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Musings

So many things has been happening that I have been wondering where to start because basically I need to share my thoughts. I have not been around on my blog for a long time.
You could say it was some kind of lethargy when suddenly you feel swamped by all that has been happening. We have lived helplessly for a year wondering how a group of people for no reasonable reason will abduct hundreds of girls and take them over into a Never- Never of neither alive nor dead.
We agonized over their fate, I couldn’t pick a religion that would justify it and I stayed numb and dumb for that length of time. There was the silent terror filled days of a looming election. It is like when you plan for an event a wedding or something. In my corner of the world, after all you have bought for food and drinks, the wise event planner quietly asks around for a competent rain man to ensure that it does not rain on the planned day. You don’t want to have your day wasted by the rain do you? So no matter how dark and heavy the rainclouds are, you have put your money on the rain man to ensure that not one drop disturbs your fun. So you see the merry makers look at the sky, shrug and continue with their fun, then the wind starts to blow the clouds away. The event planner smiles and thumbs up the rain man who is ensconced in his easy chair, simply nods his head like the proverbial lizard who just fell off the roof shaken by his good fortune.
Those who loved eating monkeys and wild life had an enforced re-think when Ebola visited and we were all learned again the value of cleanliness. I personally called it the revenge of the monkeys. We had locals who loved bats and monkeys being given a wide berth. It was not funny so please take the grin off your face. Hey, did I tell you about the strange illness that suddenly afflicted a portion of the state I lived in. There were so many versions I had trouble following. One version was that a local shrine had been violated by greedy arte fact hunters and the resident god of that shrine wasn’t having any of that, so the victims had headaches, went blind and pronto dropped dead all within hours. The government waded in and swiftly invited international health organizations. The governor explained that the strange ailment was not Ebola and scientists and doctors were investigating. While we waited the rumour mill went into over drive, like Alice in wonderland it got curiouser and curiouser.
Now my experiences was recently topped by the call of the king of the Zulus to send fellow Africans packing. They didn’t just say it, they were violent about it. Shops belonging to fellow Africans were looted and the ugly head of racism was brought in when a president of another African country noted that it was only in South Africa that an unemployed illiterate will complain that a fellow educated African doctor was depriving him of a job. I couldn’t laugh . It was painful.
I am not black by the way. I am a shade of brown taking the hue of mother Earth. Like all human beings who are presently seen as homo sapiens, my blood is red, my tears white or actually liquid, and fellow dwellers on Mother Earth are shades of pink, or yellow or red. We all five senses, cry when hurt, carry the ability to be wise or stupid or become fixated over colour, the Devil is dark as in a concept excluding light and Angels are radiations. A white person has lost a lot of life force that is blood and is described by all human beings as pale not white, a ghost is without form and has no skin colour but takes form and occupies space shot through with light hence it can pass through the space in walls and doors. That for me simplifies things, has science been able to show that the brain of an African is configured in a way that renders him incapable of basic intelligence? Until that can be proven, we should hold our peace and see if we call qualify to be true homo sapiens..expectedly wise.
Who knows I might have something interesting to say next time.

Did I tell you about the mysterious disease ravaging a section of my world.? There were so many versions

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 favorite 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  never going to push such thoughts into the public domain but she could see how badly 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 town and came across a hit and run old man who had been left in the rain to die. I was stunned, 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. I stopped the production because in my writing the grieving son had embarked on 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 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. Yes Rip Van Winkle.

I am sometimes scared by the rate at which I can’t remember names, for right now some names 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.

Spatako

He was called “Spatako” by everyone and he was a commercial driver plying the Lagos routes  in her village. Quite popular but given to drinking while not on his route. Ife remembered that Mother always hesitated to take his bus because of the drinking too. However he had been on a motorbike returning from the beer parlour he frequented when he drove under an oncoming truck. He died instantly throwing the whole town into shock and grief. The truck driver was not lynched as would have been the case because everybody knew that Spatako was destined for such an end. What was surprising was the way the fellow went round his brothers and sisters that were not in the village and got them to come to the village to learn of his passing. One dramatic case was when he visited his brother in Lagos days after his passing and asked his brother to help him deliver a message to their aged father. Spatako was reported to have told his brother that he was on a trip to the North and might be away for days. He thus asked the brother to help him deliver a letter as it was urgent the father got the message. He told his brother to assure the father that he was fine but needed to go on that trip as it was urgent. He also added one for his wife that she might put to bed before he arrived in a few days time. (The wife was not even pregnant at that time, at least she was not aware of being pregnant then, it was going to be their first child and she had no concept of morning sickness or pregnancy symptoms)

An annoyed older brother had arrived home , and testily gave the message but was consternated when the mother heard the message and promptly fainted. In the ensuing pandemonium, a bewildered brother was shown the grave of his brother and he sat on that grave for hours uncomprehending.

Ife was home then and witnessed all that had happened. Days later she saw Spatako in his misty form wandering round the home of his wife. She had tried to talk to him but he never heard her and would follow his wife around. Ife was too scared of her mother’s reaction to her own strangeness to offer to ask for help. Naturally when the wife put to bed it had been a girl and Ife wondered if it was Spatako that had come back as a girl.

She remembered asking if that had been Spatako from Mae who had laughed that reincarnations followed certain processes and that the girl had reincarnated on a different thread configuration.

She supposed Kunle would not have been her uncle Agbo returning then and shrugged. Sometimes she felt lonely just learning about some of the questions of life and existence ad feeling lost in a world of superstitions, myths and ignorance.

As a medical doctor, some of the myths and conceptions of her people had become clearer and she could even see the rationale in some of them. She could tell where they had mixed the spiritual half knowledge with sheer ignorance. However it had only served to strengthen her love and show her what she needed to do to help enlighten her people.. For a long time she toyed with the idea of starting an NGO to explore the possibilities of educating them but so far she had not come to a concrete decision.

Ife was so lost in thought that it took a while before she noticed the persistent knocking on the door and looked up startled into the puzzled eyes of Yomi, and she blinked.

Why are you knocking on the table, doing some kind of séance?

Yomi stared and laughed, you look like you are in trance. Can you see me now?

Ife smiled,”clever, but why are you staring at me and oh have you been here long?”

“All of ten minutes Lady” Yomi replied “What held your attention so much so that you only nodded whe I came in and stared unseeing?”

“Hmm bad manners I must say and I am sorry, are you over your bad temper now, you stalked off the other day as I recall” Ife said with a smile to take the sting out of her comments.medical, doctor, educating

 

Numen Yeye……Impression from readers

I have been in between clouds and wondering when I might come down to terra firma. Why? I had been tensed up for weeks about my book Numen Yeye. There had been times when I had shrugged, told myself bravely I would take the bricks or I would be gracious if I got roses.
Okay, could I say anything in my defense. Numen Yeye is very important to me because of a couple of reasons. Maybe it is time I give a little bit more insight why Numen Yeye became important. In my neck of the woods, we have two fairly distinct camps. There are writers who write exclusively for the readers in the country and make no pretense about that. Then there are the ones who want to write for a global audience but those have two clear sub groups. The writers who write about our customs from the standpoint of seeing everything cultural as barbaric. They tend to want to write more for the western audience solely and have a taste to show us off as unmitigated savages.
There is the other sub group who talk to the global market square in a language that creates a reality of who we are, understanding where we come from but innately identifying with us, warts and all. I would like to belong to this group. I am Nigerian, with my eyes wide open, knowing about my country, accepting me warts and all. I feel we are not as terrible as we have been painted, because we are a round group of tribes with our suspicions of each other, exasperation at our leaders and the failures we face when we do not accept that Life is motion and it is important we get the business of living right.
Am I making sense? I wish to try to make sense. There is a saying in my corner of my country in my language which loosely translated states clearly that only an illegitimate child will point to his father’s house with his left fingers. When I came across that statement I was curious and asked my grandma to explain. She gave me a little lesson about loyalty. I learned being loyal does not mean whitewashing the truth when we are faced with it but being honest enough to admit our ignorance and courageous enough to take a peep into the dark ignorance that hold us in thrall.
Thus when my book Numen Yeye became available in print, I wanted to know what my tribe felt about it. After all I was writing about myths and concepts we have buried under our civilized skins. These myths and concept colours our beliefs and we needed to maybe be open about it and not shrug it off as ignorance, myths, superstitions.
Let us share excerpts of some of the reactions I have so far…
My first impression of Numen Yeye was WOW! This is different, I kept reading and I’ve come to the conclusion that its a breathe of fresh air, different from the norm. Its very insightful and paints a fairy tale yet plausible picture of a series of events, all in all a very good read and I recommend it for anyone who wants to step out of the clutches of mundane reasoning and have a different point of view on certain Nigerian ‘mythological’ beings….Segun Agoro (film maker/Stride Communications)
The book Numen Yeye is the story of Imole Ife before her conception through conception, birth, growing up to adulthood. It showcased partly the way an average girl would grow up in the western part of Nigeria.
On the other hand, Ife a special child mixed her eccentricity with the usual, while growing up. Ife only distinguishes people and situations by light or darkness and relates with them accordingly. Grandma Olaoye for instance was always surrounded by dark shades of colour while Yeye was always accompanied by light. In another instance, when Tinu’s baby was about to die, Ife required more light around her, in the hope that it would repel or clear the impending doom.

The constant migration of Ife between the physical and the spiritual is very gripping and keeps the reader hooked, if not for anything else, for curiosity. She is constantly in communication with one misty or another and most of her activities are pre-guided from the spiritual world. The friendship between Sasaenia and Ife suggest bonds that are out of the ordinary, that exist amongst humans but may not have any easy or ordinary explanation.

The book went through a lot of the rich culture of the Yoruba ethnic group in Nigeria, treating the following parts of their culture:
The marriage process,
The value of chastity,
Initiation in to adulthood and guilds,
The art of story-telling and transfer of wisdom from the elderly to the young,
The seeking for divination
Traditional belief and superstition, surrounding the existence of abiku and emere,
Communal way of living in polygamous family settings, embedded with jealousy and mutual suspicions.
The beginning of Chapter 14 is a vivid account by the author in lewd as well as enthralling narration, a phenomenon called ‘OKO ORUN’ by the Yoruba. Quite strange, but almost real.
Many times the reader gets lost in the thoughts of Numen Yeye (written in italic) and makes them forget her story in the real world.
Noticeable is the fact that the book with thirty chapters has no pagination. The language of the book is very easy to understand and the content is very relatable for Africans. To other readers who are not familiar with that culture, it would be an adventure into the thought system of traditional people and their basic life and way of living….Ms Olufunke Tolutope(psychologist and blogger)

In my next post I will share the full review of the state newspaper on the book Numen Yeye. Meanwhile it will be nice to have your thoughts on this book.
Numen Yeye is available on Amazon.com

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