#WriterSpotlight – “The depth of poetry isn’t necessarily in big words but in the mastery of stringing words together to make art.” Femi Peters

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Hello Femi Peters, please introduce yourself

I’m a man of many parts but a single core, Jesus. I’m a writer, blogger, author, and an entrepreneur. I value relationships. I am married and a serial father.

When and why did you start writing?

I started writing way back in secondary school. I remember helping classmates and friends draft love letters to their crushes and girlfriends. Then I wrote a couple of short stories in the university. I took a shine to it when I started blogging in 2007. I write because I believe a have a message to communicate.

Permit us if we are wrong but you recently entered the writing scene with the introduction of your book ‘Notes to My God’. How has the reaction been?

The reactions started with my first blog that has the same name as my debut book. It pointed that I was solving problems, that my poems were needed. The reactions from the book has been astounding, humbling and has spurred me to write more.

We hear it took 10 years to put this book together. Why did it take you so long?

Well most of the poems came between 2006-2009 but other factors came into play. I had to overcome self doubt and other people’s opinions. I had to journey from getting a publisher to self publish amongst other factors.

We know you are a blogger, when did you start blogging and what’s the biggest lesson blogging has taught you?

I started blogging in 2007. I learnt a lot of lessons, the biggest of them is that I am a solution to someone’s need. Consistent writing betters your gift. Blogging opens you up to a wider audience for a myriad of purposes of which critiquing is one.

Poetry can be therapeutic. Has it been that to you?

Poetry is beautiful in many ways. It is therapeutic for me in the sense that birthing a poem sometimes stems from a prevailing thought and I could start as a quest and end with result.

What’s your take on writing poetry that is becoming relatable as opposed to what poetry used to be? Words many people couldn’t understand because it was too ‘deep’

There are different types of poetry, different kinds of expression. The depth of poetry isn’t necessarily in big words but in the mastery of stringing words together to make art, art that convey a message.

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What do you think in your own words make a good poem?

For me what makes a good poem is one that is fluid, rhythmic, memorable and stoking.

What has putting together Notes to My God book taught you?

It has taught me go after my dreams, that my gift was given to be shared and that God is waiting at the point of our use.

Are there plans to release another book soon?

Yes, I’m working on a couple of books actually and one of them should be ready for early 2018

What challenges did you think you were not prepared for in the process of putting this book together?

For one I was hoping I would remain behind the scene and churn out the work but I find that I have to be out there speaking for the book as we are Siamese twins of some sort.

Where can readers get your book?

It’s available at Glendora, Ikeja City Mall, Patabah bookstores, Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Mall,  Jumia.com.ng and the Kindle edition is available on Amazon.com

What’s your advice to writers who have been working on a project for long and are getting tired?

It’s never too late to put it out there, stop procrastinating. The world needs to hear your voice. Your book is the solution someone is waiting for.

 

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#WordOfTheDay – This is what cocksure means

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Hey Sparkle Writers! 
Our word for today is “cocksure.” It is pronounced as /KOK-shoor/.
It is an adjective used to describe someone who is arrogantly or presumptuously overconfident.
The origin of the word is cock (a euphemism for god) + sure, from Old French seur, from Latin securus (secure). Earliest documented use was in 1520. Yeah its that old. 
Examples:
I thought myself cocksure of the horse which he readily promised me. 

I do not like Mr Shawn he seems preety cocksure 

 

#WritingQuote – Stories can break the dignity of a people and they can also repair that broken dignity. – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity. – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Danger of a Single Story, Ted talks.

This is one powerful quote from a Nigerian literary icon. Can you see just how much power your stories possess? Your story matters. If you are out there thinking it does not, you are either lying to yourself or listening to the lies of other people.

Give your story the chance to do what it has the power and capacity to do. Look out for someone around you to empower and to humanize through your story. Your story has repairing power! Can you believe that?

Dear writer, don’t stop writing.  Let your words give somebody else a reason, a single reason to live and a reason to see the world from a whole new perspective. 

#GrammarSeries – The relationship between subjects and verbs

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For today’s grammar series, it’s going to be all about subjects and verbs.

To make your writing comprehensible and coherent, you need to understand that there should not be any form of divorce between subjects and verbs in sentences. Two rules are needed for this understanding.

Rule 1

Singular subjects go with singular verbs.

Rule 2

Plural subjects go with plural verbs.

Examples are as follows:

The boys are on their way to the party (the subject here is ‘The boys’ while the verb is ‘are’).

This sentence would sound pretty awkward if it was rendered as “The boys is on their way to the party” because the plural subject should go with a plural verb and not the other way round.

That toddler jumps up and down all the time (the subject here is ‘That toddler’ while the verb is ‘jumps’).

Again, this sentence would have been really awkward if it was rendered as “That toddler jump down all the time” because singular subjects should go with singular verbs and not the other way round.

Stick around for more on the grammar series next week!

 

#PickOfTheWeek – Find out what procrastination, failure and pain have in common

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If you are new to the Hub you may not know about our #PickOfTheWeek series so we’d explain what it is. On this segement we feature amazing writers, whom you may not know because there are so many of them. 

If you are a writer and want to be on the segment, please tag us on instagram

The first post by Richard Dappa tells us the differnece between a man and a woman from a fresh perpective. Do you agree with him? brunch (4).pngMost times we are get upset when we feel like failed others but Muhamad Gbolahan reminds us that when we fail ourselves, fail to work on those big dreams, that is the biggest failure, although there is a way out of that too. 

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We told you there was a solution! Adebisi Olaniyi brings the solution with her post. Even when you fail yourself or make mistakes, don’t dwell in them. It is not wise. 

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The last post for today is by Sue Chioma. If you are a recurrent procrastinator this is for you. Whateever you have to do, do quick. 

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Embrace your not so popular ideas

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We absolutely love Amos Tutuola! Yes, his life is still an inspiration to all writers out there. It is remarkable what he did and how he became the first Nigerian writer to gain international fame through his writing. His first novel, “The Palm-wine Drinkard” has been translated to 11 languages. It was the first novel published in English outside Nigeria.

Why are we bringing this to your notice today? The answer is simple. Amos Tutuola wrote that book in modified Pidgin English. The title of the book tells us that much and it was outside of the mainstream literature at the time it was published in London.

This book garnered more than enough criticism with a good mix of popularity as well. The book was criticized as being too primitive and barbaric because of the kind of English it was written in. However, the book has been described by so many literary icons as the greatest novel ever written.

Dear Sparkle Writer, embrace your out-of-the mainstream ideas and opinions. Be fearless with your writings. Imagine that Amos Tutuola had chosen to focus on how he had just six years of formal schooling and was not educated enough to write in Standard British English. We would not be celebrating the ingenuity behind the novel “The Palm-wine Drinkard.”

Embrace your strange and not-so-popular ideas. Forget about the criticisms you might most likely receive. Forget about what other people might think about it and just write. Amos Tutuola’s book was not a perfect book but it was appreciated for its originality. Let go of your fears and write what you need to write. Trust us; you would be glad you did.

The difference between your blog and social media

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Do you know that there is a difference between your blog and social media? If you didn’t know, this post is just for you.  

This is why. 

Blogging and social media allow people to share their opinions and thoughts with the people who listen. They allow you to promote the links you want to promote, share that news status, and more. However, blogging and social media are also very different.

When you blog, your content is all by itself. There is no competition when someone enters the URL to your blog. It’s just your blog post followed by another one of your blog posts. With this method, you can develop a stronger community.

On social media, you will develop a larger community, but larger doesn’t mean stronger. If someone is following thousands of people, chances are they won’t see a lot of your tweets. Social media is also filled with competition because the timeline keeps on updating. A new tweet appears on your timeline every second, and millions of tweets are sent out every day. This is the same for Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and all of the other social networks. It’s also very easy to get fake followers although fake subscribers to a blog are less likely.

Blogging allows you to develop a strong community and social media allows you to build a large community. It’s quantity against quality. However, if you can mix the two together, you will have a big presence on the web.

 

#WriterSpotlight – “Your craft is your strongest voice in the midst of unending unrest.” Todimu Ikuyinminu

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Sparkle Writers, are you ready for today’s #WriterSpotlight? Our guest, Todimu Ikuyinminu. is a writer, poet, thespian and … a wack poet! Yeah, we asked him why he calls himself that. Find out why as you enjoy his interview with us. 

Hello please introduce yourself.

I am ‘Todimu George Ikuyinminu which is clipped as T. G. ‘Yinminu, a postgraduate degree holder of English from the English Department of the prestigious University of Ilorin. I am a professional creative, content developer and thespian who has led at different capacities and performed brilliantly well. However, I remain trainable and always open to knowledge acquisition.

Your IG handle is ‘The Wack Poet’ what inspired the title?

About theWACKpoet, erm… each time I am asked to explain why I chose this moniker, of all the more pleasant ones I could have adopted, I laugh at myself. The reason is because, in all honesty, I did not spend time to consider the choice of it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I actually thought about it but I am saying I did not realise that one day someone will ask me the rationale behind it. Well, there are two reasons for the choice of this moniker.

The first is the literal meaning of it, “the wack poet”. I have always been a shy fellow and it took a lot of time, and comments from readers, for me to be confident about my craft. Hence, I surmised that if I accept my own weakness(es) before the public spells them out to me, it will be easy for me to distance myself from the negative vibes that may come. However, ever since I summoned courage to exhibit my content, I have not received “bad feedback”. On the other axis, theWACKpoet is an acronym. It is a simple sentence, so to speak, it is simply saying: The Witty, Astute, Calm and Knowledgeable Poet. On a general note, I feel all creative writers must possess at  least one of the qualities coded in the meaning of “theWACKpoet”. A few people get this even without knowing what theWACKpoet means.

You are a creative writer, poet, public speaker, dramatist, artistic director, how do you combine all these?

First off, let me align myself with these words of the renowned poet of blessed memory, Maya Angelou who said, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

I hope you will agree with me that all these ‘shades’ of my ventures listed above revolve round the humanities; which is my educational background. They all revolve around entertainment and creative output, therefore to me, if I am writing (a speech, a lecture, a poem, a play, a dialogue) for instance, I am also indirectly preparing content for the stage; the audience; the readers; the viewers; the participants, as the case may be. For me it is always like “using one stone to kill five birds”.

However, I am able to combine all these because I feel that man is best at whatever he is talented/skilled at and loves to do. It is like being a roadside mechanic in Nigeria. A roadside mechanic in Nigeria can repair a Renault car this minute and work on a Mercedes Benz car the next minute. I hope the analogy is clear. So, in short, every venture I am engaged in indirectly helps become better at the other ventures. For instance, acting on stage gives me more confidence to face the crowd when I’m speaking at an event. Being a creative writer gives me more insight into creative/artistic directing thus as I imagine and block scenarios, I represent them to the best of my knowledge on stage and with the actors.

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In your bio we see that you have a bias for poetry, why is this so?

At a point in my growth, I never thought I was capable of writing poetry. My creative impulse started when I was in Junior Secondary School, and at that time I used to write short plays in a 60-leaves exercise book. I would give the books to a few of my classmates, mostly females, they would read and then recommend it to their friends. Then, I came about one of my neighbour’s poem, Dr. Gbenga Owojori (Ph.D a scientist) when I was in SS3. I took the poem and “edited” it. I enjoyed “editing” the poem so I decide to write one myself. It was an exciting experience. And that was how I started writing poems in exercise books hidden under my clothes in my wardrobe.

I recently got to know that writing poetry is hereditary for me because my late paternal grandmother used to write poems, and I also have a younger brother who has also been captured by the loving, soothing, and peacefully troublesome embrace of poetry.

The bias for poetry is inexplicable really, poetry is something I can do even under pressure. It is an attraction that is as easy as breathing in and out for me.

Your poetry house Aranbada hosts a poetry festival, please tell us more about it.

Let me say something brief about Aranbada Poetry House (APH) before I talk on Aranbada Poetry Festival as it will shed light on the question asked. Aranbada Poetry House is founded solely based on the need to create a platform that encourage creative arts, and creative writing, in the new generation of African (Nigerian) writers/artistes. The youth of today face many silent problems, these border on the scarcity of genuine art materials that will inspire and guide their creative ability. Aranbada Poetry House, seeks to ignite the passion for art and creativity in this generation of youths who are lured by the fantasies of the modern world to the detriment of the arts, creativity and its tendencies.

Aranbada Poetry Festival is just one of the platforms APH is offering, others include Aranbada Poetry Series (Poetry Anthology), Aranbada Poetry Magazine (poetry events, poets features), Aranbada Poetry Tutors’ Campaign, and Aranbada Poetry 1/2Hour set to kick off soon. Aranbada Poetry Festival (APFest) is a biennial art event. APFest is open to all artists, and the only criteria to partake is for the person to be an artist. APFest is more of a breeding platform for artists to interact with one another and meet mentors. Interestingly, the coming edition will, as planned, have great artistes like Professor Femi Osofisan, Professor Olu Obafemi, Professor Tanure Ojaide, Olulu and other established artists in attendance.

With the right funding, the vision of APFest is to be a national art event.

How was the reaction to the first edition?

The first edition was a huge success. It had many emerging artists in attendance and an audience strength of about 160. The first edition was held in honour of Professsor Olu Obafemi, my mentor and the President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, thus it received widespread acceptance from scholars in the academia so much that some lecturers in the host university partook as performers at the event.

You are quite outspoken on social media how has this helped improve your writing skill?

Social media, a place where anybody can be somebody. Unfortunately, I am not really as outspoken on social media as I am in person. However, one cannot underestimate the power of the social media in the 21st century clime, my presence on social media has affected my writing immensely. As a budding writer, there was a time I could not summarise my thoughts, I would write poems and I won’t stop until I literally left no room to probe the creative interpretation of the reader but when I got exposed to the social media, I had to start compacting my writing hence I got better at the use of stylistic poetic devices.

Social media also affords one the opportunity of freely accessing the works of other writers. For instance, recently, I decided to study the works of @desolape on Instagram and soon enough I composed a poem in the same fascination she has, but not in the same style she employs though.

Also there is the role of poetry prompts that circulate on social media. This at least challenges one to practice more.

Many believe writing is not financially rewarding what’s your take on this

Without mincing words, writing is not a venture that one should expect much reward from, which is quite discouraging for many emerging writers. When you sit to analyse the rate at which young people dabble into the entertainment industry just because of the fame and perceived fortune that comes with it nowadays, one would want to almost conclude that there will not be young creative writers in the nearest future, and same applies to the sciences. All the impressionable minds are running to the entertainment industry to make watery music which further destroys all sanity and decorum that the typical African society treasures.

As much as I am of the opinion that writing should not be about the financial reward but be a purgative enterprise that seeks to help shape our society better through the codification of reasonable heartfelt expressions and perceptions that will inspire the reader(s), I am not against getting some financial reward for it. It is quite disheartening that the Nigerian system has no established structure to boost the intellectual industry, thus many intellectuals lose focus and are made to diversify. I have come to the conclusion that indeed there are many creative artists in Nigeria that can mentor and raise more for the future but the mentors do not have time to do so because even the mentors are busy chasing their daily bread not to mention the fate of the mentee.

What’s the one thing you wish every creative could hear

Your craft is your strongest voice in the midst of unending unrest. Stand by it, guard it, groom it and most of all, use it. Stay true to it, it will set you free even if the world is not ready for freedom. Mind you, the leaders of today are those who have stayed true to their voice, the future already started the very day you were matured enough to think about your future.

What’s your ultimate dream as a writer?

I am sure every writer’s dream will be to be successful and renowned, yes we all want that, probably win a Laurette, or a prize. However, my ultimate dream as a writer has always been to be a writer that inspires emerging writers. It is like being a pastor who has raised many “spiritual sons”, or a Commandant who has raised many combatants ready to take on the battle field and conquer the world.

The ultimate dream is to sit in the nearest future, look back and count my blessings; the many writers that would have picked the ultimate pen because “if T. G. ‘Yinminu can do it, I can do it too”.

 

 

 

#WordOfTheDay – Edenic means

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Hello Sparkle Writers, ready for today’s word? Today’s word is ‘edenic.’ Ever heard the word before? Now, you have.

It is pronounced as /edInIk/.

The word is an adjective meaning; like a paradise, filled with happiness, beauty, innocence etc.

The origin of this word can be traced to the Hebrew word “Eden” meaning delight. Eden is the garden where the biblical characters Adam and Eve lived.

Look at these examples;

I plan to make my home edenic

“Though mariners had always avoided the uninhabited ‘Isle of Devils’, the shipwrecked colonists found it Edenic, teeming with natural resources and a temperate climate.” I Gail Westerfield; Bermuda and the Birth of a Nation; The Royal Gazette (Bermuda); May 30, 2008. 

#WritingQuote – “All you need is passion for your work and an overwhelming desire to tell a story you genuinely care about.” Sefi Atta

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You do not need attention to write. All you need is passion for your work and an overwhelming desire to tell a story you genuinely care about. Readers can sense your sincerity and it separates you from the pretenders. – Sefi Atta, Author of Everything Good Will Come

Before we continue, allow us to say this – Thank you so much Sefi Atta for this brilliant quote! 

You do not need any attention or validation from anybody. When the passion for what you do is present, it will invigorate you to keep on writing and to tell that story or to tell the stories embedded deep within you even when you get discouraged, which you will sometimes get as a writer. It is important that you do not let go of your passion and your desire. As a matter of fact, let it consume you totally.

Never write about something you do not care about. This is very important. Yes, you are a writer and you can always string words together, whatever the topic is. But there is always a palpable difference when you write about something you deeply care about. You pour in your very self into the writings until people can read your work and feel your person in it. That creates a connection that enables you to reach out and touch that person’s heart or need.

Never forget to hold on to your passion and desire for what you do. Be sincere and write what you need to write. Your readers will be glad you did.