Essential Writers Tips

Essential Writers Tips – Halt mid-sentence

When writing a story knowing when to halt mid-sentence is an excellent writing trick that helps you to pick up easily from where you stopped.

Resist the temptation to write the entire plot as it flows ceaselessly because there are days that your flow will probably come in trickles if they come at all.

Naturally, our minds don’t like unfinished riddles and guessing games and this trick of interrupting your flow has the added advantage of keeping your mind at work on the plot even when you are at rest. Read more...

Blogging · Hope · Inspiration - Motivation · Life · Writing · Writing 101

Looking Beyond the Last Dance….

At some point, especially when our dancing swag steps are beginning to sway and jive with the beats of the music; especially when our shoes feel more comfortable that we are ready to start kicking and bumping like Soul Train dancers, dawn filters through and the DJ tells you that the party is over; you wonder how time flew so fast and how much fun you had whilst the beat was going on.

At some point, the party does come to a close even if you don’t feel like leaving the club 😉
This is how Writing 101 makes me feel. Like hanging back in the warmth of these lovely beats. I am glad that I took the class!

If you are still considering whether you should participate in any forthcoming class, cease the overthinking and dawdling.

Put on your dancing shoes and just hop into the fray. I tell you, it’s one experience that you won’t regret. Soul train dancers

Writing 101 drew me out! It drew out thoughts that were under boulders begging to be let out. It set my heart free in so many ways.

I have written far more on this blog in the past few weeks than when I started in May. This is a good thing!

I met so many wonderful people/bloggers that made me happy, thoughtful, inspired, motivated and impressed.

I read posts that made me howl in laughter (and I had to share with my hubby so that he doesn’t feel left out of my merriment), posts that made my eyes well up in tears, posts that made me hunger for certain experiences….so many posts that left something behind.

I connected with so many of you and if the truth be told, the list would get too long if I should commence enlisting all the bloggers that made Writing 101 worth my while.

You all brought something to the table and my sincere thanks to every single one of you.

You are definitely Marvelous!

Please, let us stay connected beyond this class. We have a lot to learn from each other.

Wading forward:

  1. I shall spend the next few days catching up with my mails and clicking furiously in The Commons on blogs that might have escaped my views before the DJ shuts the door in my face.
  2. There are several awards to catch up with and I do appreciate them. They decorate my blogging house 🙂
  3. A bit of tweaking with some little widgets are long overdue.
  4. Within the month, I want to inculcate a project ”POsitive TRain CHallenge” which would be thrown open for all who choose to get on board. A post with regards to this will follow suit in due course and I will definitely crave your indulgence.
  5. Even though, I know that I am young at these blogging things and may not know so much about what it takes to be a successful blogger, I would like to throw my blogging doors open as a Hostess for a monthly blog hopping experience. Remember that ”we only get better from doing.”
  6. A new feature for Short Stories Series (SSS) will be inculcated on my blog by next week as well.
  7. I will be dabbling into the poetry class from next week to see what poetic lyrics I can wax – sometimes I wonder why I get myself into these things 😉
  8. Nanowrimo is also on my radar to give my novel writing a nudge. I will give it more thought.

On a Personal Note:

  1. I plan to laugh and laugh some more!
  2. To devise more ways of spending quality time with my family.
  3. To continue on my quest to loose some useless pounds that don’t aid my body in any way.
  4. A deep contemplation of going back again through the doors of a college/university is in the offing. I am considering a Youth Leadership program or Communication Arts. I honestly don’t have it all worked it in my head, but we will see how it goes.

That’s it my good folks! Thank you for staying with me and I shall leave you with these last words:

As we journey through diversity and different plains, may our ink-pots never run dry – Keep writing..Your story

Over and OUt..Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha ……Till next time 🙂

In fulfillment of Writing 101 – Day 20 Assignment: The Future

Blogging · Creative Writing · Life · Travel

The GPS Route of My Heart…

UNN Entrance

We are asked to use our maps as our muse. To tell you about where we’ve come from. About where we’ve been and the places that we have not been to but would like to be and how all these ‘where’s‘ have shaped who we are through our connections with them.

Now, this is a tough choice for me, because my roaming heart has roosted in many places. Some sojourns brief and some for extended periods of time and yet it hasn’t stopped roaming.

I have fallen in love with them all. You may question ”how can she fall in love with so many things?” I will tell you that I believe in going wherever I go or doing whatever I do with all my heart.

I will tell you that falling in love with many things, makes you see the beauty of these things/places/people beyond the peripheries. If you care to say; why would you invest so much emotions into this places? My question would be, Why not?

I choose to love the places that I have lived or been to because I go there, not seeking for things to criticize about their culture or place, but seeking to understand, to know more and to appreciate more.

Thus, all the places that my feet have rested on, have one way or the other decorated my heart.

Join me for a brief and quick jaunt with the GPS of my heart and see these places through my rose-spectacle vision.

I flit like a delicate butterfly;

Over expanses of space and through cycles of time;

I perch on many lovely petals;

Inhaling intoxicating fragrance;

Sensitized by lushness and soft feels;

It draws a sigh from me;

When they say hello!

University of Nigeria Nsukka: A peaceful, sleepy enclave situated in Nsukka, which is a small town and Local Government Area in South-East Nigeria in Enugu State.

The place of my birth and where I lost my milk teeth. A home to thousands of great academics who have passed through it’s corridors and are dispersed all over the diaspora doing great exploits. From The First President of Independent Nigeria – Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, to Nobel Laureate – Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie, my humble self and so many others.

Let us wander a bit down the red earth beaten path of this charming campus of academics which my parents were part of. I am doubtful if our GPS would work, but I can follow my nose because it knows.

Lovely bungalows occupied by university staff, line the campus quarters streets, from the twining streets of Fulton Avenue to Margaret Cartwright, from Alvin Loving to Eze-Opi crescent, from Odim Street to Mbonu Ojike; just to name a few.

The bungalows are only separated by well kept Cashuarina hedges, Queen of the night flowers, Purple Hibiscus, Honeysuckle plants or Bougainvilleas. The whistle of the swaying whistling pines pierces through the air frequently. It is also a breezy and cool town.

A community where everybody knows everybody else and their business. Birthdays, marriages, deaths, successes and failures were shared alike. A place where you know that Mr. Francis the shoemakers daughter would be getting married next Saturday and a communal bus is obtained to convey neighbours for the event. A place where Mama Uju was sure to inform you when Uju has put to bed and she is off to stay for weeks of ”Omugwo” in her daughters house.

It is a town that reminds me of mango trees heavy laden with fat juicy fruits, of sweet sticky cashew fruits, of the best bananas this side of the planet, of lazy summers spent with friends, of the cold harmattan seasons when red dust curled up in the air painting us in light earthy dust and we glittered like happy urchins.

Nostalgic recollections of school days and bicycle races, of promenades and church bazaars, of picnics and the end of year parties, something was always going on and you could smell Christmas around the corner coupled with the pursuits from local masquerades.

All escapades were duly taken note of and oftentimes, an honorary auntie or uncle was willing to straighten you out even before your parents were privy to the embellished version of your hell-raising ways. Of course, this will be followed by more straightening from your parents and sufficient catechism to exorcise every rebellious spirit that might be festering in you 🙂

By the way, the Reverend is probably not just the towns priest but also a good friend of the family, so your confessions had better be sanctified enough not to make him suffer palpitations.


A brief detour through Enugu, the city of my undergraduate days where I discovered my nubile young self. Getting up to mischief that would definitely turn our Reverends hair white in an instant. The city where this young girls heart first knew what it meant to feel deflated. My first independent move away from daddy’s sharp eyes and mummy’s apron strings.


If you ask me, I will always tell you that I am first and foremost a Naija woman, secondly an Achi native (my homestead), thirdly, an Nsukka child fourthly a Lasgidi babe and lastly a citizen of the World.

Lagos my Lagos: One of the most fascinating metropolis that you will ever visit. You hardly have an idea of what to expect next minute. It is the largest city in Africa, teeming wall-to-wall with people, bumper-to-bumper with cars, noise and pollution beyond belief. Highways and flyovers are jammed with hold-ups and go-slows on top, and tin-and-cardboard shacks underneath.

It is the economic and cultural powerhouse of the country, with much thanks to an absurd wealth of oil money, it has an exploding arts and music scene that will keep your ”yansh” gyrating far past dawn at ”Owambes.”

Lagos holds a lot of good memories for me; from my working years at The French Embassy and British American Tobacco to the actual succumb to throes of love for my husband whom I met in Lagos, before he whisked me off on a whirlwind nomadic journey.

If you’re headed to Nigeria, you’ll have no choice but to jump right into the madness here.

One day, I shall talk about the stints in other places:

Of France and a romantic dalliance;

Of Switzerland and the quaint apartment on Rue de Geneve;

Of London and Liverpool and the tale of the accents mingled with near drowning episodes in Earl Grey Tea;

Of the West African States, the neighbours like brothers;

Of Amsterdam, Brussels, Strasbourg and the likes;

Of Johannesburg, Cape Town and my thoughts;

New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Baltimore, Houston, California, Austria, Venice, Kenya, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Sao Tome Principe, Istanbul……..the GPS of my heart is really busy.

I wander through life;

From place to place ;

From State to state;

I am no rolling stone;

I do gather a lot of moss;

They cling to my make up as I roll along;

A resting place for many who come along;

As they listen to tales of the big green acres.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Quick Glossary:

Omugwo:  The birth of a baby In Igboland and other eastern Nigerian ethnic groups means that the nursing mother and child has to be ministered unto by a very close and experienced female relation. In most cases, the person who takes care of her, is her mother. If the mother is not alive or around, her step-mother performs the functions.

Yansh: Your backside.

Lasgidi: Another name for the city of Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city.

Naija: Naija is another name for Nigeria, the patriotic name for Nigerians to show their strength and smartness.

Owambe: It (party) is happening here.

Creative Writing · Inspiration - Motivation · Writing

Most Times, it’s Fun to Reminisce…


Today’s assignment sent me down a nice spin and put a big smile on this face of mine.

I dug into my Facebook past which I started in 2008 and saw a whole load of stuff that I had written and forgotten.

Keeping a journal has always been my primary way of putting down my thoughts, then, I gradually started sharing snippets of my thoughts on Facebook, before I eventually summoned the courage to start blogging on May 6th, 2015.

I mined my past as today’s assignment required and dug up some stuff and I would like to share this little bits with you today.

Nothing has been edited in it. I just copied and pasted from my Facebook timeline and it is an exercise that I would probably repeat now and again, because I love the way that it made me feel.

The articles I share below, were written between 2009 – 2013.

I unearthed some photos too 🙂

There was a fun exercise that I also did sometime in the past and you might find it interesting as well. I hope the link still works.

For the fun exercise click on the link below.

What career were you actually meant for?

Wow! My hobby has been nailed straight on the head. Facebook seems to know me well enough. SPOOKY!! This was written in 2011.

Bitecharge.com’s response:You have an unmatched skill for creating vast worlds both through facts and pure imagination. Your mind is full of creativity, artistry, and expression. You heart gracefully guides your hands as you work to bring what is truly your spirit to life. You were truly meant to be a writer.

I must tell you, that response tickled and pleased me to no ends 🙂

Here are some of my quotes that I dug up 🙂

Most time’s, achieving greatness and living your life to the fullness of its capacity, requires pushing boundaries, adamantly refusing to fit the round holes created by limitations of other people’s expectations and simply remaining a square, but happy peg.

Your happiness lies deep within you and not in the hands of someone else or your bank balance. Seek it diligently, grasp it greedily and guard it faithfully. All the best in your quest.

Don’t sit on a moral high-horse in judgment of anyone! After all, when last did you take a peek at your own eyes? You just might see a large chunky cataract of defaults!

The article below was written for a 7 days gratitude challenge back in 2013:

DAY 2:

Sitting here this lovely Texas evening; and Yes! The weather is not sweltering, and I am surrounded by my brood doing school work.

The questions are coming at me from every which way; Language Arts, Geography, Maths, Science, World Culture and what have you.

And Yes! I have grown another pair of ears to hear and answer questions asked from 3 different sources all at the same time.

And Yes! I have developed a dynamic and faster central processing unit for a brain which appreciates subjects that I dodged with style back in my Secondary school days.

Mummy this; Mummy that; Who made me mummy; Is the question I ask? These awesome trio of mine

Gifts undeserving from God you are;
My rays of sunshine in human form;
Drops full of joy you bring to my life;
It’s all to God, who brought y’all into my heart

Nnamdi, my first born child, almost as tall if not taller than mummy. You are my source of laughter and Joy, my smart boy who competes with mummy in the kitchen. My capable young man with an easy nature and can do attitude, I take pride in calling you my son. Dalu, Chi Ukwu gozie gi. Lord, for this child I am very grateful.

Nnenna Adaobi, Nwa Ada mu nwanyi, my gentle spirited and kind child. Your good nature will never fail you. A little preemie of not so many moons ago, blossoming into a downright responsible young lady. I look at you each day in amazement and my heart glorifies the Lord. Oga adiri gi mma; Let the Lord be exalted.

My little Thunderbolt, Ikenna nwa m, mummy’s sugar gah, I bless the Lord each day for you. My intelligent, feisty yet gentle child, you bring sparkles to my eyes. The dozens of kisses, hugs and I love you that I receive each day from you, enriches me beyond measure. You are destined for greatness and To God be the Glory.

My soul magnifies the Lord, great things he has done. With all my breath and all that I have, I give you praise. I will sing of your enduring mercy to the ends of the Earth. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

Going through this exercise has made me realize that my writing voice hasn’t changed much, but has matured more.

Thank you for your time 🙂

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

In fulfillment to Writing 101 – Day 17 Assignment: Mine Your Own Material

Quick glossary for native words:

Nnamdi: A native Igbo name which means “My Lord or My Father lives.”

Nnenna:  “her fathers mother.”

Adaobi:  ”The daughter of the King.”

Ikenna: “The Lord’s strength.”

Dalu, Chi Ukwu gozie gi: Thank you and may God bless you.

Nwa Ada mu nwanyi: My dearest daughter.

Oga adiri gi mma: It will be well with you.

Ikenna nwa m: Ikenna my son

Creative Writing · Fiction · Short Stories · Writing

To Have and To Hold…. a short story.

wedding gownI am not sure of what I am doing, but it feels right and beautiful. I am scared that I would fail and things would not work out well, but I choose to face my fear and brave it. After all, I love Will and I feel that our love is enough.

Twirling before the ornate looking glass at the Wedding bells store – the only one that could be found for miles around in our small town, I am pleased with the image that stares back at me.

The dress is delicately gorgeous. I love the way it clings to all the right parts and accentuates my hour glass shape. It is even amplified around the upper chambers. The cleavage is cut in such a way that it creates a mirage of more bosomness, where that is non-existent.

I lack Joleen’s and Ma’s capacious specifications. It flows down , hitting the floor in a soft frilly fall of French lace. I know that this is the dress for me.

Ma’s nose is red from crying and blowing it. The fitting lady thinks that her tears are from mere joy of seeing her daughter try on wedding gowns for forthcoming nuptials. In Ma’s own way, I know that she is very happy to see me getting married to Will; Will is a fine and well-mannered lad. Not that scapegrace Jake who broke my heart and only rekindled his interest when he saw that I was getting along with Will.

For a moment, I was almost fooled and persuaded to take him back. He gave me a wicked thrill but treated me with such disrespect that I knew that the thrill would lose its appeal in the long run and problem drag me down a long winding road of regret. He was like a bad habit that was difficult to break.

Catching him making out with Lucinda was the jolt that I needed to get my head straightened out, even though he blamed it on the drink, I was done!

I know Ma’s tears partially stems from her feeling that she is losing an ally. I stand as a buffer between her and my father’s punches. Why she has stayed and taken it all, is an answer that I have never figured out? I keep hoping that one day, he won’t get so deep into his cups and kill her, more especially since no one would be around to support Ma.

My sister Joleen ran off at seventeen with a trucker who had more brawn than sense. She has passed through husband number 2 and on the prowl for number 3. She is in town for my wedding shindig, even though she has spent most of her stay getting up to no good. She couldn’t even come to the wedding store with us – bleary eyed and sleeping off her last nights carousel.

Kev O’Reilly’s wife Maybelle is on a war-path. Joleen has been blinking her baby blue eyes and extra long lashes; with some tips of fakes, at Kev. Giving him an insiders view of her ample bosom. I see his Adam’s apple bob up and down in a quick swallow and the glazed look that appears in his eyes whenever Joleen is around and flirting with him.

The O’Reilly’s have wealth to their name and Joleen is hell bent on the fact that husband number 3 would have a well lined deep pocket and some class too. She was tired of traipsing around the big ole country with a truck for a home.

Joleen is very pretty and Maybelle – Kev’s wife is not! She is…homely! Yes! That is the word.

I sigh over these thoughts as I hear alarm bells tinkle in my mind. I feel disaster coming along!

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

In fulfillment of Writing 101 – Day 15 Assignment: Take a Cue From Your Readers. In the opinion poll that I placed, most of the vote were cast in favour of fiction, so I wrote this!

Thank you for reading and kind regards.

Image credit: Weddingideas.com

Family · Hope · Life · Love · Short story · Writing

The Birthing…A short story


Nagging painful pangs wake her from sleep. It is still a week to the Expected Delivery Date (EDD) but she knows that it is time. A cursory glance at the half parted window curtains shows the pale orange hew of the rising Sun. The day has dawned and it seems like it will be an interesting day.

The contorting of her stomach compels her to tap Desmond on the shoulders in an attempt to wake him up. He hardly rouses. He sleeps so deeply that wild horses would enter the room and take the bed under him and he would sleep through it all, she thinks to herself.

Desmond!” “Wake up!” She orders loudly; wishing that she has a bell to peal close to his ears.

He grunts, snuffles and rolls over to his left side.

Desmond!” “Desmond!” “We have to get to the hospital, right now!” “Except you want me to have the baby here in bed, you need to wake up.”

That magic word baby! His eyes quickly fly open, the cobwebs of sleep recede fast as his scrambling thoughts quickly process the information.

Baby, as in baby?” “Right now?” His eyes fly to her contorting belly in stupefaction.

Yes baeeby, dear.” “I think we are having the baby today.” “No more false alarms this time.”

He gathers his wits and quickly jumps into a pair of jeans, throws on a shirt, a hasty mouth wash and helps Debbie to the car.

She walks funny and sluggishly. Her belly feels like it is being ravaged from inside out and her stiff lower back, as if an ill-fitting screw is being tightened into it in slow degrees. She is panting and trying to keep calm, but this is her first baby and all the lessons taught in the birthing class fly out of the window.

They manage to get to the car, without baby popping out when Desmond realizes that he doesn’t have the keys and rushes back inside to pick it up. It is a good thing that they place a stick-on hook on the cabinet in plain sight. Too many times of searching for the keys have been reduced and less gray hairs sprouted!

He spy’s the cute new baby bag that Debbie has put together with things that she wants to take to the hospital still sitting by the new cot and grabs it, rushing out to his doubled-over Mrs. who was looking quite red in the face and growing waspish by the minute.

It is a hair-raising and palm sweaty drive to the hospital, the early morning work rush and the frequent traffic stops are not helping matters along.

Honey, try the Lamaze breathing” he suggests, tapping his fingers on the wheel as he counts the minutes for the light to turn green; it wouldn’t do to run a red light, he had nearly run a red light at the other junction.

And just what to you think I am doing?” ”Practicing my ballet steps?” She snaps at him.

The sudden rush of warm fluid down her thighs, her exclamation, growing pants and whimpering all turn Desmond’s stomach. He feels like using the loo all of a sudden, however, spying the hospitals cross a few meters across the road, calms him down a notch.

Hopefully, the hospital will be ready for them. He had remembered to place a call to Debbie’s Obstetrician.

A quick dash to the reception and with the help of waiting attendants, they are whisked to the labour room. A quick examination and a disappointing observation. “You are 3cm’s dilated.” “You should be ready in a couple of hours” the mid-wife intoned. She sets up of an IV line and a heart rate monitor.

The hours are crawling. Debbie is almost hyperventilating. The pain has grown hydra-heads and the waves of doubling contractions are like the twist of a hot rod. She now wishes that she had opted for an Epidural instead of satisfying her desire for a natural birth.

No one had explained precisely that it would be this excruciatingly painful and so mind numbing, that she begins to see pin points of white light zooming in and out of her pain riddled brain and Desmond is driving her crazy with his placating words.

At a point, she wants to jump off the birthing bed and run away. As if her running would leave the pain behind.

Bend you legs and breathe deeply” Debbie, “Let’s see how things are getting along” the OB/GYN directs. A quick swipe with sterilized swabs, some pokes and prods and he expresses a satisfaction that things are moving along rather well.
You are 7cm dilated. Almost there! Almost there! Just hang in. The baby should be coming within the hour or so, he pronounces.

The back rub helps and annoys her at the same time, the poor dear Desmond is trying but nothing seems satisfactory at the moment. She wants him there but not standing on her last nerve.

Her short, smart bob is now damp. The tendrils hang in lanky strings like limp noodles. The herculean effort not to scream her head off can no longer be contained as the desire to bear down and push grips her.

A flurry of organized movement, the OB/GYN utters words of caution and encouragement not to push so that the cord around the babies neck can be gently disengaged to avert the danger of choking her wind pipes. Seconds, minutes tick past in a blurry, a surgical episiotomy cut…. at last, with that big push and heave of the uterine muscles, the hardworking baby slides out of her mom heads first, in a slippery bath of amniotic fluid and blood.

The squalling perfect cherub is placed on her mothers semi-concave belly. A crying and laughing mommy, a dewy eyed proud daddy admire the sweet red-faced bundle that nature just gifted them.

They sigh in gratitude, pleasure and relief.

She is ours,” Desmond whispers in utter amazement. “Our Mary-Louise” – the combined names of the little one’s grannies.

It’s been an exciting, hardworking nine hours since dawn.

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

In fulfillment of Writing 101- Day 14 Assignment: Recreate a Single Day

Travel · Writing

We took a glimpse and we were in awe…


We had driven past the mosque along the express sometime in the past and its magnificent structure beckoned to my eyes….

We had no idea that we could visit as non-Muslims, but following inquiries we were duly informed of the visiting hours and the required observations.

We earmarked a day to visit Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

A lot of people may not know this, but the Grand Mosque was started as a vision of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was known for adopting a tolerant version of Islamic faith and for staying far away from fanaticism or extremism.

He imagined a place of worship that would help people come together. To understand Islam and to see it as a religion that has a message of peace, tolerance and diversity.

A leisurely 2 hour drive from Dubai to Abu Dhabi; with pit stops made at gas stations for a run to the loo (when you have children with you, prepare your mind for such incidentals) and to grab a cup of Tim Horton’s or Starbucks coffee and donuts.

We had eaten before leaving, yet an expedition has a way of rousing the nibbling juices.

It was blazing hot! Around 41 degrees Celsius if my guess was correct, but thankfully, there are shaded areas as you walk to the location where you have to obtain a compulsory ”Abaya” for the ladies before venturing into the mosque.

There were bus loads of tourists queued to acquire one, but the process is swift and efficient. They had loads and loads of Abaya! Soon we were on our way.

The shiny starkness of the white marbled building that literally glinted in the sun left me bereft of words to describe my thoughts.

We had to leave our footwear in a sea of footwear a mile long at least and walked into the mosque which was refreshingly cool.

I observed that the marble flooring outside the mosque, which I had expected would be baking hot was cool. It must have had some sort of cooling system because our feet did not roast!

The splendour! The magnificence and the entire experience was sublime.

This video doesn’t exist

It stole one’s breath away and pulled at the inner chords of warmth and peace deep within you.

It left the heart feeling full and at rest.

I realized that, we all, are on the same quest for the same thing which is centered on Love, Peace and Acceptance, even though peoples means of arriving at that destination differs.

I think that the confusion lies in our minds as faulty humans and not in the hands of God. Our genetic make up does not have any religion stamped on it. We are first created humans before anything else!

Allah Akbar means God is greater than anything else on Earth and that is not debatable! A Muslim enters the ritual of prayer and divine presence after uttering Allah Akbar. It is akin to the sign of the Cross made by Catholics and I am Catholic!

Indeed, God is the Greatest! God does not promote violence or lies!

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

P.S. Unfortunately some of the videos that I took are not uploading and my pictures don’t do justice to the Mosque!

In fulfillment of Writing 101 – Day 13 Assignment: compose a series of vignettes. I am doubtful about my take on the assignment, but if the Truth be told, I am leaving it as it is.

Fiction · Short story

HUSTLE….A short story

Bus Hustle

Ikem couldn’t stand the penury anymore! He stared at his worn out T-shirt with the words “making a difference” printed on it’s back in disgust and dissatisfaction. He had purchased it three months ago from the bend-down-select aka flea market to add to the other two that he possessed, but frequent use and wash had slackened its neckline and faded it’s vibrant colour. It was time to visit the man with the bell; he sold good second-hand clothes from a heap of clothing on the market floor.

With that dissatisfaction dragging him down, he pulled the T-shirt over his head and shoved his feet into an equally worn out pair of rubber soled slippers. Picking up his wooden pallet, he hastened off, making quick strides to the bus-stop where he could hitch an early morning ride by hanging partially on the side of a Molue. Sometimes the conductors were difficult but on a some good days, they also showed their humane sides.

It is a main market day at Ahia Ogige today and there would be a throng of lorries bringing in goods from neighboring villages. If he rushed, he would probably make a good turn around from customers who needed their goods carried from one end to the other.

Yet, as his strides swallowed the distance from his living quarters at the shanty, to the bus-stop, his grumbling mind would not cease to taunt him. How much difference was it really making in his life, eking out a living that was barely enough to put food in his stomach, pay his own portion of rent and minor bills, not to talk of sending money home to his folks? He queried himself.

Christmas was fast approaching. It would soon be time to go to the village to celebrate, but he wasn’t sure he was up to that this year. He thought he would have achieved more by now and he didn’t want to watch in envy as some of his clansmen came home with their new motorcycles and garbs to show off. Chukwudi had really irritated him last year with all his loud talk of making it big.

His angst grew within him as the day wore on. Wearied of carrying back breaking heavy load for peanuts at the end of the day, he stretched out on his small mattress which had a pride of place on the floor and slept like a log of wood.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Mini Glossary

Ikem – An shortened version of an Igbo name for a boy; Ikemefuna – which means, may my strength not go missing.

Chukwudi – An Igbo name for a boy and it means; God lives

Ahia Ogige – A market in Nsukka. A town in the Eastern part of Nigeria

Bend-down-select: A heap of mixed used clothing where customers literally bend down to scrounge through the pile and select an item they want to buy.

Molue: Are the locally redesigned and fabricated 44-seat old buses that ply the roads of the city. The original buses are disused school buses imported from other parts of the World

In fulfillment of Writing 101 – Day 12 Assignment: Play with Word Count

I tried to keep my story within 500 words and I think I did it!

Family · Inspiration - Motivation · Writing

When the Brain Cells are Fried…

Out and about
Out and about

At some point or the other, we all experience some fatigue from writing and we need those little breaks to reflect, rejuvenate and calibrate.

As a mother with school age kids and a full daily to-do list, some days can be more daunting than the others, but I have learnt over time, to fit in some little pick me ups which helps to maintain my sanity and refresh my writing juice.

Here are some of the things that I get up to:

Sleeping it off when the luxury to indulge in a power snooze presents itself. Those power snoozes does wonders for the thinking cells of a writing she or he.

Murk about in nature. A jaunt around the park, in a garden, by the sea side, in the wilds or any nature that can be found around. The nature is such a natural healer that you might even find yourself waxing poetic at the end of it all.

Picking the brains of the young ones. Sometimes, my children serve as a bouncing board for silly ideas. We could spend time reciting old rhymes and twisting it as we go along. The wonderful, fresh outlook through the eyes of a child can be refreshing to the jaded eyes of a writer.

Sweating it out: I could turbo charge with a quick round of lazy press-ups, jumping jacks, skipping or whatever gets the adrenaline pumping.

Dancing without inhibitions like a happy, roaming gypsy, or singing out loudly like a tipsy bard – in the bathroom preferably 😉

Curling up in bed or on a favorite couch with a new interest inside the reams of a book and a chamomile tea can help calm some tired nerves. Sometimes, lighting a nice, cheap and cheerful candle can even set the tone for good times 😉

Going to the cinema or going to people watch, works magic too! I find a vantage point in a busy place that teems with humans and people watch shamelessly. You will be surprised at the burst of ideas that can come through such exercise. I always attach an imaginary character to a passer-by, visualizing a lifestyle for them, based on their dressing or the little mannerisms that they express.

Running a hot tub with a dash of jasmine or eucalyptus oil. Hot water does its good work in loosening some kinks. Sit in the tub and let your mind roam free. There is no crime tag attached to just being and not doing.

When I can afford a little pampering, I go for spa treatment and just soak it all in. It does help to have a professional iron out the kinks. Otherwise, I settle for a cheap and cheerful tweaking home treatment from my children and they get to paint my toes.

Attending an open seminar/workshop and meeting new faces.

There’s an endless list of opportunities and new ventures to be explored.

So tell me, please, what works for you?

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

In fulfillment of Writing 101

Musings · Writing

Come On Over, I’ll Get The Mugs…


At long last, I get an opportunity to ask you to come over for a cuppa coffee. We need to catch up on a lot of stuff.

You and I know that I take coffee in spare quantities. That I am an Iced-Tea babe or a sinful Caramel Macchiato chick. It gets me to loosen up and share every delightful morsel of gist that I have been saving up to share with you..

If you were to come over for a cup of coffee, I reckon we wouldn’t settle for the living room; there would be too much distraction with the children and the husband underfoot. We would probably go to a spot that I discovered by Dubai Marina where we would imbibe in several cups over laughter and enjoy watching the scenes of the Marina dotted with expensive yachts.1442565055964[1]

Alternatively, we could opt for Starbucks at one of the Malls (The Village at Dubai Mall is my favorite) where we catch up with gossip and people watch too. We could equally feast our eyes with window shopping until they glazed over with all the beautiful over priced goodies beckoning to us. Sounds like a good deal right?

Of course, you know that we won’t have just a cup of coffee without something chewy to go with it. All the lovely smell of baked goods would cause some rumbling in the tummy and I bet my last dirham that we would convince each other to add a slice of something nice. We might settle on a carrot cake and red velvet or anything that appears decadent…we can always walk it off together, tomorrow 😉coffee and cake

Settled down in a vantage position for people watching, I would listen to you regale me with tidbits of the current goings-on in your life and I would interject with an aah, ooh, or you don’t say! It would all depend on the expression that fits the moment.

If we were having a cup of coffee right now, we would cluck over the abysmal situation of migrants and the sorry state of affairs of the World, and possibly end on an optimistic, philosophical note that things would hopefully look up soon.

Over that warm mug of drink, I would share tales from my last visit back home and my experience so far in moving from Houston to Dubai. I would tell you how the search for a new abode went and how expensive living spaces are over here.

1442564921742[1]I would tell you about my fascination for the new culture that I am experiencing and my plans to immerse myself in learning Arabic language whilst I am here, so that the snippets of conversation shared by passers-by would make meaning to me.

I would tell you fascinating tales of the places (like the Underground pub, the Gold Souk, the Safari) that we have been to and would urge you to come for a visit longer than a quick cup of coffee so that we would share a memory.

About how at odds I feel having my Sundays as a work/school day and today, Friday is a weekend – I am still struggling to adjust to the change. It’s only been six weeks anyway!

I would tell you how much I minded having my status classified as ‘house-wife‘ instead of ‘writer‘ because my resident permit comes under my husbands own and you know how things are in this part of the World.

I would share the thoughts warring in my head about diligently seeking full-time employment over here or should I focus on my writing and the little things that I do to earn some income? What do you think?1442565344603[1]

If we were to have a cup of coffee right now, there would be so much to share. So what do you say? Are you coming over?

Lest I forget, I would tell you of the blogging ideas bouncing around in my head, then I would share this link: A little pick me up with you as well as little bits about the fascinating people that I have met so far in the virtual World and how husband has grown used to my bursts and cackles of laughter….

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

In response to Writing 101 – Day 10: Update your readers over a cup of coffee