World Blog Tour
As the muse and sometimes acolyte and sibling incubus to the one and only succubus Nne-san Chioma, I have been tapped to save the world through the blog tour. More seriously, the world blog tour was started in merry ol’ England as a way to link awesome bloggers and writers to one another and allow bloggers recommend other bloggers whose work they love and also give bloggers a chance to actually self reflect and decide who they are as writers. Phew! Quite a mouthful. But there’s that. Chioma, the awesome blogger and writer that passed the torch to me blogs at http://phantompages.wordpress.com. Writing is basically a huge part of who I am, and this why.
1. What am I working on?
This is easy. I am working on many many things. There is a book, quite avant-garde and fantasy/paranormal with my yang, Imobong, called Sovereign which integrates the universe in which our characters exist and explores the concept of nephilim in a 21st century world; what their tasks would be and the intrigue they would face. There is also my somewhat popular webseries Seams (which you can check out here) already making story boards for a third season of that. Then there is a personal project in its infancy and dozens of short stories out there waiting to be born. Like Regina Spektor says, I am merely a midwife.
Of all of these things, the short stories are really what have my heart and I am currently trying to improve my writing of short stories, find my voice and improve that to international standards.
2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Well I don’t know really. First of all I think I have synaesthesia, because I quite literally see music. Every song I hear is like a mini movie playing out in my head and sometimes I am so besotted with the internal monologue in my head that I just sit down and let the muse play. So a lot of my stories are me basically trying to capture the mood and tone of my favourite songs, take those half dozen lines and spin out a few thousand words from them. As a result a lot of my writing is lyrical. Musical almost. People have told me it feels like they are singing when they read my work.
I have never been able to stick to genres. While a good chunk of my work is based on human relations and the juiciness of how the things humans don’t say tend to amplify the things they do, I also enjoy all other genres and dabble in them whenever I want, which is why I love the short story format, its like premature ejaculation in the best possible way; its there, its done, move on. People also tell me that my work is very immersive. That they feel like they are standing beside the characters watching as the scenario unfolds. I think that immersiveness separates me from many of my genre. I am just as interested in the feelings as the story itself, I want the sound, the touch and the taste. I want all of it, and I try to trap emotion, like dried flowers hidden in books that when you open release their final fragrance.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Honestly, because if I don’t then I die. Writing is how I process a lot of my feelings. I am a very frigid and forgiving person in real life, which is a very terrible dichotomy to have exist in a person, because when you are frigid a lot of the responses people have come to expect from situations you rarely give. Add a forgiving nature to that and people assume you’re a saint. Writing gives me the vicarious thrill of dissecting the thoughts in my head and giving them life and conversely closure or death. I am fascinated by death and pain and I use a lot of my stories to explore them. That and stranger emotions like resentment and disgust. Humans are rarely ever one dimensional and neither are my stories.
I write a lot of painful and sad things because I am a person struggling with pain and sadness and trying to make sense of it through my writing. A lot of my writing isn’t autobiographical but it is deeply personal and emotionally risky. Writing allows me take those risks without the consequences. I like that.
4. How does my writing process work?
Music, music and more music.
Music is my muse so literally, I get a new album, and one or two songs stand out, maybe the mood of the song, or a saxophone solo that sounds like a shriek or a line or two that just jumps at me. A story’s basic outlines fill my head, sometimes as clear as a Polaroid, sometimes blurry. I then wait till the song saturates me and I check forums for reader interpretations, and use them as writing prompts. Then I put the song on repeat and wait till a first line comes, and I go from there. Most of my short stories are written in one sitting, with me taking pauses to nod or clap or shimmy or jiggle or even weep to the music. If you saw me writing, you’d honestly think I’d gone bonkers.
Other times, with the grander stories, I work with a basic outline and then flesh in. And of course, my favourite, impromptu writing points that force me to think along a line and try my hand at mimicking the writer. But music mostly informs most of my writing process. Regina Spektor has inspired most of my shorts, because she is such a gifted story teller herself. And my characters tend to make cameos in each other’s stories, another incentive to keep them around.
That’s basically who I am as a creative, writer and blogger.
I pass the baton on to the most creative afro fantasy writer I know, the indefatigable Damilare, @Waterwidower.
His blog is like gourmet food, everything is so audiovisually delicious and his characters are so unique, you rarely ever forget them. And he is basically an Orisa at this point with how other he is. His short stories have been lauded by Binyavanga Wanaina and together with him and @Lofticryer, we started Pass the Salt, the foremost themed fiction blog on the Nigerian Blogosphere. Somebody please enter his DMs and marry him.
He blogs at http://dragonsinlagos.wordpress.com