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Monday, January 28, 2013

Stars in my Eyes

Eni wandered dispiritedly into the porter's lodge and checked if she'd been given accommodation. The porters looked through a list and nodded that she had the same place she had been allocated when she first arrived. Some students had their temporary allocation changed. Eni didn’t even think she had any preference. It is just a bed she told herself anyway. So she learned it was still ‘A’ quadrangle in Babylon.There were three beds there and one tiny kitchenette and bathroom.There was a notice on the door from some Christian group welcoming her to Babylon and telling her that her true destina­tion was Zion.Eni chuckled in amusement at the play of names. She chose the farthest end of the bed and plunked down in sheer tiredness.She had finished her registration at last and was still clutching some papers that she will submit at the accounts office as well as a piece of paper stating what her duties were as a member of the Hall.She grimaced at the paper and stretched out fully on the bed closing her eyes. Remember everything I told you?
Not now,
Now is the best time,
But I am tired
The argument had started in her head again You didn't bother to check who your room­mates are Does it matter?
Her stomach growled
Just leave me alone will you? Eni swore to herself.
What? A voice answered her and she snapped her eyes open into the laughing ones of Nefertiti who considered her.
I was not talking to you Eni offered by way of explanation  
“How long since the last meal”? Nefertiti asked in gentle tones.
“Food.F.O.O.D.You know the body needs it even if you don't”.
I will survive” Eni replied
Yeah I bet”
Eni managed a tight smile and closed her eyes again. Kofo considered the form of Eni and left the room quietly. Eni said nothing just tried to regain herself then the arguments started again.Her brain felt stuffed with cotton wool Peter.The tears were now threatening to spill over and she cursed softly and punched the pillow.
Mooning like a sixteen year old
I am not mooning
You knew he was not going to marry you
Too old in fact He wants a future too
Besides you had said no
Silly idiot.
Eni groaned and put the pillow over her head trying to shut out the voices.
Leave me alone That one slipped out
“After you have eaten,the signs are obvious.You are heading for a breakdown”. Eni opened her eyes in shock straight into the amused gentle eyes of Nefertiti holding some sandwiches.
What's happened to Miss Chan?”
Miss who”?Kofo was startled
Eni smiled “Your appendage”
Kofo laughed softly “Really?and what am I”?
Eni replied without thinking “Nefertiti”
Kofo chuckled in real amusement
“Interesting. Now eat”                                *
Eni groaned
“That will serve you right giving us names, roommates and after all the trouble I went to get that for you”. But there was no anger in her face or her voice just amusement. Eni smiled.
“Didn't think of you as girl-Friday either”
“Thanks and Eni took the offered sandwiches. Kofo shrugged and went over to her corner covertly watching.
Eni sighed just as her stomach growled in protest. Kofo laughed
“You remind me of a sore bear”
“Truly” Kofo was still full of mirth and came over to stare at Eni
“Have you made up your mind”?
“You can't be sure whether to throw the food at me or to eat it .My advice is the latter.I can hear your stomach from here”. Kofo said laughter in her voice. Irresistibly Eni grinned.
“That's better” Kofo approved. She gave Eni a quizzical look and said “I had better go after Miss Chan” , laugh­ing she left the room.
Eni chuckled and then frowned seeing she was still holding the damn sandwiches. She might as well eat the thing before Neferriti returned.
Instinctively she knew she had made a friend not that she really was in need of such but she had appreciated the gesture of compas­sion to a fellow student even if the student ought to have known better than to start on a hunger strike for no reason. She gave a slight smile at that Hunger strike?
How novel,all because of a man you sent packing yourself] Imagine that!
Eni sighed ,she was going round the bend she thought and started to unpack her bag in an effort to do something and put those crazy fellas in her head some yakking space. She al­most laughed at the thought of that. She smiled as she thought of Nefertiti and her little gestures of kindness.
Replete but still tired Eni stared moodily out of the window. Each room had been designed to give every student some sense of privacy .Eni prized her privacy and had appreciated the intention of the builders of the halls of resi­dence in making that concession to the students. She knew the acute problem of ac­commodation in Universities generally and thought this was a major miracle.
Minutes later she was so involved that she didn't notice the re-entry of Nefertiti until she heard her admiring voice “But  this is beautiful.”

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

APE.. Book Review

Book review
Hello everyone. It is the start of a new year and I would like to start the year with something important and refreshing. As the last year went into its final month I was given the opportunity to read a book. Very simply titled APE, I accepted the invitation to read and quickly became immersed. It was not fiction, but it held me spell bound.

Writing is the starting point from which all goodness (and crappiness) grows. Every writer knows that writing a book isn’t an easy process, and neither is it always enjoyable, but it is one of life’s most satisfying achievements.
I started writing when I was in my early twenties and I have found in the last 35 years that writing is not a walk in the garden. When I got an invitation from Guy Kawasaki to read the book. I was immediately attracted by the Title: Author Publisher Entrepreneur            (APE).

I started reading and found myself so immersed in it that I immediately recognized that it is not just a novel or book or non- fiction like any other but the very bible one can use to build a career, a vocation or whatever you wish. It could be financial satisfaction as well as emotional goal. It is a book you want to take everywhere.
I had a problem, Should I sit down study the whole thing? Go back again and again or take a breath and a break and share my thoughts about the book.
Let me explain this way, this will not be a regular review as you might find on my blog. You know we would say something about the book and then interview the author. But in this case I just wish to share.

In my corner of the Universe, we have more self- published authors than traditional publishing houses. My first foray into being an author was as a self- published one. In my country, it is the only way you get your thoughts out of your head onto print to anyone else. You do not get to read other international authors for the very simple reason that years back, the federal government banned book importation. The rationale behind it was laudable but it defeated itself as piracy came in and the publishing promised had a still birth.

Well known authors had their books plagiarized ad nauseam and the easiest way out of the nightmare was to simply publish yourself. So in essence, most authors in my country are authors, publishers, and entrepreneur. They needed to be. But have we been successful with the army of pirates dogging our every thought?

Why do we self-publish? The reason is very simple. Traditional Publishing houses we have are only interested in printing textbooks for educational institutions. It is the only way they can make returns on their investment. They need to have the assurance that the books they publish are recommended texts for educational institutions. So authors who dare to want to publish outside these expectations had to be ready to part with an arm and a leg.

The reading public only reads journals, or newspapers. When an author attempts to publish fiction, his only choice is to find means of ‘negotiating’ with some officials how his book can be made a recommended text. So what he does first is sort that problem out before he approaches a traditional publisher.

Authors who decide to ignore that and go ahead to publish are doing it at the risk of their economic health and wellbeing. I once interviewed a well -known and respected writer from my country and asked him if a writer can make money from writing and his answer was a decisive No.  

Now you understand my excitement when I was given permission to read APE. It was interesting to learn that self- publishing was not exclusive to my country but in a developed country like the USA. I learned about Indie publications and stared wonderingly at the veritable world of self- publishing that I could not comprehend. I was struck by this comment in the book. “Why self-publish, then?
!e answer is that self-publishing enables you to determine your own
fate. there’s no need to endure the frustration of finding and working with a
publisher. You can maintain control over your book and its marketing, receive a
greater percentage of revenues, and retain all rights and ownership.
A successful self-publisher must fill three roles: Author, Publisher, and
Entrepreneur—or APE. these roles are challenging, but they are not impossible”

That got my attention as I assumed the author was talking to me. I am a confused student of the school that art in its truest form should not be commercialized, but I have learned to review that as I got older. I needed to survive on the only source of living I have..writing. Another excerpt reads:

Self-publishing is akin to launching a start-up. Entrepreneurs must create a product, test it, raise money, recruit talent, and find customers at the same time. Also, we cover the same topic from different angles because of the parallel- processing nature of self-publishing.

My frustration is clear, I cannot simply put everything I learned about APE here. I am not that good about holding your attention. I can only tell you very truly and sincerely that I highly recommend you read the book. It takes you through all the basics you need to learn about being an author and how you can make your creativity productive.

I have a longing to see how this book can get to my country. We need this kind of book. We are a resilient nation and the benefits of the book will clear the fog about the pitfalls of self-publishing.

The book takes you from what we know, traditional publishing, it dissects the issues of traditional publishing, the fantasies of it and the pitfalls therein.
The book explains to me why I should write a book, what my dreams about writing are and why I should also see myself as a business person.
I could not fault it.  I am thus not surprised that APE is a best seller and comes highly recommended.
In the words of the most common phrase of my country in advertising about something really good, I will end this piece by inviting you to grab a copy now!!!
Congratulations Guy Kawasaki.