#WriterSpotlight – “Share the message. If you err, try again.” Tomilade Olugbemi

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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.

Enjoy.

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.

 

 

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#PickOfTheWeek – Life as we know it

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Social media has changed the way life is and the earlier we accept it the better. Today’s title is dedicated to one of the posts we selected. You will love this week’s pick. 

This is one great thing writing does. It helps to pass strong messages across without causing so much trouble. Thank you Fawaz for sharing. 

brunch (1)Sue Chioma touches a very important point with this post. Home is where the heart is but we all agree that home means different thins to different people. While some have family members who make life beautiful, others have found succor in the arms of friends. Whatever home means to you, you will agree with us that there’s no place like it. 

brunch (3)Your work goes before you and speaks clearly. Not just your words. We’re with Muhamad on this one. brunch (4)Tomiwa blew our minds away with this post. Social media has made it easy for you to know that you are not alone. Going through something and want to find out who else is going through the same thing? Hashtag it! brunch

#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!

 

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.

#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.

#PickOfTheWeek – Life is what you make out of it

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Good writers are not easy to come by but on The Sparkle Writers Hub, we make it our duty to find them and encourage them. On today’s #PickOfTheWeek we have four spectacular writers. 

Let us know which pick resonated more with you. We’d let you know ours too.

The first is by Dorathy and she gives us her take on time and wounds. Unlike the common saying that ‘time heals everthing’ Dorathy thinks otherwise. Instead of healing she believes it only gives us memories, something we can definetly hold on to. 

 brunch (2).pngWe saw this post and we knew we just had to share. Sometimes we complain that we have too little not realizing that even with so little, we could do a whole lot. Start with that little talent, gift and ability, it will grow.  Thank you Layoladedayo Alonge for this. 

brunch (4)This right here is the truth. There’s no point jumping into another relationship with a broken heart. It brings terrible consequences to both parties. If you haven’t recovered from one relationship, don’t go into another. brunch (3)Too many times we imagine ourselves better, more successful and more acomplished but we never really take it serious because we don’t believe we can make it happen. This in actual fact is not true. The success we all dream about it is right inside us and all we have to do is bring it on! 

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Writers are listeners. Are you listening?

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How much of a listener are you? This is your question for today.  So, we hear that you want to be a good writer which is awesome, but we are asking you just how much of a listener you are. Have you noticed that there are too many talkers in the world but few listeners? Yes, people are more interested in being heard than lending a listening ear.

Good writers are actually good listeners too. It really does not matter if your niche is fiction or non-fiction or just plain journalistic writing. The point is if you do not listen to people or the world around you, you will not have any material to work with. If you want to do “how-to” posts, for instance, you have to understand the specific problem that people would like to get solved. You would have to listen to their needs and their wants so that your writing would align with their needs. If you are a fiction writer on the other hand, listening to the people and the happenings around you would help you create real characters that your readers can actually relate with.

Ever read a book that made you laugh or cry and then you went, “Oh my God, that is the exact same thing I would have said if I was in that character’s shoes?” Well, that is the point exactly. Do not wade through the solitary waters of life simply because you are a writer. Listen to other people, like really really listen too. You would be amazed at the depth of information you would glean from just listening. Interesting characters abound in real life. All you have to do is keep your ears and eyes open to hear and see them. 

We know life is happening fast but you have to pause and listening to the world around you.

#WritingQuote – “It is perfectly okay to write garbage, as long as you edit brilliantly.” C. J. Cherryh

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It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.
– C. J. Cherryh

How many great books have you read? Probably a number of them. How many great books have been written? A lot more than we can ever count but do you know that a number of these books were once terrible first drafts that if we ever read, we would wonder how our favorite authors thought it fit to write such bad pieces?

Can you imagine how many errors, mistakes and cancellations each draft would contain? What makes the difference? Great editing.

What you see in a book is not all there is about the book, it is all the writer has chosen to show you. If only you could get the manusript and see how many times it was edited.

Use your one page blog post as an example. How many times do you go over and over, changing something new each time? How much more a book, a movie script, or an anthology.

Good writing doesn’t mean the absence of mistakes, good writing is in fact great editing and re-wriitng. Editing of words and sometimes refining of ideas until it makes perfect sense in the most beautiful way.

Don’t throw away your ‘garbage’ because it can be edited. It is perfetly okay to write garbage as long as you can edit briliantly.