Domestic Violence is beyond Single Vs Married

Earlier this morning, my Buzz timeline showed one of my media sites' report on the man who killed and dismembered his wife of 2 years. It was so upsetting for me that I tweeted a bit about it about how it seemed that some things were changing for the worse in Naija these days.

During my rounds, I found that Kemi of Till my Dying Day blogged of the shocking news in a post titled In Defense of....
Someone somewhere wrote about this story and understandably tied the tragedy in with "marriage people". I understand the intention and stemming from reports that this particular marriage had had a history of violence and physical abuse, I get it. Nonetheless, my reaction is to say wait a minute, not all marriage is bad.

She goes on to defend marriage, and from what she wrote, I get her stand, and even support it to some extent. However, I think it is such defense that will keep the lines drawn between us women. IMHO, the "We against Them" mentality is not very helpful. My thoughts -

Is there a societal pressure in Nigeria to get and stay married? Yes. Is it ONLY in Nigeria? No.

Was there a history of DV in this case? Yes. Are we CERTAIN marital abuse lead to this death? No.

Does DV happen in marriages? Yes. Does it happen ONLY in marriages? No.

Domestic Violence is not about marriage because unmarried people have been attacked and killed in domestic situations. And while it disproportionately affects women, it's also not about gender because men have been victims of DV.

I believe DV is about power and anger management. So whether one is married or single, male or female, they have to be self-aware and protect themselves. If you find yourself in long heated arguments with loved ones and family (even colleagues), please walk away. Don't be a victor, don't be a victim. You could be finished (in jail or psych ward) or you could be dead. There is no winner.




My long comment on Kemi's post is below.

I read the news on a tell-all blog, and was shocked. I think those blaming 'marriage people' are of course entitled to their opinion, but I will not dignify them with a rebuttal.

The report said that the man appeared mentally deranged, and I'm guessing he became unhinged while in a fracas with the wife. This is an issue we hear a lot of hear in America, where sociopaths and psychopaths kidnap, murder and dismember even babies and children. While it used not to be common in Nigeria, the more western the naija society becomes, the more prevalent such mental health issues may become.

Bad things happen in all relationships. The man could have been her father, brother, friend, boyfriend, colleague, etc. Women are generally - in naija as well as other countries - physically weaker, and therefore prone to be the victims of attacks or abuse, domestic or otherwise. We all heard of a senator that was slapped within the halls of the Nigerian national assembly. We should make ourselves strong, physically and mentally, so as to recognize and get out of potentially dangerous situations, or defend ourselves to the best of our ability.

Let us not make this a married Vs single, or even a gender debate, it is about health and safety. Children are most times even more vulnerable than women. The report did not say anything about the daughter, and I hope she's OK.

My thoughts on DV for both married and single(in a r/ship) women: Get out, Get therapy/help, and if necessary, Stay out. Divorce is an option.

May the woman's soul rest in peace.

_____________

picture via crisis support @ helium.com

How to get more comments for your blog - 2


You can read the first part HERE where I list the first rule as leaving comments on other people's blogs. Making your posts interesting,  ensuring your comment system works, and removing the word verification will also go a long way. More things you could do include;

Respond to your own comments. Blogger makes this a bit hard for us but I think it's only polite, especially when someone asks you a question. I personally go back when I've asked a question on a blog to check if the blogger responded and I try to do it on my blog. In fact, I put in comment moderation on my older posts so I can check and respond if necessary. Ginger asked about comments on old posts on her blog, and I have to say I find them extra interesting.

Cut your posts short. I'm still learning on this one. Being the novel writer I am, please forgive any lapses if I tend to go on and on, lol. But hey, when I start sharing my new WIP, I won't apologize o so be warned. Some use the long post alert at the beginning of their posts and that can be helpful.  I then know to come back for it depending on whether the topic seems interesting or not.

Put a question of the day. This is like a call to action, and most of us respond very instinctively. The question should be related and summarize your post for those who are in a hurry, like me when I'm on my blog rounds. They also help the reader to gather their thoughts as they start to comment.

Make rules for Blogfests/ Memes/ Giveaways less difficult. I may have been a victim of these since I do a lot of such posts. The truth is that as much as we love blogging and giveaways, it can become a chore. Like when a blogger asks you to leave a FB status, tweet, write a blog, and then bring ten people to follow them and comment on their giveaway post, all for a $5 Amazon card. Hello? LOL...the easiest giveaway rule is to ask those interested to leave a comment. H of His and Her once had a giveaway of my books with some very long strings attached, even me I fear.

Put some commentary on your picture posts. I learnt this the hard way. I love taking pictures and I decided to share them with my blog readers over the weekends. I had to review this when I observed that while traffic did not drop, I was getting less than 10 comments on the posts. Interestingly, things improved when I added some commentary, either at the beginning, the end, or in between for each picture. Nikkisho latest FOTD comes to mind on this point.

And so we come to the end of today's post. Not too long I hope? Do you have any other pointers?

ps, to H and Nikkisho, not calling you girls out o. You know I still gbadu your blogs, right?

Michelle Obama in South Africa - A woman after my heart.

Question: What do you think of women who quit their jobs for their husbands and families?

Sometime in April, I wrote a blog about how I consider myself a role model, and how I also like to acknowledge those that motivate me. One of those women is Michelle Obama.

I was earlier conflicted in 2008 when I first got to know about the Obamas and found out she reluctantly cut back on her job to follow her husband on the campaign trail. I emphasize reluctantly because I believe in a woman freely making their choices for a career, a marriage, children or all of them, and giving their all to whatever they choose. Well, when Obama won the presidency, she quit the job, softened her image to suit popular opinion, and made me go huh?!

But I have to give it to her now. She has since hit her stride, and each day, my admiration of her mounts. She supports the politics that interest her (like Pay Equity for women), and has followed her other passions (like the Let's Move campaign against childhood obesity). She is not superwoman, she does not run the world, but IMO she rules her world. Grace Machal said, "She is a feminist by practice, without shouting slogans." and I concur. Most importantly, she wants to affect/change lives and thereby leave a legacy.

Keep shining the light Michelle.

Taking joy in what she does, and carrying her children along too so they can learn by example.




Knowing that older women are not a competition and accepting help graciously and learning from her mother.

Working with younger women and embracing the role of a model without being arrogant.

Giving honor where it is due.

Never losing the child within.

Knowing when to be casual and when to be glamorous.

Having and showing compassion.

Knowing that polygamy is not a catching disease :)

Being helpful and extending a hand to other women.

Atala Writes - Notes from the Road Trip (2)

Happy weekend everyone, hope the work days went well? Thanks to everyone who contributed to the discussion on Immigration, I appreciated all the different viewpoints. And now Atala's notes continue, please read the first part HERE and leave comments o! LOL...


- One of the problems with long distance driving is that gas stations are spread far apart. And woe betide you if are miles from the nearest gas station and your fuel gauge's warning light is on, as happened to us between Boise and Salt Lake City. Thankfully, we were able to get gas in good time. (By Myne {at a cut-throat price - original 419 gas, even the price was $4.19)

- It's true - the Great Salt Lake is really salty! It's also a bit smelly as well (or maybe it's not the lake, but the plant/animal life in the lake itself).


- During a long drive, it's great to have radio to listen to. But it was frustrating doing this on the move. First, I'd tune, find a station I like, and all would be sweetness. Then little by little, static would begin to intrude into the broadcast until it was almost unlistenable. Then it was time to go nomadic on the radio dial again. Thankfully, I brought along a good selection of CDs (which thankfully don't fade out till they're done playing).



- One thing the trip reminded me of is my acrophobia. OK, no need to rush for the dictionary - that means 'fear of heights'. I was reminded of it on the drive to the Grand Canyon, as we drove down steep and twisty roads from which you could see views hundreds of feet below. I was reminded of it again as I saw Nkem balance precariously on the edge of the Grand Canyon without a care in the world.


- I have three words to describe Las Vegas. Tacky. Gaudy. And very, very brash. In fact, if Las Vegas was a country, its flag would have a great big dollar sign on it. A dollar sign embroidered in lights. Multicoloured lights would would change colour and flash repeatedly.


- In contrast, I found Sacramento to be much more chilled out and laid back. Maybe it's because I was glad to be back in cooler climes, away from the relentless heat of the south west.


- We didn't really get the chance to stop off at Portland, but from the highway, it did look very much like Seattle to me.

- And lastly, after a week on the road, driving on the familiar stretches of the I-5 and I-405 - usually an unremarkable experience - was a very welcome close to our trip!

Pulitzer Winner is an Illegal Alien - My thoughts


I've had the immigration debate with several people over the years, and when I found I was falling in love with an immigrant into the US, I had to make sure we were on the same page. This was because of the distortion of psyche Jose Antonio Vargas explains below, and one I never wanted to find in myself.

My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant - NYTimes.com - Jose Antonio Vargas

"It was an odd sort of dance: I was trying to stand out in a highly competitive newsroom, yet I was terrified that if I stood out too much, I’d invite unwanted scrutiny. I tried to compartmentalize my fears, distract myself by reporting on the lives of other people, but there was no escaping the central conflict in my life. Maintaining a deception for so long distorts your sense of self. You start wondering who you’ve become, and why."

I feel some sympathy for Vargas, and for some others who immigrated as children and had no control over their parents' or guardians' choices to move without papers. However, my instinct is that as an adult, they should make that effort to return to their original country and then if necessary, find a way back to the country where they want to be.

For those who are already adults and choose to leave their country and settle in another without the required documentation that grants you permanent residency or citizenship, I do wonder, what are they thinking?

As someone who has lived as an immigrant in both the UK and the US, I have come across many Nigerians who are illegals, call it undocumented or what have you. The truth is that by making that choice to overstay a tourist visa, student visa, or expired H1B, you're putting yourself in a position where you can't help but lie to get by. You lie to get social security, lie to get a license, lie to get into school, lie to get a job. Lie, lie, lie, how can they bear it?

And say you're a single woman, or man, you may even find yourself lying in your personal relationships, you may get married on a lie (Green card marriage), and what if you end up married to a fellow illegal - which happens often - what about your illegal-born American children? Do people realize it's no more automatic, and the children could get deported along with them too if they're caught? Some states in America are in the process of setting up laws to discriminate against illegals in such a way that it even affects their legal children, especially when it comes to food stamps and other government benefits. But do I really blame them?

And here I come to the weightiest part for me personally. My number one life motto is FREEDOM. Inside and out. Vargas had an apparent freedom, but in his head he was in prison. He could not travel out of the US, and had not seen his family in the Philippines for almost 20 years. What kind of life is that? For me, I want to do whatever I like with my life, go wherever I want, and live wherever I want.

Most of all, I want to be free to achieve whatever I can. It breaks my heart to see talented and skilled people waste themselves in under-the-table jobs just because they're illegals in a country. I wish more people will realize how important it is to maximize your life, both for your own sake and for that of whatever country you happen to live in.

What are your thoughts on this matter? If you'll prefer to drop comments as Anonymous, I've turned it on specifically for this.

Atala Writes - Notes from the Road Trip (1)

Did I tell you guys that Atala wanted to share some notes about our trip? This is not a narrative, just short bytes that stuck with him. Enjoy...

- We left Seattle on Saturday morning around 8am and what a difference mountains make. As soon as we crossed the Cascades, it was goodbye woodland and wetness... hello scrub and sunshine. The reduced vegetation enabled us to see the wide blue sky touch the horizon, and at first, my reaction was 'wow'! But after a while, I began to miss the clouds in the sky, especially because the further south we went, the hotter it became.


- I'm used to city downtowns being very dense, bustling places, but Boise (and to a lesser extent, Salt Lake City) really made me think differently. I found them very suburban and spaced out. I guess that's what happens when you have lots of space to play with.

- We spent our time in quite a variety of hotels. There were some which were multistorey, with valets and decor (in Las Vegas). And there were some which were much more down to earth, with separate bungalows (near Grand Canyon). But they were all very comfortable - good to know, especially after drives of several hours. And quite a few of them had seriously discounted rates, too. :)





- At first, I thought they were bird droppings. Then I thought we'd run over some muck which had spattered upwards. But it looks like the culprit for the splatter that we found on our windscreen during our drive was... bugs - at least, if this link is to be believed.

What I found baffling was that in many cases, the splatter was transparent, with not trace of wings or legs. What was even weirder was how frequently the splatter would happen. Sometimes, it would be well spaced out, happening every few hours, but there was a case where a battalion of bugs must have struck the windscreen at all once, almost completely obscuring the view!

- At first, I was wondering why I had to grip the steering wheel to keep the car straight when driving south to Salt Lake City. Then when we stopped to change over and I stepped out and BFFFFF! There was a serious breeze blowing out there from the south. What a waste. Imagine all that wind that could have been turned into electricity! It also made me wish we had planned our journey so that we were going north instead.


To Be Continued...
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Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria Videos - Charismatic girl deciphered.

So the MBGN contest is coming up in a few days and the organizers are really utilizing the social media to get the word out. I made a comment on one of the first blogs about the video immediately below where the girls/applicants make the case for why viewers should vote for them. I'm guessing these days judges votes are combined with votes via phone and SMS. Watch the video first...



So I asked on the blog, is it that these are ALL the girls that applied, and the organizers had no choice but to pick them all. Because they spanned the spectrum from some manageable girls to the complete disasters, and I was thinking it was impossible to have selected these finalists form a pool that included worse applicants. I spoke too soon, check the video below...






I was conflicted between the girl with hairy legs (While I do not shave my legs, I won't also apply for a beauty contest), the one or two things ajala travel, and the girl whose vital stats are, "I'm tall, 23, light-skinned and student. Then I got to the undecipherable words, and gave it to her with no contest. Meanwhile, I have deciphered the speech, some of it anyway. And when you read it, you may agree that her heart is in the right place, even if her hair isn't.

"I want to expose the best, the superb in me, expose the superb out in me.
Because I see this as a career, because I want to be a model to other girls out there
I want to create an avenue for achieving, for accomplishment of their dreams
Because I know that there are girls, that are weak, but truly they need sponsorship,
they need our support..."

Honestly, I wish they had allowed her to get to the finals, I would have given her my support immediately, and campaigned for her. Anybody remember Rita from Koko Mansion? LWKMD!

To wrap it all off, please enjoy the spoof below....

Romance on a Road Trip - Salt Lake City, Utah


Hello people, welcome to another week. I want to use this opportunity to welcome all my new followers and commenters. I'm still catching up after our vacation, and if I haven't visited, followed or commented on your blog recently, please let me know in the comments. Now to today's post from one of our stops - Salt Lake City.

Well, you all know I'm a champion for public displays of affection, where I might disagree is with those who want to climb into each other's throats as a definition of affection. If you wanna get sexual, find a room already, lol. Anyway, something happened during our trip and I couldn't help falling in love all over again.



So we got to Salt Lake City in the evening after a long drive, and I was happy to check in to our hotel and freshen up. Though the clock said 6pm, the sun was so high in the sky and HOT! We decided to relax and wait for it to cool a bit. Not wanting to while away the city, we made plans to hit it for a movie and dinner out.

Atala decided to make the arrangements and after checking on the internet, found a cinema in the area. Since it was a multiplex, I knew there has to be a restaurant nearby and hope we could get both things done with less stress. At first, I wanted to drive us there but Atala said it shouldn't be more than 10mins. Of course I already knew he loves us taking walks together.


An so we strode into the setting sun. It was still warm but bearable, and some sights like the park above and the murals below, kept us company as we chatted and walked. Sometimes, we were hand in hand, or I had my hand in his back pocket or waist. But after 10mins became 15, I began to flag. Luckily, I had changed into flats when I agreed to walk, but as sweat trickled down my non-existent cleavage, I wondered if we'll ever get there.




"Are we there yet?" I asked as we passed this hotel. But it wasn't it. I began to grumble along with my tummy, we hadn't eaten anything since breakfast in the last city where we has stayed over. He offered to carry me, I reminded of our weight ratio, and we laughed it off.


We soon came to the mural above and I was distracted. This picture doesn't do it justice, it really looks great and so I had to take a picture.


And then we marveled that small Salt Lake City had a tram while Seattle were still discussing ours. Oh well, moving on...


Here we are at the multiplex. We arrived around 8pm, some 25 minutes after we left the motel. I was so happy to see it, I stuffed my camera in the bag so we could find a place to eat. We chose Z-Tejas to get a feel of the South-West Cuisine. The food was great and I was satisfied by the time we were done by about 8.45. The still light airy outside beckoned and we set off again to burn some calories before the movie (X-Men First Class) at 9.50pm.

So we set off on another, more leisurely this time, walk. The shopping complex was called The Gateway (Above) and the centrepiece was a dancing fountain with lights. It was supposed to go off every 30mins so I suggested we go see it. The mood was so romantic. Soft Jazz filled the air from the small, artfully placed speakers along the walkway. Atala is a jazz geek and recognized some of the music as we walked along, belly full, and intertwined arms swinging.


I remember halfway stopping, hitching myself up on a stout post and hugging him in the middle of the street there. We talked sweet nothings for a few minutes before we moved on.


By the time we got to the fountains, it was almost nine. The ground was not too wet, and we wondered if they were still functional and on time. But some kids had towels around themselves as though they had just been in the water. So we waited, and I clicked off a few shots.


The whole circular area with the fountain was themed to the Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City in 2002 and I was amazed at the ways in which we can record history, without shutting it off in museums or galleries. Anyone coming here will note these sponsors of the games, and get a window into the kind of businesses in the area.




Well, 9 o'clock came and went and there was no fountain. We walked about a bit more, took a few more pictures, and then I don't know how it happened. One moment, I was checking out the names on the paving stones (below), and the next, Atala had swung me into his arms and we were dancing. I guess if the fountains refused to dance, we could do it then. There were a few people around but if felt like it was just the two of us.


Though we had taken some classes in Ballroom, we weren't really doing any particular dance. Wrapped in each other, our footsteps shuffled and moved over the ground in no particular order. It was just enough there was no stepping on toes. I laughed out loud when Atala began to move, first in a small box, and then in a wider arc. I was so sorry when it was over. We snuggled on the seats again and shared some kisses. When 9.30 rolled around and no fountain, we moosied on back to the cinema.


On the way, security informed us the fountain closed early on Sunday. Well, fountain or none, I had one of the greatest times of my road trip in that small Gateway Centre. Thanks, Salt Lake City.


Picture Weekend - Romance on a Road Trip (1)

So you guys know I'm all for public displays of affection, where I might disagree with those who want to climb into each other's throat is the definition of affection. If you wanna get sexual, find a room already, lol. Anyway, something happened during our trip and I couldn't help falling in love all over again.

So we got to Salt Lake City in the evening after a long drive, and I was happy to check in to our hotel and freshen up. Though the clock said 6pm, the sun was so high in the sky and HOT! We decided to relax and wait for it to cool a bit. Not wanting to while away the city, we made plans to hit it for a movie and dinner out.



Atala decided to make the arrangements and after checking on the internet, found a cinema in the area. Since it was a multiplex, I knew there has to be a restaurant nearby and hope we could get both things done with less stress. At first, I wanted to drive us there but Atala said it shouldn't be more than 10mins. Of course I already knew he loves us taking walks together.


An so we strode into the setting sun. It was still warm but bearable, and some sights like the park above and the murals below, kept us company as we chatted and walked. Sometimes, we were hand in hand, or I had my hand in his back pocket or waist. But after 10mins became 15, I began to flag. Luckily, I had changed into flats when I agreed to walk, but as sweat trickled down my non-existent cleavage, I wondered if we'll ever get there.


"Are we there yet?" I asked as we passed this hotel. But it wasn't it. I began to grumble along with my tummy, we hadn't eaten anything since breakfast in the last city where we has stayed over. He offered to carry me, I reminded of our weight ratio, and we laughed it off.


We soon came to the mural above and I was distracted. This picture doesn't do it justice, it really looks great and so I had to take a picture.

And then we marveled that small Salt Lake City had a tram while Seattle were still discussing ours. Oh well, moving on...


Here we are at the multiplex. We arrived around 8pm, some 25 minutes after we left the motel. I was so happy to see it, I stuffed my camera in the bag so we could find a place to eat. We chose Z-Tejas to get a feel of the South-West Cuisine. The food was great and I was satisfied by the time we were done by about 8.45. The still light airy outside beckoned and we set off again to burn some calories before the movie (X-Men First Class) at 9.50pm.

TO BE CONTINUED....
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Sunshine Award


So a few days ago, Rhapsody Phoenix, of Rapping on a Melody gifted me with the Sunshine Award pictured above. This is what she had to say about it, "Please keep the blessing going by gifting 10 people with the award letting them know their contribution to bloggersville is appreciated and what they have to say matters." Thank you Rhapsody.

So because I've got double portion sunshine, I'll be passing it on to the following 20 people who always bring sunshine into my life with their blogs, comments, and actions - online and offline. They never fail. Thank you all...




Nonye Anike - She is so responsive, thanks girl!

Ibhade Kareem - Her gist always keeps me grounded.

Muyiwa - He's gone celeb on us but his site is my no 1 each day

Naijalines - Very supportive and I love her writing style

Natural Nigerian - I pick up some cool natural living tips here

Blessings Outlet - She needs a little sunshine right about now.

Just Doyin - She is like the sun, constant even when hidden

Yellow Sisi Unspoken - For her color and that of her blog, :)

Jaycee - Always a post to light my lamp each time I visit

Good Naija Girl - Doing a great job with the Nigeria Blog Awards

Naijamum in London - I'm trying to tap into some of that experience

Beautiful - Her BF is named Sunshine on her blog, so...

Rita - Always an inspiration. More blessings to you dear

Adiya - She spreads sunshine to us creative and handcraft types

Sisi Yemmie - I love gist, and the way she yarns that pidgin eh?

Fareeda Spesh - Was missing in action for a while but back now.

Nutrition Alert - Good food is good for you. Thanks for sharing...

Dith - She's a fine babe and her haute pictures are WYSIWYG

Chimezie Okonkwo - Always sure to get a laugh here

Olori's Palace - She has a video right now that has got me crying...

Frequently Asked Questions - I want to be a published author

Dear,

Congrats on your anniversary, it actually looks like I've been reading Myne Whitman for like 3 years,

I have been meaning to ask, how do I go about being/learning to be an author, its not like I consider myself much of a good writer, but good or not, I have some little things I write every now and then and I dream of publishing them someday.

I don't want to keep thinking about it all on my own, just said to ask some more established writers like you people.

I work as an Engineer, I speak more with figures and drawings, so English sef na difficult thing. but writing as always been a dream.......you want to help me start off?


____________________

Hi,

Thanks on your email. It is readers like you that has brought the blog so far, maybe I would have fallen off without supporters, who knows?

To be a writer is not too hard, one just have to keep writing. For this, there are a lot of resources out there on the web and you can also buy some books that help. Personally, I am still taking some online courses and the exercises that come with them have been a great help. Check out some of them here.

To be an author on the other hand, you have to find a publisher. I was able to get enough finances to publish myself but that is not the only possible way in the industry. Usually, you send in your manuscript to already established publishing companies until one of them buys it and gives you a contract. That way they handle all the more time consuming chores of publicity and marketing of your book while you continue writing. Check out www.agentquery.com

Also, if you can direct me to your blog, I can help by drawing publicity your way. Also I can read and comment on your work. If you want a wider audience, you may check out www.naijastories.com It is a website I set up for aspiring Nigerian writers and is really bustling. As time goes on, I intend to send out short stories published there for national and international contests.

I wish you all the best.

Myne

Notice me or I die! How to get your blog noticed


I'm beginning to slack a bit, but after a week on the road, I think I can forgive myself. I was supposed to do a massive blog round yesterday but I had so much mail requiring replies plus some other stuff and I ended up making comments in only a few places. And this brings me to today's topic. Within my first months of blogging, almost everyone knew who Myne Whitman was, and what her blog was all about. It helped that I had 'Writes' in my title, but there were other factors too. What are they?

I was everywhere.

Yes indeed. Some may call it lack of job but for me then, and now still, it is my job. I don't make a living from it yet, but we could get there. And I'll reiterate what I've mentioned before, blogging is not a competition. You decide how big you want your blog, how much you want to be noticed, if at all, and then take it from there. I started out wanting to get traditionally published so I wanted to get widely noticed in order to get an agent or publisher. Along the line, I decided to publish myself and being noticed became even more important to sell my books.

So how did I do it? I followed a lot of blogs. To be honest, even when there's no selling involved, your blog can be seen a product because you want to share your ideas and your opinions, and maybe get other people's point of view on the things you may be going through and the stuff that matter to you. Unless you want to be speaking to a vacuum, (and I do know that most bloggers want some form of attention), you need to have your blog noticed. Go out there and follow more blogs. How do you find them, you ask? It depends on the community you want your blog to fit into.

Remember this article on Finding your Blog Niche? Depending on your title, description and the type of posts you plan, that kind of tells you what community to target. If your blog is basically Nigeria-themed, find a blog directory for that like the NBA - Nigerian Blog Awards. Others include Bookblogs - bloggers about reading and reviewing books, Shewrites - for women writers and authors, SitsGirls - mostly female bloggers, moms or nay, IAN - independent authors network, and more. The easiest way of course is to follow the people who follow your blog, and those that make comments as well as tapping from the blog list of the blogs you already follow. If you look on the lower left sidebar, you will see my media sites, and blogs I visit.

Another way to get attention and draw traffic to your blog is by being on the social media networks and commenting on websites that are related to your blog. Social media include Facebook and Twitter, and if you haven't already, sign on to them immediately. Make sure that the name you use corresponds to your blog. If you already have your real name accounts, but you don't want them connected to your anonymous blog, then open new accounts with your blog name. I joined FB and Twitter with my real name before I started blogging, but after Myne Whitman took over, I simply changed the name. And that is very important, you have to be consistent across these platforms or people will be confused.

Messageboards and Forums also come in useful here, as well as related websites. I have a presence on Nairaland, Naijastories.com (OK, I'm the founder of this one), Nigeriavillagesquare, CoffeeTime Romance, The Romance Reviews, among others. I make sure to regularly make comments on these forums and interact with their members. You don't have to spam the sites as most of them have a feature for you to have link to your blog in your signature. Others that are wordpress-based will link your name/comment directly to a website you provide. For the Nigerian blogs, other websites include Lindaikeji's blog and BellaNaija.com.

In the next blog tips post, I will share more on other ways to get noticed. Stay tuned...

Guest Author - Abigail George: Africa Where art Thou?

Today's guest author is a friend on Facebook and a poet. Her new collection of poems has just been published to really fantastic reviews from all across Africa and the world and she has agreed to answer some questions for me. Her replies exhibit the spirit of a true poet and contains some great nuggets for us all especially aspiring and upcoming authors. Enjoy...


Abigail George asks questions of the continent she loves. Her collection is peopled with the impoverished and marginalised: 'vacant grown-ups, beggars, orphans and vagrants'. It includes tributes to jazz pianist Moses Molelekwa, photographers Ken Oosterbroek and Kevin Carter and to anti-apartheid activist, Dulcie September. George's voice is one of conscience and compassion.

MICHELLE MCGRANE, author of Fireflies and Blazing Stars, Hybrid and A Suitable Girl, South Africa

Abigail George’s poetry etches the intricacies of the homestead with expert hands; she effortlessly merges the mundane with the modern, and captures the lowest of depths and the highest of peaks in everything life and South Africa. Her ink flows through the stench of trenches, just as it captures the crisp air of the breathtaking landscapes of her homeland. As a unique chronicler of the past and present, George is a voice that will erupt through the rock solid density of both pre and post apartheid South Africa.

UNOMA AZUAH, Poetry Editor: Sentinelnigeria.org




It is said that being a poet is to live twice as intensely as an ordinary person; it's like having four eyes, four ears, and four hands. Abigail lives through her poetry and her poems are alive because of her. She shares her visions of beauty and her poems are refined through her understanding of pain. Poetry, Judson Jerome says is “at best a lonely activity—not only writing it, but all the requirements of learning to write it: studying reading poetry of the past, analysing techniques, and staying aware of contemporary literary currents” From her “lonely activity” Abigail shares with us her wonderful poems, resonating with passion and compassion, beauty and ugliness hope and despair. These are all the things poets should be talking about and she manages to write about these with such eloquence and truthfulness. Abigail you are a poet!

MICHAEL BARRY, Head of Dept, Dept of Arts & Culture, Nelson Mandela Metropole University, South Africa

A penetrating view of the psyche of the post-apartheid millennium youth. It is not about apartheid: it is about the selfishness and individualism of the rich. It is not about gender issues: it is about the pain, loss and survival of a numbed youth whom suicide personified overwhelms, yet they paradoxically still feel invincible. The seasons speak to the fragile, fleeting nature of the relationships of the youth; their rootlessness; authority that they view as unstable and adults as vacant; a seemingly unattainable purity that they seek; while uttering a clarion call to “see me, know me’. Penetrating…profound…intense…grave…

DORELLE ISAACS, educationalist, South Africa

Whether she is an outsider looking inside, like in the poem on the Rwanda genocide, or an insider telling the outside, like in the first two poems, Abigail George writes with the sensitivity that touches all who devour her poetry. Her sense of history is quite acute and interesting. History inspires; it is beautiful and ugly at the same time, and it’s always amazing how writers, poets and artists who turn to history tend to produce work with depth. In her debut anthology, Abigail George is no exception. She inspires.

KHANYILE MLOTSHWA, writer and journalist, Sunday News Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

In this collection of small and large framed poetry are portraits capable of lingering for a long time.

AHMED MAIWADA, poet, literary critic, Nigeria


And now to the interview.




Tell us about your publishing journey, from idea to holding the book in your hands?

Ideas begin with the pure, golden light, the sun of inspiration, distilled instructions, a war of nerves that sets your mind on frayed edges at first, but as your clarity of vision clears and you settle down in front of your ancient computer (whose monitor you know you need to replace), a computer made up of spare parts and then you’re in panic mode. Will this, can this ever be a roaring success? And being a successful writer means doing radio, television, print interviews but that’s not what I see when I see the imprint of the book in the near future. My journey started with the loud game within a well of loneliness, way past midnight I am already half-dreaming, in a dark depression that pulled the wool over my eyes, my wolf in sheep’s clothing that carried me through the night telling me I had to finish this page before I finally succumbed to sleep.

I didn’t hold the book that long in my hands. It was passed on from one family member to the next. They gushed, they were in awe, they said, ‘well done, congratulations’ and ‘we’re proud of you’ but I was just relieved that it was all over and thinking of how am I going to sell it, market it and distribute it. Now the real work was beginning. Honestly, I felt a bit lost. Abigail, where art thou? I felt displaced. My job was done and it would now fall into other hands where I would have no control over it. It also left me feeling a bit insecure. Writers always want to know, ‘Was the effort, the hard work I put into the book, good enough?’

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?

I am busy writing up my memoirs, From Hell to Eternity (a book which I am writing with my father who is also a writer), a second poetry anthology, Wash Away my Sins and a collection of short stories simply called, Winter in Johannesburg. Those are just working titles; that are works-in-progress. I come from a family of writers and poets; whose creative efforts on the whole are mostly unpublished except for my father. My sister paints a little but that is just a hobby of hers in her down time from her hectic and highly stressful job over weekends. My dream is to run workshops for young writers who come from disadvantaged and marginalised backgrounds and to have a retreat where other writers from all over Africa can come and write and work and live among other writers and poets, even if it is for a short while, here in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

There’s peace of mind and then there’s no peace of mind when I think any writer has completed a book. The battle that you have been locked in for months or years is now over. That is the first kind of peace. The second comes with the publicity for the book, doing countless interviews, being asked to talk about your book, address audiences hoping for high exposure for what you have written.

If you could have a signed copy of any novel what would it be and why?

Catcher in the Rye (for Holden Caulfield; the protagonist of the moving story, its dialogue and a brother who sells out to hollow, phoney-baloney Hollywood), A Moveable Feast (Hemingway at his best), I Write What I like (the shame of apartheid omnipresent and painted in words by a brilliant man, a genius, Biko), Maru (I’m in love with love and connecting with people through my own writing, that is why I love this book so much), Ariel (simply magical), Before I Forget (a book that feels like winter about the art of war and the inner workings of human relationships), To Kill a Mockingbird (you will want to read this book not once, or twice but a few times), Once in a House on Fire (a tragic story about domestic violence but very, very good. I would have liked to read more from this writer. She won the Somerset Maugham award for this book.)

What's the craziest writing idea you've had?

Everything I’ve ever written so far.

What's the best writing advice anyone has ever given you?

Put away for your first draft for a few weeks, a few months or a few years and then go back to the manuscript, edit it, throw away phrases, words, sentences; everything that doesn’t seem to fit like a square peg in a round hole, omit. Look at it through brand new eyes and then start all over again. It will lead to frustration, boredom will set in and it is torture but it must be done. That’s how you connect writer’s block to finding your voice; your inner voice.

How do you react to a bad review?

I make tea in a pot and I sit down with my father, my sounding board and we talk. I make Chai tea that my sister brought with her from India on holiday, green tea, Rooibos, Five Roses; whatever’s in the cupboard. I put on my walking shoes. I cook for my family. I lounge on the sofa, with the dog or the cat on my lap and watch too much television. I send out more emails. More work that is bound to face rejection or that will be accepted. Success spelled out for me makes me feel smaller and smaller. I’m already living in the world of a minority. It cuts my ego down to size, truly makes me feel humility in a headspace that I can’t banish or escape from.

Rejection hurts. There’s no going around that. That’s the truth. You have to face it head on, bravely and as swiftly as the negative comes, you have to realise so eventually, inevitably does the positive. You have to be quick on your feet because rejection can knock you to the ground. You’ve just been picked apart. I have kept all my rejection letters. Sometimes in despair I have been known to rip them to shreds and say mockingly to the universe, whoever is listening out there, ‘What the hell do they know? They don’t know the difference between bad writing and good writing anyway.’ Rejection becomes part of a writer’s psyche, a thing that you mourn from your gut but not for long. If you took pictures of yourself and studied the preeminent details in them, when you received the news, ‘This is not right for us but keep us in mind. We’d like to read some more of your work in the future’, you’d see your face fall, wide-eyed, blinking back tears. You’re still you, intact and the ideas, a feast of them are still there. All you have to do is to pull up a chair to the banquet table. They may not be perfect in the first draft form, second or third but you’ll soon find that once you get going on a soulful spurt, sparks will fly from your intellect.

I have a love/hate, organic relationship with rejection. It challenges me to be a better writer. I become wiser, continually evolving, words dance across the page as I imagine them, planning them beautifully inherently. It helps me to have books around me that inspire me to grow daily as a poet and a writer. Rainer Maria Rilke’s The Book of Hours, Sylvia Plath’s Ariel, journals and magazines I’ve been published in helps to give me a compliant focus on whatever I’m working on, my diaries, poetry books, books on creative writing, my black notebooks that I’ve had for years since my youth and of course, a good dictionary and a thesaurus. You can face anything, anything when you’re surrounded by good books by writers who have certainly faced rejection at some point in their lives just as you’ve had.

Which authors have influenced you most and how?

(I have included authors and poets. I know there will be some I forget to mention.)
J.D. Salinger, Ernest Hemingway, Bessie Head (I fell head over heels in love at 16 with Maru), Ingrid Jonker, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, William Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Anne Frank’s diary, Radclyffe Hall and Andre Brink. The books I grew up reading as a child encouraged this commitment within me that just showed up and graced me with its prescence to be a writer-to-be. I would love to be able to just shout out the names of writers from Africa but I can’t.

And here is where my ignorance of African writers shows up. I did not grow up reading any. I was not exposed to them in high school. They were never part of the curriculum. That is a travesty; a tragedy. Ignorance is not bliss. It is just an accumulation of black holes, voids, infinite stupidity that so many people whether they write or don’t are in frank denial of. It’s not enough to read the African writers and poets who win important international literary awards, fellowships and who live in exile, abroad. We must, must read our own writers on this continent, encourage them, have workshops, train them, publish, publish and publish them. If we don’t, who will?

There is no such thing as a writer producing bad writing only a writer writing badly because he/she doesn’t have enough ‘juice’ flowing through their veins, enough life experience to cover up the wasteland of language lost in translation which seems pedantic, filled with jargon or language that just seems empty of vitality and a celebration of hope, a heartland or the human spirit. But this generation, their voices, sombre, bursting with an avalanche of glee, their energy like flowers flooding fields, gives me hope. We’ve climbed mountains before in the history of this continent. Why must we wait for what challenges us the most to stop, halt or come to an abrupt end? What challenges us makes us grow and inspires us. Without memory, without ladders of years, without history, we are nothing and we can inspire nothing.

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