CENTERSTAGE WITH MS

CENTERSTAGE WITH MS
Everybody calls him MS, not as in manuscript but in recognition of the person of Muritala Sule. He is many things to a thousand suns but he is simply called MS
How did we meet?
Taiwo Obe introduced him to me, by the time he was making waves with his programme I had escaped from the madness that I called Lagos into the rural peace of Akure.
When his book A LIFETIME OF FRIENDSHIPS was published, I read the positive comments of those who have read it. I sighed, as I had a large hole in my pocket so I could not buy the book, but wanted to read it.

Some of the excerpts made me long to read. MS, as we tended to call him, is a strange friend and support at the oddest times. When I sent him my first international novel, he promptly wrote it as a film script and sent it back to me. I was awed. His generosity left me gaping. Blood Contract has not yet been made into a film.
MS being typically his generous self sent me a copy of the book. What did I think?

A LIFETIME OF FRIENDSHIPS is a warm meal served in the inimitable style of Muritala Sule. It is a memoir, anecdotes of youthful escapades of Muritala and his particular friend Godwin Igharo. An honest portrayal of his friends without the effusiveness of a sickening praise writing.
Muritala writes simply, an unvarnished story of his coming of age in Lagos, Igbanke and other places. I learned about the resolute streak of a clear-sighted youth, who dared to follow a dream and stick with it. It is a commentary of parenting, Alhaja, Nollywood, and the drug scene before the turn of the century. I could write pages in a review of this book, but I just want to contain myself as I invite you to share my chat with MS ON CENTERSTAGE
It is my pleasure to welcome MS to CENTERSTAGE.
1. Who is Muritala Sule?
Just Muritala Sule. It’s hard, in my opinion, to describe oneself“…for the eye sees not itself but by reflection by other means” Shakespeare, Julius Caeser. So, my sister, who do you say is MS?
2. A LIFETIME OF FRIENDSHIPS is not the usual run of autobiography, will it be okay to call it a memoir?
That’s what I think it is, in the sense that it merely reflects on a slice of the life I and others have shared. Just a little slice

3. Your friend Godwin Igharo seems to have held a special place in the book, what do you think would have been his reaction to your book?
He’d have screamed on seeing it for the first time in book form and said: “MS, we thank God for everything.” Yet, he wasn’t the religious type. Never went to church; never went to the mosque. But, he always helped me to be a good Muslim, reminding me always of prayer time. While reading the story, he’d also have shed a few tears of gratitude. We’d both re-lived aspects of the story several times when we just reminisced. And always, we normally ended up by telling each other, “We’ve had fun.” That sense of fun was what I strove to capture in the book.
4. I have read the enthusiasm with which the book has been received on the social media but how has that affected your bank account?
Hopefully. The demand shows that I can also do well financially with it. It has been very encouraging. I send out copies virtually every day to buyers. Some responses, too, to the eBook. But, I won’t say it has found massive sale yet, perhaps because I’m still undecided what bookshops to give it to. In a better structure, I shouldn’t be the one worrying about this aspect of things. I should have been back to my desk writing another book. But, it’s self-published, you know, and I have to worry about getting back the money so that I can publish my next book.
5. You made some insightful comments on Nollywood and its economic impact, but what do you really think about the moral impact of Nollywood?
Morality is a delicate issue because it sometimes changes with time. So, I’m largely careful not to condemn what I’m ill-at-ease with. There was once it was immoral for a woman to wear a pair of trousers, even in Lagos, while I was growing up. People would boo and shame you back in the 60s if you did. But, that’s no longer so today, even in the remotest villages. So, I just watch and learn from what’s going on in Nollywood. I feel the pulse of society through it. But, I’m scared by the tendency to gratuitous sex and violence.
6. What are the real partnerships that Nollywood can have with the government?
What all other businesses, too, expect from government, nothing special, just what people call the provision of an enabling environment to work. That’d include: ensuring that the taxes on earnings are not very high; it will include giving access to facilities such as the airports and other public infrastructure that could make our movies feel authentic. A good partnership is already in place, with the Bank of Industries giving loans to filmmakers at a reasonable interest rate. An endowment fund for the Arts, too, should do some good. It can enable us to make important movies that commercial film funders might not be interested in.
7. Since Lagbo Video rested, what has been the improvement on art criticisms and impact in view of today’s art and creative scene?
People have been working. There are so many platforms for that. Dealing in the mass media — now, really, it’s multimedia – environment leaves a lot to the consumer to shape. That was Lagbo Video’s attitude toward criticism, without shirking responsibility for guiding public taste. It is different from academic art criticism. I cannot speak about that, please.
8. The drug scene in the country as a whole has become worse from your youthful days, as an advocate of the impact of the media on the minds of the vulnerable and impressionable, how will you assess the impact of the media on the drug scene today?
The media isn’t doing its job in that regard. They are expected to take a responsible attitude toward the matter, report, x-ray cases and lead in the effort to check the trend. But, alas, that is not happening. Much of what I see in reports is the hailing of the youngsters who seem to promote reckless drug use. You know, these days, reporters admire the people they call “celebrities”. Indeed, reporters are now striving to be “celebrities” themselves. They call themselves “media personalities” and “on-air personalities”. In your days on radio and TV, you were a “presenter”, an “anchor” of programmes and not an “on-air personality”. There’s a difference there.
8. What type of readers do you hope will read your book?
All readers are interested in an engaging story. And that’s what it has been. The young, the old, the intellectual, the not-intellectual. That’s because the story is just about people, about what we feel through our relationships. It’s what is called in mass media parlance a “human interest” story. A story for everyone.
9. Where do you think this book should go to? Do you think it could be a recommended reading?
I don’t think of it essentially as a textbook kind if that’s what you mean. But, people interested in making a career in mass communication can find guidance and inspiration in it. It can also help them navigate.
10. Are you a full-time author?
I do this-and-that in Communication Arts. Write TV scripts, occasional Film scripts, produce, direct, consult and teach. But, I’ve become a publisher. I published Friendships myself. And I’d be writing a few more books and helping other writers to publish theirs.

11. Give your thoughts on what this book will do for the creative scene and art scene
It can stimulate more creativity and inspire other people.
12. What is next for MS?

More books.

13. Please give links where we may purchase your book and if there is a website we

http://bit.ly/ALifetimeOfFriendshipsKobo
http://bit.ly/ALifetimeOfFriendships
http://bit.ly/ALifetimeOfFriendships2
http://bit.ly/lifetimeoffriendships

Interested parties can also reach me directly via Facebook or call +2348033152708
Thank you for chatting with us on Centerstage

Resolutions and the New year

Hey there, happy new year from my blog to you . There is something scary about new year resolutions. You make them in the heat of the moment and you make every attempt to keep them. But the problem is , you rarely keep them because the resolution was never really intended to be kept. I am wary of new year resolutions and avoid them as much as I can. This year though, I have plans to post daily as much as I can and share with you as much as I can my thoughts, my books, my authors and my friends. I hope to review books for friends and authors I admire. Some of these authors have impinged on my mind and I find I can’t get them off, I keep thinking of what they have written.The most telling for last year has been Bobby Uttaro. He wrote the book, “To The Survivors”Book Cover a book on rape survivors.pic
It is like an obsession these days. I guess it is because he touches me in a part of my soul that I have kept locked up for years. It seems every time I turn on the television or radio, there is something about rape or sexual assault. I find myself talking about it, asking friends and wondering what I could do about it. In the beginning of the year the police were giving an update of crimes they had covered in two states and the Federal capital territory, I was chilled when they mentioned a hundred and thirteen (113) rape cases in just two states! Crikey!
I never could understand violence in any form and I stand uncomprehending before violence against women particularly sexual assault for the scars of a simple slap tend to go deeper with a real woman. Why did I use the word real woman? Simple, I have read, seen and heard of women who enjoy being slapped around. I do not understand nor do I want to say negative things about them, I just do not have an understanding of it. That was why Fifty Shades left me wondering.
I will be doing more exploration of my inner understanding of the world around me. I will have chats, light hearted ones, deep ones, dark ones, the odd spiritual ones, no, there will be no religiosity. Can’t stand that myself. The Truth when you find it, is not wrapped in religious clothes. I admire Pope Francis a lot, but I will not do confessions and I listen to the Dalai Lama and my village diviner when they make sense. Spirituality is the evolution of the inner man to see beyond the stars and universe and attempt to fix himself somewhere in the cosmos. A thousand years is nothing in eternity right? So I am wary of getting into that as well or at best would like to tread carefully.
I will post stories, poems, and just about anything that flits across my mind. When I reach out to you, I hope you will respond too. So for today as a starter let’s roll with some of the poems I wrote last year. Not all of them but just a few.
Chants from the Rose

The day drapes herself with purple hues
as she wakes.
makes ready for creation
all that is needed to weave
from the golden sun,
experiences of Light.
As you open your eyes
to the greeting of a shimmering morning,
may the Light rays
find you happy and well.

Persuasion

The sun can be persuaded
to have roses in the desert.
The dew at dawn is as
soft as the outer reaches of the sun.
the hand that holds the Sword is loving and firm.

The scalpel of the surgeon is sharp
to remove the errant tissue.
It is mercy.
The eagle lives on the crag
as the dove descends
and the sea breaks out on victory song.
The unicorn sniffs the golden air
for the sun is up again.

PEACE

He who cannot walk away
from his anger,
cannot in trust,
approach the peace of Love.

Those who betray us,
those who revile us,
who hate us,
show through their ugliness,
the awesome beauty,
of God’s compassion,
as they mirror to us,
what we must never be.

Conversations with Skip Slocum

I knew Skip when I hesitantly joined an online community of writers. I wanted to learn what writers on the other side had. I became a tiny fish in a big ocean as I learnt how to write in a way that would make sense to my other online members. In the process I came across this gentle giant wh I have never seen physically but he became my best friend. Himself and another writer Lisa Suda. We became in a fashion THE CHORD. I learnt a lot from them. We were all writing stories and yes there were two others Liz and Max, but gradually it was just these three.
We shared stories, critiqued for each other and that helped me a great deal. I published my first novel BLOOD CONTRACT and Skip never seemed satisfied with his and kept knocking it into a shape he felt comfortable with. Finally I had the distinct pleasure to learn a few weeks back that the book Keening Fire is now available for readers.
Keening fireTKF EOO
A beautiful story set in the middle ages when man was close enough to his inner being as to listen to the keening of his spirit and be guided into bravery, learn how to a real man and go through a rite of passage into manhood. It is the story of Matt, who carries on the keening gift and earns his rights through trials, and tested love and loyalty to his king. I am held spell bound by the beauty of the words, the evolution of Matt from teenage to the sense of an ideal upright man.I went through the agonies of his pain and felt light headed with happiness when he finally won his place amongst men.
Skip Slocum has through this book shown a powerful ability to tell a story so well that I can only urgently recommend you to read the interview and buy the book.
Here is the short interview I had with him. Please Enjoy.
1.Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a retired Diesel Mechanic – Married for 31 years – father of three – grandfather of two.

2. THE KEENING FIRE hold my interest because it is almost African, what prompted you to write it?
When my grandson was six years old, he asked me to tell him a story. I started making up this one on the spot. We decided I’d better write it down before I forgot the names of the characters. Over the next six and a half years the story transformed and almost took on a life of its own.

3. Matt seemed to have gone through a crucible of fire, almost like some initiation rite of passage, does that still happen?
Well, without giving away too much of the story – This young warrior is constantly tested by life’s unforeseen twists and turns. Like with many people, he discovers life’s journey never turns out or takes the path we thought it would.

4. The book though written in another age seem to talk about values that would be relevant in today’s world, would you care to explain.
That was one of my goals. Let me see if I can explain without waxing too philosophical. There comes a time when we as mortal men discover the meaning and cold reality of that awful word, ‘Mortal’. I wanted to leave some advice and values to my grandson and his grandsons – We as good men, fathers, warriors, and or guardians of the innocent are responsible for our actions.
–What we do today will shape who we become tomorrow.–

5. The art of keening has been likened to magic, sorcery or at best something dreaded, but what do you think?
To answer that question I need to explain what ‘The Keening’ is. In my story, ‘The Keening’ is an inherited gift passed down through the ages –father to son – The Keening manifests itself from within – a power of insight – some may glimpse the future or commune with nature, some may hear the thoughts of men. The Keening changes with everyone it comes to according to their strength, morphing and changing in every generation. To those who don’t possess this insight The Keening may appear as magic, sorcery or something to fear.

6. What class of people would enjoy the book?
My hope is everyone. The Keening Fire is a coming of age adventure, a discovery of who we can become, a fantasy, a story of love and loss.

7. If you were asked to classify the book how would you classify it?
Since our lives are not and cannot be confined to any one genera how could I write this warrior’s life as one bracketed and set within parameters?

8. You are a writer who almost a recluse, please tell us where we can buy copies of your book.
You can find a copy of my book at: http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=the+keening+fire&categoryId=100501
If I may, let me say – I set the price as low as the self-publishing plug-ins would allow. This is a saga not a short novel.

9. Share a writing day with us.
Being retired and a grandfather, my little ones have grown where I can set my own hours concerning writing. While working on this story I ignored clocks as much as possible and quit following calendars years ago. I am a creature of the night and seem to do my best writing while my wife is safe in bed asleep. Yet let me say, there are many forms of writing. There is the plotting, thinking, scheming, playing out scenes hearing dialogue in one’s head until scenes becomes real and then there is the computer’s keyboard where I try to put on paper what is playing in my world of imagination.

10. Apart from writing, what other interests do you have?
Being a third generation mechanic and blue collar worker, I love mechanical devices. I have a passion for tools, gadgets, art of all kinds, movies and asking the question: ‘What if’

Within the nuts and bolts of writing this story I consciously chose not to use Speech-Tags.