Inside my letter to Melania: I am so sorry

In the midst of all the Trump bashing, the person that draws my sympathy the most is Melania.

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Melania Trump – 45th first lady of the United States, walks into her husband’s inauguration, looking charming in baby blue.

I mean look at the poor girl. Yes she’s charming but this wasn’t part of the bargain. She was content just being married to this rich guy and having enough to take care of her lifestyle and son. She knew well how to massage his ego and had completely acculturated to the Donald Trump lifestyle and person. And then he lands her here.

In the very shoes of her distant idol. How is it that you ask me to replace an iconic, very celebrated and almost flawless woman? She was nearly perfect all round – education, check; parenting, check; humour, check; grace, check; compassion, check – what positive boxes does she not check?! She rapped, danced, exercised, loved dogs and gave badass speeches even extempo! How do you measure up to an Ivy league lawyer??!!!

There are two things Donald can do for Melania, if he is not too busy learning to be Mr President seeing that he’s been Mr CEO all his life.

  1. Give her a great team and
  2. Respect and adore her like or almost like Barrack did Michelle.

When I say a great team, I do not mean the ones that helped her choose ‘cyber-bullying’ as a ‘project topic’ when Donald was busy naming and shaming people for being different on Twitter and during his campaign.

By a good team, I mean the ones who would look in her background and find her something to be genuinely passionate about. She speaks five languages; let it count.

A bunch of people who can help her find her strength and emphasize it. It’s easier to comment on and cultivate what one is truly passionate about. The truth is that right now people do not care whether she planned to be FLOTUS or not. In fairness, there are no requirements for this position, you just have to be married to the president. But because of predecessors like Michelle, the bar is so high in terms of what is now expected of a first lady.

Back to my point, Melania dropped out of school in her first year to pursue modelling as a career. Now, a good team can make a project and campaign from that part of her past. She already dresses well and has good poise and comportment it would seem but we are yet to see her under pressure. For every time she opens her mouth in public space now, she is going to have to sound bright. Don’t make fashion statements only.

Take this as a challenge to develop yourself, Melania. Surprise yourself. Surprise Donald. Read and read and read. Ask questions. Don’t ask Donald. Befriend Ivanka (if you aren’t friends already); she seems to have a good head on her shoulders. And if this is not too much for you, befriend Michelle. Reach out to her. Ask her how she did it. You have more to gain. I bet she can be discreet if you ask her to. The press doesn’t have to know. Yes, Donald will not approve. But this is about how bad you want this. You may have to stand up to him for once.

Barrack was conspicuously the wind beneath Michelle’s wings. Yes, she has the best education the world can offer and was (very likely still is) smarter than Barrack in class yet it was he who gave her the room and confidence to be such an amazing first lady. The whole world knows you do not have that kind of support system. Your man wouldn’t  even pretend to be a gentleman in full public glare. And considering that being president is a new role for him, I expect he’d be very focused and overtly selfish about making that mark every president before him didn’t. In other words, don’t count on him.

Whatever you do become Melania, just don’t be that trophy wife. I wish you the very best. You can succeed.

 

Signed,

A fan and wife

 

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Tonto and Mercy’s PDA: This is how to preach the gospel!

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The olive branch from Tonto

Can you believe that this just happened? Is it motherhood or marriage? Is it religion? Is it Christ? Someone even mentioned the Holy spirit. Read on.

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The confession continues

Forget about new year resolutions. See, there is something very deep about motherhood. I know not everyone goes through that phase. But a lot of mothers will tell you that they learnt selflessness when they became mothers. Every mother thinks their child is the best and deserves the best. Doesn’t it put us all in competition, you may think? But it is not so. It is a kind of love that is immediately activated the moment you see a little human anywhere, yours or not. It is why pictures of starving children from our IDP camps or of wounded ones from Aleppo always torment us. It is also why you think some women overreact when they hear of a mum who kills her child(ren) or why we coil when a child is raped. It’s also why it is never right to tell a mother who loses her infant to ‘look on the brighter side, you can have another one’ or ‘We don’t know why God allowed it’. How did I get here? Okay, Tonto and Mercy.

They were Nollywood arch-rivals. It was a Coke and Fanta fight. They were the younger versions of Omotola & Genevieve. Theirs was worse because Tonto was vocal about it. She has (or had) a caustic tongue. Then Mercy fell in love and married this Prince. Two babies later, Tonto meets this guy, settles into marriage and becomes a mum too. Very instructive is the way the former rivals began to brandish God following this development. They found God when they found love or did they find love when they found God?

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Olive accepted: Mercy professes forgiveness and love

Whichever way it happened, I am all for this sweetness. This is what we like to see. Love. Unhindered. See Tonto’s moment of realisation came after she had her child. It is why many women still think the ‘highest point’ of being a woman is to conceive and bring forth a child. I do not agree. But I do not deny the transformations that can happen to a woman from child bearing. Note also that not all women are so transformed after child birth. There is however a higher chance for women who go through pregnancies in the presence and with the support of a partner, to become so transformed. That is also why a lot of these women experiencing this indescribable joy can never understand bitter feminists who are largely old spinsters.

I expect that this morning’s conversation would have continued in the DMs. I expect it would have ended with the proposal of a get-together at someone’s house. I suspect it will be at Mercy’s house since she has more kids. The kids will be in the picture too when the Okojies meet the Obasanjos. It may be a beginning of playdates for the children, if all goes well and they don’t live very far apart. No, the husbands will be absent. Now we await pictures from the tea party. Thank you sisters for this public display of reconciliation and affection.

Editing ‘Guardians of The Seal'(GoTS)

It feels so good I can finally share this! Yaaay!

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GoTS cover

People, this is not just my first book; it is a GOOD book.

When I got the call to edit this manuscript, I was excited simply because I love to panel beat sentences, restructure grammar, replace tenses, condense phrases and just have fun with words and ideas generally. But when I got INTO the text proper, I was mesmerised! I mean, I LOVE Christian fiction. There was a time in my life that I would only read Frank Peretti, Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury and anything in that league.

Then came Tunde Leye. When he sent me the book intro, I responded with this mail:

GoTS 1

It’s just amazing how he’s reconstructed Christian reality into something so relateable in these days of Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. It’s interesting how he preaches without preaching and even though he’s opted for a neutral genre so as not to be boxed, the redemption power in this book cannot be suppressed.

The ‘realest’ character in the book, for me, has got to be Lucan. “It has to be Lucan. The way his life was interrupted is very practical to me. He was the most human. I love him for his weakness,” I told Tunde in a mail during editing.

And the most intense chapter for me is chapter 8. More precisely, pages 128 – 133. My heart was racing so fast I found myself praying for the character. That is what a good book does to you – make you feel like you can impact on a character’s outcome. I couldn’t resist another mail that March:

“Been one intense night. Don’t know where you were when you wrote these chapters but it looks like the job of a secret place. The battles are so intense. The rescue of Imani from that marble altar began it all. I was compulsively teleported myself and felt so involved in the battle, I caught myself praying in the spirit throughout the encounter.”

Here’s an excerpt of the warfare in chapter 8:

Light engulfed his body and in an instant, he was transformed. The light he emitted illuminated the room and the once dark room became as bright as the noonday. All around, the dark forms of demons huddled together to avoid his light. The five demon lords could have been stone where they stood. They looked in utter amazement. He swung his sword in one direction and white light shot in an arc in that direction. All the demons that fell under its light were consumed by it in an instant… He closed his eyes and issued the command, “Occupy, Euphrates.”

As soon as he did, the room began to fill up with flowing, liquid light. The demons struggled to escape it. Faster than any of them could react, the room had filled up to the brim. Lucan stood guard at the entrance, cutting down every demon that got away from the light-filled room. Not a single one escaped; he made sure of that. When the liquid light receded, only the bodies of the five demon lords and a wide-eyed Imani remained in the room. He approached the altar and removed her gag.

This book is for every lover of fiction – good fiction. This author did a good job!

Meanwhile I asked him a few questions about this book just before we rounded up editing. There was no way I would miss understanding the mind behind this book and the intents. I reproduced the Q & A here.

So, support your girl’s hustle o. The big launch is in September and we’ll try all we can to make sure it’s available in major physical and electronic bookshops. If you’d like to review the book before then, do buzz me. We’ll arrange a special delivery for you. Cheers!

Why I wrote ‘Guardians of The Seal’- Tunde Leye

I had the rare privilege of editing perhaps Nigeria’s first Christian fiction novel authored by Tunde Leye. The experience was so intense I couldn’t turn in the last chapters until he had answered my questions. I have reproduced the e-mail containing our exchange below. Do enjoy.
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Tunde Leye
I have nine plus one questions about where this book came from and your intentions as the writer. The impression is too strong to ward off easily. Take your time and answer as well as you can. If you’ll have more time over the weekend, I can wait.

1. What’s the purpose of this book? What’s your intention/desire for this book?
2. Is this your own pulpit?

3. Why is the seed of the woman female? It’s interesting how the crucifixion sacrifice is substituted. Is this for literary effect/suspense or something more?

4. I like the suggestion that Lucifer is defeated eternally. Is that you trying to tell the Christian congregation that the greater battle has been won already and what we are fighting now are only manifestations of his plantings in men’s hearts? Or again is it just literature?

5. Is ‘The Bringing’ to suggest that award shows are demonic? Do you loathe awards?
6. I read you associate drugs and technology with demons, you have strong reservations against them?
7. How did the idea come to you, did it make sense immediately and over what period of time did you develop it for?
8. Why Guardians of the Seals? Why Christian fiction? Why now?

This was his response:
I can answer the questions now actually, because I’ve thought about them many times over.

The easy ones first.
I came about the idea some ten/eleven years ago in a conversation with a friend about superheros and their source of power (I’m something of a cartoon buff) and we talked about some being able to go to heaven at will. Then I read about C.S Lewis and Tolkein being asked about if their books (Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of The Rings respectively) were about their faith (both were Christians) and they both gave similar answers (they were friends and both belonged to a literary group called the Inklings).
Their answer was that they had written about the world if it had the Christian salvation story, if magic and fantasy beings were permitted in the world. My book is essentially a similar thing – so many things in the book a allegories to multiple things (e.g the Wicket gate is an allegory of salvation and the seals themselves an allegory of the covenant with the Israelites and so on). It took 3 years to write, so seven years was basically the idea brewing in my head and growing, even as I wrote other things.
I don’t have anything against awards or technology. In fact, one of the most advanced technologies in the book (the Interfacers) was created by Tara, one of the protagonists and very beneficial to the world. I think tech is as good as the use it is put to, it is amoral.
I try not to make my writing a pulpit militantly pushing an agenda. But I made an exception with this one. So to a great degree, I told a story of how, if I had the creative license, I’d have written the creation, salvation, redemption and final defeat of the devil story. Stories are powerful and can reach people in ways nothing else (except perhaps music) can. Hopefully, it will cause someone to search for the real deal in the bible.
Why Guardians of the Seals? It’s the story I had, and the one I felt ready to tell. Why Christian fiction. It’s actually epic fantasy with the background world I created based on the Christian mythology. Why now? I’ve been away for 2 years (marrying and borning pikin) and I’m making a “comeback” with a bang. Plus the story is ready. Recall I said I did an almost total rewrite because I didn’t think it was ready before now.
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GoTS cover

About Nomoreloss: It’s too late!


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Muyiwa Osinuga aka Nomoreloss

Sincerely I didn’t know this many people knew Nomoreloss. I mean, look at even me writing about him. But I just had to. Somebody needs to talk to us. We can’t keep doing this to ourselves. This thing called social media will be the death of many.

So you have his contact on your BBm and in your mind, you’re friends – he’s your padi… C’mmon it doesn’t matter…even if we don’t talk for a year, whenever we get to it’s just seamless…That’s the delusion. That’s how we kill ourselves.

Then the person dies and suddenly he’s your siamese twin. At that report, you remember 15 years ago, when he introduced you to the marketer or CEO who gave you the first major gig that began your career. But he had to die for your memory to be jugged. Right? We can’t keep doing this.

Yes, Nomoreloss was sick. But it was more psychological than physical. He had been admitted sometime in January and discharged. In his final weeks, he was ill again, this time not from Typhoid. He was sick of us – me and you, sick of all the 16 hundred thousand followers and contacts that his computer and phone said he had with none caring enough for him. He was tired of hearing and knowing how immensely rounded and talented he is with the uniqueness holding only promises all his twenty plus years of pushing. Se promises la ma je ni? Promises don’t pay the bill. What good is a blank post-dated cheque whose date never comes?  What happens in the present?

Muyiwa pushed and toiled. He was baba nla hustler. Yes his marriage was very short-lived, so? He dust himself up, grateful for the chance of being a father, he moved on. His long time ‘Lere friend needed a kidney surgery, he rallied financial support. But no matter what he did, he couldn’t earn the life he wanted – the life he deserved. He could have balanced a bread tray and walked into a Madonna shoot and we still wouldn’t have noticed. No matter what he did, we gave him the crumbs – airtime, bottom right corner of Page 51, invite him to watch rather than be watched, he just always seemed forgotten. He could have been a veteran Harrysong if he only he commercialised his song writing for this younger generation. But Muyiwa can’t write nothings. His ‘stuff’ was his pride. Seeing we all seemed done with him, he lost the will to live on.

I remember the day of his last video shoot. I got to the office that morning last year and saw the buses filled with crew and equipment about departing for the seaside location. Business was slow already and I couldn’t process what good partnering with a Nomoreloss could bring. But he was the boss’ personal friend and Ayeesha Music was no stranger too. Here we are today, that same video is now being referred as his last done visual. I wish I could truly rejoice for this Beautiful thing. I just hope that we truly learn. God keep his daughter, comfort his family and teach us to love truly.

 

 

 

How to run mad quickly

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Nigeria’s Uzo Aduba plays ‘Crazy Eyes’, an unstable inmate, in ‘Orange is the New Black’ series. Picture credit: awardsdaily.com

We all go through that phase where it seems every other person is doing well. I mean, even the least charismatic of your friends has this great gig going on whereas you can’t even find your rhythm. All of a sudden, all your previous accomplishment pale just because of your momentary ‘idleness’.

It isn’t quite idleness, if you will be honest. But just because you can’t summarise what your present occupation is in one sentence, you feel relegated. Even when you try, so long it isn’t as high-sounding as what you’re famed for, you feel dejected. You try hard not to slip into depression.

At this point, it’s difficult for the eyes to stay single. They see what every other person is doing, ‘achieving’. You punish yourself by crawling their Facebook walls and Tweets to ‘keep up’. You over-process their texts and amplify any resemblance of condescension. Then you Google your name and see only a page. And you keep beating yourself for not thinking of what the other person thought off to create what he today has. Then you consider the imaginary millions others are making… From that point it isn’t hard to begin hallucinating. Continue reading “How to run mad quickly”