I could almost tell you’ve found a particular subject trend to my writings and published works – and just of recent I added the working title of my next collection (of short stories, this time) to my About Page on Facebook, you perhaps may have since noticed it follows again in the trend. R, tell me you have wondered why do I always have to write these things? The tagline on my blog http://www.kayodeolla.wordpress.com captures the spirit of my works and writings: “Heart Issues and Mind Themes Makes Me Always Wanna Write, Create.”
I had been thinking, in fact, that my MA dissertation would be in Oral Literature or African Poetry (my undergraduate project was a collection each of Soyinka and Awoonor) but I’ve since my undergraduate project developed more inkling on Psychological Narratives which my fiction are by and large, and which my MA dissertation as well as PhD thesis and specialty may, all things been equal, be. I express more in my fiction, the repressed psychological expressions of – as in the working title of my next collection of short stories – “hurting hearts and haunted heads” – and offer them carthasis and deep soul-release that frees them from psychological prisons.
I’ve discovered, like you may have been finding out, something burdens me beyond so many things and it’s a social reality seldom expressed in writing by those who die inside. It took me long to understand them yet felt anger to their undeserved pains. It took me long because I have never been in the very situations I wished to help express. You’ll be stunned to discover by and by I have hardly been in most, but I have lived my life as a writer practically studying events, people, situation and emotions. And I start to immerse myself in their shoes so deep you think I have been in those particular scenrios I write about.
Perhaps, what I think stirred and undying interest in writing about emotional issues was this. In my younger years as a growing young man coming of age, I remember I had battled with a petty addiction for many years. It was not a big issue par sei and not like the grand popular struggles people have and that I engage in my fiction, but the issue was a big flaw for me because prior to these years I’ been a very sanctimonious young boy and expressing incredible shock and disappointment if one is expected to be moral or of right standing and I discover a tint of a past or issues in the present. So struggling with a singular moral flaw for years was a thing that brought constant emotional lows at inactive times for a famed Christian performance poet on campus having big ovation to his performances to about a one-thousand-three-hundred-man audience. I came to be more tolerant and more approachable. I had tried every means get free from the addiction – counselling, will power, making resolutions, then vows. Eventually, and miraculously too, I got delivered – went on self imposed stage leave for months, then had a big time come back, first with my best, most creative and most touching poetry performance on OAU Campus. Guess what? It was about Addiction. I titled the creative piece REGINA. Two characters and me. The talk about it, how it came to people personally, and feedback, all lasted the remaining one and a half year that I used on campus. My other performances after then were collaborations with other performance poets, and usually on issues, except one or two, till I finished.
I fell back into the petty addiction, and while I struggled over many months I slipped carelessly into a more difficult addiction and I was instantly hooked. The struggle this time was exhausting. The second too is not as weighty as the addiction I engage in my fiction, but it was an addiction and I was on step 2 degree out of 4 or 5, as the Christian psychotherapy manual for the addictive behaviour I was using places me. My looking at people from afar or judging them at a distance was totally disolved by now. I always love God jealously from my boyhood and just love to bring delight to his heart 24/7 – and till today; and even at those sanctimonious times, I was honestly ignorant. I never feel the talking down the nose at people- but I think there was real subtle pride.
Despirate for solution, I swallowed hard and confided in my significant other and my aspirtual father to be accountable to people I don’t want to let down, as another scheme in combatting addiction. Asked the former to ask me often if I had gone back after each week. It didn’t work. I later got scriptural verses from her that she had searched for me and she started supporting me in prayers. Eventually, between one single week God came for me through Christ again and everything stood still – it had never gone back ever since. I could better write stories of psycho-emotional issues,but I have chosen more deeper issues the average person’s social realities are made of. I’m a creative writer, after all.
I took a decision when I took this path as a growing writer – I promised myself that until my creative writing of any heart issues or situations is so keen and true to life that it makes the reader in the real life experience find deep affinity with the event and ever doubt I was not character or much less ever being in the particular shoes, then I’ve not written living art – and I must write just this real art!
Dear reader and follower of my creative writings, my recent flash fiction ‘Bare’ is about sex with an adult treatment, you will remember; the psychological poem ‘Unpaired’ is about losing your first love when you have to further study abroad and she has to move on with life cos of the reality checks of time and distance beeping, and both of you get settled in marriage only to meet again down the line and be wishing you’d married each other, with repressed pining, old feelings and sombre re-igniting in a brief, impossible reunion.
Also, “The Trial” is a really moving short story (one of my best stories in telling and all) about cheating, pending complex rape case, betrayal, silence motif and the remand home. “Remaginary,” my latest, you may recall, is a short fiction about toddler artist living with her aunt and seeing hallucinations and making paintings. Story grapples with the problematic question of what is real and what is not through the child eye and narrative voice. And maybe you remember the short fiction “The Idol and the Man”, too – it got lots of twitter shares, favourites and blog comments on its post, perhaps for its realism, mastered sensuality and homeliness of telling. Something about sex and about drug addiction.
Dearest R., if you now reread these psychological narrative works where you read them before on my blog, may be surprised at this I’ll tell you now, that as at now that I write, I have never yet experienced in real life any of these particular subject matters I have previously listed with each piece, from Bare to The Idol and the Man – I write as a professional doing my job, my life calling.
Kayode Taiwo Olla.
21 Nov. 2015