She is Doxa
Writing is like digging and mining something; it takes time and effort.
- Oni Oladunni
The line above is the reason why I have not written anything since I got back from Niger state. It’s not exactly because there are no stories to tell. Trust me, there are a ton of stories to tell. There is the story of the blue Hausa girl who sat beside me in the car. She was beautiful, with a small nose and a complex smile, a smile that looked like a puzzle, like a writing on the wall, something I needed help to interpret. There is the story of the small boy that followed us in the market, with brown sclera and tough skin. He followed us endlessly like we held the key to all the problems in his life. And when eventually, Okehi, my friend turned to him and asked what he wanted, the boy asked for money for food. Okehi looked at me and snorted. I did not respond. Then Okehi turned to the boy and asked him what school he went to. He mentioned an Arabic/Qur’anic school. Okehi shook his head and said,
The boy shook his head. “Ba Boko,” he said. “Boko haram.”
Okehi looked at him, shook his head and then sent the boy away. There is that story.
There is the story of the Fulani man that decided that he was going to torment me with his beard. The man, with his long spongy beard, looked at him and started pulling at his beard right in front of me. There is more to it of course. There is that story.
There is the story of the man from Borno. A very beautiful story this one is going to be if I eventually decide to write it. The man looked old, like you would imagine a man from Borno to be. He looked at me and asked which state I came from.
“Ah, Oyo is not far now..”
I looked up at him to catch the joke but there was none. He meant it.
“I come from Borno. Do you know how many hours that is?”
I was mute. There is that story.
There is the story of missing you, my readers here. There is the story of me wondering what you guys were doing while I was away. Were you busy cheating on me with another blogger? Did you guys finally give up on me and say, I knew it, this Michael guy is not taking us serious. Did you guys finally report me to my village people? Did you guys vote? Were you the ones that brought back The Man from Daura? Answer me! Confess! Why are you staring at your feet in guilt? Did you do it?
There are a lot of stories, many things to write about here but still, I haven’t written anything. I returned from Niger state on the 3rd of this month; that’s like ten days ago now and I still have not written anything about my trip to this state in the Northern part of Nigeria. There are three reasons why this is.
The first reason why I have not written anything reasonable is because I am overconfident. I believe or think I believe that, when I am ready, I will write. While I was in Niger state, I always had my phone notepad open so I could document anything that came to my mind very quickly. I wrote down almost anything that came to my mind. I wrote while I was in the market. I wrote while I was walking. I wrote in the sun, in the rain (not that it rained much anyway), I wrote in the light, and even in the dark. I wrote things like:
I begin to see the girls now. I see two girls standing by a pole, talking. I imagine that one is a boy and the other is the girl. I imagine that they are talking. I imagine that they are professing their love to each other. They are standing close to each other. They are not holding hands. (You do not hold hands in secondary school. That’s advanced show of affection. You reserve it for the university. Or after SSCE. At least that was what we were told.) The boy is looking at the girl. The girl is looking at the ground before them. The space between them is enough for Humpty Dumpty’s soldiers to pass and rescue the dying man.
I also scribbled this:
You want to sleep? I ask, looking her in the eyes.
She looks at me for a while, like a baby would look at her mother for the fourth round of breast milk, longingly and with a question in her heart, and then nods. This girl doesn’t trust me, at least not yet. She does not trust that I have pure intentions and that I am not in a way interested in taking her name to the Babalawo for money rituals. She thinks that’s what I want to do. She thinks I am going to travel to Abeokuta with her name and knock on the old man’s door. The door is made of rock so when you knock, you don’t hear any sound but if you don’t knock, my brother you’d spend the rest of your life out that rock waiting for nothing.
I wrote so many snippets like this so that I will be able to write something detailed when I eventually have the time. These snippets are giving me a dangerous kind of confidence and this confidence is killing me.
The second reason: I am distracted. This is what happens when there are so many things that you want to write; you end up not writing any of them. This morning, I woke up with the desire to write a blogpost about my journey to Niger state. But then, when I eventually opened my laptop later in the day, I found myself typing On Gender and Race. This is what happens when you are angry; when, because you are a feminist, people bring to you anything they see on Twitter and ask what you think. So this guy goes to an interview and says someone is smelling nice. And then I am supposed to ‘judge this ‘as a feminist’. You know my question? Would this be a conversation if the interviewer was male and the interviewee was female? Would it?
The third reason why I am still spending the early hours of every day snuggling under blankets is because writing is digging. You have to be deliberate. You also have to be desperate, shamelessly desperate. You have to be serious. You don’t have to be boring or dry but you have to sit down and put pen to paper.
I started this blog three years. That was 2016 when Lasisi was still a rookie and I was still answering calls from people who wondered why I wasn’t studying LAW. 2016 when I was still a good child, when I still read in the school library. 2016 when I was still reading Wanjiku Mungai and I was crushing on her hair and her skin until she went. Her blog disappeared and she did not surface. I tracked her on Facebook and like a good fan, sent a ton of messages to her Messenger. No reply. I did not give up. I kept on trying. Nothing. Unless she will reply tomorrow. That was 2016.
2016 when I was still considering the idea of starting a blog. And then I met a beautiful spectacled lady in a business venture. We got talking. She was a law student and she told me that she wrote and that she used to own a blog. Wow. I was impressed. I asked what happened to the blog. She said a number of things and she told me that it was still there if I wanted to check. That night, I left my room and entered her blog. I read the blog overnight, taking in the richness in it and wishing I would just be the writer. I knew as I read that blog that I was going to start my own blog. I woke up the next morning wondering why this spectacled lady would give this up. When I saw her again, I begged her to resume blogging, to resume writing. She told me she would think about it. She is still thinking about it.
She is Doxa and here’s the blog: https://dunnidoxa.wordpress.com/