Uche Uwadinachi - Guest Author (Spoken Word Poetry)

I first 'met' Uche Uwadinachi through his blog and then Facebook and finally in Nigeria where we really met at several of the events I attended. he was a charming person and his spoken word poetry even more so. He has a trademark poem, Ebony Goddess, which has won him some prizes and which is a joy to watch him perform. His first collection of poetry is Scar in the heart of pain. In this interview, Uche emphasizes that what he does "is not spoken word but spoken word poetry thus that makes it understandable that every poem, any poem can still be performed. My spoken word poetry is my book in its speech act medium- and I always write my poem not like prose, nor like drama but with that riddle that define the oral tradition where the African poetry began. However I still hope to improve on my style of writing."

I got a complimentary copy of the book and enjoyed most of the poems. In it, there are issues of solitude, absurdity, survival, poverty, and serenity to faith but most of all is the theme of a persisting circle of pain in the life of an individual. "The pain wakes up as an ache of situation but bulge into an entire life of agony and this tradition is seen irresistible in the life of the common man. The hold here strikes at the cells of the mental and physical being of the victim. The common man thus is disfigured with the worries of poverty, unemployment, disease and deaths, thus the continuous struggle against these odds, leaves him drown in despair and desolations with no thoughts of ever surviving."

Enjoy the interview below...

1. Tell us about yourself; a brief autobiography -

My name is Uche Uwadinachi, a priest of poetry. I practice performance poetry and the spoken word as part of my vocation and religion. Am a graduate of the Lagos State University Ojo -2006 with a B.A in English Language. I belong to a two-man music group named Kamazaiah- a culture hip pop movement. Our first compilation album ‘Lifted’ was released in 2007 under the Sound Factory Label and presently we work towards our next album titled ‘Bad Things’. I have featured in several Nigerian movies such as Real love, Love of my life’, Haunted love, Adam and Eve, You broke my heart, Who killed Dele, Veno, Superstory (No pain no gain) among others.

I am the author of the book ‘SCAR in the HEART of pain’ and its spoken word album. The poetry collection was published by BlackArts, while the album was produced by Tuntout Records. In 2006, I won the ANA Lagos poetry festival (poetry performance) prize, by 2010, I won the June Poetry-craze contest, November 2010, I won second place in the Ken Saro-wiwa writing competition for poetry-2010. I have performed my poetry at the 1st Tinapa trade expo, Wordslam 1, 11, 111 and 1V, Bookshelve-LTV8, Poetry-potter, Bristish Council, Samkard Tree-National Library, Pen society, Ayota Art Centre etc.
For a living, I work as a continuity man for TV commercials and reality shows and also as a presenter in Konto Music, a music documentary programme on NTA Channel 10 Lagos, and 9ja TV.

2. When and why did you begin writing?

Since childhood, writing has always been a companion while I was learning to get close to friends. It was my closest pal that understood and could talk to me. I rarely flirt with people because I was so timid then that I wrote so many memos just to express my self or pass message to the next person. This lone nature lead me into singing; though I have a good voice but spent more time in writing songs than singing. I grew up with so much time and romance for my pen that I felt I had to write about something in me, something I felt impeded me from people and rather blanked me out from the outside world. I felt I had a scar as child. And this I began to write about into poetry. Ironically that was how my healing started, and then while writing, I realize that rather than helping me run away from the crowd, it was instead taking me closer to people and giving me more attention. Since then, writing in poetry, music, prose, has ever been my tradition, trade and love.

3. What inspires you to write?

Hmmmm, loneliness has always been my muse. As a person who ‘presently’ is fond of people around him, I find it empty and disturbed to thoughts when am left alone or deserted. Alone, you find me most times talking to myself, like I use to do in my lonely childhood. I would always raise questions about myself and the sad society I live in. I find myself involved in that possible remedy the community can afford. This whole drama of pondering raises my pen to bleed letters in writings. If am not fortunate to find a pen at that moment, I continue arguing with myself without been conscious of those around. This thus, happens to be my best purgative syrup and excursion into spoken word poetry and that why loneliness is anytime, a good exercise for me.

4. What was your publishing journey like?

I don’t know how my girl will take this, but I have to say this, that book is a product of my long secret affair with pens and that’s why I love “tapping” biros in my primary school. I had spent so much time flirting around in poems, romancing my very weird thoughts in the name of an infirmity I believe I was fighting since childhood. I almost died of this idea in my head that I kept the journey writing so as to get to the end of the book and find a solution to that sickness of my heart.

The journey was a Molue- escapade. It was an adventure I never knew I had started until I ended, because that was when I began feeling the backache. I was writing to end a journey of dilemma for years so I was really amazed when I found a book in my hand. I had no money, no publisher, all I had, were those pains in my heart and in the lives of people around me, however I moved to fight these scars. For years, I was querying and trying to meet a remedy and that was how the book was found. In 2006 at the ANA festival, I saw a need to speak with AJ Daga Tolar, the author of ‘Season of Struggle’, ‘This country is not a poem’, ‘Darkwater drunkard’ (all poetry collections) and the chairman of BlackArts, on the need to published my book. However before then, my lecturers in school had been working on it as a collection.

I was so glad when BlackArts in conjunction with Vigillis communication published my book. When I saw the final form, I realized that I had lost so much fluid and pounds and was in pain. The production was quite strenuous and expensive because we took time to make our cover; getting the model and graphic designer to make it all good and also ensuring a good story to tell, however I was smiling real great when I saw the book. It was an end to my journey of pain in the scar of my heart. It was then I realized that no child really is born with a scar except the scary society which leaves in the mind of the growing kid, the fear of ever surviving in a state of discrimination and utmost dehumanization.

5. Why poems, do you plan to write prose?

Interestingly, why poems? Well, I love prose especially, its endurance in holding down attention with cute narrative styles and themes but I faithfully stick to poetry and just poetry for now. I have no plans to write prose. Poem, yes! Because I did not choose it, it chose me through it swift, concise and sexy form. Poetry with its brevity and stylistic construction, delivers its message like a bullet. It saves you a lot of time, words, thoughts and weight, and captures your mind in a precise frame of thoughts in your own words. Uhhhh, it’s like making a charm, so quick and expertise. Whoa! Poetry can take any form, shape, sex and taste, to pass it splendour. Every genre of art, drama or prose employs it. Poems have always been my secret therapy and will remain irreplaceable. As for other medium, my performance poetry is dramatic and its story can prosaic, but it feel, is poetry.

6. Discuss the poem in your books

Me (page 5)

The poem “Me” in page 5 which sights the mind as a mare, exposes a horror encountered by the personae his sub-consciousness. The day occurring as an eye witness ignores the crime scene of “life” to mind its own business. This encounter is a struggle as he kicked “…voiced seized” yet the scar feeds its every part of life “pricking deeply through his skin”. This happens to be so strange that it is only the persona alone that knows the reality and depth of this dilemma because it is “hidden from eyes” however he concludes that this runs through his lineage, thus they are bound to remain in that pain and perhaps until the cure is found.

A world of worries (page9)

In “a world of worries” (Pg9), which portrays the absurdity of life, the world turns a life of eternal worries prevailing against all and sundry. Thus, it’s “Only a man without feet,” that “Feels not the torrid earth/ Or child without nostril,”| that “Breathe not the toxic air”. The war thickens as the battle between the needy and needs makes mockery of any dream of surviving. The world refuses to be comforted by phrases hoping in several dishes of religion that poisons and “forsakes us in a world of famine.”

Cure (Page26) states that we must confront our very selves to overcome our tribulations. The “River” channels our whole struggle and faith into that serene course of resolution. The river mirrors how man drives his fate as he is “washed in the stream” so as to unravel the causing flames of the present. Man is advised to resign wholeheartedly to nature that “cradles the land,” “bore the sea,” and “feed the mammals”. And surely by its water, it can renew the earth and revive the pains in our lives.

7. Do you have a major theme that runs through your book?

The collection is divided into three parts; curse, cure and course. The first part presents life entirely as a world of despair and torments. The next aspect allows the mind to face the reality of the truth of self confrontation as the key to dissolve the reign of such despondency. The third part ultimately takes man to the serene and mystery River which represents nature’s graceful and supreme eyes over our worlds of worries.
In curse, poems like “Heart of pain” (Pg 2) finds the personae in a dawn of a new stitch in pain. “Scar” (Pg3) emphasizes that this misery goes beyond the face of a wound to the “faceless parasitic burden lurking in a locked corner of the living heart.”

“Cure” (Pg26) is a restatement of the chance of overcoming the “…aged scars” only by our “confrontation” rather than going lost path in hopelessness or “in a desert stroll” (Pg50). Course is the solution that comes from the serenity which the “River” (Pg52} as a symbol of natures offers. In the water we find paradise as in the “Heart of ease” (Pg59) and “Such home” (Pg64). So our strength to survive and fight should be resigned to our feet “On water” for they can chase you “through hazy streets of the slum” but they cannot “…dare you/On water!” Only in life can we find the ultimate cure to life’s unending pain of our scars.

8. What books have most influenced your life?

‘Season of struggle’ by AJ Dagga Tolar was one book that best influenced me when I barely had started writing. Though I read across poetry books with a corned interest in the play of the words, but when I encountered that collection, I saw poetry as alive as the very cry in my neighborhood. The poems painted pictures of police brutality in near market locations around me. I got moved by the striking choice of words it employed. I felt involved and initiated not just in the incidents sited but also in those living diction it created and stamped on my lips. The book is so small that I took it every where I went like the wallet-picture of my woman and there my experiment of words started like a bedroom fire and here I am, a published poet and spoken word artist. Unfortunately I’ve lost my copy of that book and every effort to get a copy from the author and publisher seems a sad story.

9. If you have to choose, which writer would you choose as a mentor?

Niyi Osundare is a writer I have always admired and wanted to be like. My reverence for him was payed at my final year in the University when ANA Lagos had its poetry festival in 2006. I had learnt he was a special guest and also one of the judges for the contest, so I had to enter the competition only to be able to see him face to face. Fortunately, on the day of the finals at the National Art Theatre, I emmerged the overall winner of the poetry performance contest and there before me was Niyi Osundare presenting the poetry prize to me. That day lunched me into a poetry height to soar. And after then I have manage to achieve other poetry awards, thanks to him. Niyi Osundare is a grand priest of poetry, an outstanding performance poet.

I remember an event, where he got Dutch audience in Hague to sing along with him while reciting a poem in Yoruba and that was exciting. Osundare always has the premonition of community singers, hearers and composers, when he writes poetry. He made me believe that the audience is the most important element of any artistic performance and composition. As a dramatist of the stage, his poetry fluxes with drama. His poems always go with songs and drums to back him; he goes as far as given a musical direction for some of his poems. Also I revere him for been political in his poems especially tooling it to correct bad governance.
I look forward to achieve a world class audience and fellowship like he has done. Fortunately as a singer and thespian, I want to believe that my poetry will get to that height.

10. What books are you reading now?

Though I have been very busy recently (if not always busy) due to my job in TV /movie productions and music videos as a continuity man and artistic director, however I was able to lay my hand on “Opening Night” by Mark Greene, a collection of performance Christmas poems. It so interesting as it captures poems on times and ordinary people caught in extraordinary moments. Am still reading it, so I believe I would enjoy it and will tell you when I finish. And you cant believe am just reading Dan Brown’s ‘Davinci Code’, hmmmm, it a book I know I will really love because of Brown’s ability to capture history and religion in a bottle. I want to believe there are more things there he must have discovered…well am still reading.

11. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Jumoke Verisimo though has been writing for a while but her last published work still recent ‘I am memory’, really excites me. I love the strength of her imaginative description. She‘s always in this cute frenzy reach with words. I like her and I think she is a promising writer for the future. Moreover I never knew her as a romantic person in school then, not until I read her work. Myne Whitman, ‘Heart to mend’ is another work I am reading again and again. I really love it when a woman settles issues of broken relationships and that why I love seeing Myne mend broken hearts. I call her the HEART MENDER.

12. Is there anything you find particular challenging in your writing?

As a performance poet and a voice over artist, writing poetry is somehow challenging. When I write poetry, I play so much with words rather than on vocabulary, so as to picture the act and sound of my poems. My poem turns out so simple (though retains it, puzzle on the readers) as against that of my older scholars (some) who are of weighty vocabularies. I have been told that my poems are more romantic, dramatic than intellectual…opps! Well, every poems I write, is to be performed on stage not in the library, so I have always had in mind an act behind every poem I write. That why my whole poetry has it spoken word version. Now, the question is how do I differentiate my book from my album, yes! They are different most especially in the medium.

13. Who is your favourite author?

Niyi osundare, but permit me to call him with respect Pa Niyi Osundare. That man does not know that I’m his son. Osundare’s writing cradled me when I really wanted to start writing poetry till the time I started excelling in poetry. That has earned me making him my favourite author, I am always looking out for any of his latest work like waiting for the movies. Osundare is a craft, a deity that turns simple common words into strange charms that can hypnotize you till you are lost in the Amos Tutuola’s wonder-forest. Although there are several young authors with interesting writing styles but my choice of him still lies in the fact that his style has been there at the start and has remain relevantly constant.

14. What do you think about the Nigerian publishing industry?

That one na big question…..well I think we somehow need a reformation. They are either still the same intellectual library we use to have or they have refused to believe that the new generation has any thing better to offer. Many books have been published to be forgotten in their heaping shelves in the store-house-libraries. No distribution network, no promotion, no incentive for the author. Am glad we now have publishing houses that are making so much effort on the few works they’ve published, yet we need younger and daring minds to come into this industry. We need people that will publish our works to the hands of the readers. Yes, am not stating that book should be so popular or money wheeling like the entertainment industry here, no! They should rather make efforts in:

 Branding the book and the author
 Creating distribution networks for the works
 Creating online, websites, blog and social networks for awareness and market
 Promote these works in Medias (electronic and print).
 Make way for interviews, tours, exhibition, shows and features for the authors

Note that this is not about making money, it is about branding, awareness and orientation. However all these, the future is bright, the industry will improve, e go beta.

15. What comments do you have about the reading culture in Nigeria?

First of all, I don’t believe that putting anything in a book for a Blackman can hide it because the average Blackman is naturally smart. For Nigeria, reading culture has not been encouraging at all. But it has not been stagnant. There is an improvement especially with the level of print media (Magazines, Newspapers, nuggets, novellas etc) you find on paper stands these days, new publishing houses for writers are also emerging, internet freedom and popularity is glaring, and there is also a level of consciousness and activism of people on continual political disturbances and hazards. It is improving, but it is still poor compared to meet the kind of reading standard that is demanded. Well I think with individual/group/government support, it can be better; I want to see other cooperate bodies support literature like some other banks are doing now.

And with the kind of experiment, I am attempting with my poetry, I think I can to some extent contribute to readership in Nigeria and even Africa. So also I believe other vibrant youths in arts today are doing, together we can improve it.

16. Do you have any specific thing you want to say to your readers?

Uuuhh! I almost mistake the first letter of readers as ‘L’, well all join. Readers, I want you to see yourself as leaders. Your opinion, your treatment, your faith, your effort to any work of art matters because it goes a long way to affect others. That why I say, please lets support ourselves by tolerance, respecting and been objective of anybody’s point of view or way of expression, because that’s the only way, we can grow and make any sense to ourselves. And, fellow writers in the media, please support the upcoming writers (published or unpublished, young or old, home or abroad) like you. Every one has a story to tell that will sell you today or tomorrow. And do endeavour to read and enjoy my writings online or on any shelves you find them but most especially try to listen and watch my poetry performance.

17. Do you have an online presence, Facebook, Blog, Twitter or a website?

Am on Facebook, and manage a blog titled http://www.flames777.blogspot.com where you can references or links to my other writings and performances. Meanwhile, am still working on my website.

18. Where can we buy we buy the book in stores and online?

Am sorry, I have not officially lunched my book because its spoken word album was not yet ready. But now the book and its album are ready, so I will, by the grace of God, be presenting and launching the book with its spoken word audio album and possibly a single video by March. It will be announced here and other places online/on air and the distributors would also be mentioned. Please bear with me. And finally, I want to tell Myne, the Heart Mender to keep the great work. Time will not forget you and the mended hearts.

A Gang of Brothers - BlogFest

Thanks to Dominic De Mattos; I've just written my first Young Adult (I think) short story. The rules of the blogfest and the story below. Please excuse typos, I just wrote this now.

Post a passage in which your MC (or your favourite fictional character) shows their bravery. It might be in the face of physical danger, or peer pressure or personal sacrifice. It might be epic bravery or bravery that goes unnoticed by anyone but us, your devoted readers.

I cheerfully admit that the blogfest is mis-named! Bravery is not the absence of fear - that is recklessness. Bravery is overcoming fear, or doing what is right despite the fear.

"Zube, come on, it's break time."

"I don't want to go." Twelve years old Zube shrank in his seat and looked up through the corner of his eyes at the person standing above him and gesturing. Ike was turned sideways, one leg already turned to the direction of the door. Outside waited Paul, fourteen years old and the other members of their neighborhood gang of boys. It was exams next week and Zube wanted to study. He also did not want to hang out anymore with Ike and the other boys, especially Paul.

"You're wasting time," Ike said. He'd not heard Zube and was halfway across the classroom

"I don't..." Zube dragged to his feet as he spoke and shuffled behind Ike as they walked into the bright sunshine.

"Come on," Ike yelled, sprinting forward with a glance over his shoulder.

Zube shaded his eyes with his hand and saw Paul standing in the distance with about three other boys. Sweat break out on his upper lip and he wiped at it with a balled fist as he increased his pace. He had dreamed of the day he would join that close-knit group but now, he hated them. Paul had started the group in their  secondary school as a study group, but since they all lived in th University campus where the school was located, the boys ended up meeting after school too.

Zube had asked his classmate Ike, who lived in the same building with Paul, to get him in. Last week, Paul invited him and gave him the rules. They were a gang of brothers who did everything together and never questioned orders. They studied together, helped each other in their housechores and came together if an older boy tried to harass any of them. It had seemed easy till they invited him for an outing the next day, which involved going one of the boy's house, whose mother was their English teacher. There, they had broken into her desk and took notes from the already prepared test papers.

After doing everything required of him, Zube had gone home and cried. He loved studying and felt deceived; this was not want he wanted. he almost confessed to his father, a lectuer in the university but in the end, could not go through with it. And now here was Paul again, standing with hands across his chest and glaring at him through slitted eyes. Zube stopped walking.

"Did you bring the money?" Paul demanded.

Paul's voice was already breaking and the deep tones sent shivers down Zube's spine. He scratched the suddenly itchy spot at the top of his back and looked everywhere but at the boy before him.

"I did not bring it."

"What?" All the boys crowded around Paul's loud voice.

Zube moved a step backwards, eyes wide as he shook his head.

Paul marched closer, nose flaring and mouth tight. "Where is the money? Or don't you want to be part of us again?"

His tongue was stuck to the roof of his mouth so Zube shook his head again. Paul picked up the corners of his shirt collar in one hand and pulled him to the tips of his toes. Zube closed his eyes and clamped his knees together. he was not surprised at the blow that hit his jaw a moment later. Stars burst behind his closed lids and he staggered away. Two boys ran behind him and pushed him to stand before Paul again. Zube held up his throbbing jaw with a clenched fist and looked to Ike, who lounged beside the leader.

"Don't look at me. You promised to bring the money last Friday, that was the deal."

Zube's heart pounded as he shook his head, still avoiding Paul's eyes. After the last outing, he had been asked, to mark his full entry to the group, for one thousand Naira to treat everyone to ice cream and meatpies at the nearby Mr. Biggs during break. When he pointed out that he did not have so much money, Paul told him to take it from his father's wallet if necessary. He'd debated with himself all weekend long, before taking the money without his father's knowledge. The money was currently burning a hole in his backpack, but after their Moral Instruction lesson that afternoon, he made up his mind to return it.

"You coward," Paul snarled, "Make sure you don't come to us for anything, especially when the seniors target you. Idiot!"

The two boys behind him pushed him from one to the other, laughing. Zube tried to shield his face but they did not hit him. Dust rose in the air and into his mouth when he fell to the ground after a particularly vicious push. He couldn't stop the tears anymore, and they gushed down his face, soon followed by drippings from his nose. It wasn't blood, he noted after he stood and wiped at his face, but knowing how dirty he must look, made him cry harder.

"Why did we even allow this chicken into our group?" Paul asked. Turning to Ike, he said, "It's because of you o."

Ike walked up to Zube. "Did you tell anyone? Did you?"

"No." Zube answered, pleading with his eyes. Ike was supposed to be his friend. The pain in his stomach took him by surprise and he collapsed to the ground again, harsh sobs tearing past his throat. He covered his head with his hands and curled into himself, fearing more blows. None came and after a minute, the boys dispersed.

As he walked to the school tap to wash off some of the dust, Zube sighed in relief. He realized that the pain was worth it to be out of the gang. He did not want to get into the habit of stealing, not to make friends, and not to pass exams too.

Picture Weekend - Which Cover?

Hello everyone, how's your week going?

I got some great news today and I'm almost shaking with excitement. My next book is almost ready! I'm using Createspace this time and they just sent me some mock-ups of my cover. There are two designs and I'm to chose one. Of course I want you guys to help me decide.

Yes, yes yes, the title has been changed from Ghost of the Past to A Love Rekindled. I was joking with my sisters over Christmas that my books will all start with 'A', and then I arrived at this one and loved it. For those who have read the excerpt, I hope you feel it suits Efe and Kevwe just as well?

OK, to the covers. So let's say you're in the bookstore, or browsing Amazon, which would you first pick or click on and which would you buy. The first or the second?

And please tell me why?

My HOT Hot Mug

Erica and Christy want us to share a mug of our favorite MUG...lol.. hear them..

Simply post a picture of your very favoritest mug. The one you'd choose to drink from every time if it never needed to spend any time in the dishwasher. The one you secretly eye whenever your significant other, mother, brother, best friend, [insert other] grabs it from the cupboard and you hold yourself back from snatching it out of their hand and shouting, "Give it back! It's mine. All mine!"

So do I have a favorite mug? Yes I do.

In fact, I love that mug so much that I've hard used it. Yeah, I use it almost all the time and it's showing wear and tear. I don't actually know what happened, but one day I noticed a chip along the rim of the mug. Soon a crack followed, and has been extending downwards since. Our guess is the mug fell from the hands of someone washing it (Neither Atala nor I is guilty, maybe there are ghosts in the house?) Or it cracked when it was put in the microwave (I'm the only one that does that but I still plead innocent). Anyway, I still use that mug, crack and all, for my tea, coffee, and all...

Below is my hardy mug and its battle scars. Underneath, SO's scarfree mug and the two side by side. Isn't that a beautiful sight?

Debate Tuesday - Must they say 'I love you'?

A Question and a Poll...

So this week, I have a question. Is it a must for your significant other, (boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, fiancée, etc.) to say the words "I love you" as a declaration of their love?

You see I saw a discussion among romance writers and readers on whether they needed to hear the hero and heroine in their novels say those magic three words. I personally like to hear it and I take that decision for my characters, :)

In my first book, A Heart to Mend, Edward struggled with the words, he was the macho type, very arrogant and self sufficient, and felt gifts and actions would do. But in the end, he realized the error of his ways and declared it in words. In the upcoming Ghost of the Past (BTW, this title will be changed) Kevwe is softer, the more emotional and verbally demonstrative type and used the words several times to reassure Efe of his love. In both books, the women loved to hear the words, in fact, Gladys in AHTM insisted on it as a condition for Edward asking her to marry him.

What about you? Must they say it? 

If yes, when? Before or after the relationship/marriage, all the time, once a week/month? Daily? Will you stop dating them if they don't? If they've stopped saying it, will you notice? Will it become a bone of contention?

There's also a poll on the left sidebar, thanks!

Have a great week all.


image from Hubpages.com

Love is All - Top Ten Music BlogFest

This Blogfest is thanks to Alex Cavanaugh who says,

Music moves us. It inspires us! Now, tell the world YOUR ten favorite songs of all time. The Song, the band – why does it move you?"

My name is Myne Whitman and I am a music buff. I love love music. After food and air, books and music are in top contention of what I could not do without in my life. Almost no day goes by that I do not listen to music. I was brought up in a house where both parents loved music, and there was always music playing, either from records or the radio. My Dad had a book on song lyrics from back in the 60s and 70s and continues to buy music to this day.

I moved from my parents eclectic taste during my teenage years to my own favorites. I found that I preferred ballads and easy listening music. Soft rock, pop, R&B, new age and classical were the type of music I gravitated to. But most of all, I loved when I could hear clearly the lyrics of a song, and when it seemed the music had a special message, just for me. This ruled out a lot of songs which I sometimes listened to, mostly on the radio, but did not warm to, including Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, or Electro Funk. I also think that individual singers do better than bands, but that's just me. It could just be that most of my favorite songs are by single artistes than bands.

There are some musicians that did not make it to my list but that doesn't mean I like them less than the ones featured. Musicians like Elvis Presley, Yanni, Enya, Linkin' Park, Eminem, Sting, Michael Bolton, and Banky W. Elvis Presley has one of the best voices and killer eyes ever, Eminem made me love rap, Michael B sang me into my first love, Yanni can take me to a higher plans anyday, and Banky W, let's just say, "He dey do me Strong Thing".

Without further ado, my top ten tunes - in no particular order - are below. These songs have made me laugh, they have more often made me cry, some are original soundtrack of movies, they have accompanied me as I fell in love, and healed me as I got over heartbreak. Best of all is that they all talk about love. For me, LOVE IS ALL...

1. Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers

2. My Heart will go on - Celine Dion

3. Man in the Mirror - Micheal Jackson

4. Have you ever really loved a woman - Bryan Adams

5. I'll always love you - Whitney Houston

6. Don't want to miss a thing - Aerosmith

7. Un-break my Heart - Toni Braxton

8. Sleeping Child - Micheal Learns to Rock

9. Obimuo (My Heart, My Love) - Obiwon

10. And I'm telling you - Jennifer Hudson

Weekend Pictures - Voter Registrations in Nigeria

Have you performed your civic duty?

I wish I were in Nigeria now so I could take part in the voter registration exercise currently going on in the country ahead of the April elections. I'm one of those people that love standing in queues for something I may never get, can't you tell? (LOL...) But seriously, it took me three tries but I managed to get the Nigerian ID when it first came out and I still carry it proudly.

This time, it's even more important. Most of us complain daily of how much things are wrong in Nigeria, and now is an opportunity to begin to put things right. As one who as been there before, Donald Duke pointed out how difficult it is to rig an election when higher percentages of the citizenry vote. And how can you vote when you're not registered?

Let's give the thugs a run for their money, people. Carry your mats and han le le. If it means sleeping at the INEC booths, then so be it! OK OK...don't bite off my head, lol. I know you still have work, school, home, church etc etc. But try eh? For the sake of other Nigerians, and for the sake of the future. Even if you don't live there now or plan to leave, who knows eh?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and please spread the word, #enoughisenough #rsvp


Pictures from around the web. Click to go read up on what's happened so far...




A Note From Atala - The Significant Other BlogFest

Thanks to DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude

We’ve all heard the saying…behind every successful man or woman…there’s a person who supports them unconditionally. Nowhere is that more true than with us writers. Who else would put up with our 2 AM wake up calls to solicit opinions of a shiny new idea? Our whiplash inducing confidence swings? The hours upon hours in front of the computer monitor, with nary a grunt or nod when they attempt to disrupt our creative flow? The compulsive need to check email on our Smartphone’s for that reply we’ve been waiting so anxiously for? Or reading the fifty-seventh revision of our first chapter?

It takes a special person to put up with writers idiosyncrasies…and we believe its time they had their say! Although our first choice would be to have your significant other post their own material, it is acceptable to interview them and post those responses. The only catch is that you must [start with] these three questions.

1. What food or drink is guaranteed to return your loved one to a good mood, even after a bad day writing?
2. What one thing would you change about your others writing habits?
3. How hard is it to sit by and watch someone you care for struggle to attain a dream...knowing there's very little you can do to help?

Hear it from my one and ONLY! :) I love you too darling...

1 - My SO's moods aren't really driven by food or drink - usually, it's enough for her to step away from writing for a while to regain her good humour. However, a good dollop of ice cream (especially if it's coffee-flavoured) wouldn't go amiss in helping the restoration of that good humour.

2 - I'd like her to accept that there comes a time in a story's life when it is good enough, and further edits (especially ones which could accidentally introduce typos) are really just gilding the lily. I do understand that perspective keeps on changing, and what seemed great a few months back may not be so good now - but writers should also remember that they don't just write for themsleves, but also for others (e.g. impatient editors, expectant readers, etc.)

3 - I'm actually very active in supporting my SO's aspirations, so I'm not sure how to answer this question. However, if I was in this position, I'd try to be creative in figuring out ways I could help, even though the help might not be directly related to her dreams. I might also play the role of the 'mirror' - getting her to evaluate where she was in her struggle, so that she might consider other options.

4 - In any event, I find it very easy to be supportive of my wife, because it's clear to me that she gets a great deal of enjoyment and fulfilment from her writing. So loving her as I do, I want to do as much as I can to in helping her making the experience as fulfilling for her as it possibly can be.

5 - And it also helps that like her, I'm an avid reader, and so I'm very keen to know what she's written, and I can cast a critical eye with suggestions and comments. Sometimes, it can be a bit of a pain, especially when she feels that her work is not yet ready for viewing - there are times I've contemplated sneaking out of bed to steal a sneak preview!
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A Birthday Surprise - Tessa's Birthday BlogFest


Tessa Conte is the blogger at Tessa's blurb and today is her birthday. To make her happy, she wants her friends to "Write a 500-1000 word story/scene that mentions birthday(s), candles, cakes or presents."

Happy Birthday Tessa, enjoy!


“Where are we going?” Gladys asked Edward as she stepped out of the office bathroom. He’d just come back after three weeks in China and though they’d spent most of the past few days together, he never mentioned they’d go out tonight. He only called this morning to ask her to take a change of clothes for an evening on the town with some friends.
“You’ll know when we get there. It’s a surprise.” He turned to smile at her before tidying up his papers and ushering her out of the office. “And you look good in that top.”
“Thanks, glad you like it. But don’t dodge the question. Why won’t you tell me now?”
“Not yet, wait till we get there. Or you can try guessing.”
“Oh Edward, you know I don’t like surprises.”
They took the elevator to the underground car park and were soon on their way. Unlike most of their dates, this wasn’t set in advance. He usually picked her up after work, either alone or with friends, to take her home or out for drinks.
Sometimes, they went to her book club or similar literary events. Other times he introduced her to new places; some he’d discovered as a university student during his first years in the city.
They were caught in the perennial hold-up on Awolowo Road when she turned under the seatbelt. “OK, do you know what?”
“What is that?” Edward adjusted his side mirror as an okada bike sneaked in between the stationary cars.
“I got a query yesterday. My boss says I nod off at my desk.”
“So you are one of those people who sleep at work, eh? I have some of those in my office too.”
“I got you,” Gladys chuckled. “I actually enjoy my duties.
“You’re sure you do not sleep on the job?”
“No I don’t.” Did he think she was serious?
“Is that your final answer or do you want to phone a friend?” Edward deadpanned as the traffic began to inch forward.
Caught unawares, Gladys laughed easily. It was clear she would have fun tonight. “Really, I was only trying to pull your leg. I’ve never received a query.”
“Well my legs are quite busy now, so please don’t pull any of them.” Their laughter blended into each other.
He looked at her when she stopped. “What did you receive?”
“That’s the deal. I’ll tell if you say where we’re headed.”
He guffawed. She put a hand on his thigh, “Edward please...”
“So you thought to make a stand? I didn’t think so.”
She pouted and looked away. They soon arrived at Reed’s Restaurant, which served Thai food. They had been here before, but Gladys was surprised to see her friend Ola walking up to the car. She opened the door and stepped out.
“What a coincidence!” She said as Ola came closer to them.
“I don’t think it is.” Ola pointed to the group of people near the doors of the building.
Gladys looked up and gasped; she looked over to Edward who had just finished locking up.
“Happy birthday to you darling.” He smiled innocently at her and turned to Ola. “Allow me to use this opportunity to congratulate you on your confirmation too.”
“Don’t look at me, I didn’t tell him.” Gladys protested when Ola turned to her with an accusatory look.
Ola was a colleague whose cubicle was just down the hall from hers at the office. She had started out in the industry ten years ago as a lowly clerk but had risen to become a chartered accountant. They’d taken to each other, maybe because she was a fairly new employee herself when Gladys joined the firm. Ola was Gladys’s best friend even though she was older by some years. They shared more interests than she did with Jennifer or Ayo. Also, Ola was a Lagos girl and from her and Edward, Gladys had learnt all about living in and enjoying the hectic city.
“How did you find out then?” Ola turned back to Edward.
“Let’s just say I have an ear to the ground.” He replied striding around the car. Her eyes settled on him but she was speechless. Her birthday was last week but she wasn’t even a stickler for celebrations. Her family and a few friends had called with greetings and she was even happier when he’d made time from his busy schedule in China to do the same.
He took her arms and gave her a brief kiss on the lips.
“So this is your surprise?”
“Yes, a birthday party. Do you still not like surprises?”
“I love this one.” She gave him a big hug.


Excerpt from my first novel, A HEART TO MEND

Loneliness (Poem)

SO I am plotting my next next book and I can already see the heroine, which is a good thing. But I don't know whether I'm ready to write her. This is the poem she inspired in me, not as upbeat as my usual. Probably she's also older and has seen the world. Hmmm...maybe that would not be so bad, someone with a varied experience should make an interesting character. Anyway, enjoy...


I am so very lonely
The cold gets to my bones
I am solitary and alone
There are no real friends
I don’t need a crowd
Just someone to fulfill me
I feel so deep and empty
The hollowness is killing me

Thus I sit and wait
But time waits for no one
As the clock ticks the hours
And days and weeks go by
The crescent moon waxes and wanes
And the years roll away
Like palm fronds waving at the sky
My arms are wide open

Debate Tuesday - Another wife for my husband?

Or is polygamy totally bad? I don't think so. I believe that if the people involved are genuine and agree, it could actually work. And yeah, I'm not against another wife for Atala. Actually, there are so many reasons for polygamy, especially in the Nigerian society, including looking for a male child, or any child, having more hands to help (eg, when the first wife is a career woman, the second can be SAHM) and of course the fact that, a woman is not regarded as responsible unless she is married.

So how did this issue arise? I was on the radio with Mandy Ojugbana of Smooth 98.1 FM in Lagos Nigeria a couple of times. The first was talking about AHTM, Naija Stories and my upcoming book tour in Nigeria. The second was a recap of my trip and also a book review of Lola Shoneyin's book, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's wives. While we discussed the polygamous home of Baba Segi, I mentioned to Mandy that I actually supported polygamy which made her speechless but later she asked if I would welcome a new wife for my husband. I answered in the affirmative and when my FB friends heard it, they raised the roof!

BTW, Baba Segi's wives is a fantastic book. This is the book's description from Amazon...

When Baba Segi awoke with a bellyache for the sixth day in a row, he knew it was time to do something drastic about his fourth wife's childlessness.

Meet Baba Segi . . .

A plump, vain, and prosperous middle-aged man of robust appetites, Baba Segi is the patriarch of a large household that includes a quartet of wives and seven children. But his desire to possess more just might be his undoing.

And his wives . . .

Iya Segi—the bride of Baba Segi's youth, a powerful, vindictive woman who will stop at nothing to protect her favored position as ruler of her husband's home.

Iya Tope—Baba Segi's second wife, a shy, timid woman whose decency and lust for life are overshadowed by fear.

Iya Femi—the third wife, a scheming woman with crimson lips and expensive tastes who is determined to attain all that she desires, no matter what the cost.

Bolanle—Babi Segi's fourth and youngest wife, an educated woman wise to life's misfortunes who inspires jealousy in her fellow wives . . . and who harbors a secret that will expose shocking truths about them all.

Weekend Pictures - Celebrity Spotting

Hello everyone, hope your days have been going well? may this new week usher in lots and favor, blessings and success for us all. I'm catching up small, small, but have so many reports to write and all. This is the easy one, as they say, a picture is like a thousand words. I had the opportunity in Nigeria to meet so many people I admire, especially the acclaimed authors I met at the Garden City Literary Festival (GCLF) and a chance encounter with Uche Jombo at the Silverbird Galleria. I was on a visit to check on my book at the Lifestyle store and was taking a drink at Barcelos when she walked in, couldn't miss it can I?

Yeah yeah yeah, some people have yabbed me for my love of celebrities, lol...


With the great man himself, Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate and author of several books - novels, plays, essays and autobiographies.

Helon Habila, I read his book Measuring Time last year and was impressed. Not my best book but a worthy commentary on the state of the nation. Others think so too...Samuel Kolawole, author of The Book of M, middle...

From L -R (Karen King-Aribisala is of the Dept. of English, University of Lagos, Nigeria. The author of Our Wife and Other Stories and Kicking Tongues, she won the Best First Book Award of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 1991, Abdul, a contributor on Naijastories.com and participant at the festival, MOI!, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, author of I Do Not Come to You by Chance, her first book, and winner of Commonwealth Writers Prize, Publisher of Wole Soyinka's books - BookKfraft, Kaine Agary is the author of Yellow Yellow, and winner of the NLNG Literature prize for best Fiction )

Author in white cap is Chukwuemeka Ike, with several books under his belt including, Sunset at Dawn, Potter's Wheel and Bottled Leopard. The last is one book I'll never forget.

With Lindsay Barret, Photojournalist/author and Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, Publisher of Cassava Republic Press, one of the progressive houses in the Nigerian book industry.

Sefi Attah, After I got back to reading Nigerian authors in 2004, her book Everything Good Will Come, was one of the first I read and it was great having this chance to tell her how much I enjoyed it. Unknown to me she had been talking about me on her FB fan page and asked for a copy of AHTM

Right, Zainab Jallo, playwright, "Onions make us Cry" which was shortlisted for the NLNG Lit Prize for Drama

Evelyn Osagie, reporter and writer for the Nation newspapers. She recognised me from the book presentation and came over to introduce herself. It was a nice start to an early morning.

Uche Jombo, a Nigerian actress who has appeared in many movies. I didn't know she was a smallie like me :) Sorry I can't rotate the pic, my BB refused o.

Yes o, Seye is a celebrity. But what I like more is what I sense is between his ears. Goodstuff!

With Helon and another fan.

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Stylish and Versatile bloggers - Count me in

I received these awards, for being a versatile and stylish Blogger, from two people - Mena Ukodoisready and Dee! - realbonnywoman. There is nothing as cheering as coming back after being away for almost two months and finding that people still remember who you are. Thanks so much for such a warm welcome and this has given me the additional push to come visit you all ASAP.

Yes o, I'm back in the US of A, to the cold and wet of Seattle, lol. Thank God for the warm cocoon of my home and friends, both on blogville and off.

So back to the awards, the rules are as follows:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
2. Tell us 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 other bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and let them know that they have won.

Once again, thank you Mena and Dee!

Seven things about me...

- I can be shy about talking or writing about myself, but when it comes to issues, topics, etc, I don't mind taking center stage.

- I love daydreaming, yeah and that's why I love writing or reading others creativity.

- Richard Branson has nothing on me when it comes to travelling or seeking adventure, I only wish I had as much money as he did, hehehe...

- I have a sweet tooth and if i gave in to it, I'll probably add 10pounds in a week.

- I'm a smallie and have gotten used to it but when I see people above 6"5, I often imagine that there's a way to get some of that.

- I've not really experienced Nigeria like I did at my last trip and I found out something too, I remain a real shon of the shoil, no shaking.

- Final confession, I don't think I deserve the award for stylish blogger o, my sense of fashion and style is abysmal. As some of you know, I was asking for a stylist the other time. Well, we go dey patch dey go...

And so I tag the following people, hope they're more stylish than I am...

The Culture Cynic




Blessings Outlet


Rose of Sharon

Ego du Jour

Courageous Fingers

Wilde Boy!

Seye Kuyinu

Lohi O

His Darlyn

Madame Sting

Just Toluwa

Have a great weekend all!I'm happy to be back.

Sex Toys for Women?

A new, supposedly the first, online shop for sexual toys just berthed for Nigerian women living in the country. What are your thoughts on the issue?

The First female online intimate shop catering for Nigerian women has arrived. We are so excited for this opportunity to serve our community.

Our aim is to offer the best selection of sexual health products and erotica sourced from around the world that enhance the sexual expression and sexuality of women in intimate relationships.

We treat all women's sexuality as equal: regardless of your sexual preference , whether in your 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's or 80's, a mother, disabled, a survivor of cancer, like to swing from chandeliers or prefer the missionary position you will always be welcome at www.myintimatepleasureshop.com.

Service is our top priority. We want women to feel good about their sexuality and the Intimate Pleasure team are highly trained to be knowledgeable in, and to offer advice about all things relating to sex, pleasurable toys and erotica.

We believe that buying pleasurable toys, whether a vibrator, dildo or an anal toy, should be an uplifting feel-good experience and that's why we promise the advice and service we give will always be personal to you.

Weekend Pictures - Out and About Asaba

I have left Asaba and don't know when I will be back. But the memories continue...

The state secretariat annex

New CBN office on Marryam Babangida Way

State house of Assembly

Elders deliberating in front of the House of Assembly. Wish the members were as honorable as their names

Campaign headquaters for PDP and the Jonathan-Sambo ticket

Nnebisi Road - Asaba High street if you will...

Not sure who, statue at junction of old Anwai road

Police doing their usual

Delta State university, Anwai

Palm Plantation and Press for the school's Agric Econs Faculty. There was no one there or I would have bought some palm oil for my stock. :)

A fast food place, no ad but I got good ice cream there.

A church on summit road, isn't it interesting how they're taking over all factory and warehouse looking buildings around?

Ogbogonogo Mordern Market - Very busy indeed. That water tank in the background was our marker when we lived in Enugu and visited Asaba at Christmas that we had arrived.

A statue of the Omu (Women's Leader and voice), I think

St Josephs Catholic Church Asaba, over 100 years old

Grand Hotel Asaba

Makossa Dancers at the Live Band Stage of the Jetty Bar

Christmas Tree in front of the Hospital

Free Viewing of Cable TV - seen in three different spots. Seems to have caught on especially for football matches.

Christmas Decorations

As the sun goes down - streetlights come up

Night about town

The lighted tree..