The natural inclination would have been to write a book review, offering exaltation to a story I was lost in and sad to see end at page 477… But as I imagine there will be praise in abundance for such and awesome novel, I decided to take the USP route, and blog about Americanah’s power of self-actualisation, even if said realisations are distantly related from the story…So to clarify, this isn’t a conventional review. Instead, consider this a random act of thinking.
Those who follow me will know that by day I am a story consultant, managing my social enterprise, Scribble Ink, and by night (or every other, other night) I am a poet, journalist, and blogaholic. I write because literature is an extension of me; my safe space; my means of self expression; my way of processing emotions; how I make sense of the world and subsequently, contribute to it. I birthed The Chronicles Of Nadia blog almost three years ago because it was a place for me to visit… “Without overthinking, I take the tips I share via Scribble Ink, and discern the ones that fit the story and the mood at the time. I write as and when inspired. When I need to rant, make sense of a situation or process emotions, I walk through the wardrobe of my soul, and into a magical world draped in possibilities and wonder (cheesy but true).”
However, the artist in me often battles with the organised-efficient-everything_in_its_place-manager in me…and the latter often overshadows everything. I figured; ‘If I have a blog, my Scribble Ink clients could stumble upon said blog, spot that posts are few and far between, loose their trust in me (who takes writing advice from someone not writing?), I’ll loose them and the money which comes with them, I’ll end up more broke than what I am (if that’s even a thing), I’ll be on the street, waiting last in line at a food bank with David Cameron and Edwina Curry poking me as they urge me to ‘get a proper job or move to Benefit Street!’ (Yes…I played out the aforementioned and gave myself indigestion in the process).
The pressure I often put on myself is immense! Of late, I’ve had to practice getting in the habit of repeating a ‘Angelouvian’ (Maya Angelou) proverb: ““…You can’t do it all in a day…”
Having a legendary woman of such prowess testify that success does not come over night, and permit you to take each day as it comes, without the constant worry that you haven’t achieved your life long goals by the end of the month, has reassured me in more ways than you’ll ever know.
I’m currently learning a new practice…the ‘art of giving myself a break’ – allowing the creative juices to flow as and when the universe grants them to me. It’s through said practice, I’ve changed (or am changing) my perception and rekindled (or am rekindling) my marriage with creative writing (yay)!
I find my self being creative – more specifically, adding a blog to my page on Sunday’s – this is just coincidence, and I’m desperately avoiding ‘gynx-in’ myself by making a ‘theme’ out of said coincidence, so I don’t add the unwanted pressure…again!
Since February, I’ve taken some agency work as a Learning Support Officer in a primary school (am now a full-timer.take that Curry-Cameron!)… I’ve also been swatting up at London Southbank University – a lovely institution that offered me a full scholarship to do my Masters in Critical Arts Management (which has been fantastic for Scribble Ink…check out the Scribble Online project when you get a mo). Furthermore, I’m still dishing out Scribble Ink consultations, and my recent engagement has acquainted me with the habit of ‘settling down and doing ‘grown-upy’ things.
Thus, writing as the mood strikes, enjoying the process and collating ideas wherever possible, has become a necessity.
So what does this have to do with Adichie’s Americanah? As I said, I had no intentions of writing a glowing book review (although granted, this book is deserving of 1000 of those bad boys). Instead, its my aim to spread the gospel re what the book has made me realise about myself. Reading Americanah inspired me to blog again…For those unaware, this colourful novel tells the story of Ifemelu – a young Nigeiran girl who heads for New York to embark on a college degree, and eventually, a prolific career. Her education exceeds academia as she becomes increasingly aware of the perceptions, misconceptions and ethnocentric slurs the world places on her, and she on the world. Outside of the main plot, the meta-narrative illustrates her struggle-to-slow-progress-to-(one can only dream of) -success, as a blogger.
It wasn’t so much Ifemelu’s popularity and success that I found appealing (although, I wouldn’t say no). Rather, it was the wholeness of Ifemelu that I connected with; Her boldness, her ability to be candid, but not rude (well…not always); her ability to identify her own short-comings and humble herself enough to want to change them; her witty means of rebuking those who mistook her tenacity for audacity, especially when it came to embracing her natural hair …After reading, I realised that that’s something I’ve lost within myself – buried under piles of timesheets and unanswered emails, and I want that part of me back!
Even now, I’m bouncing back and forth between checking the rice, hanging out the laundry (namely up undies I pray will never feature in an autopsy) and sitting at my desk, and scribbling down a sentence or 10.
The gift of writing is a privilege available to all those who want it. Whether you use the pen or the iPad, your words are golden! An influence to behold, ignite and spark discussions that could ripple into revolution.
I’d like to thank Chimamanda for giving me the kick up the bum that I needed, and I look forward to indulging in more random acts of thinking – the mother or my premeditated act of writing.