Category Archives: Creative Writing

Putting your thoughts into writing


I was thinking about you the other day,

thinking its years since I heard from you.

And maybe you had forgotten me

and moved on with your new lover and family.

 

Yesterday I logged into my old email account,

the one I hardly ever use,

intent on deleting every email in my inbox

when I stumbled on an email with your name… Image of a guy in a white shirt sitting by the computer, his face is not visible, only part of his chin can be seen

My insides clammed up,

but I thought it was one of those junk emails

forwarded by scammers using your email address.

I opened it to be sure,

my hand trembling over the mouse.

But I was wrong. It was not junk.

 

The knot at the base of my belly untied itself.

A feeling of warmth erupted at its core,

and I felt warm fingers crawling over my limbs,

spreading across my body

and tugging the edges where my lips meet.

 

You didn’t say much in your email.

But you never did say a lot face to face,

and you never needed to say a lot

to put a smile on my face or make my day.

 

In fact, you were always the shy type.

And I can remember: your darting big,

beautiful brown eyes escaping my gaze

whenever I caught you by chance watching me,

and the stifled giggle and hand over your mouth

that betrayed your guilt.

Picture of a black guy with a black headwrap, dark sunglasses and white shirt staring at the computer screen in an office.

When I looked at the date and time in your email,

I wondered if it was a mere coincidence:

the time I was thinking of you,

you were also thinking of me

and putting your thoughts into writing.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Poetry, Reflections

Sometimes, I write poetry…


Sometimes, I write poetry that I never get to share. I was a poet before I was a blogger.

I wrote poetry that was published in a few anthologies. I even put together a collection of poetry I was keen on publishing but looking back today, a lot of it makes me cringe.

I performed on the London Spoken Word Scene for a few years before I went to university to study writing or find inspiration for a novel.

Between then and now, I have written less and less poetry although it was poetry that got me going for years when I had no outlet for my ideas or I was struggling with prose.

I think part of it has to do with the academic approach to writing poetry which I found too scientific and akin to skinning and dissecting corpses.

It put me off writing poetry for a while. By the time I was through with my studies, the poetry that had once bubbled effervescently from my mind was a dry well.

However, that period of dissecting corpses did throw up some interesting projects that I worked on for my poetry modules.

I recently came across some spoken word poetry I created for one of my modules as I was clearing my computer because the start disk was too full.

I thought I would share it with you guys. The picture quality is not that great but the sound is cool. It is not very original but I had fun putting it together.

It was inspired by This Poem I heard been read by Mutabaruka at Def Poetry on Youtube or you can watch it below. Enjoy.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Poetry

Thank You


When I started writing my very first post, Yeah, I Think A Lot About Shit, I had no idea anyone would ever read my blog. Nevertheless, I persevered and continued to write without any expectations but simply as an outlet for my thoughts and as a means to sharpen my writing skills.

Seven thousand five hundred plus visitors and over ten thousand views later, I am pleasantly surprised by the traffic to my blog. I know these figures are a grain of sand in the desert to other accomplished bloggers.

However, considering my innocuous start, I find these figures are encouraging because I had no idea I would reach this milestone. Picture of a tarred road stretching to the blue sky flanked by blossom trees and well manicured green turf. Thank You For Reading Thegatvolblogger

Therefore, I would like to thank you personally for taking the time to visit my humble blog and view the articles I write. You make it worthwhile and I would be ungrateful if I didn’t show my appreciation for your kindness.

I am not a prolific blogger. I am not disciplined. I may go for months without writing or sharing anything, but there is never a day when you do not visit and read my posts, including the stuff I wrote when I first started.

There are some posts which you read diligently such as the stuff on Thomas Sankara, Steve Bantu Biko, Miriam Makeba, Samora Machel, Malcolm X and others.

Picture is an artists impression of the late Captain Thomas Sankara in military fatigues and a beret with a star.

An artists rendering of the late Captain Thomas Sankara, the revolutionary leader of Burkina Faso who came to power through a popular coup and within four years made the country self reliant. The image is taken from the book Thomas Sankara Speaks.

I kind of have a good idea what you like now. It never ceases to surprise me that you appreciate the work that I have done otherwise you would not be reading these posts. I have come to realise that the articles I have written have a very long shelf life beyond the time I wrote them. They remain relevant to new readers and visitors.

Lessons Learnt From Blogging

Firstly, never underestimate what you have to write, say, think or share. There are people who appreciate what you have to say. Your voice matters. Your perspective adds something that is missing in the mainstream media.

Secondly, have faith in whatever task you undertake. And when you commit yourself to any activity, do your best.

Thirdly, when you devote yourself to an activity, you build an expertise on that field and develop your competency in that field. I started off as an amateur and now I also blog professionally for other institutions and sites. It is why I am not always able to write and post as much I would like. Without the experience I gained from here, I would never have had the competency to blog professionally. Opportunities like these, open up doors to others.

Follow your heart

Fourthly, if you do something you love, you are more likely to be successful doing what you love. You will find it rewarding and you are more likely to be fulfilled it by it. My advice, therefore, is follow your heart and live the dream. Even if you don’t become wealthy pursuing your passions, you will be rich in satisfaction. An you will be happy. You can’t put a price on that.

Fifthly, gimmicks like SEO and the likes can only do so much. I don’t understand them very much, I have the faintest idea therefore I never use them, but I know that sincerity, passion and love can achieve much more than SEO; especially, if you value organic growth, slowly and steadily to learn as you grow.

In addition, it takes time to do something properly and see the growth. You have to learn a lot along the way as the video below illustrates. As they say, Rome was not built in a day. If you have any endeavour you wish to pursue, take the time to build your dream but don’t expect instant results. There are few overnight successes. What you see, is often the results of years, if not decades, of hard work before the “overnight success”.

I can go on and on but maybe that is the substance for another article or post. Right now, I just want to thank you for your support and love. I am grateful to you for having my back. Your visits and investing your precious time to read my posts is the greatest encouragement you could have ever offered me. I am eternally grateful for your support.

Thank You.

Thegatvolblogger

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Filed under About Writing, Blogging, Creative Writing

Thegatvolblogger 2014 in review


Compliments of the New Year

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support in 2014 and helping to take this blog to the next level. Much love to you for taking the time to read the content, comment, like, share and recommend thegatvolblogger.

I am overwhelmed by your support and love. It has been a labour of love and you have made every moment worth it. I could not have done it without you. Without you, I would have given up but you have given me the strength, encouragement and motivation to do even better in 2015.

I would like to give a special shout out to

  • Jo Robinson
  • Adam Henig
  • nativedrum
  • sallysuccess
  • wiseandlovelyme

You were my most active commenters and supported and shared my work. Nuff respect to you. You can check out the report below to see your contributions to make this blog a success.

My goal this year is to take this blog to the next level and I feel indebted to you. Keep your eye on this blog for better content, more posts and better quality.

I hope all your dreams, desires, hopes and goals become a reality in 2015. Have a Happy New Year. You rock you have made my year and I am starting on a high because of you.

All the best and One Love.

Thegatvolblogger

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,600 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Filed under Blogging, Creative Writing

Friendly Follows


Sensible advice regardless of whether you are a writer, musician, entrepreneur, a business, etc. Follow the advice of this wise sage, Jo Robinson, if you are going to make the most of social media to advertise, market or sell your products. Read the article to gain a better insight on how to improve your social media campaigns and get the best out of your return on investment a.k.a. ROI.

Read more

via Friendly Follows.

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Filed under About Writing, Abstract Writing, Creative Writing

Publishing Opportunity


I have been sitting on this opportunity for a while. It popped into my inbox and got buried under an avalanche of emails. I made a mental note to give you the heads up about this writing competition but it slipped my mind.

There are still about three to four days to submit to Masons Road. The deadline is the 15th of November 2014.

Masons Road are an online literary journal. They are open to submissions in a number of genres. These are:

  • Poetry
  • Fiction
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Craft Essay

The theme for issue #10 is memory and they are looking for creative takes on it.

There are two ways of submitting work. If like me, you don’t like paying for submissions, then, you can submit for free during their submissions period and they will consider your work for publication.

If you just want to test the waters and see how your work is received, you have nothing to lose. Go for it. It’s a different outlet. The worst thing they can say is no.

Rejection is nothing new to writers. It happens to the best. If it happened to JK Rowling, then anything is possible. But look how she ended up. All those agents and publishers who rejected her regret passing over that cash cow.

Alternatively, you can submit your work with a $10.00 fee. Your submission will be considered for the Masons Road Literary Prize. This includes publication and a $500.00 prize for the best entry.

You can visit their website here http://www.masonsroad.com to find out more about them and check out their submission guidelines. You can also read the last winner’s work, Formication – Patricia Canright Smith, and see if this is the journal for you. Previous issues of the online journal are available to get a feel of it.

If you have a piece that is gathering dust in some drawer somewhere or virtual cobwebs in your hard drive, dust it off and submit it. Any opportunity to build a publishing credit is good for your writer’s CV and your repertoire.

Good luck. My apologies in advance for the late heads up.

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Filed under About Writing, Abstract Writing, Creative Writing, Poetry

Poets and War


Poets and War.

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Filed under About Writing, Abstract Writing, Creative Writing

Love is the ultimate revolutionary


African Revolutionaries

Love is the ultimate revolutionary

Love is the ultimate revolutionary

Fighting and defeating

Those external forces trying to colonise

Your hinterland and exploit

Your heart and mind.


Love is the ultimate revolutionary,

That tall, dark, handsome stranger

Camouflaged like an enemy

Who makes the pit of your stomach

Flutter and feel

Like it has been hollowed out;

And makes your knees tremble,

Takes your breath and senses away

With half a glance.


Love is the ultimate revolutionary

Charming and disarming,

Knocking out your defences

And last line of resistance

Without firing a shot;

A revolutionary setting you free

Without a word or fight

Yet turning your entire world

Upside down

Giving you a new found sense of self,

Freedom and Love.

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Filed under Abstract Writing, Creative Writing, Poetry

Poets and War


picture of bleeding hand

A surgical-like incision on my hand

Leaks red ink,

Flowing like a burst pipe

Connecting the membrane

Covering my skeleton

And hinterland.

Poetry beats in my heart ♥

And I bleed for my art.

Not only soldiers bleed and die

In the line of duty.

In the frontline of many world wars,

Poets died far, far, far away

From home with poetry locked inside

The kernel of their minds.

Have you heard of Chris Okigbo

That revolutionary poet

Who downed his papers and pen

And picked up a gun in the Biafra War?

Realising the bullet

Was stronger than the pen

He sacrificed his life

Dodging bullets and bombs

In the name of freedom.

He died with his gun

In his arms

And poetry stuck between his gums.

His poetic sensibility –

A politicizing factor.

He bled for his art

To free minds and hearts

And realise the envisioned self.

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October 28, 2014 · 4:58 pm

NoViolet Bulawayo wins 2014 Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Legacy Award


 NoViolet Bulawayo inner magazine page

In my last post, 13 Lessons I Learned From Blogging, a few hours ago I described NoViolet Bulawayo as “one of the hottest literary talents to come out of Zimbabwe.” It might have sounded hyperbolic, but she reinforced my observations by clinching the 2014 Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Legacy Award for her awesome fictional debut, We Need New Names

She received the prestigous 2014 Hurston/ Wright Legacy Award for fiction on Friday at the Carnegie Library in Northwest Washington.

This award is a fitting reward for a young literary star on the rise. Her debut novel has taken the world by storm and caused such a sensation, I can only imagine what her future work will do.

Inner pages on an article on NoViolet Bulawayo

An article, on NoViolet Bulawayo talking about her craft, I stumbled on in the New Books magazine in my local library and I took the pictures. Little did I know I would be using them in this article.

The award is a literary prize awarded by the National Community of  Black Writers. It is the first of its kind to be awarded to black American writers. Richard Wright (Black Boy and Native Son) and Zora Neale Hurston, the awards namesakes, are two of the most influential black American authors.

I first heard of NoViolet Bulawayo when I started writing for the South African Newspaper in London.

In fact, her short story, Hitting Budapest (the first chapter), an extract from her debut, was nominated for the Caine Prize in African Writing in 2011.

My very first assignment was to interview her with regards to that nomination. We were both just beginning our respective journeys and I was humbled and inspired by her humble and focussed approach.

I have watched her rise. She is a phenomenal woman and sister. She is unpretentious. She has an aura and cool, calm collected-ness and confidence that comes with people who are blessed with talent, humility and drive.

She is not a diva. Considering her accomplishments, you could forgive her. But she has remained grounded and approachable and in touch with her humble roots which she has used as a launching pad to dizzing heights. Only she knows where she is in orbit with the Stars.

She went on to win the coveted Caine Prize in African writing that year and has soared to greater heights since then, racking up a host of nominations and awards, including the Man Booker Prize 2013 the Guardian First Book Award, the Pen Hemingway Award, LA Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award, the Etisalat Prize for Literature and ultimately the 2014 Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Legacy Award.

She has been recognised by various prestigious publications and organisations. The list is too long to mention individually.

NoViolet Bulawayo FC

NoViolet Bulawayo, one of Zimbabwe’s best intellectual exports, a rising star on the literature scene. I stumbled upon this magazine in my local library.

NoViolet Bulawayo has come a long way since I first interviewed her in 2011, reviewed her debut, wrote an essay about her for my publishing module and chatted to her numerous times. She is a true inspiration for our generation.

Over the years, I have chatted to her on a range of subjects and she is an exceptional person, very grounded, polite and giving.

During those conversations she was always encouraging and pushing me to publish my book and sharing advice. I was flattered she recognised my talent without ever getting to read my work. She is such a giving person.

I got to know her “almost” as a friend. And I am so happy for her success in the way I’d be proud of my own sister or kinswoman who had achieved some phenomenal success.

Her coup is spectacular considering the strength of the other nominees and finalists in the fiction category. Some of them are legends by right and some are accomplished writers with several novels to their names. They are:

  • Every Boy Should Have A Man by Preston L. Allen (Akashic);
  • The Residue Years by Mitchell S. Jackson (Bloomsbury);
  • See Now Then by Jamaica Kincaid (Farrar, Straus & Giroux);
  • The Good Lord Bird by James McBride (Penguin);
  • The Gospel According to Cane by Courttia Newland (Akashic).

Previous winners include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Uwem Akpan, Aminatta Forna, Kwame Dawes and Junot Diaz. NoViolet Bulawayo is in distinguished literary company and all the names above put her win into context.

I can imagine women ululating and dancing within Zimbabwe and the Diaspora at the literary success of one of her most distinguished daughters of the soil. I say makorokoto, amhlope, congratulations sister. You gone and done us proud.

Front Cover of We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

The award winning debut, We Need New Names, by Zimbabwean Literary sensation NoViolet Bulawayo.

You can read, Hitting Budapest, an extract from NoViolet Bulawayo’s debut novel We Need New Names here. I recommend you get your copy from Amazon, the library or any of your local booksellers. It is a great read. Trust me on this one. You won’t regret it.

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Filed under About Writing, Creative Writing, Under The Spotlight