Guidelines to organizing a book launch in Nigeria

So, last night a friend of mine hit me up, we used to be quite cool back in UNIBEN and he had just written a book. I was still gushing with my praise, congratulations and “You know say my own signed copy na free na heehaw heehaw” when he added that he was having a book launch party planned. Naturally, my excitement tripled. I was seeing very visual visions of chatting, dinner and ehmmovies with the brunette sapiosexuals, when he brought me down to earth with: “Chris, can you help me out with the program. Like, what’s supposed to happen?”

That was when I realized, in typical Nigerian mien, Oga was planning a book launch party, and did not even know what it was going to be all about. So, I decided to write this post for those of you out there who are planning book launches and don’t know how to go about them. Continue reading “Guidelines to organizing a book launch in Nigeria”

Why Writers should wear lab coats

I was thinking on my way from church this afternoon. It was one of those deeply introspective moments where you are staring out the taxi window at the passing gala and La casera hawkers while your stomach roils with ASH.

ASH (ay-sh) (abbreviation)

meaning: After Service Hunger. The mysterious hunger known to afflict churchgoers every Sunday immediately after service. eg. Omo na to go Bola house go chop after service o! This ASH no be here

Continue reading “Why Writers should wear lab coats”

The Four things to do when Y.A.C.B.F.A.B.H

There must have been fifteen different alternate beginnings for this post before I finally went “Simbelah it!” and typed this one anyway. It’s been an irregular past couple of years on this blog and too naturally a lot of the regular readers have fled (ja lo sibe?). As you might imagine, I spent a lot of time this evening thinking of possible posts I could drop here that will bring my readers back.

So I checked my drafts.

posts for blog.png
Nothing really stood out for me…

 

Continue reading “The Four things to do when Y.A.C.B.F.A.B.H”

About the Art of Writing in 2016

Let me give you a dilemma to ponder on. Imagine a writer, extremely skilled in his craft, or hers, whatever, and this writer starts to write professionally. Here is the first thing that happens: the writer stops writing what it is they love to write and instead what they know people want to hear, what is de rigeur, in vogue, the style of the moment, the fad, etc etc. What comes next is the application of best practices, blogging styles, the many and numerous tricks of the trade and words like content management, SEO, post targeting, click baiting etc.

See, the worst thing that happened to writing as an artform in this century is the creation of the phrases, content development, content creation etc. Content developers are not writers same way wall painters are not artists. The ability to spin words that will entice and enthrall is beyond simple content made to sell a product, fill the pages of an e-book, the lines in a proposal or the empty pages of a website.

See, content development is not writing. A content developer is not a master of magic.

I manage a couple of blogs both privately and for clients and partners and I can tell you that the best content developers often are the worst writers imaginable. Good writers make awesome content developers for sure, but I can bet you a thousand quid that your best author will be hard-pressed churning out pages of (400 words or less) articles on ‘Beauty products for the insane and recently acquitted’ day in and out .

The point I am trying to make is this, when writers begin to pen down professionally, they start to follow the rules and the problems with rules is this: they stifle creativity in more ways than one. Not only do rules make it practically impossible to stretch the imagination further than a certain point (or at least allow it to, because imaginations as agreed by Messrs All and Sundry, have a way of stretching themselves wherever they like, rules be damned) but also, rules have this thing about defining the objective. The rules of an athletic track race demand that each runner stay in his lane and thus the objective changes. The objective of the race is no longer to find who wins the race by arriving first at the finish line, but to find who does so while staying in his lane. Rules draw a line to limit.

Writers should not be limited.

Our Heavenly Father shows us this first in His own word where by his will, he pens down what he deems is the story of creation as we will understand it, fantastic as it sounds. Our foolishness is therefore in determining and saying of what He has written that it is improbable or impossible to happen, given what little we know of the cosmos. But I digress.

Someone will argue that rules of writing are necessary so as to determine expertise and judge competence and also so as to establish a system by which what is written can be read and understood. And that I agree with.

The rule should therefore stay with the manner of presentation and not in the type of content. In the little village where I grew up, we often ran, us little kids of the village. Our rubber slippers held in our hands, to aid our bare feet with better traction on the ground, our trousers hitched up to prevent any sort of drag and so on. We ran to compete with each other, to know who was fastest and bestest. But most importantly, we ran for fun. We ran because we wanted to, surely competition was a basic staple in this need to race, but the enjoyment of it all was just as important. And so fat kids like me could run halfway to the wall, turn back and run the way we came. Everyone else yelled and complained, but it was all fun. In the presentation, comparing both the modern race as we see in the Olympics’ track events and that I constantly practiced in my little village, both involve moving from one end to another with the determining factor being the length of time of race and the order on which the competitors arrived at the end. Excellent. In matters of the lane, starter’s pistol, and other newfangled rules and regulations that govern the manner in which the race is run, the rules only see to stifle.

The basic sprinting stance now involved moving with legs pumping and arms like a piston following in coordination. In the old village, some ran with both arms flung out to the sides, others with arms straight back in the manner of anime ninjas and some yet just ran with reckless abandon. Some, such as yours truly, simply rolled along as a mass of shaking and shivering rolls of flesh.

When you write, write with reckless abandon. Let the words pour forth and the truth of your soul peek through.

I had an epiphany yesterday.

“An artist must be a man of huge appetites. For to understand the world which he depicts he must have a huge desire for it. The world. The artist must want to swallow it up, to gobble it whole, to completely immerse all of himself in the sticky morass of the world. To have the world stink on his skin. For you must understand that art is only a reflection of the world, a description, a depiction, an interpretation, seen through what the artist has seen, heard, felt or desires of the world. Art is the world made new.

Now here is the rub. An artist must have a huge appetite for the world, but the artist must not satisfy this appetite in the world, but in their art. In your art. The artist just take all of his longing and desire and paint on canvas, play on stage, sing with all of their breath,  or scribble out with a pen. The artist must scratch himself of all of this desire. Purge all of it out by delving into it, but only through the art. Only through his creation will the artist live and experience his desire. Those artists who have realised their appetites and have made of it their art, they succumbed to the knowledge they will never experience their art in this lifetime and so decided that they will portray it in their art, and so from the moment of that decision, they were plagued with the need and desire to quickly gain release.

It is the job of the art connoisseur, the novel reader, the gallery shadow, the music lover to experience these worldly desires so expressed by the artist. It is he who would dive headlong into the mess of the artist’s wants and dreams, immerse himself in the shameless sty of the fifth of the artist’s vilest thoughts and experience in them an enjoyment, a relief, an orgasmic delight akin and belonging to the sigh of the artist’s final satiety.”

Rules however, will not let the artist fully express these desires. Rules leave no space to dive in and roll thickly within the desires that will be expressed.

When writing in 2016, my advice is simple. Ignore the rules, plunge in deep. Write from the heart, in bold slashes that dare criticism. Write the things you want to, ignoring the comments and the unlookers. Throw the ink against the sheets, slam your palm on the keyboard, imprint your fucking ideas on the mind of every one who reads. Then settle back and say, “Fuck it! That’s what I think, and I think beautifully.”

That what GOD did, only not in those words.

Disclaimer

  • I am a content developer

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“Please don’t be anointed”

In a long while I have not used All in this life’s journey to tell actual stories from my own life. I have subscribed to that very Social Media promoted thing that blogs are supposed to be for gossip stories, fashion, music, or literature, forgetting the initial purpose was as a sort of online diary. I remembered a few days ago when I saw a post from Sharon, and the events of Today prompted this, so, read on and enjoy. A day in this life’s journey.

True life story

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“Please don’t be anointed”

 

When I stepped out the house on Saturday, 30th May, 2015 I had a lot of expectations. Most of them had to do with what I was going to do that day, and how successful it was going to be. The others involved just how much money I was going to spend before the day was done. You see, I was going to take samples, in a river I had never heard of, of both the water and the sediment, as part of my final dissertation for the conclusion of my Masters in Science program at the University of Port Harcourt. There I was wearing my lucky old grey shirt, and the dirty brown jeans that go with, lacing up the oldest pair of sneakers I had, and little did I know that before I was done, I would meet Japanies, yes, Japanies, discover a world beyond what CNN would show you, and learn how not to be anointed.

Continue reading ““Please don’t be anointed””

Two Tales

NUDITY, FOOD AND THINGS THAT CAUSE HATE

There I was, wet body with a bar of amber colored Fair & White Gold soap in my hand, single gold chain atop my slim hips, hair net on my head removing hair from my neck, bambi eyes wider than a saucer and mouth open in shock as the door to the bathroom creaked open and a pair of eyes ogled the spectacle. This was followed by a high-pitched slightly maniacal laughter as my embarrassment doubled and my yellow skin flushed as my heart beat tripled.

Oh no.

“Sister Simi, sorry o”, the owner of the slightly maniacal laughter said as she pinched her accomplice who walked back to the living room of my two-bedroom flat, holding his pinched arm. I could swear that I saw a tingle of accomplishment in her eyes and I looked at her in disbelief.

God.

“I didn’t know you were inside the bathroom o. How are you now? Please come and give me M&B paracetamol, I’m having a slight headache. How is your weekend going? Hope no problem.”

“I… I… I’m coming. I’ll be done soon.”

“Okay. I hope you cooked o. so I can take the paracetamol before we go for rehearsal.”
And she sauntered off to the direction of the living room in her very ugly red blouse and pink leggings like nothing happened.

I closed the door and sat down with my bare buttocks on the cold tiles, cursing myself for giving her an extra key to my house. As I stood up two minutes later when my mouth closed and completed my bath, I heard the TV change from SoundCity to Africa Magic Yoruba. Anger peered its head in my chest, amazed at the audacity of this woman and terrible words from a dark place in my heart began to take form.
I got out, got dressed and as I made my way to the living room with my car keys, I stopped short as the smell of my Hot-dog and Shrimp sauce wafted to my nostrils.

Jesus no. Jesus no. Jesus, please, no.

I ran the remaining steps to find my Hot-dog and Shrimp sauce on two plates with my Ofada rice beside it. There was no way both of them were eating and there was any left in the pot for me.

“Aunty Simi,” Ayinde said as he sat on the floor, my food between his small parted legs, “do you have Bobo?”
His mother threw her head back and laughed again, choking a little as the food in her mouth passed the wrong tunnel.
In that moment, my eyes filled with tears and I garnered all the hate I could muster and promised to unleash it in future on this five year old boy and his mother.

 

 

STOLEN KISSES

When I pouted my lips and closed my eyes, I didn’t know what to expect but the last thing, and I mean the very last thing on my mind was to feel Christian’s lips on my own after responding to his ‘Simi kiss me now’ with ‘Oya take’ inside the board room of our office with Isaiah sitting directly opposite us, his brows squeezed in concentration as he stared at his MacBook Pro laptop. Christian had withdrawn with a grin as soon as my eyes flung wide open in utter disbelief. If he had looked away and pretended as if nothing happened, I would have told myself that it was only my imagination but he just stared and smiled and I swiveled my chair away from him. Very good. I am now an office slut. From Shedrach taking me home in his rickety Toyota Corolla all the way to Satellite Town where he had never been before in his entire life before meeting me and having to find his way back to his house in Oshodi every Thursday when we closed earliest in the week to Musa who bought me lunch every day as he asked the same ‘So when are we going on a proper date outside this office environment?’.

Office slut. I couldn’t wait to tell Lamide. She always knew what to do.

 

P.S.

I actually do have a Tele’s Hot-dog & Shrimp sauce and believe it or not, it’s awesome.

Both stories are based on true events.

30th May, 2014

I wrote the first half of this post almost a year ago, and I stumbled upon it a couple of days ago, and what I read touched me in some way, revealing answers to questions I was currently asking myself. I hope it does the same for you.

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30th May, 2014

“Do you stop because it seems futile or do you give up? Half of the time you ought to consider your actions before you perform them, the other half the time, you just act. In recent times, I think I have been doing too much of doing, there has been no real action. For every ten or twenty movements, only two or three have been by my will. The rest occurring as if one kind of tidal flow, with the events and scenarios and me; I have just been moving. No thoughts as to why or the end. Or perhaps some thought, but nearly enough.

Continue reading “30th May, 2014”