Today on Writer Spotlight, we have the prolific poet, Tomilade Olugbemi. In our interview with him, he talks to us about how he developed the passion for writing and where he gets his inspiration from.
Hello Tomilade. Can you please describe yourself in a few words?
Writer. Rewriter. Poet. Shy.
When did you discover that you had a passion for writing and why did you decide to follow this passion?
I was twelve or thirteen. I fell in love with poetry somewhere between rap music and writing a poem for an English Language assignment. Why follow it? I’m really not sure. I guess I followed my instincts.
Can you tell us what you love most about being a writer?
It can be exhilarating when it is not frustrating. The potential of creating stuff with words gets my blood flowing. It is the only uncertainty that doesn’t constantly torment me: a place for my other uncertainties. I also like that the work inspires, tickles, heals and sometimes, terrifies people.
Why did you decide to put your poems together into ‘Love is not a tempest?’
It wasn’t exactly a putting-together of poems. Most of the poems were written specifically for the chapbook. I spend an inordinate amount of time in my mind, battling doubt, anxiety and all their friends. I was in a place where I needed to transfer all that angst into something. A chapbook seemed like a good idea so I started writing the poems on a whim.
Since you released the book what has the reaction been like?
I have a limited sample size but it’s been well received. A handful of people relate to many of the poems and that makes me happy. We write for ourselves, and I certainly did that, but we also write for others. It’s always such a joy when anyone reads my work. I don’t take it for granted.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I am inspired by a great number of things: a nagging need to write, people and their lives, music, other people’s work, etc. There is, however, no greater inspiration than one’s own worldview and experiences.
What is the most important lesson writing has taught you?
Nothing consequential comes to mind. It has probably made me more curious and taught me a lesson or two in patience.
Which author (dead or alive) would love to spend a day with if given a chance?
Only one? Sylvia Plath
What advice do you have for people who know that they have a message to share but fear keeps holding them back?
I think writing, at least my writing, is mostly trial and error. It’s a cliché but I’ll advise them to just do it. Share the message. Try. If you err, try again. I dislike some of my work in retrospect. But without them, I’d have no barometer for progress or lack thereof.