All posts by Florence Ezekafor

Toxic Love

Azuka’s roommates had held her back one evening from returning to the psycho, who had on several occations given her a black eye without any remorse. But she had screamed like a naughty child and said they should leave her alone.

She couldn’t keep Jeff waiting in the cold harmattan weather for long. It’s her life, she had said.  Whatever she did with it wasn’t any of their business. They let her go – back to him.

That night at 1:30 am, she returned sobbing, holding the left side of her face. She got hit again – by the psycho.

She got hit again because she talked to her best friend Ola. Ola hated Jeff and his ancestors for the way he treated her soft-hearted friend, Azuka. She had confronted him one day and had sworn to deal with him if ever he laid his hands on his friend again. From that day, Jeff forbade Azuka from moving with her friend Ola.

Ola didn’t know that Jeff hit Azuka again. She hid it from her because she didn’t want to make Jeff angry; Ola would fight him.

That same midnight he came back to the window calling and begging. He needed her to come to him. Azuka’s roommates told him to leave immediately but Azuka dressed up before their glaring eyes and left.

She went down to meet him. She couldn’t bring herself to refusing his plea. She loved him with every drop of her blood!

Azuka’s parents got to know about the toxic relationship through an unidentified person, who said she was concerned their daughter could die in the hands of a brute of a boyfriend if they didn’t do anything about it. But when they went to school, Azuka told them there was no such thing. They shouldn’t listen to anyone trying to make them hate her. They believed her and left.

Things got out of hand when at the beginning of the first semester Jeff took her ATM card from her after a little plea for ten thousand naira. That same day, he withdrew all the money in her account including her school fees and living allowance. When she asked him to return the money, he threatened to leave her. The worst that could happen to her was breaking up with Jeff. She couldn’t afford to lose him. She lied to her parents to have them send her more money, they did. She was their only child and they were well to do.

When Azuka went to ask Jeff to give back her ATM card, he got annoyed.

“I can see that something is wrong with your head, ” he said and walked away from her. She didn’t know what to do.

The next day, Azuka went to the bank and blocked the ATM card and got a new one. She was afraid Jeff was going to react, so she asked Ola to be with her always. Ola was a tiger – two strong men were probably trapped in her feminine frame. Asuka needed not to fear once she was by her side. It’s just that most of the time, she had kept Ola in the dark concerning the toxic relationship.

It was weekend and Ola needed desperately to visit home. Her oldest sister was opening a supermarket and wanted her to be there on Saturday for the event. She pleaded with Azuka to come with her but she said she had to stay to prepare for her test coming up on Monday.

Three days had passed since Jeff had refused to talk to Azuka because she blocked her ATM card with him. He had given her the condition to unblock her card with him if ever she wanted him to have anything to do with her ever again.

“You know it’s not possible Jeff. That particular card can’t be unblocked but I can give you the new one.” She rummaged in her bag for her purse and brought out her new ATM card and offered it to him like an idiot. He had refused it and had walked away.

She was going crazy without him. She had told Ola and Ola had felt like whipping her.

“Stay in your room all weekend. I’ll be back on Sunday evening.” Ola pleaded with her and she promised never to see Jeff without Ola.

But on Saturday evening, around 10 pm, Azuka heard his voice in the dark night calling at the window. Her heart swelled with pleasure. She took off to meet him downstairs, despising her roommate’s plea.

Her roommate heard them giggling as they went away in the dark night. She shook her head and retired to bed.

All through the night, Azuka did not come back to her room. In the morning, she didn’t return. Her roommate had to involve the school security service after searching and waiting into the Sunday afternoon.

When Ola returned on Sunday evening, she went to Azuka’s hostel and was told she had been missing since Saturday night.

Ola knew at the instant that Jeff was behind her missing. She called home but she was not there.

Ola went to Jeff and he coldly said he didn’t see her.

Azuka’s roommates were interrogated. One of them revealed that Azuka went out with Jeff that night and didn’t come back.

Jeff was detained and interrogated by the police. He denied having seen her that night and because nothing could trace her missing to him and the roommate couldn’t prove anything, he was released.

The next day, Jeff disappeared from his room with his valuable possessions – got himself accommodation in the town. Students suspected he had a hand in Azuka’s sudden disappearance.

Azuka’s parents made sure Jeff was tracked down within a month. He was seriously at large and was found at the remote area of Abuja in a one-room apartment. He looked like someone who had sorrowed too much and had not slept in months. He looked unkempt, hungry and worn out.

.

Jeff was taken back to Borno State Police Headquarters and that same day, he led them to the spot in the school garden known as ‘love garden’

“This is where we last met,” he said and begged the policeman to pick up the withered hibiscus from the ground. He moved closer and sniffed it. “She had put this in my hair. She knew how much I hated hibiscus. I had yanked it off my head jokingly and thrown it at her. She got amused and I can still hear her laughter echoing in the night.” He moved closer and sniffed the hibiscus again. “Now that she is gone, I feel I’ve begun to love hibiscus.”

“Where is her body?”

He led them to the nearby bush. They found Azuka’s body in a big sack. A careful look devolved bruises on the back of her neck if the rotting corpse.

“You have the right to remain silent, anything you say from now onward could be used against you in the court of law.” an officer said with his palm over his nose.

‘I dont care anymore. I don’t care if I lived or died. What could life be without my only babe? All I wanted was to kiss her that night. She refused and my anger mounted.”

You have the right…..

“I hit her only once. She wasn’t supposed to die. I’ve hit her more than that in the past and she didn’t even slump to the ground. Oh, my God”

“You son of a ***. All I wanted was my daughter, alive. You have given me a rotten body. What am I going to do with— what am I going to tell her mother?” Azuka’s father struggled with the men holding her from hitting Jeff.

Jeff was put in jail after confessing that he hit his girlfriend, Azuka just once on the back of her neck and she went lifeless. According to him, he didn’t mean to kill her.

“If my babe Azuka were here in this court in death, she would forgive me and let me go. I implore you to please do what she would do for me and let me go. Not for me, I do not want to live anymore but just for her to be happy wherever she is.” This was his last statement when he was given a rare chance in court to say something before the final verdict.

That statement aggravated Azuka’s parents resentment. All they wanted was for the judge to grant their daughter justice.

Jeff got life imprisonment.

THE END

Few Things You Should Avoid In Your Story Dialogue|Golspen

Dialogue like the series of events in a story should advance your story, reveal character traits as well as keep the story pace. You should know how to write your story dialogue to achieve this aim. The purpose of this post is to share with you how to write a dialogue that sparkles. Before that, I want you to understand it is good to master conversation skills but wrong to apply how people talk in real life to your story dialogue. You will learn why and how as we go on.

   

What are the things you should avoid while writing your story dialogue?

Stay away from telling whenever you can

Show not tell may sound cliché but it’s still one of the keys to writing a great story. In real life dialogue, people tell what they feel. You hear things like, ‘I’m so excited,’ I’m sad,’ ‘I’m glad, and so on. This is normal in the real world because that’s how real people talk. But when writing your story dialogue, you need to pay attention to what people do while they say what they say and describe it. You don’t need your character to say how they feel except you must include it alongside the description.

 If your character says, ‘I’m happy, there should be sparkling of the eyes and the corners of the mouth drawn back, or even teary eyes when the happiness overwhelms.

Know how people of the era or place in your story talk.

If your story takes place in a different era or place, do not assume how the people talk. Your dialogue must show off the talking style, Otherwise, your story loses its quality.  If you are not sure, find out from those who know it well. Make a thorough research, watch movies if possible, ask questions, this will help you to avoid a plain or assumed version of the language. You must not write it if you are not sure of it.

Keep your dialogue tag functional

Some writers use description in their dialogue tag to replace a boring “he said”  “she said” tag. Do not do that. Dialogue tag in itself shouldn’t be descriptive. Its function is to let the reader know who is saying what. When you use tags like, “she shouted,”, “he roared out”, she screeched,”, you make the reader stop and think about them and that’s distracting.

Instead of using descriptive tags, show or describe the character’s action or body language at that time. Look a close look at the dialogue from Half Of A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

‘Train station? Arinze and I are not leaving until tomorrow, Mohammed,’ Olanna said. She almost ran to keep up with him. ‘I’m going back to my uncle’s house in Sabon Gari.’   ‘
Olanna,’ Mohammed started the car; it jerked as he took off. Sabon Gari is not safe.’
    ‘What do you mean?’ She tugged at the scarf; the embroidery at the edges felt coarse and uncomfortable against her neck.


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Author | Alice Walker


If you have watched the movie, The Colour Purple, you have seen the writer of the award winning story, Alice Walker.

Alice Walker’s brother accidentally shot her in the eye with a BB pellet when she was eight. She became blind in that eye. Due to her defect, she became self-conscious, shy and withrawn. She felt like she was ugly and disabled.

 It was during this period that she began to read and write. At fourteen, she had an eye surgery to improve her appearance. But at the time, she was already hooked on writing and reading and couldn’t stop.

Brief Biography

Alice walker is an American novelist, short story writer, poet and activist. She was born in Eatonton, Georgia USA in 1944. Because she was very brilliant, Walker got a scholarship to attended Spelman College and later switched to  Sarah Lawrence College with another scholarship.

After college, she worked as a social worker, teacher and lecturer. As an activist she active in the Civil Rights Movement to fight for the equality of African Americans.

In 1967, she got married to her white husband, Melvyn Rosenman Levental and they became the first legally married inter-racial couple to live in Missisipi. They had a daughter, Rebecca before divorcing in 1976.

Writing Career

After the publication of her third novel, The Colour Purple in 1982, her career as a writer took a great turn and she became very successful. In 1983, the amazing work of fiction won Walker both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award For Fiction. The Colour Purple made it to the big screen in 1985 directed by Steven Spielberg starring Whoopi Golberg as Celie, Opra Winifrey and Danny Glover.
The movie was a huge success just like the Novel.

List of Alice Walker’s Works


Novels

The Third Life of Grange Copeland

Meridian

The Color Purple

– The Temple of My Familiar

Possessing the Secret of Joy

– By the Light of My Father’s Smile

– Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart

Short Stories

In Love & Trouble: Stories of Black     Women

– Alice Walker Banned

You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down

– The Way Forward Is With A Broken    Heart

Sleepwalkers

Essays and Prose

– In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, Womanist Prose

– Anything We Love Can Be Saved

– Living By the Word

– I Love Myself When I Am Laughing….A Zora Neale Hurston Reader (editor)

– The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult

-Sent By Earth

– Warrior Marks: Female Genital Mutilation and the Sexual Blinding of Women (with Pratibha Parmar)

– We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For

– Overcoming Speechlessness

– The Cushion in the Road: Meditation and Wandering As the Whole World Awakens To Being In Harm’s Way

Poetry

– Once

– Revolutionary Petunias

– Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful

– Good Night, Willie Lee, I’ll See You In the Morning

– Her Blue Body Everything We Know, Earthling Poems

– Absolute Trust In The Goodness Of The Earth

– A Poem Travelled Down My Arm, poetry and drawings

– Hard Times Require Furious Dancing

– The World Will Follow Joy; Turning Madness Into FlowersBooks for Children

– To Hell With Dying

– Langston Hughes, American Poet

– Finding the Green Stone

– There Is A Flower At The Tip Of My Nose Smelling Me

– Why War Is Never A Good Idea


Video

– Pema Chodron and Alice Walker in Conversation (video)

Collected Interviews

– The World Has Changed; Conversations With Alice Walker, edited by Rudolph P. Byrd.

Recent Works

– New Poems, Taking The Arrow Out Of The Heart, 2018

– The World Will Follow Joy; Turning Madness Into Flowers (poems) 2013

– The Cushion In The Road; Meditation and Wandering As The Whole World Awakens To Being In Harm’s Way (essays, travels and dreams)

– The Chicken Chronicles, a Memoir, 2011.

Famous Quotes by Alice Walker

“In nature nothing is perfect, trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways and they’re still beautiful
~~~~
Look closely at the present you are conducting, it should look like the future you are dreaming
~~~
I have learned not to worry about love, but to welcome it’s coming with all my heart
~~~
Men make war to attract attention. All killing is an expression of self-hate.
~~~
Activism is my rent for living on the planet.
~~~
What the mind doesn’t understand, it worships or fears.
~~~
No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.
~~~
Be nobody’s darling.
Be an outcast
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones.
To keep you warm.

– Alice Walker

Lesson From Her Life

Walker’s  life is a typical example of how an obstacle can become a stepping stone. But for that shot in her eye, Alice probably, couldn’t have become a writer and what she is today.

Be strong. Work hard

Ageing

Ageing!

You inevitable menacing eventuality

Your irreversible fading of faculty

Invisibly existing from inception

Locked within the crate of infancy

Overridden- terrified by juvenile

But courageously storming at the climax

Ageing!

You resolutely descend at retirement

Pushing to the loathsome derailment

Pretty creatures to deterioration

Your revolting withered achievement

Reveal thy alteration proof

Oh! You formidable lethal unguis

Ageing!

Power beyond the competence of wits

You slight the concealing mask to fix

And defeat the slowing ploy with time

Your dentine tearing all resistant tricks

To wreck the fabric of the alluring design

To devour till one’s frail and gaunt

Ageing!

You who strike till one’s beaten

You who bite till one’s wholly eaten

Mock and dare me your grip to resist

For each attempt your fang to deepen

Follow the hollow to the depth within

Keep toiling till the entirety is damned.

© Fiez


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