A fine WordPress.com site

Archive for March, 2013

Morning Mists….Conversations

I am keyed up to the eyes and like a pregnant woman,feel as expectant. I woke up this morning feeling optimistic. I really do not have a reason to be but just got bored being miserable. There is no reason for the misery but you see living in my country, you would be hard put not to feel frustrated. I don’t subscribe to endless moans about the state of security. It stares you in the face all the time and you simply sigh and try to identify the meaning of life for you.

I just came from the park, my heart beating fast in earnest prayer that a loved daughter making a trip would arrive safely, unscathed by the so many unseen dangers. You have prayed all night and then you listen to the news . A journalist has been kidnapped in my sleepy corner of the world and suddenly you are scared. You ask the question, why? She is a journalist, earning a salary and probably struggling to make ends meet. Why?

There is a saying in my corner of the world pond, it is more like a prayer, simply it goes like this: may you not walk on the day the road is hungry. How long is the prayer supposed to cover? She prayed too and as she saw the door to her home she may have sighed and maybe muttered a prayer of thanks feeling safe. According to the news reports, she didn’t make it through the front door. She was kidnapped.

I wondered if maybe I should go back to sleep to cancel out the bad news. In my tribe it is the best antidote to having a bad day. When something bad happens that early in the morning, you are advised to go back to sleep to cancel it out and start the day afresh

Imole Ife in my book Numen Yeye had to learn that. Weave her steps in a creation she was thrusted in and pick her way through these many bewildering maze. I did not go back to sleep. I could not afford that luxury. Sleep was not a luxury because I would be required to close my eyes right? That would be my problem too, because each night for about a week I have imagined the silent screams of two young persons.

Nailed to planks by an ignorant father for a crime they could not comprehend nor identify…accused of witchcraft by a frightened father, broke, hungry, and thus angry. He was a ready tool for a fool and the actual third victim of the herbalist who had divined the children as witches.

I had no wish going to sleep, looked eagerly to waking up and the nightmare became a daylight affair. I felt miserable being broke. I longed to be so wealthy to help both the father and the children. This was not Salem in the middle ages but my despairing country in the 21st century. A country so blessed and enriched that more of its citizens would rather leave than stay. The classic irony is painful.

I am not enriched by currency but by the sad turns and twists of this part of creation. Even in my waking moments, I hear the cry and imagine the language of the six year old son if he could express his thoughts. So I just borrowed his skin and this is my lament.

Trussed or spread?

Father contemplated

the best way

to nail me

to the plank.

Pain in hot streaks

lathered my hands

and heart

his demand like mists

rolled in on red pain

the lash of whip

tore through my skin

like soft rain on embers

of agony,

I pleaded my love and innocence

as dread member of cult or coven

of witches or wizards.

But father’s missing wealth

his anger and fear

rode him to near murder.

Seven days of agony

fed on bread and water

close to the pearly gates

the crash of the door

faint hands in distant cries

brought me back.

 

My heart and father’s love

however

was dead from all help.

WAITING FOR REVIEWS……CONVERSATIONS

I have been having a nervous discussion with myself. You know, like I told you, I have just had a second book out this side of the pond and suddenly I have been nervous. The reason if I care to face it is an acute case of self doubt. I feel somewhat exposed too. My easy acceptance is being threatened by the modicum of recognition I had garnered over time through my writing.

I sent my book off to a reviewer blithely as I know him as one of the best arts journalist and review in the market. He didn’t know me so I had felt comfortable sending the book, Numen Yeye to him. He had in his email clearly stated that he would not bother writing a review if the book was not to his liking and I had shrugged not giving him much thought. Read the book I had said to myself.

The book got to him and his reply has made me nervous. Two things happened, one I did not know he was one of the best reviewers around until a mutual friend told me, and I also did not anticipate that he will read the blurb and become really excited about reading it. Why? Years ago, in another life I had done a series which seemed to have taken over from me and anything I had written since then.

It was a series meant for teenagers on sexual reproduction and like now I had just had a conversation with teenagers. I met a very young girl then who was able to act almost to detail a picture of the lead teenage character. She became quite popular as an actress after that but my series had been her launch pad. It is not the lady that has become my rival, but the series itself. Most people do a double take and ask me wonderingly if I am actually the person who wrote I NEED TO KNOW. I answer at first with amusement that I did and then they give me a second look.

My would- be reviewer has just done the same thing. I wonder if I should feel worried or relieved about that. I read somewhere that you can only be as good as your last and that your subsequent series, novel should always be better than the last. Quite a lot of people are convinced that the series was the best ever and I try to tap them to say, hey I am still alive and there is more where that came from.

I am bemused when people keep talking about that, because I think writers just want to share a part of their world, their take on issues around them, or even warn about an impending danger. Writers receive from a world that senses no boundaries and has a plethora of emotions, characters to choose from. Writers weave, weld, and re-create known norms in ways that excite and challenges the reader.

My argument has always been that we are all writers in some way or the other. We recount our day, experience and feelings to someone at one point or the other as we collate those experiences.

I actually didn’t plan on talking about writers, reads like some immodest thing to do , or some nervous appeal for understanding. But I am really nervous and I find myself waking up suddenly wondering which page he is reading now and wondering if I should have added one more sentence or recreated that scene in a different way. He is reviewing right and I am in agony hoping at the end of the day, he does not refuse to pick my nervous call. My fingers keep hovering over the phone.

He has just had the book and other things are maybe demanding his attention but …sigh.. oh well. It is why I try to read a book sent to me to review. I remember days like this and try my very best to pay attention…but he is paying attention..I think or … no perish any negative thought I tell myself firmly.

Hey where is that book I was asked to review? Be right back soon. I promise.

Numen Yeye……Conversations

Numen Yeye……Conversations.

Numen Yeye……Conversations

I don’t know how I feel really. My new book is finally out in print and suddenly I have problem sleeping. I am so knotted up that I am beginning to have sensations I can’t really identify. I think about it and suddenly I am nervous, my hands go clammy and my heart races. I am presenting at a writers conference in a matter of days too.

You know that feeling when you look at the new baby and you dream. You hold the book in your hand and you are hard put to put a name to the emotion that assails you. You mention casually to your friends that the book is finally out in print and you hold your breath waiting for the reaction.

I had one yesterday. He is the editor of the local newspaper. A respected editor because unlike the usual pack of  journalists who will want to find out what is it personally in a story, you can be very sure he is on the level. Very disciplined, untainted by the endemic corruption.

I wanted to hear his own opinion and it was important for me. If he thinks your book is rubbish, he would courteously simply refuse to review it and would say very little. I waited and watched. He took the book, read the blurb at the back, as well as the first few pages while standing and suddenly gave a wide smile. He looked up and asked if he could read it first as he would like to own a personal copy of the book. I blinked. “What do you mean”? I asked him.

“I think it is going to be a very interesting read” he answers and asked me what was the cover prize. I tentatively mentioned it and he nodded in agreement as he added, “only the very deep can understand what is in inside the book. I think it is going to be very interesting book indeed”.

Now I have a sleepless night as I ask myself a thousand nervous questions. I have gone over the book again.. Lord I.. I caught myself suddenly praying. It is like waiting for your boyfriend to pop the question or something else, having a baby and suddenly being anxious that it was very important that this particular baby do well.

You sense the significance of this particular baby and deep in your bones, you realize it is vitally important that this baby is acceptable. To serious readers. It is an indication of where you want to be now. What you want to say to the rest of the world I am a Yoruba woman who is learning to see my tribe as the rationale for this present incarnation. I have asked questions, like every growing young girl I have had dreams. My traditional religion had posed questions for me and I have searched for faith for years, tried to understand the risk of living without a faith and understood the fears of those who embraced other religions.

I am not into the practice of traditional religion, but I had learnt gradually from my grandmother, my husband the value of having a root, a base to search for the meaning of my tradition and what it offers me. I have always wanted to know what it is and as I learned more, I understood and gradually a love, and understanding of the rationale for the basic faith has dawned.

I may not necessarily engage in it but I can understand it and I can relate with the rationale behind it. It has made me want to portray myself “as is” I mean, what you see is what you get. It removes the strain of longing to be American, I never wished to be, but I love them and do not mind visiting them, learning about their cultures, but I could never be part of that culture. I would wish they have the charity to accept mine too.

I feel the same way about all other cultures and accept the togetherness on our diversity. My book Numen Yeye has been a voyage of a sort for me personally. It has been a learning period too as I groped and searched for the meaning of my present incarnation and the rationale of my being.

I first came across Numen Yeye on a warm night when my grandma started the story as the usual tales by moonlight ended and I still had urgent questions. I have listened to my grandmother since then as she continued with the story even after she got a seat with the ancestors.

I hope you will like to read it, I would not mind to share it with you. I am proud of the depth we can reach if we only stretch forth our hand to each other in love.

Talk soon again.

Leaving a trail..conversations.

The Trail…..Conversations

There is something I always find a bit exciting. That is peeping into the inner writer through reading his works. It took a while before I got that, but soon enough I noticed that you could sense the nature of the writer from what he puts out for the world to read. No, it does not mean horror writers are horrible or man size horrors. I do know one or two horror fans that are very gentle and sensitive but try to write out the horror of what life has given them. It is a concept of their frustration. I remember reading the novel of some of my favourite authors and learning a bit of their inner thoughts about the society they observe.

I use writing as a healing process, sometimes as a control measure. I asked my youngest daughter going through the agony of broken romance to write it out of her system. It took a while before she agreed I was making sense but when she finally wrote a small piece, she was alarmed at how murderous she felt. I advised that she should accept she was was never going to push such thoughts into the public domain but she could see how bad she she had been affected by the wretch.

Pushing such thoughts into the public domain? What do I mean really? It is like this. I think we affect others with what we put out and at a higher level we are bound to the effects of what we write. The human word is a grace from the creator and sets in motion thoughts, words and deeds that we are linked to by the laws of nature. I am not writing a religious piece.

Let me share an experience, I have been writing since the mid 1970s and I remember one piece I wrote for a radio drama series as a radio producer. I had written about vengeance and had some radio actors going through the scripts. It had to do with the anger of a young man whose father was left to die in the rain by a hit and run driver. Fair I felt in the understanding I had that the young man was entitled to exact his own vengeance knowing that justice was a matter of money in my country.

I stopped the production the next day when I actually drove to the next twon and came across a hit and run old man who had been left in the rain to die. I was stuned, shocked and miserable for days. Did I sense the story in advance? My skin was goose bumped for days and I shivered remembering I had described in detail how that had happened but I stopped the production because in my writing the grieving son had embarked a vengeance trip of the drivers at the garage in a desperate search for the hit and run driver who had killed his father.

I didn’t know the son of the real old man I found later, but I did not want to be held for such murderous thoughts I had written. I learned that day the power of the word, what it creates, hey, we call it creative writing. So I guess I just didn’t want to create such in the minds of people. Later on in life I did write about murders, the pain of the victim’s close ones and the attempt to find closure. I always worried about the job. You could not start saying writing has that as a job hazard do you?

The point of this conversation is this? Writers do leave a trail of their inner self behind in the stories they write. I know one author who wrote Guardians of the sky realms, Gerry Huntman. He wrote a very sensitive sci-fi fantasy about young adults and the concepts of building the right emotions in these young minds.  Chivalry, loyalty, courage and dignity. Standing up against evil, I suspected from his writings the type of parent he was likely to be and learnt over time his sense of fierce loyalty to people he calls his friends. It was a peep into the inner man.

There is Merle Burbaugh, very young man in his late sixties or thereabouts and his books tease you to be up and upright, but he writes as if he is self- conscious about being nice.  What am I trying to say today? That consciously or otherwise, writers leave bits of their inner world view in what they write. How they see things, I am not even thinking of psychoanalyzing writers. I am as crazy as the next writer I think and would take umbrage at such a suggestion.

We do have egos you know, some pea sized while some could be gozzilla sized. I tend to use people I know as characters in my stories. It is easier to build a character when you have a definite picture of the person in your head. Some characters do approach you. Like the old woman who simply popped in my head one afternoon as I was trying to reconstruct a poem. I was too surprised and listened in to what she was telling me.

When you write, do you immediately think you have a best seller? I am kind of curious like I can go into the mind of J.K. Rowling and ask her that. Do writers write because they want to be best sellers?. Hey, would you call Shakespeare a best- selling author now? Was that what he was thinking when he wrote or what was the name of that fellow who told the story of that sleepy man? I mean the one who slept and slept and woke up to see the world has changed.

I am sometimes scared by the rate at which I can’t remember names, for right now the name just teases the edge of my memory and slips away into the edge of the forest. I find it a bit exciting just chatting with you. Not much harm in that is there? The worst that could possibly happen is a yawn and you might flip the page, but you got as far as here waiting for me to make some sense.

I won, for you see, this is my own version of our conversation.

The Writer’s Dream…Conversations

Someone said, if you get the bug to write, you become enslaved to the Muse factory and you never retire. Your creativity never dries out and you itch all the time. The frustration of being somewhere and have a poem rattling somewhere in your brain can really be frustrating. You start looking like a drug addict searching your bag for the loose sheet and pen. Darn, you are the master of ceremony and are on the microphone but the poem starts cackling a crazy laugh and you almost feel like holding it down. Like the pressure you get when you want to pee.
If it is a story, and the main character strikes when you are not in front of your computer, then I feel sorry for you. I had a main character who stayed whispering, sullen for years. She would whisper and just when I want to give her attention like some teasing mistress will simply walk away.
It took me a while to know she was a grandmother. Did not much like my impatient queries and had a tendency to just stay silent. She stayed with me for years. Now we are on speaking terms and the first part of her story has been told and there was release of some sort.

So how do you write? What do you wish to say to me? A story can come from just watching a couple of people, or the snippets of a dream or even an argument.
Sometimes, you wonder the rationale for living. As you get older, your thoughts keep moving close to that I am told. There are times when you wake up in the morning and you heave a sigh of relief. I am alive ,I say to myself, then I consider, there has been no electricity for days,(that is normal in the part of the universe I happen to have incarnated in ),there is not much you can do about that. The government cannot keep promises. I don’t know really which one was kept. Unless of course if you happen to be working for the political party in power in whatever state you live in. I heard a prospective appointee promise that,it will be easy to prosecute her personal business because, she was going to have free money to spend.. Writing about politics or politicians makes me sad, and I would get off that subject. Let’s talk about normal things shall we?

I am not really excited about living here but I am not sure I want to live elsewhere. I am not likely to understand the culture. There must be a reason why the Creator made my incarnating here the only option I could possibly have. When I am feeling really depressed, I ask myself why did I not even choose to incarnate in any other black nation. Like the people of Kiribati for example. It is so far away from this place and America.

I have America on my mind these days. American friends, values, and anything American, why? I am writing a romance in which the main female character has a fixation like me about not being crazy. I Like Americans, and think they are making a fair attempt at understanding a few things. It is such a free country that I am worried about how they want to handle these freedoms.

It is okay if you start wondering about me. I decided that this year, I will try to hold conversations with you …my reader. Who knows you just might find it funny, interesting, crazy, or even …well I really don’t want to write that do I?
My uncle once suggested that real writers are lonely people and really want only their imaginary world.. I thought that was interesting. Made me look kind of mysterious and remote. Me and my characters, and that constant far -away look. Thought the opposite side might find that intriguing until one fellow tried to swindle me of ..no not my money(never had enough for myself) but of my emotions. He needed attention and was interfering with my main male character, who was much more fun than him anyway. So I wrote him into the next story and planned all I really wanted to do with him as a story. I was healed. He became an anticlimax.

So what was I writing about before? Search me. Okay I remember now, Americans? I really was not trying to explain something and that brought about the Americans. Yes, it had to do with freedoms ..too much or too little. Wish there was something I can do about these freedom thing, I mean lay my hand on the necks of one of our politician, keep my hand there …you know quietly until the screaming stops and things start working like the police really doing their job. I actually once met a nice policeman. He died. He was my father.

Okay, I think I said something like that somewhere or someplace. So I woke up today kind of feeling like having a writing binge. Used to feel that would be some paradise. Just write, write, write until all my being is empty and then swallow creation and have nothing to write about because I had written creation out. Wow, that would be a morning to wake up to.

A day when all the words would have been written, when there would be only one word left…GOD.

Conversations

The first thing that I am learning these days, is the realization that we do have quite of lot of writers from my part of the world. I used to think we were only interested in reading to pass examinations. That maybe true at some level but slowly I am beginning to come across vibrant young writers, not fussy, nor hampered with the old order. What was that you might ask me?. Simple. In my secondary school days, If you wanted to write poetry, you got into a lot of hot water because you had to write verse in a very structured manner. But the younger generation seem to have dropped all that restraint in the nearest bin. I thought I would add some of these exciting discoveries to my blog now . It will enrich us all. I will also try to have my poetry page right out in the open , I mean on the first page not tucked out of sight into a second page that is hardly visited. Our interviews will still continue apace. I have been trying to finish off an old romance which I am re-writing and hoping to publish in a different level.

I never liked the idea of making resolutions. But a particular thought has been ailing me since the turn of this year. I ignored it for a while. You know I never liked preachers and naysayers. I am not the best person to chat with when it comes to religion or sometimes spiritual issues. I am a suspicious person and also do not enjoy pouring my heart out to virtual friends and foes alike. What I am saying in essence is that sometimes this page might discuss spiritual issues. I think I might also share my parenting experiences. What do you think?

So what do I really want to do this time around?. Pretty much the same I had done over the years. I started this blog thing like a lark, a fix for me since I am addicted to writing . My daughter says it is harmless and something that can keep me company for all time. I know why she said that though, I am not the regular kind of granny that is always ready to dote on children, but my grandchildren are heavenly. I sound sloppy and I had planned I was just going to ramble.

Rambling at the beginning of the third month of the year? At least I made a faster decision this year than last year. Okay let me just finish the sentence will you?

What do I have now? A couple of poems by a young poet from my corner of the year and a promise..er.. not a resolution. Were you listening?

Okay here comes Joe Opeyemi

Albedo.

she blossoms before my eyes
like the bud of a verse
and reflects inside my heart
like the paths of the stars.

a vase svelte, its delicate base
looking each moment like
my-soul-will-soon-break.

when we met
when we laid eyes
our bodies melted
like the ice-caps.

global warming inside, hormonal intrusion
like molten magma
depletes the ozone layer.

her bosom like Mt. Shalom
crown up her torso
her great legs are lissom
bestest ones in Tokyo.

massive moments thereafter, epochs geological
meteor showered, asteroids flew by…
the reflective ratios of era Palaezoic.

 

Final words, I did say I promise to keep this blog lively and exciting didn’t I? Have a beautiful time here.

Biola Olatunde


 

Tag Cloud