Scripted potpourri

A blend of topnotch writing prowess, significant issues and scintillating stories!

You Happen After Life Happens

I first happened upon the phrase, “life happens” from the narrative of a John Grisham novel I read a long time ago. It so aptly captured the point he was trying to pass across that it began to repeatedly pop up in my head without any effort of my will. Not long after, another phrase that meant the exact same thing became the new buzzword. All over social media and even in conversations in real time, people were saying, “shit happens” as a way to express the unexpected askew-ness that is inherent everyday life: in our well-laid plans and aspirations. So let me paint the picture clearly:

ImageOk, so that’s obviously the joke edition (lol!) of what it truly means for shit to happen, or as I prefer it, for life to happen. Life happened to me a lot in 2013. For instance, I decided to become serious with my writing. Those who know me closely know that I am a “runaway writer”: I get excited about writing and come up with nice stories and approvals from my inner circle, but before you know it, I’ve zoned out again, hibernating for my next temporary writing indulgence. Sometimes, it’s the disappointments along the way that make me like that—and trust me, in 2013, I had my fair share of disappointments. Before this “fair share” occurred, I had figured earlier in the year the perfect way to stay committed: I said to myself, “Linda, perhaps if you started writing for a wider audience, you would feel more responsible to them to keep up with your writing.” It was a eureka moment for me and I delved into creating this blog with all the thrill of a trip to the Bahamas. Alas, life happened and my well-laid writing aspirations wilted. The rest, they say, is history.

So let me get down to it. First, my apologies go to those who kept asking for the next delivery of my rare scripted potpourri and didn’t see that happen: I hope this titillates your reading desires, at least. It’s a new year and who knows it just might be a new me.

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The writer of this blog is a work in progress..

Second, I am writing to all of you to whom life also happened in 2013. Things did not go as planned, I imagine. But no matter what it was (and I shudder to sound like a motivational speaker now because I know you’ve heard this countless times), it’s NO REASON to give up (well, except you are interfering with the lives of others. In that case, please give up because they have their own plans!). Otherwise, do not, like me, hide under the excuse that life is happening… In reality, it is you happening to life because all those bits of discomfort hurled at you are shaping you to bloom into a positive entity that for the life of you, you could never have comprehended.

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Yeah, you heard me. Don’t give up!

Right now, I’m not gonna pretend like I’ll be faithful to this blog, but I’ll try. However, one thing I know is that if I leave it off again, I promise to come back to my senses and continue; that much I owe myself because I know that it’ll do me good in my future. After all, remember, only practice makes perfect, and winners never quit. You are about to happen.

Salude to a new year!!!

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Errr… salude means cheers in Spanish. *wink*

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Shadow, shadow

shadow2When your neighbours and church members begin to call you by your sister’s name instead of yours, you do not realise that you are receding slowly into the muted world of shadows. You know very well that ‘receding’ is a more apt word than ‘advancing’ because you are now here in this world of shadows and you know that something similar to “missing the bus” has happened to you. Yes, missing the bus—it’s the only way you can describe how you feel in this cruel world of shadows; a world that does not care who you are because it does not even know who you are. Here, you are not a human being with an identity and a personality. You are just a disembodied entity, defined by silhouette and void of substance, wafting airlessly, noiselessly and purposelessly. Of course, you did not intend to end up here, but somehow, you know you have a hand in your getting here. Your mind recalls now to that time when someone said, “Hi! You are Somto’s roommate, right?” You should not have said yes. You should have said your name because you are more than Somto’s roommate. You are you. Rather, you chose to be Somto’s shadow; you chose to be an extension of her personality; you chose to be remembered as Somto’s roommate, not as you. Well, sadly, you got served.

Now, as you rummage through your memory, you begin to remember those many times when people referred to you and your group of friends as “Victoria and co” or “Demilade and co” but they never made the mistake of saying your name “and co” even though it was three of you that were friends. You were never that important. You could only be viewed and understood through the personalities of Victoria and Demilade, but never through yours because you always passed across as someone without a personality, as someone with nothing to offer or to be remembered by, even though that was not the case. When you did not try to prove everyone wrong by showing them that you are an excellent  sprinter and a talented still-life sketcher and a mind-blowing juggler (apart from being intelligent enough to be among the top three in your class all through school days),  you really became Victoria’s and Demilade’s shadows. This is a painful realisation for you now.

In the midst of all this reminiscing, it is now etched in your consciousness those three lecturers who never really knew your name while you were in school even though you always had A’s in their courses. Whenever they saw you, they will say with much gusto and sincere concern, tinged with that unmistakable filial regard, “How are you, Kemi? I hope your CGPA is still steady. You must make a first class o!” Of course you were not, and never will be Kemi—the other egghead in your class who got as much A’s as you—but you smiled and assured them that your CGPA was steady and that you will finish with a first. In this again, you chose to not be you. You chose to be Kemi’s shadow.

There was that other time too, you remember, when you got that gown that your first boyfriend thought was nice. You did not really like that it showed too much skin, but you let him buy it for you anyway. On the day you wore it, nobody said you looked good; not even him. What he said was, “Wow! You look so different!” and Demilade said, “In this dress, you remind me of Antonia!” You knew Demilade was not complementing you because none of you thought of Antonia as good-looking—Antonia with her old-woman face that she tried to conceal under layers of clownish make-up; Antonia with her sorely bleached complexion that she liked to show by wearing dresses that showed too much skin; just like that gown did. You should have hated being your boyfriend’s shadow enough to break up with him, but it wasn’t until eight months later that you broke up with him, not because you called the shots, but because he decided he was tired of being with you. And what about when you went for that camp meeting with your volunteer group and there was a discussion on respected world leaders. You did not want to say you really liked Niccolo Machiavelli and Adolf Hitler because everyone else was mentioning Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill. You let it slip past you that everyone was saying why they respected those leaders and you could, in the same vein, also defend your liking for those leaders. So instead, you said Mother Teresa and everyone nodded. But when Alfred said he thought Adolf Hitler fit the bill and went ahead to say why, he got a resounding ovation. So nobody knew that that ovation could have been yours.

Now you know that the doors of this world of shadows are always waiting for ‘those’ who are ever quick to acquiesce than to believe in their beliefs; for ‘those’ who prefer to be nice than to be true; for ‘those’ who would rather swallow it all than to chew it first; for ‘those’ who would rather be others than be themselves. Knowing that you are among these ‘those’, you now have only one question gnawing at your consciousness: For how long will you remain in this world?

At this point, you’ll be foolish to not know the answer.

This is the answer: It is for as long as you continue to stay mute; and for as long as you continue to betray yourself; and for as long as you continue to not get irritated, inconvenienced and frightened by the sights and sounds of the world of shadows, where the eerie “shadow, shadow” song is chanted day and night… until you are ready to catch–and ride–the bus of your life, and only your life.

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Life: Through these Quatrains

life2

‘Tis wake and laugh and eat

That entire buzz we do with pump and beat

Ponder yet the void of them without meat

That we may know to love and give

Hear, hear! All we who live without some pause

Merit and mirth lie in life that is lived for cause

Pause. Learn. Think. Pray. Act for it soon rumbles tough and worse

True cause comes when we breathe and love and give

Perform we now what we reckon cannot be done

Life is here, but without warn is soon gone

‘Tis is for this cause we sure were born

To really fulfill and love and give

Never must we ourselves for once deceive

This is the moment we all should live

To make sure we breathe and love and give

For yonder comes for this life to seize

This poem is in part, a tribute to a brother, Hafeez Olanrewaju, whom the world lost last week Saturday. This is the first work of poetry I’ve ever tried my hands on. My hope is that we glean and retain its message. May his soul rest in peace. He sure lives on in our hearts.

Thanks for taking out time to read.

Later.

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Pa James has a Message from the Maasai

Identity

Identity

It was from Pa James I believe, that I first heard the now cliché joke about describing a person with the most obviously silly depictions. In that episode of the famous Nigerian sitcom “Papa Ajasco”, (I’m a bit foggy on the details now), Pa James describes a man to Papa Ajasco as something like this: “The man tall. E wear shirt and trouser. If him wan sleep, e go close him eye and na mouth e dey use take talk.” I thought it was brilliantly hilarious! I do remember telling everyone about it at every opportunity I got. At that point, when all my appreciation for Pa James’ one-liner was that it was plain smart humour, it never occurred to me that I would “one day” come to realize how much of reality the actor’s words actually mirrored, albeit unwittingly. So here comes “one day”…

One day was sometime last week when I learned about a case of ‘land grabbing’ from an ethnic tribe called the Maasai by the Tanzanian government in order to lease it to a foreign hunting company. It was a much-contested issue because the government denied perpetrating the act. However, this blog post does not concern itself with pointing fingers. What is very striking and of abundant concern rather is that the Maasai people are actually an infinitely threatened people. The modern world has never really been comfortable with them as they have been timelessly harangued by both Kenyan and Tanzanian governments to give up their indigenous cultural ways of life which affords them vast areas of land that these governments would as soon rather convert into lucrative business ventures. The Maasai in response have been resolutely staunch in the preservation of their identity and in the lavish and jealous care of that uniqueness that is Maasai through and through- from their sunset and ocher hued clothing to the brilliant kaleidoscopic bead and craft work that their diligent and meticulous hands can make.

Identity: that’s the word that claws for my attention after my reading contact with the Maasai. It is rare, you must admit, to find any more display of identity in today’s globalized world than that displayed by the Maasai. You see, everybody wears jeans and make-up and hair-extensions and Police bodywear and stilettos and sunshades these days (I am not excluded!). We all use Blackberries and tabs and i-things. We all eat KFC and rice – jollof rice, white rice, Ofada rice, fried rice, coconut rice, Abakaliki rice, Basmati rice, pasta rice! If you ask me, I say we all look alike! But go ahead and ask Pa James to describe you, I bet he’ll say something like this: ‘The man na man. E get jeans for down and police body wear for up.  If e won sleep, na blackberry go tell am and na football e dey use take talk.” Hehehehehe!

Here are my thoughts: we might never be like the Maasai who are physically distinct in their cultural practices but we can definitely find a niche for ourselves in a world that tries to lump us into an indistinct entity, void of variety and verve. Letting that happen to us is as intellectually and unacceptably vague as Pa James’ laughable descriptions. I mean, the last thing you want is to only be known for the obvious and the material: by your celebrity-style hair-do, or your to-die-for abs or those fashionable clothes. You wanna look into the world sometime in the future and find yourself, you know, locate a footprint or milestone that nobody else can lay claim to except you. The French call it “je ne sais quoi” and I love that word like oh-la-la! Loving that word means being willing to give yourself some more credit than to just be a follower of the crowd without letting yourself be the billboard of, and executor of your purpose. It is obvious: this is a matter that goes beyond wearing jeans or eating rice. On the contrary, it is about making a conscious effort to stand out, not necessarily by just being different but by not betraying the “you” that you are on the inside. You see, only you and God know that “you” on the inside.

maasai So pay only scant attention to “Pa James”- just enough for the comical to mutate into  the rational. Remember that he is after all only the bearer of the message of the Maasai. Listen closely rather to the message of the Maasai, which, in the final analysis, is what should stoke the embers of our suppressed identity and purpose. On this note, it’s from the Maasai… with love!

Later!

PS: you can follow this blog by mail so that you don’t miss as much as a letter of my fascinating (I must add, rare) scripted potpourri.

Disclaimer: The above post, in its wording and intention does nothing to endorse any culture or regard any one culture as better than the other. It neither lays the blame for the erosion of any culture at the feet of any other culture or authority.

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