Shadows: 100 words challenge

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Source: Internet (Flikr)

I have a shadow.

It tries to move faster than I do.

It tries to fit into my shoes.

It tries to walk like I do.

It tries to walk ahead of me, even when I am standing.

This shadow hovers around my head.

It opens my books and tries to take my stuff when I am not looking.

When I am looking it reminds me that it exists.

That it can be as tall as I am.

I don’t mind that it exists.

I just wish it stops following me…

… behind my back.

 

Words: 97

 

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Chimamanda: Don’t be fake.

Today, I stumbled on a link on my Facebook timeline about quotes from five African writers. One was from my favourite writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It was even more profound for me because I had just watched Half a Yellow Sun, the movie and I totally relate with her quote:

Ask questions. Never pretend to know what you don’t know, otherwise you will never learn. Read books. Do things properly. Do not write formal emails in text language where ‘you’ is one letter of the alphabet. Don’t be fake. You are more interesting as you truly are. Don’t measure yourself using another person’s yardstick. Be curious about the world. Be kind. Don’t be quick to judge, think carefully about things before you pass judgment. Try and learn something new every day. Don’t decide not to try something because you are afraid you will fail. Every successful person has failed at something. Think of it like this: you might fall down but if you fall down you can stand up and try again.”

This quote just spoke to me on all levels.

For instance, I ask so many questions, not merely because I am a journalist but because I am super curious.

At times, to save face, I have pretended to know what I don’t only to resort to asking questions both to the people who know the information as well as on Google.

I read books. I love African fiction…and non-fiction, let us just say I love any African book/read.

I strive on doing things properly that I end up bordering extreme, painful perfection and when I fail I suffer from too much self-criticism.

I am a sucker for formality…I am a ‘grammar Nazi’. I have stopped talking to some peeps because of spelling mistakes. Sorry, but I can’t. But as Chimamanda says, think carefully about things before you pass judgment. I am learning this.

Oh, honestly, I have more times compared myself to other people’s yardstick. I have not asked myself how they got to be as good as I know them. Instead, I have squeezed and strained myself to read like other people’s stories. Something which I am now realizing is a total waste of energy, I loose myself in the process and I end up like a copy…a fake copy.

I am moving away from this. A step at a time and celebrating Me. Eunice for who I am.

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Those who know me, know that I am a ball of optimism and excitement. But, lately, I have been on a slippery slope. I have received countless rejection emails. Masters applications. Fellowship applications. So so many that, when I see them, I pain a little and hit BIN. These rejections have clouded all the other great things happening in my life and in my work. But, to read Chimamanda say, think of it like this: you might fall down but if you fall down you can stand up and try again.

I am hopeful. I am very hopeful that I need to keep at it. Maybe you too are going through something similar. Or you were here a while back, or…you may find yourself here…stand up and try again.

And lastly…As if sent out to speak to me, a friend, Kevin Sanya, put up an update. Part of it read:

“God is in complete control, He’s brought me through in the past and I know He’ll bring me through again. I’mma keep pressing forward knowing that my due season is on its way. I will take the limits off God and make room in my own thinking for the new things God wants to do.

Friends, this is my prayer for you too. God is getting everything lined up for you, it’s your due season, its God’s appointed time; keep praying, keep believing, keep doing your very best! You are much closer than you think; the most difficult time is right before your victory!

Thinking of trying again? Check out these sites for writing ideas/opportunities.

  1. https://farafinabooks.wordpress.com/
  2. http://www.aerogrammestudio.com/
  3. http://brittlepaper.com/

Finding Mojo: 100 Words Challenge

Where is M-O-J-O?

Where is the:

Motivation to keep on and get work done?

Optimism that you were and still are good enough?

Joy of pushing through a blue day and knowing it would get better?

Ownership of thoughts and fears that you will get through this, ‘alive’ and stronger?

Have you seen M-O-J-O?

As I wait, I stare at the cursor blinking on the blank screen.

Maybe, if I keep typing…writing…and doing what I know best…I might find it.

Or, it will find me.

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Finding Mojo.

Words: 85

How To Interview a Woman Writer

If she is attractive; tell your readers exactly how attractive, within the first paragraph. Speculate on whether she is attracted to you.

If she has become successful and not moved to a Western country; ask why, speculate on if she realizes how attractive she is: could this be the reason why she hasn’t moved?

If she writes about a non-Western country; see if you can find a dead white guy to quote. It will help orientate any readers who are feeling panicked. Here’s a helpful guide:

– India: Walt Whitman or Rudyard Kipling

– China: W. Somerset Maugham

– The Caribbean: Graham Greene

– Africa the country: Joseph Conrad or Winston Churchill

If a character in her book has had an abortion; speculate on whether she has had an abortion. Make sure your readers know that the answer doesn’t affect how attractive you find her.

If she is a writer of colour; compare her skin to food; chocolate, caramel, coffee, raisins, tater tots, brown bread. If she is white don’t worry about it; your readers know what that looks like.

If she is a writer of colour; ask how her race has impacted upon her writing. Try to make it both your first and last question, after the attractiveness and skin thing.

If she is blonde; mention it.

If she is slim; mention it.

If she is a woman; mention it.

If her book mentions her character’s health; ask if she lost weight while writing it.

If she says she has lost/gained weight; inform your readers of whether this has improved her appearance.

If she doesn’t want to talk about her weight; ask her again. She will respect your tenacity and your readers deserve to know.

If there has been no obvious change in her weight and she doesn’t mention her character’s health; content yourself with describing her figure. Inform your readers of whether her figure makes her more or less attractive to you.

If she has made literary history at a young age; mention her youthful appearance, contrast the level of her success with the level of your own boner.

If you are surprised that a pretty young thing like her has written a serious book; share that surprise with your readers.

If her books focus on a specific historical era; ask if she would have liked to have been married during that time. Maybe to a dashing bard?

If her protagonist is attractive; tell her and your readers whether you would like to bone her (the protagonist, you should have already established whether you want to bone the author in your first paragraph).

If you imagine her protagonist is not attractive; ask the author whether she would be friends with her protagonist in real life. What kind of friends? Frenemies or gal pals?

If she has written a biography; ask if she did it so people would like her.

If she has written a crime novel; ask if she is aware of how many prostitutes are murdered each year. Does she ever wonder what it must be like to be a prostitute?

If she has written a prize-winning novel; tell your readers why this is A Very Good Thing and also Highly Unusual and whether it has been nominated because She Is Attractive.

If she has written a sci-fi novel; wait until she’s dead before you interview her.

via How To Interview a Woman Writer.

Charlie Hebdo: Why Nigeria’s Boko Haram Violence Gets Less Attention – The Atlantic

As many as a million people, joined by 40 world leaders, filled the streets of Paris on Sunday in solidarity after two separate terrorist attacks claimed 17 innocent lives last week. The day before, more than 3,000 miles to the south, a girl believed to be around 10 approached the entrance to a crowded market in Maiduguri, a city of some 1 million in Nigeria’s Borno State. As a security guard inspected her, the girl detonated explosives strapped to her body, killing herself and at least 19 others. Dozens more were injured.

via Charlie Hebdo: Why Nigeria’s Boko Haram Violence Gets Less Attention – The Atlantic.