We Should All Be Writers-By-John Chizoba Vincent
(FACEBOOK WRITERS’ PHENOMENON)
In many cities of the world, especially the under developing countries, writers have been subject of abuse, neglect, exploitation and even in extreme cases murdered by evil critics who don’t even critique constructively. These writers, expected mirrors through which we see the society or rather the eyes of the society or something like that, experience various obnoxious and unbearable frustrations, depression and suicidal thoughts which in most cases make them end up in the street, thereby being labeled as street/Internet writers or the most common one “Facebook Writers”, which is not suppose to be so. The problem still lies in our society, we denigrate these set of people. We never think of their feelings and other things. We prefer celebrating them more in death rather than when they are alive. We all should be Writers to know what it means to be one. We all should be Writers burning candles and fuel to write those things that will remain tomorrow after we must have gone to the other world.
These Writers, either by design or default, become victims of circumstances created by the environment; sometimes emanating from the past experience with lackadaisical attitudes to the well being of their Successors. By extension, some of these Writers are on the streets of pain because of poor reading culture , lack of encouragement resulting to vain praises, mistreatment, neglect and lack of basic necessities of life to make their writings very easy and fun. I once told a friend of mine sometimes ago that it is very easy to push from outside to Nigeria as a writer than you pushing from Nigeria to the outside world. If you look at the likes of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Tomi Adeyemi, Helon Habila, Wole Soyinka, Onyeka Nwelue and many others, they all pushed from outside into Nigeria and that is why you hear their names carved on the sand of time. They were first welcomed by the white men first before home welcomed them. I could remember reading that Wole left the shores of Africa to study abroad when he was 19 years old and there, he must have made the necessary contacts he needed as a writer. Chimamanda did the same thing at the age of 19. Many writers by default want to leave home as quick as possible once their voice is recognized over there. They want to remain there as writers than coming back home because ‘there is better than here’.
As a result of dangers posed on the career of home made writers, they found ready homes in unoccupied dwellings, uncompleted buildings, under the bridges and wastelands more than their dreams and aspirations.
They end up dying with their dreams as writers, they end up not reaching their goals as writers. This is depressing and frustrating when a writer cannot really say he/she wants to be a writer here and make a living through writing and educating people on how to leave a footprint on the sand of time as a writer without being frustrated.
This also includes home based writers who might not necessarily be worthless and hopeless to themselves, it also includes writers who are homeless and voiceless out there or without families, who live in situations where there is no protection, finance , or direction from responsible publishers, as well as writers in such a wide variety of circumstances, issues, problems and characteristics that our law makers and service providers find difficult to describe and target. These writers out there are frustrated moving from one particular publishing house to other seeking for help on how their works could be published. Some of them are tired of being called writers because they ain’t making a living through what they call profession. Yes, they ain’t making a good living through what they stand to be known.
Besides the country’s economic situation and other vices, these Writers may have chosen to make the streets and libraries as their resort for other reasons. Unfortunately, some of them may have no choice as writers – they are abandoned, Rejected writers, or thrown out of their homes by poverty and depression as they are termed Facebook writers or something like that. Some may choose to live their life in defiance, another condition that has to do with the psychological make up of writers. Subsequently though, some writers also work other jobs especially those with families because their earnings are needed by their family members and relations for their upkeep and other things, they have other reponsibilities to cater for privately and publicly and taking writing as only profession here in Nigeria won’t in any way provide all these for them. It won’t pay their bills. I know a writer who spent #250,000 to publish a book but he could not sell up to 500 copies of that book for more than one year. The last time we spoke, he told me that he has decided to be giving those books out in a literary event so that they won’t get rotten in his room. In fact, this particular case is becoming very rampant as it were. Everybody can write but there are purposeful writers who enjoy what they do whether there is money or no money. These set of people live their life on daily basis depending on other jobs to provide their bread. We all should pick up our pen to mirror the society as it is and tell others how we see our own very society whether it is encouraging or not. Wear their shoes and know how it’s hurt. Writers are more like teachers here in Nigeria.
The challenges posed by these Writers both to the government, Econmy, Commerce and the Environment at large cannot be overemphasized. The resultant effects created may appear very immensurable but on the long run it creates a devastating imbalance on the society at large and to the Africa.
There is no doubt that government is saddled with a number of issues bothering on the well being of this profession and also has the responsibilities of addressing the danger on home based Writers in the country, but the challenge is that no particular measurable step has been taken so far to address the issue facing Home based writers in Nigeria. No measurable step has been taken to help raise new voices from these young generations spring up everyday as writers rather, the ball is still in the court of our ancestry heroes, the ball that was played yesterday remained in the hands of our predecessors. New voices are created every year but their throats are getting dry everyday because of the frustration and depression it entails being a writer in this side of the world.
Writers and Readers no doubt are part of the larger society. However, the underlying factors responsible for poverty or breakdown of writers and readers could be traceable to social, economic, political and environmental. It is only someone that has food in his or her belly that would have the strength to read. Without food, you can never concentrate while reading.
The facebook, magazine and internet writers phenomenon in Nigeria is gradually assuming alarming proportions, particularly in urban side of our country. The immediate cause of this challenge appears to be deeply entrenched in finance, poverty and lack of traditional publishers in Nigeria (like in the days of Macmillan, University Press and lots of them) which defines lives of the vast majority of the Nigerian Home based Writers. Invariably, broken writers and aspiring writers who find it difficult to provide the basic needs equally end up at some point frustrated and give up on the career and the phenomenon very much alarming resulting to: suicide, desperate health issues, alarming fading of reading culture in our country, particularly now that every one is somehow broke, no one thinks about reading anymore, rather we all think of how to make fast money. We all should be writers to re-write these evils penetrating gradually into the system.
©John Chizoba Vincent