Tag Archive | writing ideas

Sold Out! Writers quote Wednesday…

Writing, Writer, Notes, Pen, Notebook, Book, Girl

Writers are always selling somebody out.
—Joan Didion

This quote roused a chuckle out of me because I can personally testify to its trueness. Selling out doesn’t always connote something negative, especially for writers, even though we use the material obtained as fodder for our imagination and stories.

Simply said, when someone irks me, especially when their act is repetitive, they somehow find their ways inside a story or any article that I conjure.

It’s very natural that there are those who might rub us the wrong way or we simply don’t get along with them and this could apply to family members too.

Writing it out helps me to delve deeper into the reasoning behind the person’s actions and also serves as an outlet for my vexation or amusement.

A lot of times, by the time I am done writing it all out, I find myself laughing it off.

For instance, there are some irksome fellows that use the neighbourhood gym in such a bothersome manner, that it’s been on the tip of my tongue so many times to tell them off, but how do you tell a guy that his habit of scratching his butt often, gets on your nerves?

Oh well, with my tongue in my cheek, I turned him into a butt scratching caveman who can’t yet grasp the refined aspects of social skills in public places and that makes me feel a whole lot better.

Ha! I daresay, that there are so many of us out there selling out others.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

To A Dear Friend…

My diary

My dear best friend,

How ever could I have survived without you? I am sure that you are wondering that after all these years, I finally acknowledge the importance of your friendship above that of all those who have blood flowing in their veins.

You are inanimate, yet you stand strong. You neither disdain nor discard me. Always supportive with your constant non-judgmental ear and never have you tittle-tattled behind my back even when I have treated you so badly, crumpled you in annoyance and tossed you aside in utter disgust in moments of emotional turbulence. You are so trustworthy.

Each time you still accept my pick-ups without a word of complaint, soaking in the outpouring of my thoughts until I am drained and sated.

I know that sometimes you must be confused with all the different voices that races through your domain; the flighty, flirty and glamourous, the happy and sad, the joyful and sorrowful, the excited and dreary, the calm and crazy, the contented and disgruntled, the sexy and boring, the discombobulated and all the weirdos that I bring along.

You have caught my tears, held my laughter, my sighs and wishful thoughts. You have stoically shared my struggles, troubles and triumphs and only offered succour by serving up reminders of beautiful days past and a glimpse of finer days ahead.

What can I say dear best friend but thank you.

I sincerely appreciate you my dearest diary for keeping me sane all these years.

You and chocolate have been wonderful companions of mine over the years. Bearing my torture and sating my taste buds, you are truly the best team a girl can ask for.

Yours truly,

Your sometimes awesome, fabulous and crabby owner,

Jacqueline.

The Daily Post prompt Literate Today

Someone or something you can’t communicate with through writing (a baby, a pet, an object) can understand every single word you write today, for one day only. What do you tell them?

Image credit: Pinterest

At your own risk ‘cos I kick scary butts!….

Kicking ass

There is no one in the room with me, except my lazy feeling self, the quarreling voices in my head telling me to ignore you, WordPress and the television which I have put on mute to dispel all the bad news floating in and disrupting my creative juices; though I like the flickering bursts of colour so I leave it on.

It’s fun at times to look at the yammering lips on TV, not hearing what they are saying, using your imagination to figure it out and laughing at nothing – please don’t think I am crazy, just the creative juice in overload today.

I am home alone and I can tell you I am tougher than Macaulay Culkin, so don’t get any ideas of sneaking in!!

The children and their Papa should be stepping back in pretty soon and they can terrorize with well aimed bites, kicks, ladles, pots and pans; you have been forewarned!

So, I will have well fortified backup even though I trust my screeching techniques well enough.

Any attempt for any fear or scary stuff to sneak in, is at it’s own peril!

I am amply armed with my heavy wielding bible, my certified holy water that will turn you into mush in a sprinkle of an eye, my gleaming prayer beads and a nice weighty crucifix for beating sound sense into the scare source for attempting to give me nervous breakdown.

Maybe, I should quickly place an order for chainsaw – the Chinese are known to deliver rapidly, what do you think? Getting more gory right?

Well, I have advertised my ammunition at no price.

Should you, FEAR, venture to come in, a crucifix bludgeon, a screech with bible quotes, a hasty recital of the beads and a sprinkle in the eye and you will be transformed magically, finding yourself pressed willy-nilly into the church choir!

Well now, this is the silliest prompt response I have given so far, to a repetitive prompting.

This prompt about fear was addressed in a roundabout way just a few days ago and this was my response.

Now let me go and bring my casserole out for dinner.

Goodnight and don’t let the bed bugs bite 😉

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

In response to The Daily Post prompt 1984

You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.

Those Heebie-Jeebies…

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Don’t bother about trying to convince me with any pep talk. It simply won’t work! There are some experiences that I can live without henceforth.

There are some things that mere thoughts of them gives me sufficient heebie-jeebies and for all the curry in India or tea from China I will be glad not to encounter or repeat such experience.

I literally break out in hives at the sight of a snake and would gladly walk barefoot over hot coals than come close to one. I have been known to go to zoos and completely by-pass the reptile zone.

My kids even make fun of that fact. You will hear them whisper conspiratorially, ”if mummy sees that sign, she will start screaming” and my youngest champion will get all protective of me. He would say, ”mummy don’t look!” ”You will get frightened like a little girl.” 

”Well son, I shall not look, but if truth be told mummy is a little girl in a big body.” With a stiff upper lip, I go and settle myself on a bench while they go off to look at the vile creatures. Urrgh!

I am not a cat with nine lives and even if I have twenty lives as well as a parachute bigger than a house, I am never going to jump off a plane in the sky. There is no point killing myself with palpitations.

The adrenaline jolt that I get inside the pages of my books or watching National Geographic is sufficient, besides, my ifly simulated experience was all well and good. Several days after, I was cross-eyed and walked with a squint like a drunk sailor.

Those dare-devil roller coaster rides are experiences called ”ONCE is enough.” My last experience at Abu Dhabi Theme park, made me realize that one could have a cardiac arrest in one of those contraptions. I went on a crazy roller coaster ride and spoke in tongues all through the ride. I think my heart stopped beating and restarted after we came down. I had to go and Merry go round 1recuperate quietly with a large cup of ice-cream to soothe my frayed nerves.

The kind of horror movies that is peddled these days are not designed for the squeamish and they would frighten the whiskers off a cat’s face.

I find the amount of gore and unbelievable diabolical acts perpetrated so revolting, that sometimes it makes me ponder at the deranged state of some human mind. I won’t spend my time or money just to feel sick.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

In response to The Daily Post prompt Fright Night

What’s the thing you’re most scared to do? What would it take to get you to do it?

Her Tiger Butterfly… a short story

Intense look from his eyes caused Brigitte to peek over her shoulders. No one there, except the wall.

“The gentleman from the symposium.” “Of course, it couldn’t be me that he is admiring.”  “No one notices wallflowers or do they?”

Mama despairs that she would be left on the shelf.

”Don’t slouch Brigitte!” ”Wear a smile, you shouldn’t scowl so much!”

Auntie Agatha tut-tutted at her bumbling attempts at playing the piano, violin or knitting.

”Don’t frighten off possibilities with too much knowledge of tomes, ruins, horses and butterflies.”
”Men do not appreciate too much intelligence her sage counsel.”

Tired of no dance, a breath of fresh air is required. A flitting moth of unusual colour catches her eyes and she ventures to discover; new addition to my glossary she thinks.

Over voluminous skirts she trips into the Rose bush.

Strong arms encircle to help her up as she mouths her thanks into intense gray eyes.

Unwittingly, she has captured her own Tiger butterfly.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

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In response to the FFfAW photo prompt above. Thank you TJParis for the photo and Priceless Joy for this challenge platform.

Those Careless Whispering…

Revealing secrets

Pulitzer winning or not, journalists like to delve into every part of your anatomy and dig out dirty secrets when given the room to do so.

Sometimes, when I read articles or listen to tittle-tattle and junk news that smacks of downright breach of privacy as well as meanness with a good measure of desperate desires to hurt the other person, the quote ”that the heart of man is desperately wicked” comes to my mind.

The great urge to pull down and annihilate the other person takes primal position in their minds and in as much as I like honesty, being upfront and read as an open book, there are certain areas that I would be unwilling to discuss beyond the peripheral aspects.

Putting my family members under undue glare of the limelight is not something that I would be willing to entertain. I guess I will be suspicious about the reporters motive for asking prying questions about family, even if they are nicely and positively coined. I would rather their privacy is maintained, except where they were to choose otherwise.

Issues bordering on sexuality are not topics that I am likely to dabble into either. Oh yes! such hot topics sells the news, but, no thank you! I won’t be your next meal ticket!

I think that the excessive push of sexual boundaries and Mores in today’s world is part of the dysfunction that we are experiencing. Nothing seems to be private anymore! Individual sexual proclivities should be kept personal and not for public consumption. Sometimes, in the bid to say so much and show our fierceness, we hurt ourselves and others.

I am also not sure that I would be willing to discuss my future plans in any details. I like to hold some of my thoughts to my chest, knowing the fact that my tomorrow’s don’t lie in my hands. It leaves me feeling strange, as if I am putting the cart before the horse.

I guess I can pretty much talk about everything else including some dirty secrets in my garden! Who doesn’t have any secrets?

Sometimes, some secrets are even better kept open. That way, they loose their sting and the power to hurt the secret holder.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

In response to The Daily Post prompt Trick Questions.

A Pulitzer-winning reporter is writing an in-depth piece — about you. What are the three questions you really hope she doesn’t ask you?

Soothing, Still Healing Waters….

I get to be a Patron or should I say a Matron Saint? You don’t say!

What an honour! I would like to be the Matron Saint of the Healing Waters!

It would be a glorious opportunity to serve Christ and my Saintly powers will be synonymous with healing of all ailments which is the bane of mankind; in all its forms and ramifications.

I need no unnecessary fanfare or dodgy attention of business men who will try to peddle stuff in my saintly name.

There will be no hocus-pocus, quackery or questionable required acts involved. Just effective healing in the soothing, still pristine waters for those who seek me out.

It would be sufficient reward to see faces etched in smiles from the healing and regained health of suffering souls (and of course, no dropping of garbage in my pristine waters please).

I have seen enough homes and hearts pierced with wedges of cancer and the likes; mine included!

Now that would indeed be a dream 🙂

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

In response to The Daily Post prompt TRUE SAINT

In 300 years, if you were to be named the patron saint of X, what would you like X to be? Places, activities, objects — all are fair game.

Tints of Poignant Flavour….

Flavourful life

Flavours come in coloured tints,
Likewise emotions leave imprints,

They leave taste of euphoric dopamine,
Especially then, when you were mine,

They leave a taste of not so bright,
When everything is just not right,

A dash of joy, of peace, of faith, of hope and patience too!
A pinch of pain, of aches, of sorrow, of fear and trouble too!

With a tint of colour, each lives in our minds,
Always willing to leave something behind,

Of love that died or went away; it leaves a flavour mound,
A poignant taste of things all gone and never to be found!

You left our lives with quite a bang!
You left us behind with a lot of pangs!

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Miss you dad! Happy birthday. Its 2 years on, since you left!

In fulfillment of Writing 201 Poetry – Day 8: Flavor, Elegy, Enumeratio

Hiding…..a Short story

https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/wpid-photo-20151005074310397.jpg

Patting the blonde wig, she stares at her face in the gaudy mirror.

This would be her last night, yet she feels uneasy. Is it the anticipated move? Maybe! She thinks.

She is tired of moving. From one horse-shoe town to the next. One harshly lit stage to the other. How many wigs? How many stages? How many towns? How many names? She had lost count! Sometimes, her days start as Rita and ends as Melinda, or Mirabelle, Belinda, Katerina, Chloe and even Zoe!

Young Luc now asks questions.

“This will be the last time my love, she promises.” Finally, she has enough money to start allover in a sleepy town, with a new identity and new things away from stage lights.

The introductory act wraps up. Her cue is next.

Her crooning voice belts out heartrending tunes of a broken heart. The crowd soaks it in.

Her eyes wander nonchalantly across faces. His sizzling gaze hits her. Her pitch warbles to a halt!

Staring in wide-eyed disbelief, like a deer caught in bright lights, its her Nemesis and his goons.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

In response to prompt photo from The Storytellers Abode for Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers. Thank you Etol and Priceless Joy for providing this platform.

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That Butter Yellow Coloured House….

Grundig

Our old house on Imoke street inside the University of Nigeria Nsukka campus, was a colonial British styled three-bedroom, three bath bungalow with a garage for my dad’s Renault on the left side, a huge open veranda to the right and a detached maid’s room that my brothers turned into their ”man-cave.”

It stood on what was quite a substantial portion of grounds (maybe a plot or more), on which we grew so much crop. There was a big mango tree that had the penchant to hang heavy with fruit right at the back, an avocado and grapefruit tree to the side of the veranda.

We tilled the ground ourselves with a hoe and grew crops ranging from cassava, yam tubers, yellow pepper, bitter leaf, curry leaf, potatoes, amaranthus, okra, corn, melon, lettuce, plantain and more. We grew a lot of the crops that we ate.

Sometimes, when the work was a lot, my dad would engage some labour hands to do the tilling whilst we did the sowing. You had to grow a combination of crops that performed well together, that way they would both do very well and the manure from our chicken coop helped in nourishing those plants. I learnt crop rotation through this process.

The house had a sprawling nature (they built them big back then), with big louvered windows that swung open outwards and mosquito nets installed to keep the pesky things away. Instead of a picket fence running round the house, it had a trimmed hedge of purple hibiscus running around it.

It was painted creamy oil paint colour but time and the elements matured its painted exterior to butter-yellow. Its corrugated zinc roof was reddish in colour. The rooms were coated in dusky blue and the hallway, living and dining room with the kitchen were cream in colour. The flooring was terrazzo and we scrubbed its floors with hard brush and foamy detergent every Saturday mornings.

I recollect my mum or dad apportioning spaces each Saturday morning and you had to scrub, mop and shine these floors to my dad’s satisfaction. Of course, there was no luxury of gadgets to carry out these chores. We performed these tasks manually with our bare hands, including washing our clothes.

Our house was quite a beehive. It was a middle class Nigerian home. My parents had six of us along with several young cousins who spent some part of their lives under our roof. It was in our culture to assist in raising less fortunate relatives and back then, when academicians were still valued, my parents were viewed as comfortable, so I grew up seeing them extend charity to other relatives who grew up and went to school under our roof.

The weekday mornings were filled with noisy and hurried preparation for school after a family devotion in the parlour, usually led by my mom and the evenings with noise of different things. Chattering voices, pounding mortar, squabbling siblings, music from my dad’s Grundig, loud singing from one person or the other.

Our weekends were equally filled with house chores, catechisms and block rosaries, play, social events and all manners of things we got up to.

It was always lively and during harvest season, we would all gather at the veranda to either peel cassava for processing, melon seeds for soup or corn for drying. These chores were performed with my mom or sometimes my grandma keeping our minds entertained with old folktales and songs.

The aromas/fragrance that floated through the butter-yellow house were of different blends. On Saturday mornings, the whiff of Omo Blue detergent and drops of dettol disinfectant which was used in scrubbing the floors dominated the air until the evening hours when it gets replaced by aromas emanating from one native pot or the other. This could be yam pottage, vegetable soup, goat-meat and bitter-leaf soup (which is one of my favorite native soups 🙂 etc. but there was an aroma that came to stay for a very long time.

Two particular aromas that linger most in my mind, maybe because they persisted for quite a long while, is the yeasty aroma of home made bread that my mom baked weekly. Slices of her bread slathered with Planta margarine, jam, marmite or peanut butter and a cup of Horlicks would fill and sit in your tummy for a better part of the day. The bread smell was soon joined with that of cake.

She ventured into baking cakes every other day and supplying shops in the neighbourhood as well as students hostels on campus, when the Federal Government started their incessant delays in paying staff salary which led to a lot of financial hardship in some homes.

My mom became quite resourceful with baking and crafting to augment their insufficient and epileptic salary payments.

We would cream the cake batter in a huge local mortar that she bought for that purpose, until she was able to save up to buy a Kenwood mixer.

I remember the flavour of vanilla essence and nutmeg added to the cake batter, the Topper butter that she used for so many years and the licking of the sugary creamy cake batter.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

In response to The Daily Post Our House

What are the earliest memories of the place you lived in as a child? Describe your house. What did it look like? How did it smell? What did it sound like? Was it quiet like a library, or full of the noise of life? Tell us all about it, in as much detail as you can recall.