Monthly Archives: January 2012

Igbo romance can be difficult to write.

You all know I have been writing a romance novel. It’s going well, thanks for asking. Only about 13,000 words to go, which should be fine if I do 1,000+ words every day.

“But what on earth are you doing here, woman? Aren’t you supposed to be writing?” You say. Yes, I am supposed to be writing, but the characters are not cooperating with my synopsis, which is pissing me off. DO they know how long it took me to write? (57 minutes. I will never get that back!)

So, quelle suprise, the main characters are Igbo and the story is set in Igbo land – contemporary of course. But the problem is, this girl she is too Igbo in her head. You know how in Ndi ocha books and films, the friction between the main characters is usually because of repressed passion? And you know how on some dark, stormy night they are trapped somewhere and the friction and anger leads to passionate embraces and kisses? Well, my main character doesn’t do that. Is it too much to ask for an Igbo girl to just be NORMAL? No. When the man excites her, her heart starts beating faster, her mouth dries up…she feels the desire to…slap him.

Bush thing.

It’s got so bad now that I’m almost at the end of the book and apart from a near-miss kiss, nothing’s happened. And I have two chapters to go! Grrr.

Mana I won’t, lie. I miss those relationships were you drew out the frisson until you could just about not stand it – the entire relationship, the part that you really wanted to do but didn’t have the guts because you knew that one day your mother would be kneeling in front of her altar praying and suddenly have the Virgin Mary appear to her Aokpe-style and tell her exactly what you were up to, stayed in your head. That’s why Igbo girls can send out confusing vibes. How do you continue to onu gbajie bois and be hard to get when you’ve done bad things to the man in your head? (Guys, if you only knew!)

Anyway, that’s the Igbo way. But I do wish this chick would just be and put the guy out of his confusion.

I mean com’on. You can only slap a man so much before the romance dies.

OK, OK, I know I was supposed to go away…

But maaaaaannn, there is one ajo nwa here that is giving me fever o. He is just boiling my blood and I am trying to act cool as my egwuriegwu levels are supposed to have gone down now that I’m a respectable married somebody. But nna mehn, Flavour N’abania is killing me – and not softly. Umu bois don’t know the meaning of the word.

So there I was not thirty minutes ago proclaiming my love for his name which is just the BEST name of any artiste in the world EVER, when someone (@na_you_biko) says to me ‘Nwa baby, nye m ife gi’. After getting over my shock (at least buy me a plate of nkwobi first or babysit my kid. Sheesh!) I realise that those are lyrics, so I get my bum over to YouTube to check out the track.

And that’s when I get in trouble. I mean, the man is barely singing but that’s not the problem. The tune is normal and catchy, but that’s not it either. It’s that I am seriously, without-a-shadow-of-a-doubt contemplating giving him my ife. If he were standing in front of me right now, singing that damn song, maybe moving his waist a bit like a male Abriba dancer…

And to think before a month ago I was blissfully unaware of his existence. However working from home and being the primary carer for Tot means that I can no longer live in a journo bubble. Now I know the Devil is an Igbo man.

Look at the name sef: Flavour N’abania. Flavour Tonight. That is the name of that kind of Igbo man that will just finish you. Point and kill. Eat and chop bone. Drink and throway cup. If your body remains after that, it’s only by the grace of God. N’abania. It’s going to happunnn. You will get it. Chai. Olololooooo. My father, my father. Anu ndogbu adogbuo la m. This boy has killed me. Does anyone know if he went to Enugu State University of Technology? Because his kind of razzness smells ESUTy.

I’m off to tie my headscarf in the Charismatic style and drink some holy water.

Thank yous, romance novels and Igbo absurdities.

I would like to thank you all for reading, commenting and sharing your thoughts on this blog in the year 2011. However, WordPress informs me that I have a few people to thank more than others.

Madame Sting was one of my top five referrers, so thank you very much for that. And you’re forgiven for blogging about soya milk. I have a weakness for Alpro!

 Ladyngo is next for driving traffic to this blog, so a big, fat  thank you from me. Check out her blogroll, you will find one or two surprises like I have. Quite varied. Also she’s one of my top commenters. Extra hugs. I owe you a gourd of sweet palm wine.

Other top commenters were: Ginger, Uche, Vera and Kiki Morena. Thank you very very much ladies. It get to a point when ‘Thanks’ doesn’t seem like enough. I’m contemplating naming my next child after you lot, but Ginger UV Kiki Morena sounds like an ultraviolet biscuit laughing ‘kikikiki’, ‘Morena’ being the name of the biscuit factory owner. Enough said.

And to all of you others who posted either my posts on your Facebook walls (Ijeoma Anusionwu and co), or commented on mine (Ogo Okpala), for people who retweeted me (Nkem) and people who just read without saying anything, daalu nu o. You people have dne well. Here’s hoping that 2012 brings more of the same…only better and more fequently.

Now everyone say ‘Ami’.

In other news, I am going to be merging my blogs to form one giant blog. So, igbogirlguide.com will be joining this one. This is because it’s harder for me to update the both of them when I have my hands full with caring for tot in addition to writing. I’ll make the categories such that if you’d rather read content geared towards snagging an Igbo man, you’ll find it and vice versa.

In other other news, I am currently in the process of writing my first romance novel commissioned by a Nigerian publisher (YAY!). They are looking at getting it published in March so I have ZERO time to finish it. I guess what I am saying is that I am so sorry to love you and leave you, but between sick tot (yes, he’s still displaying) and writing, I’m stretched a bit too thin. Unfortunately, I have been forbidden by my editor from posting any excerpts so I cannot leave you with anything to read…for now. But you can be sure that as soon as it’s published I will do!

That’s all for now. I will miss you but I’ll only be gone until the end of the month. I’ll try to stop my brain remembering more Igbo absurdities till then.

Love,

Nx

“Antii gbaalu m Christmas!”

See eh, I’m not joking. This phrase can have even the meanest, baddest, biggest girl/boy to come back from Ala Bekee quaking in their boots. Why? I’ll tell you.

In Igboland, December is a time to make money without shame – yes, yes, I know you non-ndi igbo are scratching your heads in confusion and asking “But isn’t the whole year money-making galore in Igboland?” and largely you are right, but December has a special kind of frenzy attached to making money – spending it of course, but mostly making it, amassing huge quantities of it – that is absent throughout the whole year. None so much as among village children.

Village children are known for many things; iwa anya, literally translated as ‘to cut open the eye’ or in pidgin as ‘Tear eye’, ‘icha akwu’, which means ‘To ripen like a palmnut’ – this is harder to explain. It does not mean physical ripening or maturity. (Everyone knows you can never tell a village child’s age and that only a stupid person would try. Footballers have got nothing on these children). It’s more like being sharp. They have a lot of sense.

But the worst bit around Christmas is that village children – babies from six months and upwards included – can already tell a N50 note from a N500 one. (Actually that’s a bit unfair. All Igbo children can do that). And this brings me to the ‘quaking in boots ‘bit. On Christmas Day bands of children ‘terrorise’ households. They come in, all the same size if different ages and they greet you ‘Gi rafun’ (Good afternoon) and say “Anyi bialu ka i gbalu anyi Christmas”. Woe betide you if you don’t have any cash on hand when these children visit because they’ve got all day and they WILL get that money. They’ve got nothing but time and it doesn’t matter how many houses they have gone to before yours on Christmas Day, their stomachs are never full. Your best bet is to feed them, give them money and let them go or your family/visitors will have no food to eat that day (yes, people go round to other people’s on Christmas Day where I’m from). Sometimes they’ll refuse food outright. They’ll tell you they have eaten and all they want is for you to ‘dance Christmas’ for them. They may take a drink or two. They will tell you that they will come back if you don’t have any money now, but please heed my advice. Give them what you have got. When they come back, they come with inflation.

“Well, what happens when you give them nothing?” You ask. It’s similar to a halloween trick but much worse. For you see, in addition to ripening like a palmnut and cutting open their eyes, the village child is a library of insults passed down from grandparents; words that you never knew existed. Also they are possessed of the uncanny ability to zero in on your worst fear or insecurity. And so it was that yours truly, while neither a badass nor a big girl became the recipient of such hits as ‘Onye isi ya ka nke m o’. And I don’t even have a big head. It’s mostly hair. *Sniff Sniff*

To help you, here’s a drawing I have done of a typical village child leader at Christmas:

1) Dark eyebrows created by applying thick lines of black-black eye pencil. The kind that you never see in any form but ‘stubby’.

2) Plastic glasses with fluorescent colours.

3) Tummy-breast buds: Do not try to determine age by looking here, especially if you’re a man. It won’t help you.

4) Bag for collecting money. Usually when the bag is full, the leader will lead her troupe back to their compound (they are usually all related) to empty their receptacles before they hit the road again. Their parents will count and hold the money. The mothers, not the fathers mind. (Side note: Have you ever seen what happens to a parent when they spend a VC’s Christmas money? See: Bakassi Boys)

5) New china blue-white socks, bought two sizes too big and rolled down. They will wear it to other special occasions throughout the year to which they have not been invited. See: The back of your wedding hall).

6) Belt. Tied as tightly as possible so that the skirt of the dress flares attractively. Any dress without a belt is not a dress.

7) Aka kpof-kpof AKA pouffy sleeves. Ditto.

8) Mother’s lipstick, scraped from its barrel with the cover of a Bic pen.

9) Shirley Temple curls. Made with extensions so plastic and shiny that if the sun is a little too hot it can spontaneously combust. The curls give the illusion of thick bouncy hair, and most importantly, cover up the short, natural hair that is the rule in most village school. Sometimes, VC can show up with the ‘Okuku Abuke’ look, which is where they relax the short hair for Christmas resulting in sparse spikes. (See: Wet chickens).

10) Weirdly couloured bit in hair. The extensions for this could be anything from white to fiery red to purple. It has to stand out).

11) Koi-koi shoes, so named for the sound they make.

And I forgot to add a nummber 12, so here it is: The eye-pencil beauty mark/third eye in the middle of forehead. You are not an asa until you have this. Whaaaaaat?

So, you’ve been warned. Don’t be afraid though, just respect yourself, go to the bank on time and all will be well. Make no mistake, Christmas is not Christmas without the village child.

HAPPY NEW YEAR PEOPLE. Sorry for the late/scattered post and thanks for your prayers for tot. See you soon!