I was first taken on a blog tour by Walter ‘Shakespearean’ Ude, a great pal and splendid writer. We became acquainted first as tweeps on twitter (where he lives @Walt_Shakes) and then as Lagosians; it has been a great experience getting to know him and through him, other amazing writers. When you can, enjoy his work at www.mymindsnaps.com.
Now this is my tour and on it, I have to answer four questions on behalf of my pen then nominate three other great bloggers I know. These three would equally answer the same questions on their blogs, and in turn nominate three other writers each. And on it goes…guiding you through the blogs and works of some of the world’s best ‘writerly’ personas.
Here goes mine:
WHAT AM I WORKING ON?
The much I am working on is a few series running concurrently on my blog. One is the “This Thing Called…” series which is a personal indulgence of mine. It’s a private hobby to tear apart, strip by strip, hitherto ‘everyday’ concepts so that they are better appreciated. On my TTC series, I take random topics and place them under my blogoscope…I’ve done that with Beauty, Honor, Weddings and Success was my latest specimen. There’s also the ‘ON TOP D MATTER’ series which is, yet, primarily a weekly and/or fortnightly review of events at the ongoing National Conference in Abuja, Nigeria. When the conference ends, it will grow into something else…I hope.
Still in the coffers is a baby that has not properly taken shape. The much I can say about this project is that: One, it will be anchored by a Doctor whose acquaintance I was privileged to make 5 years ago; two, this brilliant doctor is NOT a medical doctor; and three, it will show you in HD, the colors, textures and stories that real life likes to dress up in. I’d say ‘Watch Out’ and play one badt soundtrack from ‘Igodo’ but I am watching out myself so…
Most recently, I acquired the shared online publishing rights for a new series by Miracle Adebayo titled ‘Unforgiven’ – the first episode has already been published here on WAW. Mimi is an amazing writer who is known in Naijastories circles as the Queen of the FPSM – Fictional Prose Series Movement 😉 I will not tell you if that is true or not but you WANT to watch out for Mimi and her dainty royal pen.
Between and around these, there is an anthology of poems I am slowly, vaaaiiiirryyy sloooowly putting together; a few short stories waiting to gel before I release them; political analyses; news reports; etc.
HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?
I’m not sure how to answer this question so I’ll just blab on about my writing; hopefully, you’ll find your answer in there:
My earliest memory of any writing was essays in secondary school. For an essay topic as simple as ‘How I Spent My Vacation’, I’d craft dialogues, tell stories and even drizzle on some poetry. My classmates – God bless their valiant souls – bore the brunt of most of it but I still didn’t take writing seriously. Not until my ‘lil’ big sister mentioned offhandedly how she thought I was a wonderful writer and needed to invest more time working on the skill. So I did.
In my sojourn so far, I have refused to look at any genre of writing as untouchable; I try to write everything with just as much passion as I write anything. As a student journalist, I reported news events and interviews, I wrote and still do investigative pieces, opinions and feature stories. I write poetry, fiction, non-fiction, essays, etc. The one broad genre I am yet to dabble into is drama and by extension, screenwriting. I hear it’s kajaad oh but we shall see huh?
WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?
I’m not sure oh. Maybe because I can. Or because I know how to. The reasons I write are maybe as numerous as the things I write. I wrote a poem once in my university lecture hall on a particularly bad day because I needed an outlet. I wrote a very long story once on the strength of the pain of a broken heart. I wrote an opinion piece once out of anger, another time because the situation was just so hilarious that I had to share.
We all are blessed with talents and one of mine is the skill of the pen. I don’t want to be like that poor sharp guy in the bible who was thrown into hell because he buried the one talent he was given and returned it unscathed to the master upon the latter’s return. So I write.
HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?
Finally, a question I am comfortable with!!!:)
Doing laundry manually is an absolute anti-hobby of mine. That said, the only reason I still wash with my hands – not counting the old news that I don’t have a washing machine yet – is that I get a lot of writing ideas while washing. I also get them while bathing, while walking, in a group or private discussion. I lose some of them after the moment has passed (I really should buy a pocket notebook) but a few linger on, sometimes for months, until I sit down and put down.
For poetry, analysis and other pieces that are neither exclusive fiction nor non-fiction, slowly I collect the materials I need and over time, it comes together. For stories however, many times I know how a story will end even before I know how it will start. As a result, the writing process is this near-burdensome frenzy to get-it-done-already! Sometimes I know how to start but not how to go anywhere else; so I just start and sit there. A lot of my characters are drawn from real people I know and the story in my head births them; hardly has it ever been the other way round.
Lastly when I am doing a story right, I know. There is this thing that I cannot explain which I feel when I am writing a story just as it was ‘told me’; the thing manifests as a shiver when I pen down a sweeeet twist in a plot, as a smile when it’s funny and as sweaty eyes when the scene is particularly emotional. It tells me when to go ahead and publish a piece or leave it in the cooler for a while. This is the best I have ever done at explaining the thing so…there.
And now, the three amazing writers I know.
Chioma Nkemdilim (b.k.a ThatIgboGirl)
Chioma is simply That Igbo Girl!
She is also a serial blogger, an avid reader, a music lover, a Korean drama buff and a chocoholic, in no particular order :D. At different points in her life, she wanted to be a doctor, then a private investigator, then an archaeologist, then later decided that being a forensic scientist was much better.
But in all these, one thing stayed unchanging – her love for writing. Chioma does not now have any of those lofty careers she wanted as a child; she’s happy just being a serious writer (most of the time) and a tree hugger. She wants you to know that she equally does a little web designing here and there so don’t hang in front of that screen biting your nails for too long…reach her! You can read her stuff at thatigbogirl.wordpress.com and follow her on twitter @thatigbogirl.
Tip: If perhaps you are struggling with reconciling the name with the light skin or ‘stranger’ childhood dreams above, don’t ask if she’s Nigerian. Because if you do, your fate will be much like mine; she’ll shoot you – literally – a hazardous look and say “duh! Before nko?”
Stephen Eke (b.k.a Uncle Stephen)
Uncle Stephen finally agreed to accept the title of ‘writer’ after being conferred with it severally by his village people. He is inspired to write his thoroughly humorous stories by his enduring conviction that the same village people are after him.
He lives in Lagos because it is (hopefully) far beyond the reach of – yes, you guessed it – the same village people. Regardless, he loves to travel and when he is not writing, is out on the seas making a living.
Uncle Stephen has never won an award but his fans repress this global slander by telling him he is the best humor writer in Nigeria. If you doubt it, check out his humorous stories on his blog www.homeofhumor.com; but first insure your ribs because you will need a doctor to repair them afterwards. If you do not laugh yourself to tatters over his stories, your own village people are even stronger than his! He also grants you permission to stalk him on Twitter @itsunclestephen.
He is a son, a brother, a friend, a writer, a singer, a blogger, and a lawyer. Writing is his first love, but then there’s a polygamous situation with music, theatre and dance. Chiedozié likes to travel and meet new people, but also enjoys his quiet moments curled up with a book or listening to music. Puzzles, board and computer games are equally his thing — Candy Crush and Flappy Bird currently rank tops among his favorites.
He describes his niche as the mystery/suspense/psychological-thriller genre, and his writing style as subtle and understated. He likes to keep his social media image neat and elaborate so if you were to ask for his contact details, he would reply as follows:
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DiCblog
LinkedIn: Chiedozié Dike
In 2011, Chiedozié graduated magna cum laude from Law and – wait for this – he speaks Igbo, Yoruba, English, and French.
Intimidated much? 😉
Mention me on twitter @ojukwu_martin