Trending On My Mind

So I’ve had a lot on my mind this month, and the muse has been fickle and sporadic so I can’t say it’s given me just one thing to ponder on. And rather than plague you with my thought stream which at this time feels like a Mozilla Firefox window with 1001 tabs open and loading. I’ll pick a few topics trending on my mind right now and let you muse along with me?

  1.  This month is World Poetry month… I’ve been feeling particularly poetic. Have you ever noticed how the best poems, songs and well art in general have root in pain? Be it death, or injustice and discrimination or self-degradation and failure. And of course love. That bitter-sweet thing… well here’s love poem that seems to be trending too:

                                                               My Calabash

My love for you is a calabash cracked,
And with every second and every step its contents waste
Drop by drop, evaporates
Whereas it would have moisturized your skin,
Healed the cracks left by past harmatans,
Caressed your innards, filled you up and squelched your souls hunger…
But drop by drop it wastes
And I pray alternatively but ever fervently one of two prayers…
May you close the distance and drink from my calabash or
May the dripping quicken, empty the vessel and free me to throw away this calabash
and hope with it.

2.      This month also holds World Book Day slated internationally for April 23rd. The Anglophone Cameroon Writers Association of which I am a part of is trying to get this day more recognition in the country. In the Southwest region we  have a reading competition for youth to encourage them to read beyond the narrow scope of their school required texts. A lot of people say we do not have the reading culture in Cameroon and leave it at that. Well that culture like all forms of culture does not fall from a tree or get declared by a prophet. It is grown are bred over time. When you rear a child to think the only reason they should be reading a book is to ward off failure in an upcoming exam, you stump all possibility of a “reading culture”. Moreover when you force children to read a particular genre you destroy the genuine inquisitiveness and curiosity- prerequisites to learning. There is no “bad book” Let them choose what they want to read, magazines, newspapers and even comic books all of these are forms of literature. And for God sakes just because it’s not Shakespeare or Hemingway or Soyinka doesn’t mean it’s not relevant.

3.      Still on the topic of books. A friend of mine asked recently what kind of books we have in Cameroon when I told her about the book drought I usually suffer from. I told her it is easy to find Harlequins, Mills and Boons, Nora Roberts, John Grisham, Daniel Steele and other pop fiction. With some added effort you may find a wider range of books such as Harry Potter, Alice In Wonderland, 1984, Alice Walker’s books, and Bill Clintons My Life. However the most popular and most accessible books would be the self help books. You can see a copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad pass by you as you sit in a bus traveling to Yaoundé. You will see Stormie Omartian’s Power of a Praying… collection every time you walk by a book shop. When you see a bookshop know that either it has school texts or Christian devotionals and self help books. From Creflo Dollar to Pastor Adebayo EVERYONE AND THEIR FATHER HAS ADVICE TO GIVE!!!

4.      In similar thought, have you noticed how most of these self helps are geared towards either garnering prosperity for men or getting/keeping a husband/home for women? When you step outside of church you see them strewn on the floor… 21 Things Every Single Women Should Know. Finding Your Soulmate, Power Of A Praying Woman/Wife, What Men Wish Women Knew, How to be the IDEAL Woman etc. One hardly ever sees books guiding men n relationships and considering that the female gender has been socialized from childhood on how to be a "lady", care and nurture her other half you would think the books would be geared more towards those who need the advice- MEN!

5.      And then I got to thinking what would we write in a self help book for men on relationships? The list became too long in my mind but mostly there are 4 categories

i.            COMMUNICATE. Women talk we expect that reciprocation at least. When someone sends you a 3 page SMS“Okay” doesn’t cut it as an answer. A lot of problems arise in relationships out of miscommunication. If men said their mind regularly and did not leave women to play guessing games a lot of time would be saved
ii.          You are not doing a girl a singular honor by asking her out on a date. It’s supposed to be a two way treat. And her accepting to go out on a date with you doesn’t mean you are in a relationship. Separate the two.
iii.                Define your purpose. Unfortunately women have been entrained to expect the asking and not to do the asking. As such they wait to be asked out and courted even if they are really interested (then some of them go overboard with the idea of stalling an answer so not as to seem “desperate”). So guideline # 3 would be defining your purpose from the first move. WHAT DO YOU WANT? We ae wary of guys by this century so tell us straight and save us time please… In fact use these question starters to lead you: What you want, Why you want it, Who you are and How long you plan to want this and How you plan to convince us….
iv.                If you didn't know, the E in relationship stands for EFFORT. A political campaign takes 18 months of convincing people to win, yet you want to win a girls heart with one corny sms and credit for 500frs? Really? And before you guys go parading “I love you’s” and other promises please do take the time to know who you are talking to. How can you love what you do not know? Again, consider yourself a politician, know your demographics.
v.          If your only virtue is in your pocket. It will be exploited and you should not complain. Do not expect VIP treatment unless you are dishing the same out.  

Well this list is inexhaustible as new things keep flitting across my mind.
 Let me just say HAPPY WORLD BOOK DAY!  And leave you with a thought to set off others… What are your top 5 most memorable books?


  1. 1. The Palm Wine Drinkard by Amos Tutuola. Lol, I didn't misspell it o. The man who wrote the book did not know English well. It is alleged that the white people he was working for published it to show how sub-standard Africans were. My Mum hid this book from because she didn't want it to destroy my English but I stole it and read...I was still in primary school! Oh and did I mention the subtitle of the says, "and His Dead Palm Wine Tapster..."

    2. The Lady, Her Lover and Her Lord by Bishop T.D Jakes. This was what taught me to be assertive as a lady.

    3. Errmmm... Our very own, The Crown of Thorns by Chinua Achebe. Achiebefou laughed and cleared his throat to talk... Monique, I'm sure you studied this one in school nah

    4.How to Choose a Partner by Pastor Bimbo Odukoya. Yes, I love books on relationships!

    5.Now, this is a difficult choice. Let me see.. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy. My own subtitle for it is "the Man who sold his wife".

    This is a good write-up Monique. I should get back to reading some really good novels. Thanks for inspiring me!

    1. Hello precious I'm glad you liked the write-up. Yes, I did study The Crown of Thorns in secondary school. I'm guessing you were joking when you stated Chinua Achebe as the author?

    2. Sorry, Linus T. Asong. Lol!

  2. Precious, your mum was right about hiding that book from you. Its effect on your English is obvious.


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