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Nostalgia

You know, there is always the question of asking yourself if you are ever going to be a best seller in your lifetime. These days, those are the questions that I find myself asking each time I start writing a story. The question started simply enough. A very young child came to my house and we started chatting. He wanted to know why I was hunched over my computer almost all the time he was in the living room. I blinked and tried to focus on the young man. He noted that most times he called to say hello to my children, he invariably found me typing. I took a deep breath and wondered if I should do one of two things.

You know look down my nose at him and reply in a pitying voice on how he has missed the true calling of the writer and tell him he was not likely to understand what writing meant to me, yeah, I am still broke and I am not sure if I can claim that I have sold my book in thousands never mind millions. What? No, I am not about to discuss my despair either. Hey!, I mean my despair that I am never going to finish writing all I have to write. I never have enough time and the stranger thing is, I have had days that I sit by the computer and the stories just goes on in my head and the computer remains blank. That is really frightening when I wonder if all this is going to be worthwhile. I am not trying to change the world neither am I likely going to change my immediate community, unless I wish to be a liar.

That is another thing, my niece doesn’t think I work anyway. She came over to spend the holidays when I was part of a television series on teenage reproductive issues. She had liked me and was enthusiastic about the series, I NEED TO KNOW. She read the stories every night, staying up all night sometimes. I was preening and waiting for the commendations to flow in. She looked up and I saw real bewilderment on her face.
“seriously auntie, I have never met all these people you talk about in your story, you are just forming them up right?”
“You mean like I am making them up”? I asked her slowly puzzled at what she was implying. Here, let me insert a warning: We are writing Nigerian English and my friends across the pond may have to hold on for a translation later.
My niece nodded and I smiled, “Yes of course , that is what is called fiction, the situations are real though”.
“You mean Ikechukwu is not real?”
“No my dear, the young boy that acts the part is real but that is just his television name”.
“Hmmm, very easy job Auntie, just sit down, dream up stories about people and you get paid for having fun”.
I stared at her, opened my mouth to explain what enter- educate drama is all about and clammed shut as she stared askance at me. She commented that she envied my job and wondered why I had not become a millionaire at the very least. She said she might one day take up my job.

That was years ago, the juice train left and I stared into the hard glare of straining to make two tired ropes stay glued. Digital television, internet radio and programmes took me to hunger street and I needed to look at dim areas of my creative mind to quell the noise of my growling belly.
I have been writing since I can remember the meaning of pain, hunger, dreams and a compulsive need to talk to persons I have never met. My imagination wakes me up every dawn as the sun dips her fingers on my hopes and gives me a taste of its promise. I have like a thousand stories, impatiently jostling for attention. Men I know so well in my head, conversations that seem unending, situations crop up and I ponder on their solutions. An urgent need to tap a shoulder and start a conversation.

I am doing one right now right? Were you interested? Oh well, you got this far. That must count for something. But you see, a new fear is peeping at me. How much time do I have?
Will I ever write a best seller? Sometimes I picture a vast field, the sun is setting, the players are all gone, I am staring at the lonely abandoned ball in the field, the stands are silent and a lone figure walks onto the field, he touches the ball and hears in his soul the roar of his dreams and he makes a lob into the far end of the field. The sun yawns and calls me over.
I will see you soon my friend.

Blood Contract

Hey, I am feeling pink, because Bobby took me back to my very first novel internationally. He read my very first novel with IFWG publishing. BLOOD CONTRACT.
Couple of my religious friends were scared off by the title imagining I was going to write about some voodoo stuff. Those were very puzzling days, confusing to me as well. It was an ey-opener learning that my side of the pond had yet to get over the bogey thrown into them by our white masters about our local brewed religion. I think that was why I wrote the Numen Yeye series. I must have told you how Numen Yeye started and so much has passed since the days of BLOOD CONTRACT.Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00061]
However as I learned and hopefully grew in the novel writing business, I got into the habit of reviewing books for authors like me. Some of the authors paid me back by offering to read my own books. That natural law of give and take happened recently with Bobby and I.
So he first bought Rose of Numen and then gave me the extra gift of reading my very first book. This is what he put in amazon.com and goodreads.
“I really enjoyed Biola’s book Blood Contract and recommend others read it. It kept me intrigued and wanting to read more. As someone who knows nothing about the Niger Delta, I found this book to be very informative of the land, culture, and societal problems. Blood Contract deals with issues of corruption, greed, evil, rape, oil bunkering, family, societal norms, God and poverty, just to name a few. I am now more informed of the Niger Delta, the damage of oil bunkering, the corruption of young boys and men, and the suffering that exists in that part of the world. I also found Biola’s writing to be inspiring and I look forward to reading her other books as well”.
A river has passed under the bridge since that book was written. I had an offer to have the book made into a film script. I even had the script written and my excitement rode the skies, but then this was my country and for all the dreams of mice and men. Sigh…. Who knows you just might read this and decide to send me a query about the book. So I will be waiting okay?
What makes us write? What do we want to achieve? For every million unknown writers out there in the great world, there are the tiny few that attract attention and somehow hold that attention.
When I started to write some 42 years ago, I had very small illusions about making the millions or even smile to the bank. But I had stars in my eyes about the written word and that excitement has outlived all other feeling till date.
I am crazy about writing. I have written television plays to educate adolescents, parents, and written just about every topic including horror!
I hope I have matured over the years, 42 years ought to count for something right? But I am still interested in human beings, our dreaming, and the painful thud when we have to face the hard grind of reality.
An elder in my community who had written for longer than I have, answered my naïve question about living on writing with a gentle laugh, said I might be hungry for a long time. He was right. But I feel like a child in a candy store when I am asked to write a story and I can deliver that story within days. Television scripts I might add. Writing a full length novel was a different kettle of fish.
So what do you think? Did you ever read that my first love affair with the virtual world when I clicked on a name and he became a much loved publisher… Gerry Huntman.
I have been blurbing right? I don’t know really but I feel like just sharing with you this time. You know like some friend you are used to warbling with. Lol.
Chat soon

Numen Yeye Series

It is my new year. On the first Saturday of this month I turned 65. Nothing new in that as one day looks very much like another eh? For me though, birthdays are markers and I have a habit of looking forward to them. You know, do reviews and previews of my the past months and years sometimes. It was special for me this year because I had a chance to formally unveil to my own circle of friends my book two of the Numen Yeye series. Rose of Numen had been releases a couple of weeks before then.
I am using the instrument of fiction and facts to tell my people a story, and it is with a longing that we will dispense with the false façade we give the world. We are Nigerians, and I know that deeply ingrained in every Nigerian is a search for the Truth.
Why did I start these Numen series?
I spent my early years in the Northern part of my great country. I was used to walking wide open spaces in the blistering sun , the wild windy storms that will stop as abruptly as it had started.. We lived in Kaduna and I spoke the Hausa language instinctively with family and friends. I listened to tales of the dark south as I heard tales of rituals, dark medicine and held the southern peoples specifically my Yoruba homeland in dread.
When my policeman father was transferred South, we thought we had received a veritable death sentence. I had a sense of being closed in. Then I met my maternal grandmother and heard a story that opened a love for my tribe, a questioning of the very things that had kept me frightened. She was a priestess, a love and mystic that in the very simplicity of her life showed I had nothing to be afraid of. She told me about the pantheon of the gods of my ancestors and how it is I could find the same in any particular religion in any particular part of the planet Earth. Above all, these gods in a single thread led straight to Olodumare, the Supreme One.
So I wrote the Numen Yeye series first as a play, in the same trilogy as I later did in prose.
Last Saturday, I presented to my own community of friends and fellow authors, the second in the series…ROSE OF NUMEN.Rose of Numen front cover
Let me share one of the comments of Lloyd Weaver an African-American, when I gave him the book to read before coming to the presentation:” I am totally stunned. There is nothing more to be said. I thank the Mother of All.. You have put your soul on the line and rendered your life sacred.”

Lloyd Weaver

Lloyd Weaver


Quite heavy words for me but I understood what he meant for Lloyd is an Ifa priest of a reputation that earned him a chieftaincy title from the accepted cradle of Yoruba land, Ile Ife. I felt excited when he came to the launching and spoke glowingly about the book. His comments underlined the comments of the book reviewer, a head of the department of literature, Dr. Sola Owonibi.IMG-20151005-WA0029

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In the words of Dr. Owonibi, “I am a teacher of Literature, I should know about Literature and with all sense of responsibility, the book Rose of Numen, is a great work of Literature. It is a great work of literature, a book that I am proud to recommend to anyone. I congratulate the author on a well written book and the publishers for a great cover and layout.”
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I felt like I was floating on a cloud and listening to accolades for someone else. I will continue next week . I hope you will order for your own copy.
You can buy a copy from ifwgpublishing.com
Or at amazon.com

Grammarly Correct

I have been doing quite a lot of writing lately. I am learning a few things along the way as well. One of my pet dreams has always been to be a darn good writer. My reason is simple really. When I was much younger, I wanted to be a journalist but my dad always said I was too blunt for my own good and he didn’t fancy having to bail me out from getting into constant trouble with angry people who might not like my idea of journalism. I had this irritating habit of just blurting out my observations. Anyway in order not to bore you..did I mention that my husband thinks I tend to ramble? So what was I saying?
Somewhere in my life, I decided to write a story, and I have not been the same since then. Did I tell you that before? Never mind I can tell you that again because actually there is something I am excited about and wanted to share. When the internet came knocking on my door, I opened the door gingerly and started with the social media, but I am not so good about writing about inane things so I searched and joined some literary community.
I met my publisher, and I had my first book published, that really encouraged me and I kept my search on for serious writing community. I am happy I did that because I met quite a lot of writers and had to learn how to write in such a way as to make my readers understand what I was writing about.
A few weeks back one of my dreams came true, I got a seal of excellence from a popular e-magazine. While I felt elated about the seal of achievement I was uneasy about the comments of the owner of the site.. my complete inability to understand where the punctuations ought to be and my awful spellings. Now I have had that problem for as long as I can remember, punctuations. I read to myself as I write and I tend to speak fast so I run my sentences not giving punctuations their right of place.
I always forget to make use of my spell checks and then Nick gets across to me and talks to me about Grammarly.. ergh!
I want to learn because I want to improve my grammar and earn more readers so they don’t have to keep scratching their heads wondering what I am writing about.
I am sharing with you this info from ARAMINK .com on BETTER GRAMMAR FOR BETTER and who knows you might find it useful or may be someone like me who wants to be a good writer.
I get teased a lot for my grammar compulsion. Misplaced apostrophes distract me from the content of written communication, and double negatives instantly downgrade my estimation of the person speaking. I have tried, but these things bother me. It’s no secret: I think grammar is important.
I participate in two critique groups for writers. A new writer came to one of those groups recently. His story featured a dystopian society with teenage protagonists, and something significant was about to happen. Dystopias are popular especially among young adult readers, and his premise was interesting, but reading his submission with an eye critical to style was painful. It took me nearly an hour to agonize my way though his ten double-spaced pages. The biggest problem was not his story. It was his grammar.
He committed the usual subject-verb agreement crimes. He butchered his sentences with improper punctuation. Malapropisms peppered every page. Sentence fragments. Ridiculous imagery completed the ghastly picture he painted with his words. He probably has a good story to tell, but until he learns to tell it in plain – and correct – language, he won’t be telling it to much of an audience.
I suggested that he use a grammar checker. Grammarly’s free online grammar checker is a good one. It’s fun to play with, and it’s educational to boot. Anyone who seriously wants to write well can benefit from a grammar checker.
Plain, understandable language lets us communicate succinctly and clearly. The better people communicate, the more likely they are to get what they want and to understand what others want from them. Skilled communicators are more likely to persuade others. Good, clear language reduces misunderstandings.

You just might pick up some really good hints.
Do let me know what you think and hey let’s warp up the year with some really good sharing shall we?

Conversations…Talking with Numen 2

Conversations……….Talking with Numen 2
I had a problem, it was to decide what I wanted to do with my decision to resign and face another level of my life. You know, ask myself questions about what I wanted to do with my old age. I was only 30 and it was the morning after. I was tired of the humdrum nature of my life and felt it was time to think of something.
What could I really do?, with three children, a broken relationship and hunger now a very familiar friend? Then Numen walked in. We had met recently one night when I was planning a story for my weekly radio series. The first sign I had of her presence was the gentle laugh. The laugh always brought me up from my moods. How do you describe a laugh? Numen’s laugh gave me pictures of the sun after a rain, the gentle warmth that chases the chill out of your skin and dropped dollops of quiet happiness into stormy hearts. I was happy just hearing her laugh so I smiled wondering why she kept away for such a long time. She smiled this time right into my heart, making me feel uplifted. She asked me a question if I ever felt like a woman.
“That is strange” I replied. I am obviously a woman
“Do you feel like one or like a female”?
I smiled. “I am just learning to be human Numen”
“Yes I know”
“What age are you today”, I asked suddenly wanting to see her in the physical and that gentle rolling laugh washed over me.
“How do you feel today” she parried.
“Well…
“You turned thirty earth years in this incarnation but how old do you think you really are?”
I shrugged, I did not want to get into any heavy stuff. I generally don’t like preachers nor religious people.
I don’t care either..including priests” came the reply and I sighed that the character I was talking with was sitting comfortably in my head and would you believe she flashed me a picture showing she was shelling melon seeds. Honestly.
I sighed, “you wish to tell me something”?
“I am still waiting for an answer you know. How old do you feel today”? she countered.
“I guess I have no idea I replied her, you know my age so why not tell me”? I invited her.
Tradition is a collection of experiences and lessons learned. It is what shapes a society. The society never knows its own mind until the people in it collectively decided through their actions where they wish to sleep and determine their destiny, collectively and individually.
“Phew!, it is lecture day right?” I grumbled.
“No, it is a glorious day and you have not even listened to my conversation. You have not even started taking down my stories. Would be a sad thing if you overlook your masterpiece”
“What was that”? I looked around ,knowing fully well that Numen was talking to me in my head but I had goose walking all over my skin and my head went light
“I don’t even like religion” I grumbled a little bit loudly and besides, “I never lived in these parts and now you want me to write a story about traditions and culture.”
All those sacrifices, blood, chalk and stuff only …
“Really? Every community in the world has a tradition, make sacrifices , have rituals and stuff. Some feel us with disgust, some make us groan like that one you cried so much about”
I shrugged getting ready to engage in another argument. I was determined that if she wanted me to write about tradition and stuff…
She interrupted with a smile, “what will be wrong in learning about your culture, tradition before you pretend to hate it. A fish can never be at home in the tree meant for birds”.
That comment struck home and in a more contrite tone I asked Numen to share with me our traditions and culture
Love is the act of the Creator in permitting us the freedom to evolve a manual that will make life meaningful, and help us to search beyond all the drudgery and pain, that there is a rational for living.
Love helps us search beyond material success for a luminous goal that will ensure supreme happiness when you can be the god or goddess of a virtue. I am Numen, the goddess of goodwill and I can affect your goal in life in a positive way.
Can we really talk now? I will like to be your friend.

Conversations…..Talking with Numen

I have been going round in circle in my brain. A couple of reason why I feel like my grandfather’s clock…you know the one that stopped working on the day he died. Remember that song? If you are from my side of the street, you might get where I am coming from. I did say I was going to use this blog to hold conversations. I never really asked you what you thought of that either.
You know this monologue thing is not going to get me anywhere. Used to think if I just ignored the gnawing fear that rides my back sometimes I might just see past my fears. It is like giving birth to a baby and you assume there cannot possibly a baby just like yours. Those tiny perfect fingers could only be just that of your baby.
When I wrote Numen Yeye, she started out under different names really. First it did not have a title just a collection of stories and cultures and then I met the lady one evening. I was actually writing a poem and suddenly in my mind I heard the first sigh and looked around wondering who was so sad.
Then she whispered in the nicest way possible. “Can I tell you about me”? I stayed my hands on the keyboard and waited for the voice to come again and without warning she changed the subject.
I have be in love too you know, though in my time we did not understand it the way you have done. My skin not the hair on my neck stood on ends and suddenly it was very cold in the room. My children were doing their home- work and there was no husband in sight. I had just started living in my state capital, one hour’s drive away from my village
No thanks, I did not believe in ghosts, folk tales and any of that ‘barbaric’ stuff I used to tell my mother. “so who was talking?”
“You really have no need to know my real name just want to chat, isn’t that the word you say in these parts’?
In those days, 1981, I was a scriptwriter more than a writer. So in one night, in long hand I wrote the manuscript. By the morning when my son came to ask me what was for breakfast, my fingers were stiff. My character(I did not know her name then) talked. Just soft whispers, she had a soft voice, and would occasionally pause if I indicated doubt and then I would sense her shrug, so I would ask her to continue or ask a few more questions, like clarifications.
One time during the long night when she sensed I was tiring she would break her story and tell me bits about the village gossip. She seemed to know everybody. I remember asking her if she was an old lady and she gave a small laugh and said it would make no difference if she told me her age but she painted a picture of herself.
“Just think of Woman as she ought to be and you would have an idea what you look like” she had answered in that voice that was beginning to be familiar.
“What I look like”? I asked taken aback, looking round the empty silent room.
“I am young, middle aged, and very old like from time” she said a small laugh in her voice.
“Yes, I can sense you so please continue” I invited knowing she could just stop talking and I was having an experience that I wanted to feel to its last conclusion.
She gave that soft laugh again and said she would be back the next morning or night as she was most times confused by our times and levels.
Then my mind went blank and I looked up. My son was staring at me in bewilderment.
“Mum”?
“Yes dear, go back to sleep” I replied absently as I looked on the sheaves of paper in front of me
“Mum, it is morning. I left you here writing last night.”
“What?”
“So what can we have for breakfast I am hungry” he looked at me strangely.
I stared at the manuscripts, the long hand that had gone in different directions and tried to picture if I had been writing in my dream. I had talked to a character all night. I had more than 300 pages of longhand writing and sighed as I pictured another day typing them. I did not have a computer then and I knew she was coming back.
I gave my sister money to buy something for breakfast. I started typing.
It was my first my conversation with Numen

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