I want to start today’s post by saying a big thank you to everyone who joined in the “Why do you write poetry?” conversation started in the café last week. It was interesting to read about the different reasons and motivations as to why you write poetry. Please feel free to continue and add to the conversation.
Having these chats are a big part of the vibe in the café and I hope to bring some more poetic topics to your tables in the coming weeks. If you have any ideas designed to get the conversation flowing then please let me know in the comments section and I will write something around them.
Today, I am handing the floor to Eugenia from ThusNSuch who was inspired to write Ode to a Poet, dedicated to the motivation and inspiration circulating around the Go Dog Go Café. Thank you Eugenia, and here is her dedication.
Ode To A Poet
A touch of imagination A bit of inspiration A tad of ideation Sparking creation A spot of time to spend A message to send A thought to lend A chance to pretend A mind puzzle to link A snapshot to think There is no brink We must spill our ink
What thoughts or poetry has the café inspired in you so far? We would love to hear them.
Welcome to Spoken Word Spotlight. Every Wednesday, Christine will bring a writer’s words to life. This week she brings us an introspective poem written by Barista Davy D. that really packs an emotional punch. Sit back, take a sip of coffee, close your eyes and enjoy.
If you would like Christine to highlight a piece of your writing, please contact Go Dog Go through our Contact Form or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jacqueline was my first interview ever and a successful one. She is an amazing writer and blogger. If you haven’t read her poetry book yet, please see below. Also check out her amazing vlog on YouTube!
This same interview will also post on my site, Mandibelle16 on my personal blog. Make sure to visit the Cafe and my blog and keep up with my weekly Tuesday Interviews and other writing 🙂
Every second week I do a ‘Rewind Interview,’ someone I’ve interviewed in the past. This week should be an interview of a Barista at the Cafe, but I have been too busy with projects to put an interview together. Please expect a new interview next week!
“Personality wise, I would describe myself as a simple, deep-thinking, friendly, inquisitive, and vivacious human with multiple layers which baffle me at certain times” – Jacqueline Oby- Ikocha
1. Please Tell Us About Yourself.
My name is Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha. I’m a Nigerian-born, Dubai (UAE) resident, of Igbo heritage. The Igbo’s are a hardworking, industrious, nomadic and proud tribe of Nigeria whom can be found in almost every nook and cranny of the world, even in places that you would least expect to find them. We strive to thrive wherever we are found.
Personality wise, I would describe myself as a simple, deep thinking, friendly, inquisitive and vivacious human with multiple layers that baffle me at certain times.
I’m an ambivert, a people person, an outspoken, and focused woman. I can own up to being a loyal and upright person and you can take my word to the bank. Hard work doesn’t scare me. I truly believe in encouraging others to be the best that they can be. I’m also a wife, a mother, a writer, a perpetual learner, a life-enthusiast and a die-hard optimist. I don’t believe in the word impossible.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and/or Blogging?
I actually have no conscious date as to when I started scribbling. I use the word scribbling because I would write drama series at a very young age and designate my siblings to roles that I deemed fit. I was both the story writer, the film director, and everything in-between. Sometimes my siblings fell out with me because they weren’t particularly enthused about one role or the other.
However, I consciously started taking my writing seriously and away from the realm of a hobby two years ago. My venture into blogging started on May 6, 2015, as I searched for areas to help harness my writing and opportunities to interact with like-minded people.
“As some people resort to drink or other vices of choice, writing is my vice, which is only possibly matched by reading” – Jacqueline Oby – Ikocha
4. What does writing/poetry mean to you? Why do you write?
I write for vision and clarity. I process things better when I write. I write to share thoughts that I may ordinarily not give voice to. I write to deal with issues that bother me. As some people resort to drink or other vices of choice, writing is my vice, which is only possibly matched by reading. I wouldn’t know how else to be.
My reason for writing is so strong, a lot of times, when I need my husband to understand a point that I’m probably not expressing vocally as well as I should, I write him a letter.
My heart has known peace through my writing. Some of the turbulence I experienced earlier in life have been manageable due to writing. It’s a voice that God gave me. A lot of times my husband, children, and friends marvel at the speed at which my fingers fly acrossthe keyboard even without looking at the letters. Or they marvel at how quickly my pen flies across a journal endlessly.
It’s the way it is for me. While some people say they experience ‘writers block,’ I’m yet toexperience the feeling. What I experience is insufficient time in any given day where I’m able to write the words, thoughts that flit through my mind. I have many otherresponsibilities which have my name written on them.
5. Where do you find your inspiration and motivation to write? Is there a time of day you prefer to write?
I see inspiration in everything. I could see a mustard colored car and a story comes to mymind. It could be the way someone wore their clothes, spoke, smiled, or didn’t smile. Inspiration just comes. Sometimes I ask God’s Spirit to lead my hands.
I enjoy writing in the wee hours of the morning before my entire household rises, but such opportunity is becoming less. Someday’s I write late into the evening after work and other chores before I knock off to sleep. I normally wake up at 4:00 to 4:30 am and put in an hour either prepping my blog or writing something before I prepare for school runs, work, and the rest of my day.
I’ve learned to write on the go, anywhere and anytime, otherwise, I’ll never find enough time during the day to write. My notepad is always ready in my bag and I can tune out if need be and scribble. I scribble all the time. Morning, afternoon, evening, night, sitting, standing, even riding the train or bus.
6. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? Have You Published Or Are You Planning to Publish Any Work?
Presently, I’m working on a collection of stories, two novels, an inspirational book, and another poetry book. I’ve decided to take them one at a time because it was getting crazy. I want to focus on one work, have it finished, and then move on to other projects.
Out of The Silent Breath is my first published poetry book. I’ve done freelance writing in the past, writing content for others, as well as ghostwriting. However, I’ve decided to focus more on my own works. I still freelance when the right briefs come, but I’m planning on having my second book published by the second quarter of this year.
I honestly haven’t gotten around to submitting my works for external publication. It’s a plan in the pipeline, but for some reason, having my writing published in a magazine or otherwise, hasn’t been a driving point for me. Possibly after my second book, my mind will be more attuned to that.
“. . .[T]he joy of having one’s work published, far outweighs the challenges. The hard work involved in self-publishing, shouldn’t deter anyone.” – Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha
7. Can You Briefly Describe The Process You Experienced Publishing Your Work?
To publish in itself is not difficult, yet it isn’t easy either. Being self-published is twice asmuch the hard work. It includes writing, editing, publishing, marketing, and accounting (etc); however, the joy of having one’s work published, far outweighs thechallenges. The hard work involved in self-publishing, shouldn’t deter anyone.
I’ve been writing for a while and sometimes when family or friends read my articles they ask me why I’m waiting to publish them. Getting to the nitty-gritty of choosing the pieces to publish, trying to edit my material, and do all the formatting myself, was where I experienced difficulty.
My days are filled to the brim. I realized that if I had to do everything myself, it would probably take forever. I outsourced the cover production and formatting to a professional. I focused on the writing and marketing; marketing is a big job.
As well, I couldn’t afford professional editing since it doesn’t come cheap, so I sought out beta readers among friends. With that said, I think that having an editor is important, especially when one embarks on writing as a career. Now I am working on a compilationof stories about 40,000 words and also motivational handbook which should hopefully be published in the latter part of this year.
To break my publishing process down:
Sourced beta readers.
Tried to do publishing myself (which took me ages).
I then outsourced the book cover, formatting, and uploading to a publishing firm.
I don’t have a writing process per se. I try to write early in the morning before I get busy with house chores, school issues, and work. Sometimes, it means setting the alarm to wake up at 4:30 am to 5:00 am and work on a story for an hour before my family wake-up.
Throughout the day, I find minutes to center my thoughts and scribble. After dinner when everyone is settled, I blog or write until around 10:00 pm to 10:30 pm, then I retire with the present book I am reading and hopefully, fall asleep within the hour.
I write as the thoughts flow and then edit after. Many times, I find myself rising in the midst of sleep to write something that’s running around in my head.
“My reading and writing is eclectic as my personality.” – Jacqueline Oby- Ikocha
8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing Styles or Genres?
I’ve found that I’m no longer finicky about genres because having read various genreswidely, I have learned information from different scenarios. I would actually refer to myself as a cross-genre writer and reader. My reading and writing is eclectic as my personality. For me, it’s what catches my thoughts of the moment. My writing could be descriptive (mainly for poetry), narrative, or persuasive to sway thoughts.
I always read a myriad of books. My book purchases in a month usually encompass books of non-fiction, fiction, poetry, romance, thriller, adventure, motivational, and self-help (etc). I try to keep it balanced.
9. Do You Have Any Advice to Aid Other Writers?
My advice would be: What is that piece of thought and writing that keeps you up at night? Which makes your inner engine rev in anticipation? Don’t give it up!
Some days, it will be hard and almost impossible to find time to sit down and put pen topaper;sit down anyways and type nonsense. Type as the words flow into your mind without any sequence. Each day, find time to write. The time doesn’t have to be in one huge block, a lot of us don’t have such leisure. You might find a half an hour of concertedflow far outweighs an hour or two without any flow.
As well, never listen to the naysayers and please go with your heart. Fashion your own writing and leave trying to be the next whoever to someone else. Just be you. When you write from within, the writing flows and is far more compelling than trying to imitate someone else. It can be done because your words count.
10. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Writing:
I have no particular favorite piece of writing and I don’t understand why. I’ll share with you several which people have read and enjoyed. I do hope you find my writing pieces interesting:
Thank you so much to Jacqueline for doing an interview for me on my blog. I would love tointerview you too. Please let me know if you’re interested in sharing yourself and yourwriting. You can reach me on my Contact Page.
This was actually written more than a year ago , a chapter from my book that is still in progress, but I thought it would fit so well here right now!
It is also a continuation from the Cafe Moment posted earlier, you can read it here.
It drizzled this morning. I was grateful for the warmth of the café.
Each time the door opened I stopped myself from turning to see if it was her. I looked at the newspaper, it helped calm me, I could not order any food, I felt nausea rising with the panic.
I smelt her perfume even before I saw her. She sat exactly opposite me again. I sipped the lukewarm coffee and pretended not to stare.
She did not look up. She pointed to the menu and nodded at the server. She looked sad.
My courage increased with her evident sadness. Her cheeks are flushed and her perfume intoxicated me.
I went over and sat on the chair next to her. She looked at me with misty eyes. I don’t speak and she stayed silent. I felt bolder and settled down.
I signaled the waitress to bring my coffee and newspaper over. The waitress brings her her frothy cup at the same time. We lifted our cups almost in unison and our eyes met for a brief moment.
We sat in silent agreement.
Her sadness weighed her shoulders down and I wanted to curve my arms around her. Instead I looked at her hands and let my fingers touch hers. I continued to read my paper. She continued to look down at our fingers touching slightly.
She moved a little, a jerk.
She has curled her fingers around mine. I felt her sigh through her skin.
Our lives turned and curved to meet at this point and I would take the opportunities that fate gave me.
“Hello, I am Lisa”, she says. “Would you like to take a walk with me?”
I am still holding her hand as we curved around the block and headed down main street away from the cafe where we first met.
The Monday is here so the blue. Before welcoming the guest to-eve, I want to promote a thing. From this month I’ve partnered with Sheetal Bharadwaj in co-hosting her Fortnight Friday Fables. This fortnight fable we both going to host alternatively. So, this week it is me. Check the rules and my challenge and participate in it if you can.
So, here’s go self-bantering. Now welcome the guest of honor. She writes daily life in the wittiest way most of the times and also stories in the same manner. You’ll laugh (or love) first then will think over her writing. She weaves simple words so beautifully that praise sometimes run short. Like a few days back, in one of her post, she was hungry very much and was out to shopping with her Ma. So, she described the situation like this “… it was 5 pm and I started…
Another Great Day at the Go Dog Go Cafe! Today I’d like to introduce You to My Friend, Linda Lee Lyberg! Some of You may already know Linda from her blog, charmedchaos.com. Linda left a successful lifelong career to pursue her love of writing and lives in the greater Phoenix area in Arizona, USA. Continue reading →
Hello to all you coffee and writing lovers out there. This is Beth Amanda, also known as Midwest Fantasy, a new Barista at the Go Dog Go Café. I’ve had a rough couple days of LackofWritingIdeas disease. We all have them, I know. And I’m working on what I will actually offer the café. Usually I’m the sexy, sultry, sensuous me, but there is a bit more to come to know also. But for today I’m just offering a little piece that came from sitting with my coffee outdoors on my deck this morning.
Please stop by and say hello to all the friends here!
Get your coffee and come sit with me, I have my flat white ready!
I was recently introduced to John Berger an English art critic, novelist, painter and poet. I was given his novel G (which won the 1972 Booker Prize) as a reading assignment by my reading partner. It was not an easy read and I felt intellectually challenged as art has not been something I could ever comment on, not being a visually inspired person, most art is lost on me. But I did pick up something from reading his words, he had a keen eye for the insignificant. I love this quote from him – “If I am a storyteller, it’s because I listen”.
It surprised me that an art critic who had a keen eye for form and structure was also a keen listener. So I decided I would try to be both a keen listener and also observer of insignificant things and moments.
I did after all receive a lot of my stories from listening or rather eavesdropping when I was a child. My mind absorbed all of them and later I think I made up my own when I forgot the facts! But I was always listening to whoever wanted to speak to me, I found that the highest honour.
Then I came across this piece:
Walt Bettinger, the CEO of Charles Schwab, related one of the most stinging experiences in his life. He had maintained a 4.0 GPA in college and wanted to graduate with a perfect GPA. The final exam for a business strategy course was a blank piece of paper. The professor said he had taught them everything he could about business, so he only had one more question: What is the name of the lady who cleans this building?
Mr. Bettinger said that was the only test he ever failed. He had seen her, but never taken the time to speak to her or find out who she was. He learned the lesson to always get to know the people who can seem insignificant to us.
Always stop and listen to someone even if you think there are insignificant, you will never know what you miss. And never dismiss anything or anyone as insignificant.
And what did you miss at the café this week?
Come sit with me and let’s see!
The week started rather gravely for us as our Café Captain, S Francis observed a period of silence and mourning for the lives of the sailors lost at sea from the USS Fitzgerald collision early Sunday morning the 18th of June. S Francis has taken a period of time off from blogging to show respect and honour for these souls and their families during their most heartbreaking time. We stand by him and support him and offer comfort and understanding as what affects one affects all of us. We remember those who sacrifice so much to serve. My father was a Navy man too and I remember the weight of saying goodbye and not knowing when I would see him again. The loss these families must endure is unimaginable.
Again these maybe few and insignificant against the thousands who are in service but no, no one should just be a number, each a name and a soul we must remember.
Christine has led us during his absence and we continue to spread the warm spirit of community at the Go Dog Go Café.
Mr Davy D has a lovely discussion going on the subject of Why We Write Poetry? Davy says, “Shakespeare, according to some sources, wrote part of his poetry to supplement his income when plague closed the London theatres and stopped the performances of his plays. William Wordsworth’s poetry grew from his love and obsession with his childhood and nature.”
Davy then wrote a poem in response to his thoughts on the question and trying to solve the puzzle.
And I never wrote poetry till I started blogging! That puzzled me!
Read Davy’s post and the comments to understand why some of us write poetry.
Christine did a most evocative Spoken Word Spotlight. This week she introduced us to a gorgeous poem written by Lois E. Linkens that was originally published by the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective. We strongly recommend that you visit Lois’ blog and read more of her excellent poetry. Sit back, take a sip of coffee, close your eyes and enjoy.
If you would like Christine to highlight a piece of your writing or contribute a story, please contact Go Dog Go through our Contact Form or email us at email@example.com.
I was pleased and a little overwhelmed to read Amanda’s rewind of an interview she did with me some weeks back. Thank you Amanda for the questions that prompted me to share and open up, you are a truly gifted person, and juggle so much yet produce such amazing work. Each Tuesday Amanda will post an interview she has conducted. Soon all the Baristas here will be interviewed too, so watch this space if you have a favourite you are waiting to read! If you would like to be a part of Amanda’s bi-weekly interview series, please reach out to her through her Contact Page.
And we have two fabulous call and response poems from Chrstine and Chuck, two brilliant poets. Using words in tight spaces to tell a story of courage and resilience. Read them both here. The Call / The Response.
I leave you with a quote from one of my favourite poets, a wise and tender soul:
“In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.” – Rumi