Little Children

I spent last week with my young cousins. They are an ever-active, talkative, curious trio, about 2, 5 and 8. They just keep touching everything; breaking some things and making each other cry thus needing frequent adult intervention. The house was so alive (and noisy). Sometimes you want to spank them with a pestle, other times you watch their intrigues and laugh. So children are like this!

Asides from this kind of intrusion into a couple’s privacy, imagine not having the freedom to go to the movies with your spouse anymore, those ‘together alone’ times simply fading away. Housework and kids work taking your wife away. I actually learnt of a woman who uses the vacuum cleaner at 12:00 midnight (after the kids have slept, that is). Seriously, a colleague of mine is her neighbour. This can be really scary if you are not yet married.

Children, children, children. They can be such a bother but they are definitely part of marriage and part of life. Surviving through week, I definitely got some ideas on what I could include in Till Death. I am looking forward to this new book turning out more mature and having a better appeal to readers. In Till Death, I am highlighting various aspects of the institution and attempting to maintain the flow of the story while sharing my thoughts.

In my last post, I shared an excerpt from Chapter 2, I hope you have read it. I will keep up with this possibly on a bi-monthly basis till the book is ready. I look forward to getting your inputs. Have a splendid week!

Till Death – Excerpts -14 May 2011

The following excerpt is from Chapter 2. Emeka and Modupe have given birth and Emeka’s mother has come to stay a while with the couple and help take care of the baby. The following conversation takes place a few days into Mrs. Eluigwe’s stay between Emeka and his wife:

 Excerpt Begins Here.

Mother-in-laws are not perfect but who is? Mrs. Eluigwe was soft spoken and appeared nice but Roseline certainly took after her choleric nature. She had a subtle and firm way of making her children , and others, do what she wanted. Some people simply couldn’t take it.

“I don’t understand!  Every time she comes around, she always finds something I am not doing right” Dupe complained, “It’s either the diapers are not done right, or the soup is tasteless or the fridge is dirty or this and that … I am the only one here…I can’t …”

“Hey, Dupe, Dupe, take it easy. Ah-Ah. When did it come to this?”

Modupe was visibly upset and trying hard not to talk too loud. Her mother-in-law was in the living room playing with and singing to the baby.

“Emeka…”, she said calmly trying to control herself. They sat next to each other on the bed facing the bedroom door, left ajar on purpose. Closing the door would have aroused more suspicion on Mrs. Eluigwe’s part. Why would they close the bedroom  door so early in the evening? Were they talking about her?

Emeka held his wife and raised her head gently using the force of one curled finger against her chin.

“Listen. You have to learn how to get along with her. I am not saying the problem is from you. I understand what you are going through…”

“Emeka, I don’t think you understand!” Dupe interrupted “Taking care of this baby is hard work and what I need is a helping hand not another boss”

“Dupe! That’s my mother we are talking about”

“And I am your wife! You might have to choose who is more important. You are always defending her!”

“I am not. I am just saying: find a way to get along.”

“My own mother does not give this much stress.”

“Modupe, stop being unreasonable. That conclusion does not make sense”

“In fact…”

Dupe pulled away from him and walked out of the room leaving the door wide open.

“What is this? “ Emeka asked himself. He was still wearing his black suit, sweating from the day’s work and this night’s argument. His mother had been around just five days and there had been complaints every other day, incidentally from his wife. He hadn’t spoken to his mother about the situation and as far as she was concerned, everything was alright. She was setting things right in her son’s house. She had nothing to complain to her son about; she simply had to groom his wife. Dupe always avoided showing any kind of resentment when her mother-in-law made her ‘corrections’. She knew how to be nice. Her years as fellowship sister’s coordinator had paid off pretty well. She had dealt with all sorts of difficult people and managed to keep her emotions in check. However, when her husband returned from work, she poured it all over him.

The phone rang.

“Hello”

“Hello Emeka, how you dey?”

“Richard, how far?”

I’m good o”

“What’s up?”

“That agency I told you about…they have a lady who can work for you”

“OK. That’s fine. How much did they say it was again?”

“Twenty K monthly”

“Fine”

“But Nneka told me your Mom is around”

“Yes O. Hmm”

Richard laughed.

“No be laughing matter o. It’s really getting to Dupe this time”

“Guy, but talk to your Mom, now…”

“Richard, how do I start? You want me to tell her my wife reported her to me?”

“There are ways, Emeka. Ask her how things are going. Ask her what she thinks of your wife. Engage her.”

“See, whenever I do that, she just says everything is fine. To her, she has everything under control.”

Emeka began undoing his tie while he talked on the phone. He stood up and paced a bit then he took of his suit one sleeve at a time and dumped it on the bed.

“Emeka” Dupe called. She was at the door again.

“Yes” he whispered giving her a look and pointing to his mobile phone. She rolled her eyes and went back to the kitchen.

“What happened this time?” Richard asked.

“Imagine, my Mom told her Bobby was not getting enough breast milk. That, in her words ‘hope you are not trying to keep your breasts young’. Dupe told me she almost answered ‘Yes, for your son’”

Richard roared with laughter.

“It’s funny but it’s not a laughing matter o”

 Excerpt Ends Here.

Please do send me your views.

Special Post: The New Landscape

The first Platform I attended held on 1st October, 2007. One of the statements I will never forget from that event was Dapo Adelegun’s prediction of the coming change in the world’s labour market. He predicted then that in two years, people who would survive in the labour market would be those playing very specialized or rare roles. Thus a number of people would lose their jobs and be left with the option of either starting their own business or staying idle (and looking for a job).

I want to believe that a number of those heard his words at that time either decided to develop themselves and become more valuable in the market or began to explore starting their own business. I can imagine on the other hand that some might have ignored this as some prophecy of doom or negative statement but I made my own choice there and then. You may or may not know that his predictions proved true for a lot of us not because he was being ‘prophetic’ but simply because he had analyzed the economy of the world accurately. That kind of depth of thought is very desirable.

A couple of years ago when I told an uncle of mine how much I was earning, he remarked that I could just grow with my current employer and need not bother looking for another. That might have been true in his generation but it certainly not true in the 21st century with such concepts as outsourcing, flat structure, downsizing and cloud computing staring us in the face. Job security and business stability in our age is definitely not as it was half a century or so ago. The way out is new ideas, breakthroughs, inventions and innovation, expansion of existing structures.

At some point in a generation or two, the capacity of the main stream systems becomes exhausted and simply cannot take in more. At such points, someone just has to Think Outside the Box if life is going to continue to be comfortable. Entitlement mentality and hubris will take one nowhere at such junctures. The breakthrough for your circle of influence could just come from you, you know. At this year’s first Platform on May 7, examples and the ‘hows’ of Thinking Outside the Box will be explored. Be there and Engage the Future with us!

www.theplatformnigeria.com/register

Happy Holidays

We have spent fours days so far without having to go to work! It’s Easter! I have been enjoying the holidays and doing a lot of sleeping as well as reflecting. On Friday, I was fired up and broke into Chapter Two of Till Death (by the way that’s just page 29). Stuff has happened – Dupe has given birth, her mother-in-law is coming over for omugho of sorts (I will let you find out what that means). And moreover she is about to have a life-changing accident. On Friday night, my pen was racing over the paper like a roller coaster, I really thought I was going to hit like page 40 this weekend but I think I still did OK.

So what have I been up to then? Well, asides from the sleep, and the Easter buzz, today, we had a volunteer’s meeting to prepare for The Platform 8.0. The Platform is a motivational programme organised bi-annually by Coveneant Christian Centre. The core drive of the Platform is helping people see opportunities, improve performance and generally advance in their careers and business. The Platform is open to everyone who can attend free of charge. Interestingly, starting last year, the Platform streams live on the Internet and local television. Moereover, this year, the Platform will stream on Blackberry and iphone Smart Devices. To be part of the platform on May 7, 2011 wherever you are, you can use the following links:

www.theplatformnigeria.com/live

www.theplatformnigeria.com/bb

www.theplatformnigeria.com/iphone

www.theplatformnigeria.com/audio

If you are in Lagos, you can be at the venue: Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos Island. The Platform is always a massive and very educative. This year, we are expecting the likes of Jared Cohen, Director of Google Ideas; Lanre Olusola, ASET/NCUF Certified Life Coach; Leke Alder, Principal, Alder Consulting; Sam Graham-Felson, Chief Blogger during President Obama’s 2008 Campaign; Saray Lucy, Award winning American Technology Journalist; Tony Rapu, Senior Pastor, This Present House; and Anand Giridharadas, New York Times’ first Bombay-based corresponedent in the modern era.

If  you plan to be there at TBS, please do register as soon as possible at www.theplatformnigeria.com/register. Space is quite limited. I look forward to seeing your there. Adios.

Special Post: Thinking Outside the Box

I once heard the tale of a Toad who lived in a small pond hidden inside a cave far below the surface. The only rays of light that managed to reach the pond came through a hole that seemed too far even for he and his relative’s minds to explore. One day, he decided to venture beyond the hole from where he saw light. When he returned from his adventure, he began telling everyone how vast the outside world was, how much light there was, how many beautiful trees and flowers there were and most of all, the endless swarm of insects to eat. They laughed him to scorn claiming the world could not be any bigger than their little pond. he gave up on them and moved all by himself into the outside world.

The Box is that region of thought where we are confined to until our horizon is broadened by some out-of-the-ordinary experience or exposure. The Box is the boundary set on our minds by tradition as well as the routine experiences of those in our limited circle of friends and family. The Box is what age-long institutions have established as the norm, the rule of law or the ‘core policies’. The Box is that limitation which sometimes drowns innovation.

The Box is difficult to break out of without upsetting the status quo; difficult to break out of without a rebellion of sorts. The Box is often the main stream until someone dares to get out of the Box and begin a new mainstream. The anti-Boxes of our generation are demonstrated in Microsoft’s breakthrough in Personal Computing, Facebook’s  breakthrough in Social Networking, Google’s breakthrough in Knowledge Management, The Nigerian Govenerment’s introduction of mobile telephony, Interswitches introduction of ATM networks, Ushahidi’s web-based Crisis Tracking system and so on. These innovations and the like have changed the way we live on all sides – business, careers, communication, relationships etc.

Innovation often requires that people break out of the main stream, and that traditional thought patterns be changed. Innovation requires that we look at the problem from another angle. The problems we are faced with today combined with the complexities of the 21st century demand that we begin to look at this things quite differently, that we think not just deeper, but wider. Welcome to a future with new solutions.

Be at the Platform on 7th May 2011. www.theplatformnigeria.com.

Drive Yourself

Combining active writing with a regular job is not necessarily easy no matter how much one loves the hobby. In my case, I often get home about 8:00 PM or half an hour later, then I have to take a bath, eat and watch a little TV. Once in a while I have time to talk with my family. By the time I am through with all this, I am hitting 10:00 PM or so and then it’s time for STV news!

My initial plan was to write for an hour every night but it is not working out that way so far but I expect to pick up pace. I have written just about twenty-three pages in the new book ‘Till Death’.  Sometimes as I write, it dawns on me that I have to do a bit of research to make the story more true-to-life  (imagination is not always sufficient to do a good job).

Whatever be the case, as applies to every other goal in life; great things can be achieved by doing something a bit at a time consistently. I did a small calculation in my mind earlier and figured that if I wrote just one page every single day, I will have a 365-page book at the end of one year! Now that’s not so bad, is it?

Pursue your dreams consistently, folks. Ciao.

Building a Blog Site

Building Igiri Books has been an experience. Most of the work was done by my friend and colleague, Ademola. He is a good developer and has been very helpful. he built the site using WordPress as a platform and an already made template. It could have been done in just a few hours!

Today I learnt how to use already made plugins to integrate with Facebook and Google. Ads are now being published on my site and I expect that this post will automatically be replicated on Facebook. Soon I will work on doing the same for Twitter. You know, when you are selling something, you have to give it the best of publicity (by the way, did I ever tell you I can do Facebook ADs for your business? that’s by the way). It is really amazing how much of free code is out there waiting to be used.

It is also amazing that so many people only play on the Internet! There is a lot one can do to earn money and be productive. Whatever your line of work or business is, I am sure you will find free resources on the Internet which will prove very useful. I have found much in my efforts to publicize my book and I am sure there is something out there which will work for you.

See you later then.

Self Publishing

A number of people have asked me why I chose to publish Njansi abroad. I simply reply that one of the biggest attractions was the global exposure given to the book. Njansi is available on Amazon, E-Bay, Barnes and Noble, WHSmith, Better World Books and several other online book stores from the US to Europe, India to Australia, South Africa and back to Nigeria! A Google search will convince anyone that the book is indeed global.

I got to know about Authohouse’s Book Publishing package through an email advert. I ignored the first mail but a few weeks or so later I go another mail offering a 40% discount (it normally costs at least £795.00 to publish a book at Authorhouse). I decided to give it a shot that’s when I started talking with Derek Pastrana, my first Publishing Consultant.

Self-publishing allows the writer to own his work and be completely responsible for it. There are downsides of this method such as the cost borne by the writer and the fact that you are likely to be responsible for the editing and quality. In the case of Authorhouse, the process makes it possible to still preserve some degree of quality if the writer is careful enough. You will be required to sign a contract, review and sign the typed galley and cover before printing. In addition, Authorhouse uses print-on-demand so if you do end up making mistakes, you will have an opportunity to correct such without affecting too many copies.

Authorhouse also provides a variety of marketing solutions for which they will charge you. You may want to truy them out.

Till Death – The New Book

Many people wondered why I wrote about ‘the occult’ in my first book. Well, I guess that was what was on my mind when I wrote the book. I am writing again ()someone said I have gained boldness with the launch of Njansi). This time, the subject is more appealing I hope.

Till Death is about Marriage. That would surprise some people who are close to me but like I told Osas, I do have a very sound imagination. Till Death starts out with the wedding ceremony of Emeka and Dupe being narrated by one of their unknown guests. The variety of ‘stuff’ known to happen in Nigerian weddings are represented in some kind of ‘maze’ (for want of words).

In chapter two, (which I am yet to start), the couple start seeing marriage from inside and at some point, a gruesome event shakes the union and the true journey begins. It will definitely be a very emotional and ‘romantic’ story. I am writing a bit at a time and I am sure I can make 365 pages in a year this time. lol.

Look out for it early next year while you digest Njansi. By the way, a preview is available on this site.

Njansi – The Book Launch

26th February was a very significant day in my life. It was the culmunation of a series of miraculous events for which I am grateful to God my Father. From the money ot the weather to the support of total strangers, I felt certain that God had smiled on me.

The D-day was very sunny. I arrived in a taxi with my Mom and Aunt Oyiri and met my dear family and friends working to create a glorious event. Ij, my younger brother was there. He had left as early as 5:30 am that morning with some stuff since that day was ‘Environmental Sanitation’ in Lagos (movement wouldn’t be allowed from 7:00 am to 10:00 am). He later told me Pamela joined him and helped so much in getting the books packed in carrier bags. Tosin, the lady who did a great job of decorating the place was also there. Bro Deolu had just arrived too, with Michael, the Head, One 1000 Events, his fiance Ayo; Yemi, some ushers, and Bro Gboyega, the sound man and his team. It was a pleasant sight.

After we arrived, exchanged pleasantries and prayed corporately, I went downstairs to pray more…. Later on other officials arrived and we took pre-event pictures and posted on Facebook encouring others to come around. Zino and John were fantastic. Ij’s invention of a ‘Unveiling Aparatus’ was classic! The projector and slides handled by Ayo, the music, and usher’s outfits were glorious.

The day was graced by colleagues and senior colleagues – Titi, Geraldine, Nkechi, Wale, Femi, Viola etc. Church members, family (my big brother, Nnanedu and Sister Joy were there!!!). The coordination was done so nicely by Michael E. We started about an hour late and though people arrived in trickles, the hall was eventually filled with up to a hundred people. It was a feat!

At the end, the pictures, exchange of pleasantries, donations and promises of other kinds of assitance, interviews with STV and book signing crowned the event so well. Even The Sun Newspapers was represented. I was so pleased and grateful to God. Pictures of the event are available on the Facebook Group Njansi (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Njansi/144064158981084?ref=ts) as well as the Facebook page of the same name. Feel free to take a look.

Thanks for reading. See you later then.