On the 11th of June this year, I sold my first reprint! Woohoo. And to make it even better, it is of a story that was first published on this blog, ‘The Fixer’. I am thrilled to bits.
I am doubly ecstatic as the story will take on new life as an interactive story. Do you remember those ‘Choose your own adventure’ books of the 90s? It’s like that, but online. I have heard some of the audio that will go in mine and I am a giddy with expectation. I. Just. Cannot. Wait.
Here are a few samples of stories for you to experience, if you don’t have any clue as to what I am talking about:
‘My Father’s Long, Long Legs’ – Michael Lutz (I personally found this one a tad long but perhaps ’twas the point. Stick with it. Wear headphones!)
I think what I am excited the most about is non-linear storytelling, to be honest; that and fully experiencing stories. I keep trying different things on this blog and off it; audio, drawings, animation, translation. I’ve tried (or dreamt of) embedding sound or other stuff within my ebooks. Currently, I’m using Twine, but nothing is ready which I can share yet – other deadlines keep popping up. If you do get round to twining your stories, share o! I am a glutton for any type of storytelling.
Sub-Q is open for submissions now. It launches on the 4th of August. You can follow them on Twitter: @subQmag
I am still looking for where I mislaid my original nose, but it’s okay. I’m sure wherever it is, my pre-pregnancy waistline is keeping it company.
Piña Colada can be a breakfast drink if you have it with eggs. And you don’t drive. On that note, it is perfectly fine to be a bit buzzed at school run. Just don’t try to make conversation. That thing you think is so hilarious probably isn’t. You’re buzzed. Go home.
Writing is the best gig ever!
Writing is the worst gig ever.
I don’t shave my legs. Deal with it.
Ditto armpits. Yes, I realise our friendship may now be in jeopardy.
These are my parents:
I feel I have been smarter than I currently am. But I have never been poorer than I currently am. Both things can be fixed, which means I am very lucky.
I hope to not be living in this country next year because I am a bit tired and there is a whole lot of world to see. However, I will miss the NHS.
Save the NHS!
Why is IS destroying everything?!!
I’d like to build my house from mud. Like those mosques in Djenne. Or like our ancestors’ houses. I already have an architect.
I really like the name Mehitobel and have been wanting to give it to a character. Except she’s a demon, my character.
I wish I had spare robotic eyes that I could switch my human eyes out with so that I can read all the books I want and never have to sleep ever.
I inherited my grandma’s glasses. She had all her teeth. I should have asked to get those too. Clone myself a little baby Mama Onitsha.
I’ve been working on a story for three days. I finished it yesterday. Now I have two stories.
I’ve been pretty run down this week; fever, headaches, cold and cough. I thought that after yesterday morning when I had the last bout of fever that we’d simply parted ways. I was on the mend. The fight was over. I rarely get sick anyway, so, you win this one viruses! We were done.
Not so, friends.
I woke up this morning with a left eye that refused to open and when it finally did, would only budge in the middle – the ends of the eye still held fast with yellow gunk. Through this ghastly, spiky curtain, my blackened eye peeped out at the world, like a demon in search of a soul to devour.
It only took all thirty-ahem! years of my life, but finally, finally friends, I have experienced the dreaded Apollo. (That’s conjunctivitis to you non-Nigerians). Dreaded because kids that dared contact Apollo when we were growing up were shunned and heckled by other kids in school. Home would have not been much fun to be in either, my parents were very strict on what we were and were not allowed to catch. I only had chicken pox at twenty-two, living in London, far away from their disapproval.
It’s hard growing up with two doctors in the house; I never had the sweetness of wearing a filthy, itchy cast because I was not allowed to break any bones, never had lice until I was in boarding school and quickly got rid of that myself (ground camphor in the hair, combed through and washed out. Someone taught me) or boils that required that special inky-blue liquid dressing that never seemed to repel flies. There were plenty of scrapes and bruises but they never allowed us to have plasters, just wash it in stinging soap and water (ow!) and leave it open because the air made it heal.
“But I want plaster!” we’d wail, when our mother was out of earshot.
“Com’ on, mechie onu gi ebe ahu osiso! You want plaster, that’s why you wounded yourself,” she’d say from upstairs, listening in with her bat hearing.
I never ever got out of doing homework.
Having such knowledgeable parents was a bother. We never got to stay home from school even if we had malaria – they’d inject you with chloroquine and send you on your merry way. I can only remember being home from school once and by the end of the day I wanted to live in school, I was so bored. No TV, no getting up to go to the toilet (you had to shout for one of the maids to come and bear witness that you were not really playing), just a lot of sleeping and hallucinating and sweating as the chloroquine kicked the shege out of the malaria and out of you.
.Being ill was never as fun for us as it was for other children, so we simply stopped. I simply stopped falling ill until I could find someone to pet me. Except, I found out how much I loved being well. As a ‘habit’, it stuck. It doesn’t mater what The Hubster and Tot catch, I never seem to get it, mainly because I avoid them, starving them of hugs and kisses until whatever they have is gone.
Easier to do with the Hubster than the Tot. Which is why I’ve had this cold and cough kicking the shit out of me for the past week. But I cannot help kissing the little petri dish. It’s those damn cheeks!
Anyway, turned out to be good training my mother was giving me because life is really about about taking your chloroquine like a good girl, and just getting on with it, if you can.
And I might have the flaming eye of Sauron, but I also get a rather lovely drawing of myself from Tot, which is not bad going at all.
Today’s song is brought to you by the small children in our old neighbourhood in Nigeria (holla Onwubuya street!). They used to sing it whenever they saw the big kids, anyone they did not like or anyone they could outrun, coming – which pretty much added up to the same thing. They were just troublemakers. You’d see them in their home dresses and shorts, barefoot, playing ‘swell’ or rolling tyres with sticks, happy as clams and out for blood. They’d abandon their games in a heartbeat once they sighted prey.
They sang it for me once. I held my gleaming forehead high and walked on, pretending not to hear them. I went home, looked in the mirror and well…let’s just say it’s pretty hard to un-see once you’ve seen my forehead. It’s awesome and awe-inspiring. Look away children, look away.
You are probably thinking “But they’re children!” Yeah, of the corn. Village children are on another level with those Igbo language skills. They have a song for EVERYTHING. A village child can insult you here and your ancestors will feel it in the underworld and bite their fingers in regret.
The way I see it, my mother owes us kids therapy money for this ten-head thing she ‘gifted’ us with. And I mean, even to the third generation; all of her grand kids have it. The song is below.
Onye isi ya ka nke m o
Nee ya ka ona abia.
Isi ukwu bianu were oche,
Nee ya ka o na abia.
S/he whose head is bigger than mine
Look! Here s/he comes.
Big Head! Come and take a seat,
Look, here s/he comes.
I tried to get my other sister, Pastor, to do the gospel remix version but she cracked up around the ‘Big Head’ bit. You know what our people say. ‘An old woman becomes uncomfortable when dry bones are mentioned.’ Guess it hit close to home for her too.
So I took this test last year that is supposed to tell you who you write like – for kicks of course. It was winter. I was bored, I went on Facebook and it was there. Normally I wouldn’t bother with such tests, believing as I do, that everyone writes as themselves even when the idea has been done to death – everyone is unique. This time I took it. I put in a sample of my writing, something short and I got ‘Chuck Palahnuik’. (Just embedded the badge over there —–>)
“Who the heck is Chuck Pala…Pala…how do you even say this name sef?” I tsked, went on Amazon, bought one of his books and became a believer. Yes, algorithm you are indeed all-knowing. Who am I to reject your results? Chuck Palahnuik is awesome! Thank you very much.
The novel I bought was ‘Haunted’ (Amazon says I bought it on March 31st 2013). I am still scraping off pieces of grey matter from where he BLEW MY MIND. Chuck Palahnuik, man. I see you. You complete me. You had me at ‘This was supposed to be a writer’s retreat’.
I have since bought and read ‘Fight Club’ (which the film is based on. I have not yet seen it but I know who’s in it), I am reading ‘Choke’ and have ‘Survivor’ stashed away for Christmas when all the fake cheer becomes too much and I want some good old psychological, mind-bending shit so that I don’t lock my parents in the basement and torture them by withholding their coffee and making them watch Corrie.
‘Haunted’ for me is still my favourite Chuck Palahnuik book because…well…you never forget your first. It is based on a group of people who answer the ad to a writers’ programme that reads: Artists’ Retreat: Abandon your life for three months which becomes the overarching plot that links the stories. The 23 short stories are the writers’ back stories, each one as unique as a fingerprint and twice as horrifying. People are known to have passed out or thrown up when Chuck read ‘Guts’ at book tours. The whole thing is totally mad. Dark, crafted, hilarious madness. The man knows his stuff.
What’s my point to all this? I don’t do book reviews on this blog. I guess the point would be to say, don’t place too much stock in quizzes if you’re a writer. Do your own thing but do keep an open mind. Sometimes, it leads you down unexpected paths and your life is much richer for it.