TUESDAY ROSE BUSHES – FIREFLIES

 BY IFEOLUWA OGÚNYINKA (My first daughter. 16 year old 11th grader.)

rosevilSince the day I was born, I had always had this weird addiction of collecting fireflies. Living on an old rusty barn helped a lot, especially in the night. I never really understood my fascination for ‘em fireflies but I knew one thing for sure. They were real beauties.

My Pa would always give me the leftover honey and jam jars for me to store my fireflies. For as long as I can remember, Pa has always been a rugged farmer. He did it all. From cow-milking to seed-planting to honey-collecting to tree-planting to … I could go on and on, but the point is Pa did it all. Not just for the income, even though that was highly important, but for the “passionate passion for workin’ o me land” he’d always say.

My family had always been poor. In fact, it felt like every time an elderly died we would get poorer. So poor we didn’t have a house, we lived in the barn. Well, everybody except for Jake, my older and only brother, who felt weird sharing the barn with our cows, mum, dad, my three other sisters and I.

As a child I never realized this, but I discovered later on that my little silly firefly-collecting hobby was the source of light for my family at night time.

My life was boring. I never went to school, or even parties. Heck! I didn’t have no friends, just my sisters and Jake. And the farm animals. Every day, we ate eggs and milk for breakfast, nothing for lunch (‘cause it was a sisi meal) and porridge for dinner, except on Sundays when we kill one chicken and eat with the porridge. There was no excitement or fun whatsoever, except for firefly-hunting, but aside from that… it always felt like we were just waiting to die all our lives, like grandma and grandma and their parents and their parents. An endless cycle.

The only thing that kept me going, except for firefly-hunting, was New Year’s Day. On that day, weird people (who I realized were actually city folk) would travel down to the country or the end of the world, a few minutes away from the barn and throw parties. I was always fascinated by their speedy shiny cars and bikes.

On New Year’s Eve, I would sit at the edge of the farm land so I would be close enough to hear their fast and slow party songs.

The best part was midnight. The city people would scream out a countdown which was loud enough for me to hear and then the best thing would happen. Fireworks! I loved them, they reminded me of my fireflies only these were bigger and strong enough to dance in the skies and they came in different color! It was fabulous. While my family lived to die, I lived for New Year’s Day.

The only downside to this, I was never allowed to attend these parties. My Ma would say, “Lil’ sisi’s like you ain’t gonna remain innocent if you venture into such.” And I’d always remind her that wasn’t a sisi. The point, I was banned from such parties. It was unfair because Jake always snuck out for these parties and would disappear for days! Everybody would know where he went but nobody would comment!

This year though, I turned 14 and I was determined to “venture into” the New Year’s Party, I had the best plan ever!

Over the years, I had mastered Jake’s route to the party, so getting to its location was easy. I was prepared, I wore my best dress under my nightwear rags, had two full jars of fireflies ready for the journey and that was it! After super, I waited till everyone was asleep by this time Jake was already long gone. I wish I could follow him but Jake had the biggest mouth ever created.

I quietly hurried out of the barn and made my way to the party with a victorious grin on my lips. I let out a relieved sigh when I got to the party, an effortless smile on my lips. My smile began to fall as I absorbed the party going on in front of me.

Bodies, skimpily clad, dangerously gyrating, filled the party grounds. Green bottles littered the poor fertile soil. People sucked on each other’s faces and fiddled with one another. Some weren’t even wearing their sorry excuses of clothes. At the corners of the ground, huge boxes produced loud music. The point was, I was disappointed beyond belief. Ma was right. Oh! My poor virgin eyes.

Before I knew it, I was pushed into the party by a drunken man and so it went on. It was all a blur, getting shoved, smacked at odd places and even getting kissed! The horror. At this time tears were flowing freely down my cheeks. A flicker of hope ignited in my heart when the people started to count down.

“10! 9! 8! 7! 6! 5! 4! 3! 2! 1! Happy New Year!” They screeched. Again the pushing and kissing continued. Nobody paid attention to the fireworks. I couldn’t even focus, I was getting shoved around. And then a body fell smack on me and I couldn’t take it anymore! With supernatural anger and strength I pushed the idiot off me.

“Kathy! Kathy wait up!” The idiot slurped out behind me. I turned around swiftly to find Jake looking like our scarecrow.

“What?” I yelled, utterly disgusted by him.

He busted into tears. “She is pregnant again!”

“What are you saying, idiot?” I muttered, and crouched to help him stand up.

“I… I… pregnant again.” He gasped and passed out. I dumped him on the ground, my anger and irritation rushed back.

I left Jake at the party. I knew he would find his way back home like always. When I got to the barn my Ma was wide awake, waiting for me.

“And where were you lil’ sisi?”

“Out gettin’ more fireflies.” I told her and handed her both jars. We both knew I was lying, but like Jake nobody commented.

Jake came back about a week later with a pretty face called Melissa. Surprisingly, she was pregnant and was carrying a little boy in her arms.

That New Year’s Day marked the last time I ever went firefly-hunting, 10 years now. I just couldn’t see the fascination anymore.

I started living to die.

 

THE END

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MONDAY CHOCOLATE MELTDOWN – REJECTION

noOsaz was so excited about his upcoming wedding. Omasan was such a beautiful woman: soft-spoken, petite, polite, and a great cook. Even though he had not tasted her food before, he had heard enough to convince him of her prowess with food.

He told people around and expected everyone to be glad with him. He had fixed the wedding date and even chosen his best man. The only pending problem – which he knew would be solved quickly – was Omasan’s consent. They had been friends earlier but as soon as he mentioned marriage, she withdrew. His friends tried to discourage him after this.

“She’s snobbish,” some said.

“She’s strange,” others told him.

“You two are not compatible,” his pastor said.

But he loved her. He was crazy about her, which seemed the most important to him. He knew he would win her with time. Even though she had turned him down three consecutive times, he understood the psychology of women. They loved to be hounded! He decided to go on with his wedding plans. Omasan would fall into God’s purpose for their lives with time…

Sadly, the wedding day Osaz fixed came and went. Omasan is married to someone else today.

 

TISHA CHAPTER 12 – CONFRONTATION

Tisha 2 darkenedI do my Saturday washing on Sunday night because that’s when I revive from death. Toro and Steve hang around each other and play like little kids. Jang simply stays back in Kenny’s room. So I get to enjoy the noisy vocals alone at night.

The antibiotics I take have helped a lot and by Monday morning, I feel itching and sweet pain on the wounds. Sweet pain I wish someone could ‘scratch’ for me. Ahh, being a self-constrained bachelor does have its cons.

I have the first two periods on Monday in Bisi’s class. After much energy getting certain images out of my brain, I get to work.

“Open your book to page fifty. Read.”

“Today, Shinese food is well known around the world, and recipes for Shinese cooking can be found in most cookbooks and on many web sites. While books with some information about ancient Shinese food have survived the centuries, fascinating new information has come more recently from tombs.”

I stare at her. “You’ve been practising. That’s good.”

She smiles. “Thank you, sir.”

I swallow hard. Does she know what she does to me? “We have to work on your pronunciation of ch.”

“Yes sir.”

I look around and it seem we are alone. Everywhere is quiet. “Take your seat, thank you.” I write summary on the board. “This is the same thing your seniors are doing. So you should be proud. Can anyone else try to read?”

A few hands go up. Progress. There was a time last month no one in this class could read.

“Good. But you don’t have to read it again. Now summary is a short sentence that represents the main points.”

Teaching is my passion. I try to focus on my work but once every while I turn to the class and I see her, rubbing cream on her backside. The image is vivid.

I went back on Sunday morning. Call me carnal. This time I planned to reveal myself, let her know I come here too but she didn’t show up. I need to confront her about it. I need to confront Toro as well, talk about respect for my privacy.

“Bisi, see me in the staff room before you go home,” I say before I leave the class.

I have the whole day to plan my conversation with her. I need to confess to her I saw her and I need to know if she knew I was there. Fine, she’d come from another direction. My eyes had been closed when she arrived so she might have seen me and turned, depends on where she approached from. Also shrubs are overgrown in that area and the branches of the trees serve as cover in some parts.

Toro walks to my table and perches on it just before the closing bell. “Why are you avoiding me, Abbey?”

I snicker. “You make a hell of a lot of noise when you’re—happy.”

She laughs. “Omg. You hear?”

“I dare not admit that.”

She pats my cheek. “Poor Abbey. You are jealous.”

I roll my eyes. Toro’s too cheap. Cheap beauty. I spot Bisi loitering at the entrance. I need to know what her values are. Did she notice I was lounged on the grass by the stream and still continue with her bath?

“I hope he appreciates what you give him.”

Toro smiles. “We’ll see where it goes.”

She seems genuinely happy and for the life of me, I do hope she’s happy. Men like Steve and women like her roam till they find true love, as amazing as that sounds.

I nod toward the door. “I want to see a student.”

Toro turns and sees Bisi. “Is that your distraction, Tisha oko?”

I’m amused at Toro’s reference of me as a bush teacher. Isn’t she one as well? “You like to look for trouble.”

Toro doesn’t move from my table. “Confess.”

“No. Now will you excuse me? She’s my best student so I want to ask her some questions.” Toro still doesn’t move. “Toro, will you move. Before your hot flame thinks I’m his competition.”

“Hmm, you think that will work?” She arches her eyebrows. “Well, it did. We’re going to Ife for lunch and shopping.”

I sigh. “Have fun.”

“We will.” She winks at me and clicks her tongue at Bisi. Such a petty woman.

I wave to the seat in front of my table. “Bisi, sit down.”

Bisi sits and folds her hands in her lap. My eyes follow her every gesture. There are a couple of teachers in the room both facing their businesses. I lower my voice all the same.

“So when are you going to learn to pronounce ch?” What am I talking about?

Her lips tremble. “I try sir.”

 

Image of man courtesy of Photo stock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

SATURDAY ROSE THORNS – CREATIVE STORYTELLING, 7 TIPS

thornsyA story-teller is someone who has a story to tell. So the first question to answer is:

What is your story?

Your story is that tale you want to share with others. It can be personal or imagined, informative, educational, expository, inspirational or motivational. Your story can be told as a narrative or in dialogue. It can be expressed through poetry, drama, as fiction or non-fiction.

Define your genre.

Your genre is your method of telling your story. Broadly, there are two forms of writing. Fiction and non-fiction. Be specific on what your genre is. What do you want to write? Experienced writers will advise that you write what you love to read because there are thousands and millions of you out there.

Discover your voice.

As a writer, it is essential to find your voice. Your voice is your style of writing. Besides the research you will do to authenticate the story you have to write, you must also learn to write in a distinct way.

Learn to write.

An unfortunate 80% of writers today do not have formal training on how to write. Just like any other craft, you cannot depend on your creativity alone. You need to learn the technique of writing, and the trends in writing. For instance, in fiction, gone are the days when a reader wants to be told the story. These days, readers want to be part of the story. They want to be in the story.

Explore your environment.

A creative writer needs to be observant. Anything around you can become a story. Don’t just look, see. Don’t just hear, listen. Smell, taste, and feel. Using your six senses helps your story to come alive. I’ve had people ask me to show them houses I described in my novels, but these houses don’t exist except in my imagination.

Research.

Without proper research, your creativity cannot be appreciated. No matter how good a writer you are, you need to get your facts right. Example of a book I read, and the dates were mixed up. If you are writing about the year 2000 in Nigeria, you should research the N1000 note did not exist.

Edit.

Generally in writing, editing entails checking for spelling, grammar use, and choice of words, organizing paragraphs, sentence errors, punctuation, and use of English. There are different aspects of the editing process. There is proofreading, re-writing, editing for brevity, clarity, and marketability, consisted in three broad types. The first thing you need to do, is self-edit. It is common knowledge that Ernest Hemmingway self-edited the last page of Arms and the Man, thirty-nine times. The better polished your writing is, the more shiny your talent and creativity shows.

FRIDAY CHOCOLATE TREAT: OYINEMI SALPON

oh myThe woman who fell in love with a married man and agreed to lure him into sin cannot have many glowing compliments.

This was the life and fate of Oyinemi in “The Days After that Night.”

Blame it on sentiments, compromise or manipulation, Oyinemi’s character is forever tarnished when she agrees to sacrifice her womanhood.

Oyinemi can be summarized by one word too many. She’s a woman bound by duty and gratitude to perform a role she hates but accepted.

She is a strong woman, however, and though she submits easily, she knows her boundaries and never crosses them. Her love interest, Dini Brisibe, is cold and uncompromising. But Oyinemi is a woman who knows how to count her losses, and make the best of her tainted life.

From the point when I started the book, I had a face in mind for Oyinemi Salpon too. This is the talented and beautiful actress, Ini Edo.Ini Edo - Braided Hair (2)

Read The Days After that Night by Sinmisola Ogúnyinka. Find the book online on amazon, smashwords, iBooks, and other leading online bookstores!

Days cover new pwg edition

TISHA CHAPTER 11 – BACK TO THE STREAM

Tisha 2 darkenedHorny and disoriented from a fevered sleep, I get up early and head for the stream. Fortuna is brushing her teeth right in front of her room. Just what I hate. I’m not a tidy person, but litter and dirt drive me crazy. The rains have ceased and the harmattan sets in. The grass lawn in front of the block of rooms is drying up. If she doesn’t pour water over the patch, it will look really irritating in a few hours. I reckon I will have to do it.

I shouldn’t go to the stream till I leave Abagboro, but I miss the quiet and calm I experience upstream during those days we didn’t have water, before the three boys flogged me with pronged whips.

It’s just the breaking of the day and as I approach, I hear the villagers, mostly women, but the side I use is normally deserted.

I take the small path hardly noticeable and reach my place without detection. I feel a sense of peace and accomplishment. I dip my head in the water, and come up dripping and wet. The water flows to the top of my shirt.

I’m helpless in controlling my thoughts. Reminders of the sexual act between Toro and Steve Eko, a man she just met, leaves me shaken. Jealousy I don’t understand twist my innermost parts. I assure myself the jealousy is of brotherly love but I doubt.

I remain crouched at the edge of the stream till my calves give way then I pat the ground and make sure there are no stones but only wet dry leaves before I sit gingerly. Then I lay on my back to take some of the pressure off my wounds.

I close my eyes. The water on my head and face become chilly but it’s just what I need. I’m not too much into women but I’ve had one or two and know what it’s like. I don’t miss it, and I don’t want it… My heart beats faster. I go still. Maybe I do. Maybe I want it too much.

There’s movement around me. Another assault? No.

I sit up just in time. Bisi. What’s she doing here? She doesn’t see me but walks to the other side of the stream just a few meters away, her back is turned to me. She calls to someone and tells the person to stay where they are. If I make noise, she will see me. She will startle, turn. I hold my breath. A hanging tree shields me a little but I see her clearly.

She bends and removes her clothes from a wrapper. I’m confused now. Enthralled though. She has the same effect on me. Her movements are fluid, and graceful.

I quietly rest back and watch her. She washes the clothes she’s brought with her, and chat with the other person on the other side. Does she know I come here? Besides those boys who found and assaulted me, no one ever came to this place. It is hidden and the water is cleaner.

I suspect this girl. It can’t be a coincidence.

She finishes her washing and begins to undress. My head tells me to show my presence but the master between my legs object. I’m so turned on now, I can’t believe it. Still my eyes are glued to her.

I am a carnal man, what is the devil trying to do to me? When I got my posting letter to Abagboro, I vowed I will keep my head. I didn’t think I would face this kind of temptations but then just to be sure I know what I’m doing. I am only twenty-one. My anatomy longs for the natural things.

I can only see Bisi’s backside but it’s enough. Her skin is fair, and smooth and well-rounded. And I can’t take my eyes off. She lathers herself languorously, and hums a popularly church chorus.

I feel like the devil reincarnate. She must have come here for privacy and now I spy on her. I feel shame. Suddenly, the weather is hot, and no longer early morning coolness. I think I must have a full dip in the stream after she’s gone or I will die here.

She finishes her bath and begins to rub cream on her body.

I die.

 

 Image of man courtesy of Photo stock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

WEDNESDAY TRENDS – WOMAN STABS HUSBAND TO DEATH

NOT FUN BUT WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT!

nigerian woman murder husband delaware cropped

According to government statistics:

  • 30% of women who are murdered are killed by their spouses.
  • Less than 9% of women are ever killed by a stranger.
  • In New Zealand, 60% of the murder cases that are brought before the court are a direct result of domestic violence.
  • In some countries, up to 30% of girls have experienced some form of physical violence in the home before the age of 15.
  • 1 in 4 women will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime.
  • Only 5% of men are killed by their significant other or a lover.
  • Women between the ages of 20-24 have the greatest risk of becoming the victim of domestic violence.
  • More than 3 million children in the US witness some form of violence in their home every year.
  • Children who live in violent homes have to a 60% higher risk of suffering from neglect as well.
  • On average, there are 24 people who become the victims of a violent act or will have a partner begin stalking them every minute in the United States.
  • Nearly 15% of women have been injured by an act that could be classified as a crime of passion.
  • Between 1994-2010, 80% of the victims of intimate violence were women.
  • Up to 81% of women who become victims are repetitively victimized by the same perpetrator.
  • 6 out of 10 crimes occur in the home.
  • Unless crimes of passion end violently, most incidents are never reported to a law enforcement official.
  • Girls who witness a crime of passion are more likely to be abused as teens or adults, especially when they are unable to receive any counselling.
  • Boys, on the other hand, are more likely to become perpetrators.
  • When domestic violence is included in crimes of passion statistics, the annual cost to the US economy in dealing with this issue is $37 billion.

Culled from: http://brandongaille.com/27-intriguing-crimes-of-passion-statistics/