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Where am I headed?

Where am I headed?
You know sometimes, that question becomes so intense for me that I practically feel ill. I dread asking myself that question. I came across a writer recently at our monthly literary gatherings and what might pass for open mic sessions. I am usually the moderator for this literary stampede and it is an experience I enjoy very much. I still do. I always feel a sense of awe meeting these authors and poets. Over time I had observed a pattern. Most of the guest authors also like me write poetry. It is not a general thing but in recent weeks, I had come across such . Our very recent gathering gave me nightmares. No.. don’t get me wrong, the experience was exciting, felt humble to meet such quiet great authors and poets, but it left me with the urgent question I asked as the title of the piece.
It is an irony of authors to think they possess the original thought. You know assumed that idea came to them first. Is there an original thought? Can an Author claim originality? These questions tend to keep me tossing and it generally ends up in some really artistic nightmares I can tell you. I remember asking my chief editor if he wants to have second thoughts when I learned from the site that they were into sci-fi, and such stuff that had no relation to my everyday experience. I am very indifferent to technology and am intrigued by science. I never really grasped it . I could therefore never think of writing in the past about osmosis not to even think of present day atomic/nuclear science and my friends write about esoteric science.
Okay, I heard you groan asking yourself what you were doing here reading this. But I am not apologizing you know, you wandered in here and now I have you by the throat, I am going to moan all I want. So there!. Hey!, where are you headed? I have not finished moaning. So where am I headed? Everybody writes beautifully about sci-fi, and I can at best talk about my tradition and culture. I feel frustrated that I can’t talk about African Sci-fi.
I don’t feel like writing about magic, because we really do not call it magic but asimple way of existence that even our professors are sometimes hard pressed explaining. See?
A friend of mine from the other side of the pond yawned , gave a supercilious smile and in his most condescending manner, said I was quite exotic. Very interesting I thought, and wondered which part of his anatomy will bear the brunt of my anger. Exotic eh? Which part of sci-fi will explain the brand of technology that helps you call back a son from the farm by simply holding your palm to the air and ask the son to fetch an item from the farm to bring it home because you had forgotten it at the farm? Magic? No.
Those were the things I had fun talking about in my book Numen Yeye. The things we do with the ease of a yawn and is translated as some ritual. But where am I headed was the question right? So okay at the monthly open Mic, I listened enraptured to pieces of poetry in my local language that defended womanhood. The lesitners were quiet after one reading and a young man asked a timid question, asking the lady poet why she wrote the poems in own language.
Her answers were poetry in motion. She asked nay challenged us to render our thoughts in our native tongue and show pride in who we are. I groaned inwardly as the words came to me..”Another one comes to the surface again”. Blast, I complained inwardly, “I am as black as I can be and happy to be one, I make no apology for who and what I am but I am darned if I am going to allow someone tell me the colour of my hopes”. My face must have been expressive of my inner turmoil, because my chairman asked me if I wanted to make a comment. It was like walking on eggshells as I cleared my voice, told an angry Numen to let me speak. She was angrier than me by the way. I never told you that she has developed this irritating habit of going everywhere with me, since her story came out in Numen Yeye. Anyway…. ahem .. I gave a slow look and in what I hoped was a calm voice opened my mouth.
“what you have said ma’am is very beautiful sentiment, we all should speak only in our language. I have followed the experiment that we should teach our children all the subjects in our language but let us remember a few things while we are about it, we asked for independence from our Masters in the political sense and must earn the independence in other aspects from the rest of the world. It is not going to be easy but do take a look around, our children no longer even speak English but a language that is not recognizable by any country because the English do not speak it either. At best they may call it Nigerian English, (my editor had problem with my English for heaven’s sake I groaned inwardly) but is best understood as the “now Englis” (no it is not a typo).”
I still had an audience and took courage by stating that, the average Nigerian wants an identity of being part of civilization and it is thus difficult for him to resist the need to be more American than the the American or British. We have lost an understanding of our roots, our culture, our tradition and are trying to put a shamed distance from where we came from but do not really know where we are headed. I think that was when those awful nightmares started. I have been asking myself plaintively since…Where am I headed?

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


 

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