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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

An Interview with Paula Youmell

COFFEE AND DONUTS Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00063]
When I got about reading this book, I was genuinely skeptical, first saw it as a labour of love for fellow authors. You know in my fondest dreams I used to imagine myself as an author.
Now I don’t know anything about donuts and coffee. I love drinking coffee, the processed stuff and donuts?
I am generally not into Food or stuff like that, the reason is simple, I live in a part of the world where such things as donuts and coffee looks exotic. Trusting Christine on this I opened the first page and started reading. I must sound a note of warning here. Authors are required to write on what they know, Paula scored that, however if I stayed with the title, I would drop the book. So it might be something worth considering when you pick a title that sends a picture of being a cookery book.
Maybe authors should consider a chat with the publisher. This book on a bookshelf in my world will go unnoticed except for the very curious and yes truly is the coffee and donuts of life. Coffee and Donuts is really hand book that gets you through the day in a wholesome way. I enjoyed myself, and like the author says it is a book you want to read as you get ready for the day. I found myself smiling especially when she insisted I was responsible for my experiences, I love that. She made me believe in her comments, was honest and believable particular when she talked about her fixation with weight and food. I learnt I could forgive myself. That was a cool feeling, to shrug off the weight of guilt and truly accept me, warts and all. Yeah, I could sleep on the darn bed unmade!
Let us have a chat with the authorBasil & I
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself
I am a Registered Nurse, Health and Physical Education Teacher, and a Holistic Healer. I have studied whole food nutrition and natural healing for 28 years. I support others on their path to healing their bodies by working in rhythm with nature.
2. Well I got my peeve out of the way, will you like to let us know why you called it coffee and donuts?
In the very beginning of the book I explain how people like things, foods, that bring back fond memories and create comfort for themselves. Coffee is a morning ritual that is comforting to many, many people around the globe. Donuts, as I wrote in the beginning of the book, are a fond memory for me. My Sisters and I made many a donut with our Gram. People, in the USA, put coffee and donuts together every morning as breakfast food. The two, paired together, seemed like a heart-warming title for morning inspirations; much like the morning cup of coffee and a donut.
3. From my own spiritual background, I am taught not to see the human being as a divine being, and I find that a hard chew for me, will it matter if a portion of your potential readers think like me?
Maybe, maybe not. My life experiences have taught me that the divine, “God -Goddess,” is part of us all, that we were made in the likeness of “God-Goddess;” that our soul is a part of the collective soul, the divine energy of the universe.
Your novel, Numen Yeye, speaks of a Goddess, Priestess. You speak of being a one God centered faith person but also how “man’s search for identity… every human being has a responsibility to have a luminous goal and try to reach it. It is not an issue of religion.”
I too believe healing and spiritual beliefs are not an issue of religion. I think whatever a person’s spiritual beliefs, we can all do deep soul searching to heal ourselves.
(I look forward to reading this novel of yours. Yes, I just ordered it.)
Your book presumes that I have read your first book, that left gaps because it segregated from truly relaxing as it indicated I need to have read book one. Was that deliberate sales style?
No, not a deliberate sales pitch. So many reviews of books on Amazon complain that a subsequent book by the same author were a waste of money as half or more of the information was the same as a previous book. I did not want to repeat information for my readers.
4. I like your comment, ”healing is a journey” and like you stated human beings find that difficult, why do we have it so difficult to start on that journey?
I believe for each person there are different factors that hold them back but that all stem from the fear of change, the fear of stepping out of their comfort zone into the unknown and the unknown consequences of this action of change.
5. Let’s go to Nepal, two basic contrasts, the four month old baby and the 102 year old man, the dramatic similarity is that they are survivors of the earthquake, there is a lot of symbolism in that happening. People were affected by that happening, how do we learn to be healed, mind, soul?
Natural disasters open a whole different world of suffering. As humans, we cannot control what natural weather patterns (obviously human’s modern industrialized existence is having major impacts on our weather system) and earth shifts bring to our daily life. I think any natural phenomena that has the power to take our loved ones and neighbors from our daily existence is deep form of acceptance, recognizing we cannot control everything that happens to us and in our lives. Perhaps this is what the Buddha meant by letting go of our attachments to things.
6. Please explain to us from this side of the pond, whole foods and our perception that civilization means eating the kind of people (food?) Western people eat. Our main diet is more often carbo- heavy?
Whole foods are foods that are minimally processed, cooking and cutting up food is processing, and nothing is removed from the original food and nothing has been added in. For example, refined flour takes the whole grain and polishes off the bran and germ (removing parts of the original whole). This leaves the grain’s endosperm only to be ground into flour. You have lost the fiber source (bran), the fat soluble nutrients (germ), and many minerals and nutrients. On the adding in side of things, let’s take a look at most commercial yogurt. Yogurt is simply cultured milk. Commercial yogurt adds thickeners, stabilizers, refined sugars, and in some cases (cheap brand names) artificial flavors.
Are your Carb heavy diets from whole food carbohydrates; not the refined, packaged food carbohydrates of American culture?
7. How would you want your book to be assimilated by the average African who has lived all his life on the continent?
This is an interesting question as books definitely have an audience range. I do not have any preconceived notions that my book will appeal to all audiences from all walks of life. Industrialized nations, whose people have pulled themselves away from the flow and rhythm of natural living, need to be reminded that we are all a part of nature, all a part of the web of life.
8. Please explain what you mean by holistic healing, do you accept herbs and the use of incantations in place of yoga?
Holistic Healing means using natural means to re-balance the body’s health: herbs, whole foods, energy healing, daily movement, natural lifestyle choices, etc.
9. Do you write only on healing, will you accept clients from Africa? Do you have a regular clinic and is it very expensive?
I would accept any client who wants to work with me if we both agree that my support services are a good fit for the person needing support. I also need to feel comfortable in my ability to help the person. If I think someone else might be better suited, have more knowledge and experience with their challenges, I would not hesitate to refer them to someone else.
I have regular office hours and I do not believe I am expensive. An initial consult is $175 and a person is hiring me for at least 8 hours of my time to review their health history, Basil & Istart a map of their healing plan, meet with them for 2-3 hours, then I do a thorough email follow up with suggested lifestyle changes and healing additions to their lives, and answer email questions for 2 full weeks.

10. Share a typical day with us
Up by 6 AM getting the day rolling, breakfast and lunches made for my kids. I drive them to school by 8:15 and return home to:
• Do laundry, clean house, get in a bit of yoga, etc.
• Review client charts and see clients
• Write books, blog posts, articles for magazines, etc.
• Create and market online courses
• Pick my kids up at 2 PM.
• Walk my dog.
• Make dinner, do dishes, and finish up any business work.
• Bed by 9:30, read, lights out by 10 PM or so.
• It is a fun life!

11. What is next after coffee and donuts?
10 years ago I started a book about working with kids around whole foods, health, and healing. It was a homeschool project with my 2 sons. I would like to finish this book. I also have ideas for 5 or 6 more books. It is a matter of having the time to write.
12. Please give links to where we might purchase your books and blog you have.
My website blog page: http://www.paulayoumellrn.com/blog/
Coffee & Donuts: http://www.paulayoumellrn.com/book-2/
My first book: http://www.paulayoumellrn.com/book/

Thank you very much for being part of this discussion.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to share my work and passions with your readers.

The Old Man

That evening Babatunde sat watching the stars and wondered on what he could do. He considered his growing dissatisfaction with living in the city. He really had no wish to live in the city. He would like to have a small pharmacy, not a patent store that littered the village now, but a real pharmacy and he wanted to study the herbs more and learn about its combination. When the government introduced an agency to contro the influx of fake drugs into the country, he had like most people heaved a sigh of relief that some sanity was being introduced into the business. It wasn’t long before he experienced disappointment when the merchants of death as he privately called them shifted their business to the rural areas and he soon discovered that even hospital staff had been infected with the rampant corruption as their stole from the Medical stores and sold them to their clients. It was thus painful to see patients not able to get genuine drugs from the pharmacy managed by the government hospitals but such drugs could be purchased from pharmacies owned privately by staff of the hospital.
He was expected to do such things too , sometimes they made inflated requests and creamed the excess to their own pharmacies. Babatunde knew he could not get involved in such practice and he contemplated leaving because he sensed that someday soon someone was going to know about the dirty deals going on.
An old man walked by and he automatically gave him the one owrd salute reserved for elderly people. The old man replied and asked if his father was home. Babatunde stood up respectfully and said he had seen his father on his way out to have a talk with his friend at the end of the street and offered to send for him. The old man smiled and said he just wanted an excuse to rest his legs as he had been having a walk round the town.
Babatunde smiled and said that was really interesting as he knew that men of his age tended to sit and smoke the occasional pipe after the only main food of the day. The old man nodded and took the offered traditional seat that Babatunde offered. Babatunde noticed the very old type of shoes that the man had on. He was intrigued but said nothing. The slippers were made from tiny beads and Babatunde had never seen such on old men around but remembered that old men were known to have such slippers. His father used to tell him about it and had shown him he kept in his room as a family inheritance.
The old man asked him about his business in town and he smiled that he was a businessman but rather a servant of the state as he worked in the hospital as a pharmacist.
“Hmm, the medicines that have been rendered ineffective because they have removed some or most of the real substance of the medicine. Olodumare shows you what you need to use by the shapes of the plants and will indicate a prevalent ailment when such remedies starts to grow around the area”. He gave Babatunde a keen look, “Do you know where the lost prince can be reached now, according to the rumours making the rounds, the lost prince has incarnated and he can be reached”
Babatunde gave the old man a startled look, “Do you know of him?”
The old man nodded and suggested that Babatunde should be thinking of that as well, then he rose to his feet and offered that he might walk by the next day and tell Babatunde his ideas.
“Give my regards to Gbadamosi” and he went on his way.
However Babatunde was aware of the mystery when his father claimed no knowledge of the old man and asked his son to describe him. Babatunde tried very hard to remember what the old man looked like but remembered the slippers.The answer made his father to give him a sharp look as he watched his son closely and asked him if the old man had given his name.
Babatunde was becoming irritated, “Papa, you don’t expect me to ask an old man his age do you?”
“I suppose, you are right his father responded but stared when Babatunde said he was going to the orijajoogun house.
“There is no old man in that house”
“What?, he expressly said that?”
Babatunde felt goose bumps all over him but a determined look came over him and he told his father that the old man said he would come round the next day.
Babatunde waited for two nights in a row and felt a keen sense of disappointment when the man did not show.
The morning after his endless wait he made ready to leave for the city and drove not paying particular attention his surrounding just looking round him, he had driven past a spot when he though he saw in the rear view someone who looked like the old man sitting pensively looking out. He reversed his car and parked. He got out of the car and moved close. Sure enough it was the same old man of three evenings ago. He was still wearing the same tiny beaded slippers. He sat on the old stump beside the man. He was about to given vent to see his anger when he remembered that the old man had told him that those who listen to the Earth may pick her rhythm.
The old man didn’t really look at him but indicated he knew Babatunde was close when he placed his hand gently on that of Babatunde, then he looked at him. He spoke softly as if he was talking to himself and reliving a picture.

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?

GROWLING JANUARY

GROWLING JANUARY
The year woke up bleary eyed and growled at a few of my friends. First hint I had of its bad temper was when I was informed a great friend of mine had bit the dirt. A heart attack had taken him to the great beyond. I blinked and desperately held on to my pain as I tried to accept that I was never going to see his green light blinking any time I came online. Skip Slocum was one that was not going to make suggestions, critique, and suggest to me on storylines anymore. I felt cold and stared accusingly at the computer daring it to tell me it had no hand in what had happened to Skip. When Lisa sent me email asking if I was aware that Skip had passed, my heart felt the blows again. It was the silliest reason to be angry and I glared at the computer.
It did not help that I had told myself I was going to be more at the darn computer this year. I had just taken on a job to teach a couple of young persons about the dangerously addictive job of being a scriptwriter. I had even shared that excitement with Skip and now the joke was on me. It was going to be lonelier, typing and sharing with just me I thought and mercifully remembered that there was Lisa the third leg of the triangle that made up what we fondly called the chord.
We were officially supposed to critique each other’s writings, share our dreams and sometimes we became impossible and teased each other endlessly. The very special moments we shared online became almost real to me. Skip and Lisa became real people to me. I had dreams of flying the pair and their spouses over to Africa to enjoy the sun and coconuts. For some reason, we seemed to think Skip would love coconuts, we promised to dress Skip and Bunny (that is what he called his wife) in proper African gear. I said I was going to feed them on my local cuisine and …bleh.. we were going to beat drums… the dream was a dream we knew it but we had fun. The agony now is knowing Skip was not going to be around , not even online. Erg.
I sighed and tried to see from swollen eyes if I could stick my tongue at the year and get on with my life, but then the news came that a colleague of mine in the broadcasting world had decided to pick up a celestial microphone. Apparently he had a more lucrative offer to do celestial programmes so he left. I scratched my head wondering what he thought he was thinking leaving me behind. Darn he was in his early fifties. I am exactly a decade older. Suddenly I watched each sunset with dread, wondering what the darkness had on its wings and felt a shamed relief each time the tiny fingers of the sun prodded my eyelids to a new day. My mouth formed a grateful thanks and I feverishly longed that by some miracle the day might just be made into thirty six hours. There was so much I still wanted to do.
Was I too late? Had the dream tarried? Would I make the miles of dreams I had drawn before I meet up with the old man with his scythe? I did not like the questions, couldn’t one just know what time was left? When should I retire? Was I being morbid? I squirmed at the realization that I loved being alive. Phew!. Did I just use the word love in the past tense? What if the gods are listening? They don’t like being taunted and wel, I breathed a sigh of relief, the gods don’t speak English anyway I said and turned the computer on. Darn, I was going to write I told myself firmly, then I decided to visit MWC, short for My Writers Circle, did some tentative posting and smiled, the day promised sunshine and I relaxed. Sango who was stretched out on the mat with his axe was kicked awake by the growl of the skies. He looked up and gave me a wink, I frowned and my phone indicated I had a text message. I lazily reached out for it and sat bolt upright.
Yeah, you guessed it, another friend had just departed. Much younger, my television producer with whom I had produced quite a lot of television enter-educate dramas. He was of the rare breed of producer/actor with loads of talent that seemed to hold him suspended between bliss and agony. He had opted out of earthly productions too.
We are still in January and suddenly I am wondering why January seemed to be growling so badly. The rains came early and sniffed at the sun too. The leaking roof is not helping my temper either. What do you think I should do?

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.

Random Musings

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 neice 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.

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