. But unlike us, they did not hurl accusations. Like them, we need to take action. We need to start appreciating indigenous wordsmiths. We hear there is a dearth of good writers in the country. This is a farce. Ever year, my compatriots receive accolades globally. It is up to the writers to test the waters and create the butterfly effect that would enable a literary environment flourish in our country. The works of Pulp Faction book club, Naijastories, Nigerian Writers forum and Debonair Bookstores are appreciated but a lot still needs to be done. Reading competitions have to be inculcated in our primary schools. Book clubs and literary groups with emphasis on local content have to be re-introduced in our secondary schools. Arts festivals and book carnivals have to be taken to the national level. We have the capacity to host art events that would rival the pedigree of the hay festival.

Only then would the publishers, corporate world and film makers come to share in the slice of the cake. The onus is on us as writers to partake in defining a new Nigeria for our youths. Where intellectualism thrives over ignorance and sentiments. Where jingoistic views would be overtaken by enlightenment. Though it is not an easy task, nor one with immediate visible results, the fruits of such venture have generational implications. He who plants a seed today leaves a shade for the next generation. In this plethora of misguided conceptions and ideologies, what seed are we planting that would provide shades for the future one? How do we preserve our fast depleting culture , if not through writings.

Do we want our children to hear of our stories from the lips of foreigners? Let us stimulate the taste buds of indigenous literature and keep them salivating for more. More importantly for our sakes. The only way to attain immortality is through writing. A writer never dies, he merely lives in another form. Through his writings.

 

First Published on Naija Stories

Posted in CALLS FOR SUBMISSION

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: CRITICAL WORKS ON QUENTIN TARANTINO’S MOVIES!

 

Okay, now how many of you have watched a Quentin Tarantino movie? Of course, yes, you… or even if you haven’t, here’s a chance to have a critical work of yours published.

 

Destructive Praise, 

​a creative group committed to

publishing critical work too hip for academia, is now accepting submissions for a June 2013 anthology around the movies of Quentin Tarantino. Yup, you got that right!!

The works should
create imaginative links between Tarantino’s films and those of other directors – music or visual art.

examine how he treats whiteness and blackness

map Tarantino influences

look at his identity as Hollywood “other”

present fresh readings of his plots or characters

 

We’ll be leaning towards egocentric narratives that go deep. We’re also interested in English translations from writers outside the

United States. Word count appx. 1500 – 4000

English: Quentin Tarantino in Paris at the Cés...
English: Quentin Tarantino in Paris at the César awards ceremony Français : Quentin Tarantino à la cérémonie des César du cinéma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The submissions deadline is 30 April 2013

Editor:  Jennifer Jazz (destructivepraise@gmail.com)

Contributors will retain all rights. Queries are also welcome at destructivepraise@gmail.com

​The anthology will be a small paperback run that’s guerilla marketed. We can’t offer advances. Writers selected, however, will receive two complimentary copies and a chance to edit the next Destructive Praise anthology.

 

So, what are you waiting for? You haven’t watched any of his movie or forgotten it? You wish to write later? Do so write NOW.

 

Cheers, S’

 

Posted in CALLS FOR SUBMISSION, LITERARY MISSIONARY, POETRY

CALL FOR (SUBMISSIONS) POEMS CELEBRATING NIGERIA AT 100

Straining at the Seams: Poems for Nigeria at 100 Edited by Kabura Zakama

Kairos Productions is pleased to invite submissions from poets for publication in an anthology titled Straining at the Seams: Poems for Nigeria at 100. The anthology, intended to discuss the life and times of Nigeria since the merger of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914, will be published in the third quarter of 2013. This will contribute to the celebration of the centenary existence of Nigeria.

There is no restriction as to form or length of the poems to submit but each poem should address the challenges, achievements and hopes of the 100-year-old Nigeria. Authors can submit a maximum of 3 poems for consideration. You may submit unpublished or published poems. In the case of published poems, you will be required to certify that you own the copyright. Authors retain the copyrights to all their works.

Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Please send an email to the editor at strainingseams@yahoo.com with your name and Straining at the Seams as the subject line. Please send all submissions as an attachment in one MS Word document. Your submission should also include the following:
i. Name
ii. Email address
iii. Mailing address
iv. Mobile phone number
v. A short bio of not more than 80 words

Submissions that do not follow the guidelines will be rejected.

Submissions are open until 31 March 2013 and final decisions made by 30 April 2013.

No submission fees are required and no royalties will be paid to authors. Every author whose poems are published in the anthology will receive 2 complimentary copies of the book and can purchase additional copies at 30% discount.

Editor: Kabura Zakama
Editorial Consultant: Toyin Adewale-Gabriel
Publisher: Kairos Productions

 

EXTRA NOTE:

Find Dr. Kabura Zakama at http://kaburazakama.com/

Check Toyin Adewale-Gabriel on Wikipedia – Toyin Adewale-Gabriel.

 

Now, that’s for clarity on who they are. You think you are up for the challenge? Get those poems sent right away!

 

Cheers!

 

PS: NOTE that it is poems ABOUT Nigeria and can be written by anyone… #justsaying 🙂

 

 

 

Posted in AWARDS, LITERARY MISSIONARY

THE ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIAN AUTHORS LITERARY AWARDS WINNERS FOR 2012

ANA Prose Fiction Prize 2012

Pride of the Spider Clan – Odili Ujubuonu – Winner

Beyond the Yard – Inyang E. Ekwo

A Time To Heal – Seye Oke

 

ANA Poetry Prize 2012

Inside my Head – Umari Ayim – Winner

Canvas – Saddiq Dzukogi

Go Tell Our King – Betty Abah

 

ANA Prize for Drama 2012

Hard Choice – Sunnie Ododo – Winner

Tear Drops of the Gods – Karo Okokoh

Climate of Change – Elaigwu Ameh

 

ANA/Chevron Prize for Environmental Issues 2012

No entry merited shortlisting in this category.

 

ANA/Esiaba Irobi Prize for Playwriting 2012

Children of the River – Nnamdi Okose – Winner

Tear Drops of the Gods – Karo Okokoh

 

ANA/Gabriel Okara Poetry Prize 2012

Songs of a Griot – Karo Okokoh – Winner

Pimples and Dimples – Fidelis Okoro

ANA/NECO Teen Author
Behind the Dust by Nuela Ononye – Winner
Trap in the Jungle by Chukwu Obelugu
Kidnap by Gbemisola Adeya

ANA/Latern Prize
Nkechi the Heroine by Camillus Chima Ukah – Winner
The Genius by Vincent Uduh
Mad Boy by Spencer Okoroafor

 

 

NOTE: Winners for the following ANA Prizes were announced at the 2012 Convention held at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State from the 8th to 11th November 2012. Congratulations all around. All winners who were not on ground to receive prize monies for the ANA Prizes should please reach the General Secretary via email at bmdzukogi@yahoo.com so appropriate arrangements can be made.Any other clarification should also go to the General Secretary via bmdzukogi@yahoo.com

Posted in BOOK THOUGHTS, ESSAYS AND LITERARY JOURNEYS, LITERARY MISSIONARY, REVIEWS

RAMBLINGS ON THE WRITER’S DEPTH

There is something about the depth of the artiste – it is only gotten by going into the heart of this one. Several years ago, I would marvel at the profoundness of the works of lots of literary maestros. The depth of their creative springs and reaches left me bedazzled. I started writing, churning out tales easily with poetry and the seeming ‘myth’ of the work put into writing lost its hold on me: these were simply creative works thrown out. Unnecessary attention was usually given them – I thought. I read some critiques to show the pretensions of people’s works. But then, I got to change yet again as I became more of a writer by reading and growing values that I would hold on to.

Writing that was overtly easy to me became harder. Each word became important – what message is this giving? Does it speak what I want? Does it tell what I represent? Many thoughts died with words stifled out till at some point, it became somewhat more possible (but not easier) to churn out words. Poems and other write-ups took longer time and more edits. My being went into the process. Where is this leading to?

IT brought me to realise that the deep depths I saw in works several years ago were for real. I do not doubt that certain writers simply write without thinking. I do not doubt that several writers don’t write what they preach. Yet I know some do. It is these ones that make the writing process all worth the while. The ones that make the name ‘writer’ worth wearing with pride.

There’s no art to finding the mind’s construction in the face rings true in this case too. You have to read the work and in some cases, know the writer deeply to know if both tally: You make your analysis of a work and if you know the author well you can tell if it is a reflection of his/her thoughts or simply a blessing of some muse on a(n) (un)deserving ass (pun intended).

I do not doubt the humanity of the writer. I believe it greatly and know they are more human than many with their foibles, mistakes and all. Now, does it matter that almost everyone on the road or in their room for that matter claims to be a writer? I don’t really think so. What separates (the) writer(s) is the depth of thought that (s)he has come to garner and yes, experience too. It comes from the study of several ones – in books read. The experience in a rich life lived, no matter how such. It’s the varying experience carried. A writer who hasn’t read is not really a writer worth much salt. A writer who hasn’t lived really, hasn’t lived.

I have studied several works and had the pleasure of meeting, interacting and enjoying the unique grace of the friendships of many writers. The true writer still exists and I have seen him and her severally. I get to discover that what I thought of some of their work was far less than what lay therein. They – most writers – are far deeper. It has been very humbling but worth it all. To know these people who are peculiar yet similar in many lights. These ones who would many times just want to be alone to access the recesses of their innermost beings or others who would just want to go out and get it. These ones who look at a bland wall and discover lines to leave others amazed.

All this has made sense why some artistes would risk it all for their craft. It makes sense why a lot of them see that there’s a lot they can offer in words and actions. It’s in the definition of that depth that has become them from all they have drunk of and become – of the words of others, of the life they have lived.

For every true writer, there’s a depth…

Phoneys, have fun. Children, enjoy. Writers, live on.

We started here [Credit: Su’eddie V. Agema]
Posted in BOOKS, LIFE, LITERARY MISSIONARY, SEVHAGE

THE LOYOLA JESUIT WORKSHOP FOR WRITERS (I): PRE

7th July, 2012

This comes in three parts: The first which is the personal experience and events leading to the workshop, then the second, the workshop itself and finally, the aftermath. Of course, you can jump to whichever part suits you best or just go to the full article. But here we go…

You can imagine the surprise when I was approached by a colleague, the Secretary of the Benue Association of Nigerian Authors, Mr. Maik Ortserga (who is also the Executive Editor of Aboki Publishers) to facilitate a workshop for young writers in Loyola Jesuit College, Gidan Mangoro. I was to go as an author, teach and share my work. The last time I had taught any literary class professionally two years ago. It wasn’t a funny experience. I was teaching great students who hadn’t been exposed to proper English two subjects: English – which like I mentioned they had little knowledge from, and to make matters worse, Literature in English. Wow! It was in Bantaje, Wukari Local Government and there had to be many sleepless nights to get to prepare lesson notes, improvise and do lots of things to make my students learn. I wondered what the Loyola trip would be like. We had had issues as somehow, we got to infer from a message that there would be no need for any facilitation of creative writing. I would simply have to go and read my work to the participants. I quickly closed my system and forgot all preparations of the paper I would share with the students the next day.

We drove into Abuja at night and lodged into a hotel.With nothing to do, I had a long walk with Maik and discussed much. Had some a meal to wish for but don’t worry, not telling. Can only say suya was part of it.

The next day awakened to another literary class in a different school: the Loyola Jesuit College, Gidan Mangoro en route Orozo, and Karshi [where I found myself schooling at some point]. I wondered what to expect.

I was with the Manager of Aboki Publishers, Mr. Benjamin Yio and the Executive Editor, Maik Ortserga.  Somehow we found our way to the school with some adventure. Well, we finally got there and were kept at the gate to await confirmation of our status as guest facilitators. Men, those guards sure stood out like some Americans in some big facility. The Principal, Fr. Ugo Nweke (SJ) came by somehow, and later the tutor we had been talking with, Mr. Wilson Ikwebe. It turns out he was one of those guys who had been a force to reckon with in the Benue State University back then. He showed us around as we headed for the hall where we were to meet the students.

We opened the door and there were those students – prim and proper. Then Mr. Ikwebe told us we had to facilitate. Ouch! I knew I was very far from Bantaje. There was a projector and I had to smile that the burden of my laptop was going to be rewarded. The regret was I had not finished the tutorial I was writing in the thought that there would be a different facilitator. Phew! I prayed and after all, we found a way to know each of ourselves. We wrote our names – participants, teachers, and us. We had our names written on a paper and tagged to our shirts. Well, the participants and staff did. With the imposing yet benign figure of Mrs. Omotayo Smith, we were assured it would be well. We had Mr. Togo Matthew and Chukwuemeka Nwaoha close by to aid. Mr. Ikwebe introduced us and said the programme was in organised by the Aboki Publishers in collaboration with the Association of Nigerian Authors (Benue Chapter) – plus SEVHAGE, I had to add. As we got around, I moved about, noting the names of the students and chatting with a few. They all seemed pleasant and best of all, their English was near perfect. Nice! At least, there wouldn’t be mixing Hausa with Turanci (English)! We were set. We prayed led by Mrs. Smith…

Hmm…

Posted in BOOK THOUGHTS, BOOKS, FUNNY, LITERARY MISSIONARY, POL TALKS, SEVHAGE, TALES

DAMN YOU (LETTER TO NIGERIAN LITERATURE AND ALL INVOLVED)

(SMALL NOTE TO NIGERIAN LITERATURE AND ALL INVOLVED: DAMN YOU!)

__________________________________________________________________________

Yup, damn you!

I am usually conservative but even for that, damn me!

Nigerian writers and its literature is largely uncelebrated in the country – for most of that, damn Nigeria!

Nigerians prefer to read foreign books – damn Nigerians!

Readers would rather read a book by a known author than a least known one – well, I can’t blame them but damn both the readers and the unknown writer!

DAMN YOU WRITERS!

We all want to be taken seriously by the society and even government but are we even serious with ourselves?

Many times we rush off to print – without getting several things right

No proper editors or editing

Shabby production with lots of typos and grammatical blunders plus the tense

inconsistencies! Grrrr….

Should we forget the horrible covers that adorn most of our books?

What about those stories that should rather be in a text book?

Furthering, we keep doing the same thing and expect something to get results that are different… Kai!

Damn us!

You don’t read at all or pay the price for writing and you expect to have something good? Hee hee hee – Damn you jor!

Other times, you don’t do anything to help other writers – no reviews, no good comments, and you expect that the reverse would be yours… this is more hilarious than the price issue! Yes, yes, damn you!

You put some exorbitant price on your book and would rather have them under your bed than sell affordably – damn you!

You refuse to buy a book by another writer – no matter how good and expect yours to be bought – haba, if you keep expecting to be dashed or don’t even buy, you should respect karma now… but still, damn you!

A book launch is called (and this is often) and if you do the mistake of going, you go only to drink the free mineral, buns or meat pie – faya your head!

Here now you find some others – yes, you who set up some awards just for the glory and then end up giving your cronies – damn you!

What about you who is selected as a judge and decide that it is time to give the favour to some pal… O! I guess I forgot to mention that other person who decided that only the one with a big name should get the prize to increase your prestige… Whether you are a judge, whether you are the organiser… hmm, need I say more? No, not damn you, have your head examined!

More, you as a literary association or its members are more political than literary – choi, go and join PDP, CPC, ACN or one of them parties! Literary associations should be L I T E R A R Y !! Shikena! Damn you!

You are in a literary association and your only aim is POSITION – nothing else… damn you!

Okay, you get the position and you can’t effect any change – damn you still.

You claim to be a publisher while you only print and get your full payment for the copies, at best collecting payments for the print job…The same you refuses to market the writers or pay royalties when you sell their work – whether it is one of these or all, Oga/Madam Printer, damn you!

In your academic circles, scorning any writing not from your literary circles, or flowing only those sent from high towers – keep those noses in the air, may mighty flies dance alanta inside! See your head – damn you!

Now, here we go with all these and we have to start to think about why this rant has come about but not to worry… It takes time and a lot of damns to get us into doing the right thing… It takes time to ignore the big names, it takes time to get to discover that we can make those small people to be big…it takes time to ensure that we make ourselves – polish ourselves right and give ourselves the utmost shine… it takes time to make people know our worth… It takes time to take time…and while we are taking all this time, why don’t we simply just damn time itself! Damn time! (If you agreed to this, damn you!) As the times grow, we have to give it its respect and let it slowly flow… After all, isn’t it with the passage of time that wine gets better? Well, you might be lucky and not need to go through all the wahala to get there… On behalf of us all who really do not have the luxury of that miracle, damn luck! Damn the luck that would make others to really suffer to make a name… Damn the pirates who help us spread our work but don’t give us pay… Come to think of it, maybe we should give them some commission for marketing … What happens to our hard work and labour? Damn you pirates! Damn! Damn! Damn! Double and double and quadruple damns to it all till it comes to a time when we have to even damn damn itself…

At that damning time, we would have to find a way to undamn ourselves in one or several ways…and if we don’t find a way to remove the damns…well, what more do I say?

Ouch! There’s a damning headache in my head and I just discovered that someone still hasn’t got this whole message – phew! Damn! Okay, here’s what I am saying and if you don’t get it still (do I need to say it? Damn you!)

IT takes one and all to bring all the change we want and we can do it…if we don’t, damn us all!

(First published in Conflate Magazine, June 2012)