She Who Inspires

I hardly ever do general life updates on this blog, because “it’s all about the art”…Well actually, I just don’t feel the need to bore everyone with the mundane happenings of my life. That’s why we have Snapchat and Instagram, right? 🙂

I just thought I’d give you reason #2 why I’ve been posting sporadically, aside from work and assignments and trying to make time for food, sleep and general well-being.

chimamanda 2
So, this happened…
chimamanda 19
And this!
And oh my goodness, this!

I still don’t have the words to describe what it was like to meet and listen to one of my biggest literary inspirations last week at my school! I would be doing the occasion a disservice if I said “It was a great privilege to meet critically-acclaimed Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie….” I don’t make it a habit to sound like a newspaper article or radio broadcast unless I absolutely have to, but also, those words don’t really convey how dynamic she was nor do they reflect the powerful presence she exuded. Please don’t ask me if we spoke about her “process” and other artsy, writing-related  topics. Apparently “She Who Writes Reality” is not a real person herself and doesn’t know how to appear mature and intellectual when she comes face to face with one of her literary idols, preferring instead to giggle like her 5-year old self. 😦 See this post if you need a reminder of just how much I admire Chimamanda. It may help your understanding of why I was so in awe of her when I saw her in person.

What I really should have said is that I’m so grateful that she continuously helps me to allow myself to be, to be unapologetic, to be a writer. To laugh off all the people who look at me like I don’t know where I’m going in life whenever I explain my future goals, to stop dimming my light because others may squint in the glare.  I allowed my writing to see the light of day thanks to Ifemelu in Americanah who ran a very successful anonymous blog and inspired me to stop hiding behind empty excuses about pieces that weren’t “ready to be read”. I’m grateful that she broke my heart every time I turned the pages of her short story collection “The Thing Around Your Neck”, because I picked up the fragments and turned them into inspiration.

I would also have let her know that if any of my family members were looking for what or who was to blame for me unceremoniously abandoning my law school plans and giving away my LSAT books, I would point them in her direction. That was a close one!

Maybe someday soon, I’ll be able to meet her like this:

and we can laugh about the time I was a star-struck college senior with no definite trajectory outside of MFA programs and career fairs and the prospect of returning home with my tail between my legs.

P.S. Ifemelu is blogging about her life in Lagos with Obinze! I died a few thousand deaths when I stumbled upon it the other day. Probably not as many deaths as I went through when I actually met Chimamanda but I think I already made that clear earlier in this post. Check out the blog here:

Photo Credit: Anakwa Dwamena

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