Writing brings me joy. I want to write about everything – growing up the 2nd of three girls in a culture that reveres boys; thinking that I had to be the ‘boy’ in our family who climbs trees, get chickens for dinner, catches mice, and does whatever needs done. I want to write about going away to boarding school at the age of twelve (having finally convinced my Mom that I could care for my asthma) and of having many adventures traveling by rail to school in the north. And I want to write about the bonds of friendship formed as part of the notorious ‘lady cool’s gang’ in college.
Living in the US introduced different themes into my writing in various genres including poetry, essay, drama, and prose. Renike comes to America presents some of the themes of longing, belonging, alienation, and cultural dissonance I experienced as an immigrant. The birth of my children inspired picture books they could relate to and from those efforts came Butterfly, about a girl’s love of her new dress, Big Sister about sibling affection, Now I can Read, and The Adventures of Lagos Boy. My former marriage inspired how-to articles for immigrant women who find themselves in dysfunctional relationships. Like any writer, my study is littered with unfinished manuscripts which I hope to complete in this lifetime.
My favorite book is Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter. It tells the story of a woman whose late husband had married her daughter’s best friend. Set in Islamic Senegal, its lyrical language beautifully captures the essence of the culture. It’s this spotlighting of culture that’s at the heart of Owanbe! Yoruba Celebrations of Life.
I like biographies to the extent that they are interesting and hope to do one on each of my parents who were pacesetters in their generation. Part biography, part self-help, the ‘Wanna B” series motivate readers to achieve their highest aspirations. I like funny stories, not mystery (I think it’s the control freak in me that dislikes anything lurking in the shadows). Because reading often takes away time from writing, I have restrained myself from reading for pleasure. Now, I only read pieces that could enhance my writing and listen to audio books on self improvement.
If I could travel anywhere in the world, I’d go to Hawaii. I have heard so much about its tropical beauty, its lush greenery, and colorful culture. Perhaps, I should go there to write. Picture it, I’m lying on the beach, lush greenery in the background, some singing, some swaying, some wine…and perhaps some words?