I am here. Pa Ikhide. I don’t know why I am here, I am just here. Apparently I am to start talking until I am tired or y’all are tired whichever comes first. That is fine with me. I love talking, so I doubt that I’ll be the first to terminate this new relationship. I really am never sure what will come out of my mouth, I have been doing this for many moons. I wake up and my mind is a lunatic’s trap pregnant with all sorts of darkness, some of it luscious, some sordid, some banal, some all of the above. I was sitting quietly in my hut when Toni Kan sent me email that I had agreed to work for him when last we met in Nigeria. I don’t remember this tale, but Toni reminds me that I was drinking at the time and as I am wont to do when I have been drinking I make all sorts of promises, including this one. My mother did text me the other day that I had promised her a Lexus Jeep when I visited her. I am still laughing. I should stop drinking, it is not good for my liver.
So what am I going to be talking about? I have absolutely no idea. I do know what I am not going to be talking about. Politics. I am tired of talking about Nigerian politics jare, I did not come to America to go crazy. All we do is talk, talk, talk, the price of gari is unmoved. Is it gari or garri sef? Things I will talk about? Well, if you are on Facebook and Twitter you know that I am always talking about my run-ins with My Lover (ML); we have four wonderful children, Netter_Shoks, Ominira, Lion Cub and Fearless Fang. I have an imaginary dog, Siddon_Look, PhD, we are not sure of his or her gender, so we call it, it. I am attached to the world wirelessly through Adunni, my laptop, named after my Muse, the one and only Adunni, Amebo, my iPad, Amebo, my iPhone, and Norma_Pearl my Samsung Galaxy S3 which used to be an S4 until my son Lion Cub did a heart transplant on it, long story, let’s just say he now has an S4 and I have an S3. America is like that, your children rule your wretched life.
Oh yes, I love African writers, sadly the feeling is not mutual. I read them nonstop and love to comment on their work as I read, many of them won’t agree but I think that I am their greatest fan. One called me a “noisy reader,” another called me “a conceited ignoramus,” and yet another remarked quite aptly that I have never ever printed an “invitation card” yet I am always harassing those who have written “things.” SMH.
Who am I? I don’t consider myself a writer, I think of myself as a reader who writes. I do write endlessly but it is not as if I am sitting down somewhere quiet, plotting that great novel, checking everything that must be in a book to make it “fiction.” That takes a lot of work and discipline. There is no fiction in me, I simply write what I see around me, what stirs in me. I see stories everywhere, poetry is everywhere and I mostly write them down. Where do I write? On social media most days, Facebook and Twitter. I have a blog and sometimes I will say something on a listserv (if you don’t know what that means, don’t fret, it is a dying art, mailing lists).
I read a lot, these days I don’t read as many books as I used to, the book is dying a long slow death, I never tire of telling people. If it is not on my laptop, iPad or smartphone, chances are I am not reading it. I think people should read, I just don’t think in the 21st century the book is the best medium for reading. I have more to say about books, our stories and the politics of writing as they affect African literature. I promise to infuriate you every week, if I don’t you will be entertained. I am like that, I was wired that way. Welcome to Pa Ikhide’s world.