What pictures flood your mind when you think about a day in the life of a writer? A melancholy figure locked up in a darkened room, hunched over a laptop, churning out a bestseller? Or a sunny-faced bundle of creativity in pyjamas, peering at a thesaurus, a cup of tea in one hand, and a pen in the other?
Whatever your perception of a writer is, Word Vomit will have you considering that perhaps writers are just like other professionals, if only in the sense that they’re simply trying to make a living, while at the same time juggling the demands of everyday life and family.
Word Vomit is Timendu Aghahowa’s online journal, where she blogs about not being in her twenties anymore and “still trying to make sense of this publishing thing and get published, or publish myself”. It features posts about trying to build her writing career, caring for her husband and daughter, watching her weight, her book-reading challenge, and of course blogging about writing instead of getting any actual writing done. This blogger also spends portions of her day having chats with her own self, conversations which go like the one in this excerpt from “Conversations with Myself”:
Me: I want a coke.
Myself: Take water.
Me: But I really want a coke.
Myself: Water is better.
Myself: How about fruit juice? Or fruit?
Me: Fruit juice? Hmm.
Myself: Better than a coke.
Me: Hmm. Coke.
Myself: How about a malt?
Me: Hmm. Maaalt.
Myself: Yup. Malt.
Me: I’d rather have a coke.
Myself: Why don’t you just get yourself a coke?
I am now drinking a coke.
Word Vomit provides rare insight into the ordinary and sometimes exciting life of a person for whom writing is not just a hobby. The challenges are varied, but so are the triumphs. In the post “The Road to Hell…”, she writes:
“I don’t think I have ever had writer’s block. Technically, I can’t even say I believe in it. I know when I have failed to write it’s often because I’m too tired, too lazy or too out of sorts to write. With [my novel] Good Intentions, it’s possible that it’s a combination of all three, or just one out of three, or maybe I’m just blocked.”
In “Where Were We?” she blogs about applying for and being invited to participate in the prestigious Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop; her elation is understandably palpable.
More importantly, reading posts like “Memoirs of a Workshop”, one is led to ponder with her:
“Who gets to tell our stories? Some well meaning European with no understanding of our culture or situation, or us?
I get paid for writing non-fiction, but wouldn’t it be something to write about the lives of Ijaw people – their history, their culture, their struggles? Wouldn’t it be something to write about the lives of militants? Cos let’s be honest – we talk a lot of smack, especially on the internet, but you don’t know what their lives are like. I’m Ijaw, and I know I don’t know.”
We look forward to seeing excerpts of that story on Word Vomit, and eventually getting our hands on that book when it is published, because beyond mere escapism, these are subject matters that make literature vital to nationalism. If you don’t know where you are coming from, how will you know where you’re going to? Whether or not the solutions to Nigeria’s challenges lie in her past, our history must be told; our children deserve to know.
Check it out! www.timenduaghahowa.blogspot.com