JOURNEY TO STORYLAND II
My journey to storyland took me through many winding paths.
I have always loved writing. I wrote several stories and short novels which I gave to my secondary school classmates to read. They were excited at the words I put on paper and always looked forward to reading any new story I had written.
I continued writing stories but I got distracted by other concerns of life. I soaked myself in my jobs and just wrote for the fun of it.
But the longing to be a writer still gripped me.
And so, during my National Youth Service, I applied for a job in a media house. I often read the magazine published by that company and was intrigued. I was excited when I was invited for an interview and I was the best among the candidates interviewed. I relocated to Lagos from Delta State to start work as a Creative writer, writing stories for the magazine. I was called an Editorial Executive then. I enjoyed my job. I continued to spin stories and gathered a few fans.
Then I had to leave to answer another call. I went back to Delta State. But the dream did not leave me.
I still had the craving to be a writer.
I came back to Lagos. This time, not to take a job as a writer but to discover myself. When the dream tarried, I went into the banking industry. But while there, the footprints of a creative writer could be seen all over me. Many times, my boss had to remind me that I was writing official documents and not stories because the language I used was ‘too flowery.’
I left the bank after a downsizing exercise as I said earlier. And I went straight into writing, teaching and editing.
Still a gap remained.
How did I fill this gap?
I was watching a video clip called Alabaster Box sung by a lady who had discovered herself. I was enthralled by the music she produced and asked God to help me discover myself.
And God asked me to dig into my story archives. He soon showed me how.
Reginald, who was my colleague in the media house started a blog and asked me to contribute short stories. I dug into my archives and retrieved stories I had written and forgotten. I fine-tuned some of them and situated them in the realm of Christianity. I began to contribute to the blog till the project was rested.
But the urge to write stories had been awoken in me and I could not stop. I began to write stories, hoping for a channel to release them. Then my friend, Bose asked me to send in stories for her website on marriage matters. I sent several stories (Dance of shame, Altar of sacrifice, Adam and Steve, Lonely song, Waiting for Tomorrow) before that door closed.
Another channel opened up when the Holy Spirit spoke to me, asking me to post a particular story titled UNDER THE LIGHT BULB on whatsapp.
I remember how I got that story. I went to visit my friend and namesake in her salon and she told me the story of how she met her husband. I found it so intriguing and told her I would turn it into a short story. She thought I was joking and was so surprised when I wrote the story and sent to her. I still remember her comment when she read it:
‘So touching. Can’t hold back my tears.’
I obeyed and posted the story on 1st June 2016. The response to that story was mind blowing. This time, it was not a channel that had opened up.
Like a miner digging for black gold, I had hit a gusher!
These are some of the comments from my University of Benin classmates.
Chuks said, ’Ify wants to turn neighbour’s gossip to bestseller. And then further commented, ‘When a road is good, you pass it twice. When a story is nice, you read it twice.’
And from Akin came this response, ’Ify, you are a good writer.
Eddy, the veteran journalist said, ‘Ify, I just managed to read through your lovers’ story. It’s quite engaging. Good job.’
Isoken said, ‘Ify, what a beautiful story. So interesting,
Longe’s comment was, ‘Ify is developing her writing talent. I see her winning a Nobel Prize For Literature.’
And Ernest’s counter response, ‘Longe, please point of correction. Ify is not developing her writing talent. She is an accomplished writer.’
From the Mature Christian Singles platform, I got more comments.
Ladun: Beautiful story you have there, Ify. Very romantic and inspiring.
Fola: That was a really cool story. I started and wanted to read it through to the end. That means your writing is able to hold my attention. Very good.
And from My Rosy of blessed memory:
‘Wow! Ify…….you are a great writer, girl. See how you kept me spellbound and I was holding my breath at the point of the riot, wondering if William made it. It’s been a while I read a love story. You should write a novel.’
Such encouraging comments. I got others from my sisters-f0r-life. my secondary school classmates at Federal Government Girls College, Benin City, from Daystar Family, The Oceanic Family, Princess and Bae Group, The School of Media and Communication team, Sweet Mums of Lekki Gardens, Cadogan Estate House Fellowship members and many more whatsapp platforms.
They spurred me on to keep writing.
Then came the unforgettable saga. On a divine prompting on the 23rd of September 2016, I posted the delightful tale, STOLEN WATERS which got people spinning and many cried for a sequel. Then the explosive sequel SWEET WATERS came, that
made people advise me to take my story writing to the next level.
In the year 2017, I reeled out two more short stories, BLEEDING HEARTS and the award wining tale, ROCKING THE CRADLE which made people keep commenting till almost a month after the story was posted.
Then the stage was set.
I met a lady on Facebook called Olubunmi Mabel. She had written an ebook, RESCUE LADIES and that bold move spurred me to pick up my forgotten dreams. I had four novel manuscripts (WIND OF CHANGE, SONG AT SUNRISE, PLACE OF SHADOWS and LEAP TO PARADISE) still lying fallow and gathering dust. I worked on them and advertised them for release in 2016. This did not happen and I worked hard to release two of them the following year.
And against all the odds, with divine enablement, my Christian Fiction novels, WIND OF CHANGE and SONG AT SUNRISE were released on 19th December 2017.
I looked at all these events and I realised that God had been taking me on a journey till I finally arrived STORYLAND………Where my treasure had been hidden all these years……………
There is still more to be unravelled.
Watch this space…..