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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

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The Tussle

The next morning Babatunde and Tope chatted over bowls of hot pap and akara. Babatunde had prepared the corn pap watched by an amused Tope who made caustic remarks about his brother’s culinary efforts.
The atmosphere was friendly and convivial as Babatunde asked news of home and events. Tope sighed though when Babatunde asked questions about the candidates for the kingship.
“One of them does not look like he is going to get past the first round.” Tope said looking at his akara cake with a frown
Why? Babatunde startled by the comment
Tope was still frowning at his cake and sighed, then shrugged, “I guess I just don’t feel he looks like a king material
“Ifa will decide anyway” Babatunde consoled his brother
“Hmmm.. I don’t always buy into this Ifa thing these days you know. There has been many a king that Ifa has no business approving as kings as they turned out to be unmitigated disasters” Tope spoke with feeling and Babatunde raised eyebrows giving his brother a keen look, “It is not per chance you have a particular candidate in mind do you?”
Tope pushed his plate away and walked to the window looking out into the morning traffic for a few seconds. He turned round and gave his brother a slow smile, “you are not paying attention to me are you? Will you be able to drive me into town? I need to pick up a few things to take home, particularly pesticides for my cocoa.”
“Sure” Babatunde replied and knew his brother did not want to say anything further about the kingship tussle. That tussle had been on for more than six years and he sensed that his brother was bored with the whole thing. Two ruling houses were fighting over who was to rule the town next and that had generated quite a lot of bad blood in the town with rival supporters of one prince or the other. He was part of the inner circle of Ifa and was thus banned from taking sides nor making comments.
The procedure was simple, each candidate was expected to be able to trace his lineage and you could not be installed if your forebear did not have a son while on the throne. Every resident had a right to claim the first king as father but these particular gladiators were determined to lay claim to the most popular deceased king and that had started dissensions. There had been whispers about the paternity of one but no one had been brave to state who started such a rumour.
Babatunde had a different tussle on his mind anyway. It was what type of message he was expected to send to the Ifa circle of which he had been made the young Lion. He had a problem with the timing and date. However he knew he would be the one to find time to go.
He took Tope shopping and drove him to the garage so Tope could return to the village before nightfall.
When he got to the office, Babatunde went to check if the chief pharmacist was around and he was told he would have come back in the afternoon as the fellow was in a conference. Babatunde smiled at the secretary and returned to his office. Ngozi asked after the headache and it took him a minute to recollect what she was talking about.
“Your blank face clearly shows the headache didn’t last long” she laughed and walked away.
Minutes later he was immersed in work and it took a while before he noticed Joke the office girl tapped his desk repeatedly to attract his attention. Babatunde looked up straight into the face of a fairly tall distinguished looking middle aged man
The man smiled and stretched out his hand, “My name is Adewunmi, a friend said I might find you here. I am an accountant, came to make your acquaintance”
Babatunde stood up and asked the man to sit his eyebrows raised. His line of job did not encourage visitors unless they were patients seeking an alternative to a prescribed drug. His visitor didn’t seem to fit into that category.
“How may I help you? He asked politely
“That will be interesting don’t you think”? Sasa’s voice floated in and Babatunde was startled.
He gave his visitor a close look and sure enough he saw the deep blue eyes of Sasa smiling at him.
Babatunde was stunned and stared at his mystic friend, “How did you do that”?
Sasa grinned and sat down crossing his legs elegantly. “I have to learn how to do this you know. Something is coming up and this fellow whose coat I quickly borrowed will be visiting you in say two hours and we felt it was best to warn you ahead.”
Babatunde stiffened, “Who is this fellow?”
Sasa coughed and wiped his mouth mimicking the mannerisms of a rich spoilt man, “eh he fancies himself as the next king” Sasa gave a mocking bow, you know we have gone so far away from seeking the truth that any type of dross gilded over with yellow paint might be confused as gold”
Babatunde laughed out not so much for Sasa’s expression but the look of disgust Sasa had on his face. Then he got serious giving his friend a close look, “Your eyes will give you away you know if you try this stunt with anybody else. Africans don’t have deep blue eyes you know.”
Sasa retorted with spirit, ”You haven’t seen all Africans Fancy pants”
They both laughed.
“I am intrigued, really. I never thought this was possible. Used to read about our forefathers being able to take up skins and do what is called magic but this is new on me” Babatunde said
“You are actually on a different level you know and your experiences are thus different. The best Babalawo may never achieve what is possible or be able to experience this kind of conscious level you know. Real healing is not just about herbs alone but a combination of all the possibilities open to the human spirit. By the way, spirit is the key word. You are wearing a coat that depicts you Fancy pants but it is not your real yourself, you know that”
Babatunde nodded and stared at nothing in particular as his thoughts swirled and Sasa watched him. He sighed and gave Sasa a smile, “so what am I supposed to do when this prince comes in here?”
Sasa dipped his hand in his pocket and brought out a soft stone wrapped in animal skin. “Let him talk as much as he wants but give him this at the end”
Babatunde was mystified and stared at the stone lying in the open palm of Sasa. He stretched out his hand to lift it out of the palm of Sasa and was shocked that try as he might, he could not lift the stone. Sasa gave a soft laugh, “fancy Pants, your education is making you really soft. You know you do not lift things from me without giving me respect”
I…
“You must lift the stone with the skin”.
Babatunde did that and he held the stone but almost dropped it in shock when Sasa mentioned casually that the skin was from the past king. Sasa explained that it was held together by the thoughts of the people.
What do you mean thoughts?
Sasa groaned and looked out, “well it will soon be time for our friend to come in, your office girl is about to have a heart attack because she thinks Prince Adewunmi had already come in here. We will continue this conversation later and oh Prince Adewunmi is not really a prince but has the qualities of one”.
Sasa stood up and adjusted his coat as he walked out. A minute later, a very agitated and puzzled office staff was hesitantly asking if Babatunde was free to receive a visitor again.
Since everything was still a puzzle to Babatunde simply nodded as he quickly slid the object in his hand to a drawer.
The man came straight to the reason for his visit. In very precise tones he mentioned his name and what he had come. He wanted to ask for Babatunde’s support in his bid for the throne of the town. Babatunde listened patiently and smiled. He explained to his guest that he was not the one to make the choice but must follow the dictate of the oracle .
Prince Adewunmi made a cynical gesture and brought out his cheque book, “Look my friend, let’s not flog the issue. I understand the price is ten million and because , the way I heard it, you are the chief priest as it is, I will offer fifteen million. That can set up your pharmacy.
Babatunde clenched his fist and slowly rose to his feet when he heard Sasa’s sharp cough. He sat down as slowly taking deep breaths. Then he gave a gentle smile and pulled out his drawer and brought forth the stone wrapped in the skins.
In the same gentle manner he invited the prince to lift the stone, explaining that there was no need for the money, that if he could lift the stone, the prince was assured of the kingship. That stopped the prince as he stared at the stone saying nothing. There was some silence as both men stared at the stone which seemed to gleam. Babatunde spoke softly, ”being king is a good thing to aspire to and Ifa chooses what the thoughts of the people have chosen, why don’t you find out for yourself what that choice is. We consult the oracle not to thwart but to confirm what will best serve the people, just lift the stone and I will be sure if you are potential candidate”
Prince Adewunmi stared at the stone for more seconds then stood up abruptly and slammed out of the office.

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.

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