How to be a writer in Lagos. (;-P)

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You must first be seen hobnobing with people in the writing community, never miss an opportunity to attend a book reading at arty fatsy places such as Glendora, Bogobiri, Jazzhole and Quintessence.

Be very vocal, so vocal, people could easily mistake you for a freedom rights activist. Your role and main goal is to be heard, not through your written words, but your voice. You must scream and you must argue with fanatical fervor.You mustn’t forget to dress the part. Please endeavour to appear dirty, dingy and dodgy. Dressing up nicely or “normally” will just not cut it here.You are a tortured soul, and therefore cannot be bothered by trivial things such as looks. You must wear dread locks or dada and preferably a pair of nerdy glasses, dirty jeans and smelly looking tee shirts. It would help if you could pretend to be gay or bisexual, you will come off as very worldly and open minded and liberal.

Think about it.

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What to do when in Love

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When in love, fearlessly express your love in a variety of ways. Never worry about what others might say or think. Always speak the truth that lies in your heart.

When in love, gather all your courage with both hands, and feel free to beat up your man, or chase him around the village square as Ntsame Minlame did in Daniel Mengara’s Mema, at the end of the chase, you can always dramatically end the scene by using your machete on yourself, what better way to demonstrate the term ‘crazy in love’.

Continue to love selflessly a person who has demonstrated countless times, the inability to reciprocate your love, a person who does not in any way deserve your love or friendship, when in love, you are allowed major acts of stupidity and great foolishness, after all, it is only fools who love.

When in love, please remember to act irrational, you are after all high on the drug ‘love’. You cannot be blamed for your deeds. You follow only the dictates of your heart.

Where thou goes, there also shall I go, if you smoke weed, I’ll smoke some too, if you jump off the third mainland bridge, baby, I’ll be right behind you.

Being in love allows you quarrel with everyone you’ve known all your life for the sake of your boo. They don’t know how this person makes you feel, he’s the best, she’s the best! Bla bla, no one can understand you, because no one has ever loved like you.

The sun is obviously brighter, and the whole world is much more beautiful, even the debris in the gutter looks like art in your love struck eyes.

Love is a beautiful drug. It made you empty your bank account for your amore. It also made you fly away for a weekend getaway on a Tuesday, when you should have been tending to pressing matters at work and caused you to be fired on Monday morning.

Ah! Lest I forget, you must forget yourself and what you deserve, you must mould yourself and build your life around the one you love so deeply, passionately, foolishly. After all, love is all about giving selflessly.

Accept it when birthdays are forgotten, and  gifts turn out to be discarded things your lover could do without. There’s love in sharing. You on the other can spend hours poring over the perfect gift, someone has to teach by example, besides, its only been  7 years, he’ll learn next year.

 

My mother never

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My Mother never told me about ever jumping off a moving train in hot pursuit of a thief.
Grandma Did you  know?
Ahn Ahn – did you not know?
Nooo! I did not know oh!
Mummy never said.
Your mother was a student at the time and was travelling to Yola from Kaduna. I told her to give me her school money to keep because they are many thieves on the train , she refused, and put it in her bag.


It was while we were arguing about it, that a thief snatched her bag.
Your mother wasted no time, she immediately took off after him. I ran after her screaming ‘thief thief’ Catch that thief! –
To avoid being caught, the thief jumped off the train as it slowed down,  but he had stolen from the wrong person, because your mother jumped off too, and so did I.

What! You too!
Ha, I was quite fit in those days my dear.

Your mother caught up with the thief and started fighting with him. I joined in, thinking that we could over power him, but he turned to me in the struggle and latched his teeth and bit so hard into my breast, causing it to bleed profusely.
That is how I got this scar.

And the man cried…

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Slowly, as though in a dream, my vision at first blurred, focuses
on the wet red tomatoes across the roadside in front of me. I am fascinated by the
beads of water with tiny bits of sunlight glistening on them.  I stare at the woman screaming at passersby to
buy her tomatoes and ata rodo, she reminds me of a female Buddha, with her
slits for eyes and rotund figure.

I cannot remember how, and when I got here, I do not know
why I am seated here  on the pavement,
next to the gutter. My freshly starched white kaftan is smeared with mud, shit,
and all sorts of rubbish.

“Meeeeeriiiiiilllaaaand! Ojotajotajota”!

“Ojota –ketu-mile12”!

“Ikeja insideeeeee

It is rush hour and everywhere around me I see tired, angry
and anxious faces, impatient to get home.

Motorist blare their horns in competition, commuters stand
in endless queues waiting for buses.

I feel removed from the scene before me, I feel numb, I feel
nothing.

Nightfall slowly approaches, yet I’m still perched at the
roadside, inhaling the pungent smell emanating from inside the gutter , I
glance in at  the thick paste of
blackened sand and floating pure water wraps, entangled with pieces of broken
glass, sticks,  and all manner of debris and
a blackberry…

As I stare at the blackberry, recollection floods my mind.

I feel  hot and cold
all at once, my pulse begins to race, my heart pounds like a samba drum.

I start to sweat, even though  it’s a chilly evening.

I remember how my morning started, bright and happy, a warm
kiss from Nkem , a hug from Obi and a cup of coffee -black, just the way I
liked it.

We made plans to spend the day playing football at the park.

I remember Nkem’s
tearful phone call.

I listened as her voice trailed off and my mind retreated to
that  place where everything is dark and
warm,  where’s  there is no pain, feelings or thoughts.

We will never play at the park.

I will never see his eyes squinting at me, or hear his
mischievous laughter.

I will never watch Ben 10, Samurai jack or Dexter’s
laboratory.

I will never feel him crawl into our bed at night because he
had a bad dream or was frightened by the storm.

I will never hold the warm body of my obi in an embrace or
feel  his wet sloppy kisses on my cheeks.