Sunday Dec 04, 2022

on inspiration

you by accident or design happen to write

something people like (or at least consider funny)

you wouldve noticed by now that the praise and the

accolades sort of take you by surprise (admittedly

there’s the occasional piece that takes even the

writer by surprise)

even more than the praise will be questions like

“where do you get all these wacky ideas from?” or

“what’s your inspiration?” or “who do you consider to

be your influence?”

Nigerian writers (maybe other Africans too) will be

quick to attribute it to God, Jesus, Allah, Amadioha

(insert the name of your god here) etc. they may

even go on to trace their skills to the literary

prowess of their ancestors.

while not disputing or denying the role of the

creator in shaping my imagination, i beg to differ. i

believe all humans are born with a basic level of

narrative power. take for instance a lying kid- did

God teach him to invent stories? no! the human

nature already predisposes him to exercise his

imagination!

i realise now that personal development pushes

talent beyond what it originally should be. i recognise

the exceptionally talented people who by a genetic

jackpot or freak of nature begin to express

creativity beyond the usual. but i recognise even

more the countless individuals who have turned their

gritty piece of gold ore into an ingot.

i won’t waste time calling names of Nobel prize

winners or movie actors. i recognise instead

individuals who i have interacted with, people who

have pushed beyond the level of mediocrity and

premature contentment. people who sound more

refined every time i read their work.

i recognise a Dimeji Abidoye for his command of

language. he paints such a vivid picture with

words…he turns “a picture is worth a thousand

words” into “a sentence is worth a photo album”.

honestly the “young” man reminds me that i still walk

where others have trod”

i recognise ope owotumi for his surprising ability to

draw issues from ordinary events- the empower to

get your mind reeling as you discover deceptions

you once held to be doctrine

and Michael Ogah, for writing straight from the

heart. every time i read a Michael Ogah, i could

almost swear he turned my deepest thoughts into

words. his writing evokes familiar feelings…like

“you’re not alone. I’ve felt this too”

i cannot mention everyone who i think is a hero

worth listening to/reading. really it’s 1:30am and I’m

typing with my phone.

which brings me to my answer. what is my source of

inspiration?

i wish i could tell you something fanciful, but really

the answer is plain.

experience.

not necessarily mine, but others’. sometimes it’s

experience laced with imagination…other times it’s

imagination based on experience. or based on

conversations with thinkers and writers like

Nwanneka Nwala.

there is no better source of inspiration than personal

experience. I’m not really a fantastic writer…I’m

just collector of memories

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Peter

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