Friday, December 19, 2014

Book Review(2): The Winner Stands Alone-Paulo Coelho

The life of glitz and glamour. Paulo Coelho blows my mind. Every time i read his book, it is like i am being transported into another universe.

Paulo Coelho doesn't just write fiction, he writes stories that send a message, that teach. One of the main reasons why i love his books so much. He is a teacher and he uses stories to teach, the brilliant art of story telling.
The winner stands alone is a book about the world of movies, fashion and love. Not your typical love story tho, far from that, a bit manic actually. The way his characters are transformed at the end of each of his books is remarkable.  There are lessons and bits and pieces of advice embedded within Paulos writing, it is amazing.
This is a story about a man who sets out of a rather diabolical mission to get the love of his life back, while on his journey, he encounters people and realises his mission is far from what he had anticipated.
I remember when i read The Zahir how i was transformed at the end of the book together with the transformation of the main character. His writing spins the wheels in your head and makes you think, feel.
The amazing thing about The winner stands alone is not just the story line which is flawless by the way, Paulo did his research as usual, it is the writing style, the way he gives a voice to each and every character,  it is like he is breathing life into a world within the book. I highly recommend this book. I promise you would not regret reading this book.
A qoute i adored:

"Someone's spirit, however has no name, it is pure truth and inhabits a particular bod for a certain period of time, and will one day, leave it and God won't bother asking, "What's your name?" when the soul arrives at the final judgement, God will ask only: "Did you love while you were alive?" For that is the essence of life: the ability to love, not the name we carry around on our passport, business card and identity card."

There is a lot about spirituality and life in this book. Truly remarkable.
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Book Review(1): The Thing Around Your Neck- Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi

I have to say, reading this book was a roller coaster ride for me. It was not what i had expected. I binge read Chimamandas Half Of A Yellow Sun in two days and my little sister suggested i read The Thing Around Your Neck next. Totally not what i expected. Not the love story i was hoping it was not thankfully.

To those who do not know, The Thing Around Your Neck is a collection of stories. Chimamanda writes short stories concerning the lives of her characters and she does it in a way that makes you feel like a part of the book and you fall in love/feel a connection with her characters. Her writing style with intricate detailing gives you an almost visual image of whatever it is you are reading. I read and re-read some of these stories and my favorite still is the story titled, The Thing Around Your Neck. A particular line from this story is still lodged beneath my skull;

"The thing that wrapped itself around your neck, that nearly chocked you before you fell asleep, started to loose, to let go."

Took my breath away. I was very emotional about this book. Chimamanda makes you accept who you are. She tells her stories not just to convey a message but to make the reader realise that he/she can be who they are, it is like she is saying "you this black girl reading my book, yeah you. Be as you as it is possible for one to be themselves. Accept you and love you and just be happy.". The thing around your neck talks about culture, the struggles of Africans in as foreign a land as America and this book please. Just read it and tell me what you felt because this book goes deep into your soul. I am grateful to my sister for suggesting this book to me.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

SHORT: On Race and It's Brothers

Do you know what it is like to wake up every morning to news of people getting killed(i am talking about literally dying, evicting from this life, gone, bye bye, 6 feet under, no more breathing) simply for looking like you? Simply for not looking/acting/believing a certain way/thing??

Do you know what that does to a person? How it hurts a persons self-confidence/self-worth?  How it breaks a persons soul knowing someone could point a gun at them and shoot them over something that they did not choose, something they cannot change, something as petty as skin?

This is where self-hate and doubt begin to creep in. This is how they spiritually and morally break us. This is when they swoop in with their ideas of who we should be.

This is how an entire group of people, classified by race are made to believe they cannot be shit. This is where humanity failed.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Exciting News O Ye Blog Followers!!!

Well well well....

I read Chimamanda Adichies book, The Thing Around Your Neck, three months ago and i still haven't found the words to describe how i feel about the book on twitter because of the freaking word limit restriction. So as i was re-reading places i had bookmarked in the book today, it suddenly hit me...BOOK REVIEWS!!!

I decided to add a little twist to this blog by doing book reviews. I read a book, i write a review, you decide to read the book if my review excites you or not, Either way i will be doing book reviews on this blog from now on. I will add a menu to a book review section so it would be easy for anyone to find. Bored? Looking for a book to read(English books ofcourse)? head to Shaheedahs blog and voila, based on my review you find a book to read. Do not worry, my reviews will not contain spoilers, i will not talk about intricate details concerning the book, just basic stuff, how i perceived the book, the writing style, the little details, how it got me literally breathless(believe me, books do this to me and i have to take a minute to catch my breath so i don't frikking die) etc.

Cool right??

Obviously my first book review will be about The Thing Around Your Neck since it gave birth to this idea and i am dying to talk about it...but..there is a but, seeing as i am sometimes busy with work, my thesis, and also the fact that i am a slow reader (i am not ashamed to admit that, i think i digest books better than fast readers :D yes, to my older sister and my little sister Asiya, i am referring to you two), i may not get to write reviews as often as i would like to but i promise, i will try my best to read as often as i can and as much books as i can and post reviews when i, i will definitely be writing book reviews and posting them on this blog.

Just that which matters eh?!

 Anyway, be back here as often as you can to find new book reviews(yayy!), new poems and new articles. I will be writing much more as i said during the Rebirth of the blog so stay with me..ok?!

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

30 Things You Will Come Across As You Grow Older

1. Not everyone will see you the way you see yourself
2. You are not all that
3. People lie
4. The words "i love you" are not a promise
5. You will stop believing in things you used to believe in
6. You will stop feeling
7. You will question God
8. You will question commitment
9. Heartbreak pain is actually very physical
10. You will hate yourself
11. You will fall in love with yourself
12. You will fall in love
13. You will find God
14. You will feel again
15. You will pretend to be happy a lot
16. He will leave you for her
17. Or she will leave you for him
18. You will wonder if it was your fault
19. It probably was
20. You will fall in love again
21. You may not
22. You will find something that will make you happy
23. You will cry in the shower
24. Everyone will expect so much from you
25. You will lose yourself
26. You will find yourself
27. You will realise that sometimes even the people that love you the most cannot  do anything for you, not out of malice or prejudice, but because only you can help yourself
28. You will have doubts
29. You will make mistakes
30. You will figure it all out
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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mourning In My Language

I want to ask you how your heart is
How your soul is coping with your loss
I want to tell you that by God she is at peace
But you are wailing and heaving
And all these words i can think of
Only in my language
My tongue is drowning
With the weight of all the words
That i cannot say in this your language
This restrictive language
Your language that has only one word for love
I want to ask you "Ya hakuri"
But in your English
It says "How is sorry"
Your language has me lost
Trying to grasp at emptiness
To make sense of my thoughts
My heart is breaking for you
Your tears, the words you cannot say
Streaming down your face
The sound of your sob
The only language
In your throat
So i sit beside you
Pat you on the back
And say instead
"There there now"
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Saturday, November 29, 2014

ReBirth: Le Blog

This is not an actual article about a rebirth or some deep poem :D

Spicing things up a bit on the blog because a. I was bored, b. I have being wanting to change the layout c. I am a nerd.

So, I decided to get a new theme for the blog, how do you all like the new blog layout? Pretty cool right, i think the last one was a bit primitive and i wanted something a bit more matured seeing as i clocked a year older two weeks ago. There are cooler navigation menus at the top below the header Image,you will find that i categorised the menus by type. For poems, you go to poetry and for articles you go to articles(obviously :D),also there is a link to my createspace estore where you can order my book (i know you haven't, yalla go order now), a search widget at the bottom of the page and also an archive widget with a popular widget. Scroll from top to bottom, click on older posts just above the footer below the posts. Click click click...familiarise.
I will probably be writing more now,the thing is, i actually have things to write, just things come up and well, priorities. My head is filled with ideas for articles and i have so much poems just sitting waiting to be published which i could do right now but hey, what is the fun in doing stuff when you can procrastinate :D.

Anyway, come back again and read read read.

Let there be writing, as The CC said.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

One Type Of Sad

She looks at me, like i am the saddest story she has ever heard
She asks me, to explain to her, why i am sad
That is the thing with my type of sad
it does not need a reason to anchor me
to the edges of my bed like a ship
at bay ready to be disembarked
my type of sad is the guest that comes to your house
unannounced, it does not call my phone
to ask if i am free, or busy
my type of sad is a marching band
stomping loudly in my head
blowing trumpets and beating drums
only i can hear.
She tells me to turn down the volume
but you see, my type of sad is not the ocean sad
the kind sad, my sad is loud and mean
the volume from my bizarre music drowns out
the concert in my head.
She says pretend for my sake to be happy
and i try, i swear i do
but my type of sad does not know
how to pull the strings at the side of my face
to curve into a smile, i am sorry,
it is your birthday and i promised i would come
i wanted to come, i knew i should have come
but my feet felt heavy and my chest felt too wide
to carry my heart, there are empty spaces
between my ribs and i can hear
the splurging of air within my bones, i am sorry,
i know i should not be sorry but i am
i want to be happy
for your sake i want to wake up
and paint my lips blood red but i am tired
my fingers are tired my eyes are tired
i am pretending not to be sad but within your crowd
i am lost, alone
she says i would not be so lonely
if i went out more and called up my mother more
but my mothers lonely lost voice
are fingers chocking my throat
i cannot breath and i love her
but my type of sad absorbs my mothers sad
and i cannot hear her.
The city feels so big and i am a little dead star
trying to shine in a room filled with bright lights
see i want to go to the party
but the bustle of life and energy reminds me
of the emptiness i feel inside
and my bed feels like the only party that would have me
i am sorry,
she says don't be sorry, be better
and i want to be
but i cannot be better when i do not know
how to be better.
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

3am Thoughts

It is 3:34am...I cannot sleep.

It is true what they say, 3 am is the darkest hour of the night. People tend to find 3 am a time of extreme fatigue, that is the time when for those who are asleep, their sleep is the deepest and for those who are awake, their juice is lowest(meaning they are exhausted). Some people believe at 3am people tend to get very honest and emotional, a study by a group of scientists proved that by adding that because people are exhausted from the previous days activities and they haven't gotten around to sleeping to re-boost, so their brains become less active and it is easier for the brain/heart to be honest than to make stuff up. Anyway, whatever it is, here i am at 3am, bursting with feels. This post will be a roller coaster of thoughts.

There is a lot of things that need to be addressed but nobody is addressing, this is the job of writers. We must learn to discuss the undiscussed.

I am coming to understand recently that all you need in this life is yourself, yes you need other people but basically, you have to be there for you. Always. We must learn to put the physical,mental and spiritual health of ourselves first.
There are so many quotes on the internet telling us how to act in our relationships, what to do and what not to do. Some of us follow these quotes literally, like they are not written by some lonely twenty-something year old girl/boy/alien at 3 am in a dark room. What we need to understand is, nobody can tell you how to be you, nobody can teach you how to love or be loved. A quote on the internet says, "you don't call him, you have to wait for him to call you". I call that bull-shit. If you want to talk to him, pick up the damn phone and give him a call. What is the worst thing that could happen? God forbid he gets happy you called. It is serious that some of us end up desperately googling things like "how to make him/her like you", what happened to being you? being simply and unapologetically you? they may like you or hate you when they know the real you but at the end of the day, you were honest with them and yourself and believe me, you deserve the honesty.

So much annoyance on the internet really.

Do not waste your time wondering if someone cares about you or not. Listen to me, take this from me, if someone truly gives a crap about you, you would know. They would make an effort to let you know, to show you. Words are just words, a mad man can spew words. People who go out of their way to do simple nice things for you, those are your people, those are the people you need to give a crap about. If he tells you repeatedly that he cares about you but doesn't do anything to show you, not even the littlest of things, probably because he doesn't. Don't waste time and energy worrying and wondering if someone cares. If they care, they will show you, you just have to pay attention. Also, we are quick to assume things. We are quick to create these images in our heads about how things are which are probably wrong 100% of the time but we believe them and we stress about them. If you are like me and you are someone who does that, please stop. Life is too short to stress about imaginary things.

Some people just don't want to be loved. Don't waste your time on those people. Take your love some place it would be appreciated. There are 7 billion people in this world and everyone needs love. Throw your love some place else. Do not do the mistake of repeatedly knocking on a wall. It is not a door, it will not open for you. If someone is not smart enough to want to be loved, you cannot do anything for them. They need to help themselves.

We all need to pay more attention to the people in our lives. Some people just want to be heard, want to be seen. Be there, be present. Do not mistake her silence for stupidity, do not mistake her smile for ignorance, do not mistake her kindness for weakness. She is probably doing all that because she cares, not because she doesn't have anything to say, but because she is afraid of saying the wrong things, waiting for you to be honest with her, her silence is not because she doesn't know you are an asshole, she knows, she's probably waiting and hoping you would soon realise how much of an asshole you are. Be there, she wants to be heard. Listen to her, pay attention to the people in your life. A simple "are you happy?" message can make someones' entire day. Be present.

I have no idea where this post is going so it is best i stop here. It is 3:57am.
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Feelings We Hold On To

I find it rather puzzling that the emotions we tend to hold on to the strongest are the dark ones. Pain. Pain is something people usually hold on to, anger, sadness. I find it strange that we don't hold on to love which is supposed to be this glorious thing but we hold on to darker things more. When we are in love, we tend to enjoy it for the period of time when we think we are in love but once it passes (because of course love doesn't last) we tend to hold on to the pain more than we held on to the love.

Most people get creativity from negative emotions. I, for one am a living proof that you can write an entire book while in pain. Creativity is never gotten from love or happiness. Usually, for some weird reason, the most beautiful paintings, sculptures, poetry are from people whom have being going through emotional distress at the time they were working on their master piece. Isn't it strange that people then love this master piece regardless of the fact that pain/sadness/heartbreak/suffering gave birth to it.

In one way or another we are all attracted to broken things i think. That is why the saddest love stories sell so much, e.g The Fault In Our Stars (yups, i am a Hazel-Augustus fan). Forget what science told you about opposites attracting, pain attracts pain. We are all little broken people and we are always trying to find broken pieces of ourselves in these broken paintings,sculptures, poetry etc.

All in all, i don't know if it is a bad thing that we are all a the risk of getting addicted to pain and sadness. Personally i think it is good. I feed off of my pain. As much as i would like to believe in a happy Utopia where everything is perfect, i know that would be the worst thing for humanity because then we wouldn't have all of these broken creativity and i don't know about you reader but i don't want to live in a world without cheesy movies like the notebook and sad sad very sad poetry.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

6 O'Clock Train Chronicles

I am on this bus
Riding to nowhere in particular
It's just like my life
Heading nowhere
On a steady course
The train does not hunk
The couple in front of me repulse me
They remind of John before the booze
Before he decides
To give himself over
Arms outstretched to the cuff of drunk

See John was a man
Before the day after,
He would pat my back
And comb out my knots,
He would work in the day
And meet me at the train station
Everyday at 6
Like clock work.
A day before the day after
John told me
When he came home that night
Reeking of whiskey
And the smell of the beginning
Of the end,
That he missed the train.
The day after,
I stood by the bathroom
While john threw up
All the leaving
His father has left him
He threw up
All of the moving
From foster home
To foster home
I made ginger-ale
And fed it to him in bed.

Two nights later
I took the 6 o'clock train
Without John
To go pick John up from the station
They said he "exposed himself" in public
I am not sure what John exactly did
But i could see his mother
In his apologetic eyes
John told me that they were overreacting,

"It's a race thing" he said.

When John started coming home
With pupils leaving their enclosing
Taking a train
Up Johns brain and having him say things like
"My stepfather put his hand down my pants"
I listened
I waited for the high to pass
I listened as the drugs poured out
Pieces of him he spent time keeping in
I found traces of white powder
In the back pockets
Of Johns jeans.

Before the day after
John was a man
Trapped in himself
He walks by his mother everyday
She can't tell its him
He brings her breakfast at the corner of the street
And dinner after the 6 o'clock train.

Before the day after
Johns mother had died
Maybe the madness took her
Or her soul was tired of being lost
John found her hugging her knees.

John is still a man
But he used to be my man
Now John comes home every night
He looks like leaving
He smells like cheap female perfume
And local beer.
I hold the door
To let the ghost of a man
Walk into my house
As much as i want to close the door after he walks out
And change the locks
I still stay.

I am on the 6 o'clock train
I know where i must go
But the train keeps moving
The call said a body was found
His id had Johns name on it
I am to identify the body
John has done what his father is good for,

Before the day after
John would hold my hand in the morning
And tell me
In his voice which has being scarred
By years of internal screaming
Yearning for love he never found
Maybe in the end he found it
At the buttom of the bottle
He would say

"My father may have left, but i am still here"

Now that i think about it
Maybe it was more for Johns healing
Reminding himself
The two of him-selves
That he must not give in
To the darkness that tails him
And hangs above his head
Like an angelic halo
Not for me
The train is past my stop for the 10th time
I am not sure

I should keep going.
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Sunday, October 12, 2014

On Feminism

I apologise in advance, there is a chance that i might spiral while writing this and end up getting angry hence use swear words, for my young readers i am really sorry....hopefully i will be able to keep the hulk in me inside till the end of this.

It has come to my understanding that a lot of people from the male gender do not feel comfortable with "Feminism" and some from the female gender as well, I am here to educate you. A simple definition from Merriam Webster,
Feminism: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.

As simple as that. I am going to ask you to do one thing, ask yourself, do you believe a man and a woman should both be equally able to apply for the same job and both of them should only have to worry about being hired because of their qualification and not their gender? If it is Yes, awesome, if it is No, rethink your life and priorities, repeat exercise in 1 month. These are things women have to worry about everyday, because being a woman suddenly limits your ability to be good at a job which you spent years at University training for. Some of you might say, Oh, but men face these issues too and i will ask you, how many times? I am not a fan of statistics because i strongly believe every single statistic out there is a lie so i will not be pretentious on here and call numbers and ratios to you. Ask the people around you. Do a little survey. Women tend to worry more about things like this than men. Why you wonder? Well right from birth, men have being told that the world is theirs for the taking, that during the day, they will go out and conquer the world and they will come home to a nice meal and a warm bed. Women on the other hand are thought, if you do not know how to make a nice meal and keep a bed warm, then you are as useless as a couch potato with a remote control. You see the flaw here?

I was asked why i need feminism, to be honest, there are so many reasons why i need feminism, i will state them as i go along but mainly because i am asked why i need feminism. The moment someone begins to tell you not to do something is the moment you begin to wonder why you are being told not to do that thing, at least that is how i am. Do not blindly obey when told not to think, think. What are they so afraid for you to find out. Why are they so afraid of feminism succeeding, actually striking a change?

Feminism came about to let women all over know they are not alone in their struggle for equality. That they can be so much more than a kitchen staff and a bed warmer. Feminism pushes to let people know that women are so much more. That they can be more and do more. What does feminism hope to accomplish? To create a system that protects the interests of women, to create a system in which a woman gets paid based on her qualification, to create a system in which a woman can run for a political career and succeed. I do not understand how all of this is a bad thing, i will never understand why some women go about saying "oh no i am not a feminist", shut up and sit. You just sound and look ridiculous. Don't you want a society in which you are judged based on the person you are and not based on your gender? Don't you want to live a life filled with opportunities because you are skilled and not have to worry about your gender limiting you? The moment you say something as silly as that then you are contradicting so many things, don't you believe in the anti-racism campaign?

Words are heavy. I noticed. Let us say for now, right now that the word feminism does not exist. The word has been erased from our dictionaries and our minds. There is just a bunch of people on the street holding placards saying, "I want equal pay because i am qualified" "i am more than a house servant" "I am not weak and helpless, i can take care of myself". What would be your first thought when you read those placards. Forget about the people holding them up, just the sentences, also you cannot call them feminists because the word does not exist. They are just several anonymous gendered people telling the world that they demand more. That they are not satisfied. What would you think of that? Would you look at them and ask them why they want equal pay just because they are qualified? It makes sense to want that actually. Like i said, words are heavy. I don't know what some of you understand by feminism but obviously you are misunderstanding what feminism stands for. Think of yourself, you are man, you are paid less than your friend whom you are probably better than at a particular job, wouldn't that piss you off? Wouldn't that make you want to shove your foot up someones ass?

Listen to me, do not misunderstand feminism with "some feminists", believe me, not all feminists understand fully what feminism means. Do not misunderstand these peoples contradictions with that of essentially what feminism is about. You would be confused as hell. You will go "wait, these women want equality but they want me to pay for the date, i thought we were equal". Sit down. That is not what feminism is about, those are personal. Understand that people will bring their personal shit into feminism and there is nothing anyone can do about it, we cannot control the way people think. Keep the main idea of feminism at the back of your mind and you will look educated, not dumb as hell asking stupid questions.
Women are biologically weaker than men, that is something i had a hard time coming to terms with. Physical strength i mean. That is the basis of patriarchy. During those savage ages, during wars, obviously you will not carry someone whom is not physically capable of defending the clan to wars. There were exceptions of course but generally, the women and some of the not so strong men were left to protect the children while the stronger mainly male dominated army goes of to fight the enemies at the front. We are past those times now, it is 2014. Men are not marching off to battle fronts anymore(except obamas army which by the way comprises of both men and women). Women do not need to stay to protect the children while the men battle enemies at the war front. If the man can go off to look for something to sustain his life, so can the woman. We are not fighting clan wars anymore(we have evolved into newer types though).

If men feel left out of feminism, then honestly that is another problem for another set of people(men). Men tend to say, but feminism is exclusively about women, what about men getting discriminated, abused, raped and i tell them this. Feminism is about women. Only women. Solely women. A woman can go off to start a movement to protect men whom are getting discriminated, abused, raped. That is cool but it is not and will never be feminism. It will be called something else. Feminism IS exclusively for women, if men feel left out, then they should do something about it. Feminists are not responsible for the ego of men. Women went out and demanded to be heard, men can do the same as well. It is a free world(or so we like to think). Feminism is not here to baby sit you. If men decide to be feminists then that is cool, but they must remember, they are doing it out of humanity, because they are human and they strongly believe in the rights of people to demand equality. It is not a charity case or a pity party. To be feminist is to be human, call yourself whatever you like but feminism is about humanity, it is about civilisation. Nothing more, nothing less.

I am not here to convince you to support feminism. You do not have to. I am here to educate you, to make you understand the basics about feminism and it's contradictions. You can criticise it all you want and pretend women do not have problems that feminism addresses, that is your choice and it is fine. But i am sure you were birthed by a woman and out of respect for the women in your life, you would want them to live a full life, a life that does not limit their capabilities, a life that does not teach them to be good little obedient wives only.

Hopefully you got to the end of this long post and hopefully i did not spiral.

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

When The Boy You Were In Love With Asks You

When the boy you were in love with
asks you if a poem
is about him,
tell him Yes
if it is,
tell him No
if it is not.
If it is
he will apologise
and he will thank you
for writing about him
laugh in his face
tell him not to thank you
does he thank his lungs
after each breath?.
Tell him not to apologise
he is so full of himself
tell him he did not break you
tell him he gave you poetry,
even if you want to cry
laugh in his face again
tell him not to be silly
you know he is not sorry
(Really he is not)
tell him to read the poem again
tell him it is neither an ode
nor a love song
tell him it is poetry
and then YOU thank him
for giving you
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Friday, September 26, 2014

Tutorial 101: How to Digest Poetry.

First of all, a poem can mean anything, i actually depends on you, the reader. A poem holds a lot of meanings and it is open to interpretation, how you digest and understand a poem is up to you.
Fro example, a little poem from my book(Solitude):

"I am still haunted
by the ghosts
of all the words
that died in my throat."

To one person, this is a poem about supernatural forces, about possession and ghosts. To another person, this is a poem about all the things we don't say, the things we keep inside that end up hurting us or just bothering us. To some other person, it is an illogical poem, the person might think, uhh words are inanimate, they can't just die and lodge themselves in your throat.
We all have individual ways of interpreting poetry. My favourite thing to do when i read poetry is to imagine myself as the writer and feel what the writer felt while writing the poem, that way, i get to find true meanings behind the words of the poet. No one interpretation is correct, a poem could mean so many different things. Poets are vague like that, they like the mystery they create when writing. Most of the time, well all the time, poems are stories, they are conveying a message. You just need to find the story behind the poem. Put yourself in the poem, feel the feels lurking around the corners of the poem and just be the poem. Practicing like that will make it easier for you to easily understand the meanings behind poetry.
Mostly, with the rise of contemporary poetry, you can find meanings of them poems in the title. Another excerpt from my book, Solitude:

"For some people,
home is not a physical place
it is a heart
trapped in the body
of another soul.

-places/people we call Home"

The title of this poem says it all i think. "Places/People we call home", i shows that some of us find our idea of home when we are at a particular place and some of us are at home when we are with certain people. Poetry is beautiful in itself. It gives room for a kind of expression that says a lot about the writer. I mean, aren't all writers just writing about themselves in one way or another, or rather, reflecting themselves in their stories.
Personally, i like to read a poem and go, "oh wow, that is exactly how i feel" and i hope when people read my book, they will find poems which will make them go "oh wow, she is conveying my feelings".
This is not exactly a tutorial but a tutorial is such an attractive title...right? :D I hope you all enjoy poetry as much as i do.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Tales From My Book Launch: SOLITUDE

Hey Guys so i have had a crazy week...I was all about Kaduna state planning a last minute book launch which my friend almost bet half his liver and one kidney would be an absolute flop but NOPE, perseverance and dedication rode this all the way.

When i went to Nigeria at the end of July, i had decided to travel to a little almost Hawaii-like west african country called The Gambia to spend sometime at the beach and hopefully write beautiful poetry while i was there BUT life had other plans for me. Ebola(an absolute nightmare) started clawing its way into more West African countries, flights got banned, boarders got closed and so i was stuck in Kaduna state for my entire 6 weeks summer vacation. At the end of my 5th week in Nigeria, i had given up on inspiration and i decided to publish what poems i had into my collection. I went about it immediately and before i could say Jack Sparrow, my book was Independently published and up on createspace, man 3 days after, bam, it was on amazon. I was so excited and i decided to get hard copies in Nigeria for my friends and family. I had already taken the book to printing when my friend asked me if i was going to have a book launch and i said no, there was no time and i had to be back in Istanbul in 1 week. He explained it would be a good publicity for me. I talked to one of my best friends called Yusra(amazing young woman really) and she pushed the whole thing forward. We got about finding a place, inviting people, a program of events and what not. Everyone complained it was last minute and it wouldnt work out but Yusra was relentless, even when my spirit was down and i was exhausted and tired of spending money, we still pushed on. Before we knew it, it was one day to the event which was held at Quarters House Hotel in Kaduna. After almost giving up because i was told i couldn't get any book printed till the following week and i couldn't get my ISBN number(which i still haven't gotten and i have already paid for at the National Library Kaduna), we still decided to push on regardless. For the life of me i still don't get how i wasn't throwing up with nerves and what not.

On 5th September, which was a Friday, i woke up expecting to be nervous but still, nothing. I was more excited actually. I got last minute preparations done and God sent my beautiful best friend and sister from another mother Amina, who helped me with last minute preparations and took charge. We got to the venue and as expected, AFRICAN TIME. We had invited the media and told everyone it starts at 4pm, my Uncle who was the chief launcher Alh. Rabiu Garba was already on site and there was almost noone. My dad got impatient and ordered the MC to go on with the event. Luckily people started showing up and everything went smoothly. My book was launched, there were speeches and my dad may/ may not have aired my dirty laundry out in public(a sure sign i shouldn't let him make a speech about me ever again :D ). My friends came, some from Abuja and my family. It was such a lovely event. Not so big, just as i planned.There were interviews which i handled very well and i still did not freak out. We had book sales and signings and i felt like a mini celebrity. This all only reenforced my will to write more. The poet in me was alive and singing. My beautiful mother could not stop smiling which is all i ever really wanted out of this life. To make her smile.

All in all, i would like to thank everyone that came and everyone that could not come but sent kind words. You can still order the book from amazon(which has much nicer print than the one printed in Nigeria :D), i have a link to my Createspace estore by the side menu, just look to the right of your screen and look to the last menu, there you go, or you can send me a dm on twitter and we will have the book sent to you within Kaduna/Abuja/Kano. Hopefully when i have settled back in Istanbul, i would be able to handle more book distribution cites and everyone will be able to have their hands on the book. Stay glued to this blog and my twitter.

To giving life to words: SOLITUDE.

Images from the book launch

With my lovely friend Nura:

About to give my speech:                                                                                                                           

Nigerian Edition of Solitude(send me a dm on twitter for your copies pls):                                            

Amazon/Createspace edition: 

You can order this online wherever you are as long as you have a debit/credit card and have it delivered to your desired address. (Je recommande ce/I recommend this :D)

Here is the link for both Createspace and Amazon:  

Signing copies of Solitude:

Thank you to everyone that came. I couldn't catch the program when it aired on AIT but i hope you all did :))

Sayonara xx.                                                                                                                                          

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why I Think Nigeria Is No Place For A Woman With Dreams.

As i was passing time on twitter, i saw a retweet by my sister. Someone had tweeted "Nigeria is not a place for a woman with dreams" and i asked my sister who the lady was and she told me she didn't know, nevertheless i retweeted/favourited the tweet and exclaimed how much the tweet expressed my feelings. This is something that has bothered and is still bothering my heart. 

Nigeria is most certainly not a place for anyone, not just a woman who thinks there is something extraordinary in this life waiting for them. Why? Simple. We kill and destroy every chance of success our neighbour has, out of spite or culture or religion. In one way or another, we destroy the youth by repeatedly telling them who we think they have to be. Like being any other person i.e themselves would kill them. As a graduate student, in the words of my beloved aunt "you have reached a stage shaheedah where marriage should be at the top of your list", this is a woman who wants the best for me and loves me very much and in her display of affection, marriage is the best thing that could wish to happen to me. Ignoring the fact that i have a Bsc in Engineering and i am an aspiring writer. Ignoring the fact that i could be so much more than the next bride in the family.
In the little community i.e people i speak to, i have seen every proof to assure me that Nigeria is no place for a woman with dreams. Mainly because we have taken culture and used it in place of common sense. I have conversations with a lot of people concerning the future and almost every average Nigerian girl you meet while calling her future plans out to you goes:

1. I finish school (not specifying high school, undergraduate or postgraduate)
2. I get married and start a family
3. I maybe find a job.

That is a pretty good list to me don't get me wrong, i mean, we should all aspire to have an education, have a job and when we feel the time is right, start a family, or not at all even,  whatever works for us. BUT for this to be the list for every average Nigerian girl just tells you that this has been repeated to us several times so much that it has lost its meaning. We are like brainwashed robots just following what we are told regardless of the fact that we have high functioning brains that are supposed to be used to do the thinking for us and not be spoon fed second hand bullshit. When you ask any adult why they teach that, they tell you this, that is how it is. I finished school and got married, that is what you should do too. I am talking from the view point of a Nigerian woman because we are the ones who are told right from the time we could walk that we are going to grow up to raise children and take care of the house. I have never ever in my over 20 years of existence heard a Nigerian parent tell their son "Listen, you have to learn this because very soon you will be a father and have to start raising children and taking care of a house". Our culture has told us that that is the best a woman can do in Nigeria. If a woman should God forbid be anything extraordinary like have a career then she is seen as the outcast, the rebel, the one that defied the odds.
People are so blind to how empty and meaningless their lives are that they have nothing else to do but obsess over someone else's life. There is a cycle of emptiness going around the women in Nigeria it saddens my heart to think i am expected to live this kind of life, a life without purpose, a life where you wake up everyday, repeatedly until waking up without a purpose just seems pointless. Having an intellectual family is a blessing, having both an intellectual and supportive family is damn near Gold.
When we have moved pass the barrier we have built for ourselves using our culture as an excuse, some other conservatives tell you in a very popular hausa phrase "haka addini ya ce" meaning "this is what the religion says". The reason i chose to be a feminist, or rather i think the reason why feminism picked me was because i was sick and tired of being told what not to do because religion says so. I have done alot of research, i have read the holy book and read several books by prominent Islamic thinkers and philosophers since i realised i was a feminist on religions standing when it comes to the topic of feminism. Contrary to popular belief, religion has never restricted a woman from being somebody, from being more than a housewife, if anything, religion has pushed us as people not only women to seek for knowledge and achieve greatness. Religion has never specifically mentioned in any book that women should not have dreams and they must be housewives. If i can recall correctly the holy prophets wife was even at a battle, your religion teachers will remove that out of your curriculum and tell you that God has forbidden women from leading and taking up any post of authority. Recently to build another bridge over women and elevate patriarchy i was told that religion teachers are teaching that the prophets first wife Khadija was not older than him, in fact he was older than her and it is a popular misconception. Anyway, i am not discussing religion here. Basically what i am trying to say is, people in Nigeria have repeatedly used culture backed by religion to tell women that they could never be anything extraordinary. Sharing your dreams with people gets you a kind of cynical laughter that would ice out your blood and make the taste of your dreams bitter on your tongue.
Last issue is spite. A Nigerian hates to see his brother succeed. No. Some people live to poison the hearts of families whose dreams are for their children to live a full life. They are like little birds dropping poisonous seeds in the ears of Nigerian parents out of spite to remind them that a woman with dreams is no wife material. A woman should not aspire to be very successful because she will intimidate men hence she will grow up in her fathers house with no husband. Realise how they give her no alternative to leave and find her dreams, like the only place for a woman is either her fathers house or her husbands. Always under the wings of men. Nigerian women are made to believe that being ambitious is not part of our culture and tradition, being an intellectual or "too smart" is not an attractive trait.
Marriage of course may not necessarily mean the end for most women. A lot of women can have both marriage and a career but we all know that when women postpone their dreams for the pursuit of marriage, then it will just be a habit to keep postponing, waiting for marriage, then it is about waiting till after the baby comes, then waiting till after the next baby and before you know it, it is late and most women end up feeling they can't do anything productive when they have passed their primes. If a woman can find a way to balance both her career and family without having to give up one for the other, then good, very damn fantastic but if not then it is just another sad story.
Nigerians are afraid of anything that seems out of the ordinary for them. Anything that is not considered as "normal" and is not something Nigerians are used to is automatically a "sin". We are all afraid of change in one way or another but without change then we might as well have stayed in the stone age. With civilisation comes change, comes breaking out of the cycle of everyday life. Civilisation gives room for greatness, yes it has it's qualms but without change, nobody would achieve anything in this life.
I advice every Nigerian woman not to settle for anything less than she thinks she deserves. Any woman in fact, not just Nigerian. Do not succumb to the pressures of family forcing you to take on a job you do not like and engage in relationships that do not elevate your heart. There is nothing wrong in wanting the best for yourself. There is nothing wrong with having dreams and ambitions and wanting to live a life filled with meaning and purpose. Do not just wake up everyday. Lazily. Wake up everyday with a purpose, with a goal to achieve

I read a peace of statement that i felt the need to share with as much people as i can, men and women, Nigerian or not.

"I advise you to stop sharing your dreams with people who try to hold you back, even if they are your parents. Because, if you are the kind of person who senses there is something out there for you beyond whatever it is you are expected to do-if you want to be EXTRA-ordinary-you will not get there by hanging around a bunch of people who tell you you are not extraordinary. Instead, you will probably become as ordinary as they expect you to be.
- Kelly Cutrone "

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Things i am coming to terms with as i am finding my way inside of this Labyrinth we call LIFE

I am still coming to terms with the fact that It is normal for me to care so deeply about something that seems pretty fucking logical and right to me while others could care less and to them, that seems logical and right. I am still trying to accept the fact that not everyone can give a shit like I do and that is OK. It's OK for me and it's OK for them not to give a shit. I am still trying to accept and respect peoples choices for what they are. The hardest part is acknowledging everyone has a right to do,say and care about anything just as much as I strongly believe in my rights. I am still trying to unlearn some things I was taught as a child for I now know how wrong things are. I am still trying to forgive myself for not forgiving others. It is all a process and a journey for me. I am making an effort. I am still working on teaching myself to love. Unconditionally without prejudice or compromise. I am still trying to unlearn how to fold my beliefs into paper planes. I am trying, I am hurting but I am trying, I am working on accepting the fact that not everyone will believe in my beliefs. I am still trying to accept peoples dismissal and nonchalance whenever I tell them something I strongly believe to be right and true. I am coming to terms with the fact that people will love what they love no matter how ridiculous it is to me and i have to be OK with it. I am still trying to learn to always not expect people to be interested in what i am interested in. I am still coming to terms with diversity and individuality. I am still trying to accept that somethings are completely out of my control. I am still trying to master the art of being an adult. I am trying and making an effort. I am still trying to see things from my mothers point of view and place myself in the conditions and environments in which she grew up in. I am still dreaming of fixing everyone. Maybe nobody is broken and I am just the broken clock. Nevertheless I think out loud and I am still dreaming of changing the world. I am still trying to rid myself of all the anger. I smile way more and I love love and I think, that is a step. I am still trying to accept people for who they are and not try to convince them to be like me or my image of human. I am still trying to forgive myself for the pain I caused myself. I am still asking my body to forgive me. I am trying to understand and as much as I want to run away, I am still trying to stay and make a change. I am still trying to understand my society. I try to listen to my friends more and I am still thanking them for being there even though they think I am crazy. I am still trying. Most importantly, I am making an effort, i am opening myself up to change and improvement. I am trying to teach myself to always always see the Noor in peoples eyes.
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Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Other Mother

I am going to tell you
about my other mother
the one i met
at the bus stop
the one that told me
with the sincerity of sunlight
that i, was a little her
she told me
about her life
the good and the bad
and how she survived
this is my other mother
the one that did not birth me
the one that showed me
and kindness.
she spoke forgiveness
and we shared oysters
under the starless night
over cups of jasmine tea
with sugar drops.
she told me galaxies
and i saw heavens
behind her smile
as bright as day.
Several miles away
in a land
where they speak
the language of my book
there lived a woman
who did not know me
who did not birth me
under the skies in March
she gave me life.

i am a daughter
with two mothers
one suns
one moons
my left and my right.
i am a daughter
who finds mothers
in women
on the street
who speak smiles
and call me "beautiful".
i am a daughter
whose mother is earth
who is never lost
for the ground raised me.
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She was
A deeply trouble
who smoked
in an alley
and wore
black lipstick.

She dances to music
only she could hear
and adorns her hair
with little white lillies.

She wore spiked boots
and smelled of rain
when it kisses
the sand.
Underneath her skin
are beds of roses
waiting to be watered
by caressing palms
in hopes
one day
she might bloom
a beautiful
rose bush.
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Coming to Nigeria is one of the things i sort of never look forward to anymore. I do not remember a time when coming back felt like a home coming to me.
Do not get me wrong, my family means the world to me. I would go to the end of the world and back for each and everyone of them. There is just a sense of incompleteness, in a very i-do-not-belong-here kind of way.
So with working on my writing, i decided to dig into my inner self and find lost emotions and memories and i have discovered really new things. I realised why coming back to the house i grew up in(well partially) is such a nightmare for me.
I left home to go to a boarding school at a tender age of 9(i turned 10 in my first year at junior high). For 6 years, i only ever came home on holidays, and with holidays, there is always this feeling at the back of your mind which every boarder knows i guess, the feeling that your time at home is limited and soon, you would be going back to being locked up in a school with hundreds of other kids.
I think my sense of homelessness came from there. I never really felt at home ever again in my fathers house. Always feeling more like a guest, always having to ask where things are, who changed/moved stuff and so on.
After my 6 years at a boarding house. I turned 17 in my first year at University. I went off to school to pursue a degree in Engineering across the globe in a land where people did not look or sound like me. ISTANBUL. I immediately feel in love with this beautiful city. Yes i have had ups and downs, i have had moments when all i wanted was to go far away from Istanbul but i realised i always dismiss the feeling with a simple "nah i belong here".
Fast forward to the time i started discovering myself, it all started when i decided to invest more time in myself and less in other things that do not add meaning to my life. I made a pact with myself to think deeper and feel deeper and hopefully write better(well, my quest for meaning has always being to make my writing better).  I started realising that going to Nigeria which is supposed to be home to me had started becoming less and less appealing. I found myself begging my family to always come over so i do not have to go. Istanbul felt more like home to me and i am always eager to go back whenever i go for a visit.
At first i thought it was because i loathed the politics in my country but then i found out that my feelings went deeper. I realised that, whenever i go home, i change every single time. I am growing and expanding my mind and i am becoming more objective to things and asking questions which every Nigerian knows is "a sign of disrespect". We were all raised in a society that teaches us not to question our elders. Once a person is older, it automatically makes him right. Again, do not get me wrong, i love being a part of this rich culture, that does not mean i am willing to accept every ridiculous thing and force is upon myself when i know very well i am not ok with it.
Coming home meant putting on a show, being less of myself, keeping all my objections and questions to myself so as not to cause trouble. It meant i had to make myself uncomfortable so as not to upset my family and friends. It is so hard believe me and so hurtful when people make ridiculous comments like "you know you are not white right?" or "what you are saying is a sin" or "you are being disrespectful" when i am actually just being myself.
We live in a society where culture and religion trumps common sense and logic. Religion is the most sacred thing that happened to mankind if only we took time to reflect on it and realise just how beautiful belief and worship is. In Nigeria, one is not allowed to question religion, automatically places you at the brink of hell.
Tribalism, one of the worst things that happened to Nigeria. We are all tribalists in one way or another. I was at a family gathering during Eid and my family were talking about how atrocious it was for any of us to marry anyone outside of our tribe. We are Hausas and i was told never to go for a Nupe man for they do not like us. I was so upset about this for i have alot of wonderful Nupe friends and i took it upon myself to ask my friend who is Nupe what he thought and to my utmost surprise he told me it was true, as much as Hausas do not like to get married to Nupes, Nupes do not like to get married to Hausas. For the life of me i still do not understand how we could pass segregation and tribalism from generation to generation.
We are so judgemental. Everyone in Nigeria thinks they have something to say and so they must subject other people into listening. Being judgemental is deeply rooted into our being that we do not see how wrong it is. I have people around me who says things and i ask them "did you hear yourself? put yourself in their position". Most times i am just lost for words.
I think what Nigerians need to work on is their outlook on life and the human race. At the end of the day we are all one, if you are going to go with the religious ideology that we all came from Adam and Eve, fine, we are one and if you want to go with  science, believing we are all just a bunch of same composition of atoms, fine also, all in all, we are all one. We are no better than the crickets chirping away outside my window right now.
I am writing this because i am upset at my own people. A place where i am supposed to feel most welcomed always leaves me with a bitter yearning for the land where people do not look or sound like me. Makes me want to go back to my home, in Istanbul. This does not mean Istanbul people or rather Turks are any better, we all have our flaws but at least, i am surrounded by people who try(some make an effort and some don't) to understand me.
My advice to everyone is this, the moment you get the chance the leave the land where you grew up in, take that chance, leave, travel, meet people, most importantly, learn from them as i have, be with an open mind, LEARN, READ AND LEARN.
My article may not be expressive enough, but there is just so much my little fingers can type.

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Written by my little sister Mimi

My 13 year old sister(Mimi) wrote this and i was highly fascinated at her thoughts. Forgive any grammatical errors for i will not edit her words. I am posting it as she wrote it. I asked her if i could post it on my blog and she agreed.

"In Nigeria, we are facing a lot of things like viruses(Ebola), war, religious crisis, bomb blasts. On the first thought, i just don't understand how Israelis will be attacking Gaza(Palestine), is it because they are stronger than them or what, i just don't understand. One the second thought, why do people kill each other, is it that they don't have a heart or what? they are humans just like you are, just think about it, wait a minute, like boko haram, what is wrong with them? They should just think about it, someone passing and then they, Boko haram stops to kill him/her. Do they know how painful it is to lose your loved one? am sure they don't know, they've never experienced one. Shedding innocent peoples blood, blasting places, innocent people die who have done nothing to them. If they had at least talked to them, just don't take action. On the third thought, what do you want to do with girls, kidnapping innocent girls, raping, killing, and changing their religion. If they don't have intention believe me, they will still be of their religions. Shekau the leader of boko haram, it is not everyone that wants to be muslim, we are living in a world of freedom of rights."

And then it ends abruptly here. This is her first article ever, although it is haphazardly structured, i think we can all understand the message she is trying to convey(or rather her thoughts). These are thoughts we all have had/are having. We have reached a point in this life where kids write articles questioning war, rape,murder. It is a very sad world we live in. Truly sad. 
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I come
From a generation of women
Women whom
Keep giving
Women whose hips
Are wide with giving.

Women whom love
And love
And love
They have no love
For themselves.

Who have never
The words
“I love you”
But say it
A thousand times
With hearts
Wide with

-Why African Women Have Wide Hips
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