What I Am Reading

My thoughts on books, comics, literary magazines, anthologies, genres that I am currently reading and adding to the Amethyst Saw Library.

SHE CALLED ME WOMAN

Book Quotes from SHE CALLED ME WOMAN which taught me Life Lessons.

This book is trail blazing and necessary. Edited by Azeenarh Mohammed, Rafeeat Aliyu, Chitra Nagarajan, She Called Me Woman is an intimate collection of 25 first-hand accounts of queer female Nigerian experiences.

I’ve learnt a lot about freedom, resistance, importance of self acceptance, supportive family and community, financial independence, intimacy, sex and love, emotional abuse by partners, hope, abuse against women, homophobia and safety.

Glimpse my emotional reading journey here. I lent it to my anticipating Bestie, Biggie in Lagos, to read before I travelled to Abuja for my NLS Externship.

Below are quotes from many narratives I enjoyed reading. Under each piece are more than one quote.

She Called Me ‘Woman’

‘Patience is the most important lesson I have learned in life. You will get what you want. Never lose focus. No matter what, never lose focus, ever.’


I Want To Be Myself Around People I Care About

‘For young people, be yourself. If you know you are queer, be yourself, do it. Do not let anyone restrict you.’

‘I think I can pray to God on my bed in my house without having to listen to someone interpret the Bible for me. I can read my Bible and understand it.’


Focusing On Joy

‘For me, a relationship should be free in terms of gender roles. I have not found this with the men and queer women I’ve been with. People have not worked through their own perceptions or a gender-free relationship isn’t what they want. And maybe I haven’t worked through my own..Everyone has their own stuff to come to terms with. Everyone wants to be affirmed in different ways and sometimes in very gendered ways.’

‘In all that you do, do not lose the practice of experiencing joy and creating it.’

My Sexuality Is Just The Icing On the Cake

‘She asks, ‘You are the dude, right?’ I reply, ‘No, there is no dude. I’m the girl and she’s the girl’.

‘There is a lot of preaching against homosexuality in the churches..It makes me feel like they are preaching hate. They are speaking on God’s behalf, but you cannot tell me this is what God is saying when you’re not God.’

‘The moment you do somethings with your life, nobody cares about your sexuality. I tell people that my sexuality is just the icing on the cake. First of all. I’m human..my sexuality doesn’t define who I am.’

‘There are so many attacks on homosexual societies because a lot of us are jobless and don’t have stuff going on with our lives.’


Everybody in J Town is Now a Lola

‘But I’ve got to the point where you can’t make me feel convicted by the colour of your heart.’


There is No One Way to be a Woman

‘I like relationships because they are an opportunity to know who you are and what you can tolerate from others.’

‘I dont have time for people I dont agree with.’


I am a Proud Lesbian

‘Everybody has his or her own way of living. That is what they dont understand.’

‘Don’t try to be something people want you to be or do things to impress somebody by being fake.’

Remember, Love is love is love. Let’s be accepting of queer people in Nigeria Nigerians! Let’s not limit women or their choices. Let’s not use religion as a reason for inhumane treatment or injustice. I recommend this book published by Cassava Republic with 4 fireworks. You can buy it in Nigeria from The Book Dealer, Alaroro Books and RovingHeights.

Advertisements

Cinnamon and Change

Reading Update

SLAY IN YOUR LANE by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené

I skimmed through this book yesterday. Although, I couldn’t connect with certain experiences. I understood some because Nigerian women battle with colorism in make up products and society at large. But I think the lesson I took away is that if you really really want change.

Change

We all, not just you and I have to get into every aspect to effect the changes we want. Not just trending social media change but change of structures from the top down.

Like I said during my Abuja Police Rape outrage on my birthday eve.

Nigerian Police at Abuja illegally arrested young women who went clubbing and used pure water satchets as condom substitutes to rape them.

I had a full blown social media outrage, calling it a rant would be an understatement. I urged people and now you to rethink damaging beliefs about women’s sexual freedom and body autonomy. No one deserves that even if they are “prostututes”.

YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO FEMALE BODIES

It’s about being able to get inhibitive, sexist laws against women out of our legislation replacing it with those which provide and protect women’s rights and interests. I use the anger at the daily violations of Nigerian women and my own nasty experiences as a drive in Law School. Because I’m passionate about women’s pleasurable sex lives and reproductive rights. I write erotica and opinion pieces to encourage sex positivity, confidence and respect. Change may be being part of the production team, policy makers, executors and even ground level monitors of ‘effected change’.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is officially one of my favourite things. Apart from its tantalizing candy cane aroma, it’s an antioxidant that removes oxidative stress (from unhealthy ingest that weaken our bodies) and an aphrodisiac. I mix ground cinnamon with my morning green or ginger tea. That mug tasted like a spicy Christmas morning.

My Pink Friday💕 begins sweet smelling!

The Origin of Butterflies

The Origin of Butterflies by Romeo Oriogun

‘The first rule of survival is to run’

‘Give a man words &he will build a castle/ full of darkness & light.’

‘You want to fill your bones with wine/till a boy swims into your hands.’

I’ve read this chapbook twice. Then my favorite poems some more. It is brutally truthful, graphic and lyrical work.

‘I want to love a boy/who tastes of fear & still smiles’

My Favourite Poems

Pink Club

The Origin of Butterflies

Departure

To The Boy Who Flew Away

Denial

Coming Out

‘I know how a body enters itself/ to hide desire behind sadness’.

Feeling exiled at home. Singing songs of truths in the dark. Violence against Nigerian gay men. Flight of Freedom. Resilience. Fear. Self acceptance. Longing. Search for love and home. Survival. Are themes of this poetry chapbook and they will make you feel, see, smell, fear, anger, soar and hope.

‘You can never/break songs/of sunrise/into dark spirits’

Repetition of themes made me uneasy after some poems. But I feel that is the desired effect. A flight through what queer males in Nigeria feel and experience. These poems call out homophobic attacks and Nigeria. Then disagree with horrific mob burning, family beatings, discrimination, criminalization, fear and more.

‘You know sanctuary is where your hips/grow feathers & fly’

I feel The Origin of Butterflies charts the map of how one takes flight to live and love in freedom not found in ones homeland while guiding one on how to beautifully survive.

I highly recommend this bold chapbook with 4 stars. You can purchase it from Ouida House.

More info..

Romeo Oriogun is the author of numerous poems published in Brittle Paper, EXPOUND, Afridiaspora among others. Departure, Kumbaya and Saddest Night Alive in this chapbook were first published in Brittle Paper. I wrote a review of Departure in 2018 here. He’s also the author of Burnt Men, an electronic chapbook published by Praxis Magazine Online and the 2018 winner of Brunel International African Poetry Prize.

The Origin of Butterflies is published by Akashic Books, Brooklyn New York, USA in 2018.

LIE TO ME DAN

Lie to Me Dan by Longrin Wetten

This book has been all the sauce I needed the past hectic, two weeks. I would read a chapter or two amidst my busy study and rehearsal schedule. I finished reading it on Wednesday. This passionate, action packed narrative was sensational!

BOOK DESCRIPTION

“Lie to me. I’ll believe anything you say…” Seventeen year old Marylyn Zhasa is a very ambitious young girl who has her future all planned out. She meets Dan, a charming fellow student whose own ambition is to get her at any cost. Not the kind of girl to stand by and let things happen, Marylyn puts up her well practiced defences against Dan’s unusual advances, in spite of which she gets sucked into a fast paced world of danger and uncertainty, where plans don’t always work out as expected… … A thrilling tale of passion and ambition set in the fascinating world of a Nigerian University.

If you’d like to know how I felt while reading this book. Check out my reading updates here and here.

The title quipped my curiosity when I got this book from Penthusia Media (Nigeria) Ltd. Finishing the novel I can only grin at such cleverness. In this book we meet Marlylyn who is simply excelling in university. We also meet other students like Esse, Yvonne; Some cultists, Nelson and his gongs, and charming Daniel aka D-Man who is interested in our loveable heroine. Its set in Saro Wiwa University and aptly narratives alternate university experiences through different minor characters. Soon dangerous things happen in quick successions to Marylyn then D-man. The ambition of Marylyn and D-man and some other major characters like Prof, her Dad, Agent Dongs, Yvonne and Nelson. We learn of course, ambition can be evil as it can be positive. Our heroine saved two lives, our hero saved hers. Did I mention it was heart warming seeing these characters fall in love without them knowing.
I loved that the book had titled chapters eg. The Spy Who Got Licked, Hit the Nail on the Sin, Of Dark Knights and Iron Horses, etc. There are some sweet romantic scenes in the book. Various literary devices used made the plot rich. Reading this novel I noted the author used rhythmic words, vivid imagery, dramatic irony, flashback, all the points of views, poetry, soliloquy, numerous characters and their developments, everything to tell this story.
I learnt you should follow your intuition and repay kind acts with kindness. Often times, discouragement comes from selfish intentions or insecurity. Everything is never entirely as they seem. Ask proper closed questions to get precise, honest answers. Listening to examinations of witnesses as the practice Judge during Mock Trial rehearsals this week. I applaud the final plot twist from the answer to the open question Marylyn asked D-Man. My fifth lesson is that everyone should take responsibility for their actions. When they refuse to take responsibility, give them. Parents should know, understand and love their children. If Marylyn and her Dad didn’t have a healthy relationship there would have been doom. Shout-out to fathers who come through for their daughters.
If you’d like to read an exciting, unique romantic Nigerian story. I highly recommend Lie To Me Dan with 4 fireworks.