Hello everyone and Happy new month… It’s 30 days to my birthday and I’m so excited because I’m finally trying those things I never thought I could do (let me not bore you with the details). Well, I did an interview with a stranger that turned out to be a very wonderful person. I approached him and he did not turn me down; being a rookie. He was super nice and very awesome. He is one of my favourite (right from naijastories) and he is my name-sake too (grins). I will like to say a very gigantic thank you to Doctor Temitope Ogundare aka Topazo for saying Yes to me, you gave me the push I needed for these changes on my blog. I call him the mind specialist because he is enthralled by the mind, so fascinated with it he had to study psychiatry; amazing right?
Please Read and don’t forget to leave a comment, it will be nice to hear what you have to say about the interview. If you have any questions for him, please use the comment box too… Thank you very much.
The Inkheart: Tell me a little bit about your growing up. School, all those basic stuff you wish to share with people that love topazo
Topazo: Grew up in Ado Ekiti, then moved to Lagos and then to Akure. Attended St. Joseph N/P school in Ado Ekiti. Did a short stint at St Finbar’s Akoka Lagos, then switched to FGC Idoani where I completed wassce. Attended unilorin, studied medicine and surgery. Did internship at FMC owo, served at Kazaure in Jigawa state
The Inkheart: Interesting…
Topazo: You find that interesting?
The Inkheart: Yes, because you were up and down.. Travelling and discovering new places is one of the things I enjoy doing and hearing about. You must have enjoyed going to new places and making new friends, right?
Topazo: Not really, I was a hermit. I used to be extremely shy though I’ve loosened up a bit now. Didn’t have much friends, I still don’t.
The Inkheart: Hmmm.That’s because you spend your time thinking up wonderful stories and poems, yeah? Or you have other hobbies that take up your time
Topazo: I didn’t start writing early o. Well, not early by my standards. I was already in the university. Before then, all I loved doing was reading novels and stories. Anything from stories in tracts and church magazines to paperbacks, some without their cover or even starting in the middle. I devoured any fiction I could lay my hands on. Then along the line, I fell in love with music but it has been an elusive lover, never allowing me full mastery. Still I manage to play piano and guitar. I also binge on music. Listening for hours, sleeping with it on in my ears when I’m in the mood and sometimes going for weeks without listening to music
The Inkheart: Wonderful, you play musical instruments too.. how nice
Topazo: Sometimes, I like to think of myself as a composer. I make new melodies. I’m listening to one now sef
The Inkheart: Hmmm. Would love to listen to it and I’m sure your readers will like to see another part of Topazo; the man with multi talents
Topazo: You will have to kill me o. Like I said, I’m very shy. Just assume that it’s average or just barely sonorous
The Inkheart: I don’t assume, it’s the lowest form of knowledge. I’m sure your readers will agree with me too.
Topazo: Well, all they need to know is that I love music and play piano. That should suffice. You are really sounding all journalistic o, like you’re doing a TV interview! Did you study mass comm?
The Inkheart: Nope, computer science
Topazo: You are a natural o. Or you’ve been doing this before now?
The Inkheart: Awww, thank you. You are my first. So, back to you. You said you started writing in the university. What made you decide you wanted to write? What was that “han Han” feeling that got you to pick your pen and never stopped. You were trying to write a love poem to a girlfriend?
Topazo: I guess somewhere deep, there has been the desire to write, it just didn’t find expressions early. It started with non-fiction and inspirational writing, stringing together quotes, then later penning my views on some issues. Fiction writing came much later. And no, none involved a girl. It would have been too easy and cliched now, wouldn’t it? And I used to hate poetry. I still do, though to a lesser degree
The Inkheart: Or romantic?
The Inkheart: You hate poetry?
Topazo: My first poem was a fluke, an accident but it came with a lot of positive review. I was surprised. Now, for one reason or the other, poetry comes easy to me. So, I’ve been forced to read about it and learn the various types and how to write them. But I follow no rule mostly, allowing my mind determine the flow. I hated poetry because it was too complex. Most of these acclaimed poets write poems that were too hard to understand with all those techniques of inner meanings and all those shits, pardon the vulgarity
The Inkheart: Amazing
Topazo: But the beauty of poetry is the ability of saying so much with so little words. You capture things vividly and the need for precision to express the emotions you want to evoke
The Inkheart: My thoughts exactly. We don’t have to be so philosophical with something you want “everybody” to enjoy or understand
Topazo: Maybe it’s because I lack imagination for fiction and the laziness to write long words or sometimes I can’t find words to portray a picture. So I resort to poetry.
The Inkheart: Way to go. And I love your poems, they are deep, very deep.
The Inkheart: Maybe that’s why your 50 word story makes so much sense with little effort
Topazo: Little effort? Not really o. You need to cut out unnecessary words, finding that balance is challenging. Sometimes you write the whole story without word limit and then start shaving, very laborious. For short stories like that, you need a story that carries punch, a twist somewhere, a story that will evoke deep emotions
The Inkheart: Okay, that’s not as easy as I imagined. Some writers are picking up that challenge.. How does that make you feel that you started something fresh
Topazo: I didn’t really start it. It was a challenge on wordpress, maybe I made it popular, kinda
The Inkheart: For me, it’s a redefinition of literature. It shows you don’t have to say much to pass across a message with the same emotion as the long stories. It’s a good trend. Good you took up that challene
Topazo: Exactly. Topazo: Hemingway wrote a complete story with 6 words
The Inkheart: Now, that’s sick!! 6 words!!
Topazo: It was a bet with his comtemporaries in a bar. I saw it not too long ago. That guy was tight.
The Inkheart: I’m feeling very challenged, inspired
Topazo: That’s good. But we also need long prose o. It’s like gliding on the wings of words. A tranquil journey, sometimes bumpy, chilling but all in all fun. Getting sucked and when you’re released you are sad that the journey has ended. I feel that way after reading a novel
The Inkheart: Sure, long stories can never go out of style. Maybe you could do a 10 word story for us? #Okbye
Topazo: I will keep that challenge in mind
(He actually did a 10-word story. You can check it out on his blog).
The Inkheart: Which of the novels you’ve read would you like to live in, if given the chance. Or God just calls you and says, Tope, you have to live in a book for the rest of your life, which would it be? And why?
Topazo: I rarely read novels twice. I have read only Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers twice. Also Ted Dekker’s Blink. Those books convey deep spiritual truths. If I would live in a book, maybe in ‘Blink’ or the ‘Circle Trilogy’ also by Dekker. He created a fascinating world but it was plagued later by hordes of evil. But they overcame. It was also a sweet love story. Replica of God’s love to his people. It was delicious. I want to read that trilogy again. It recreated the bible and evolution of judaism, Christianity and the current challenges but subtly. You won’t know when the truths are sinking in. He will lift you up with action and while you are up, sow the seed of truth and when you have landed, you would be sitting on the truth. Lovely style of Christian writing!
The Inkheart: Hmmm. I love Francine Rivers. ‘Atonement Child’ made me cry
Topazo: Francine is amazing. I’ve read all her books up to atonement child. I’ve not followed new releases since then. Then Ken Follett is another master. His classic “pillars of the earth” is another book I wanna read again.
The Inkheart: I have to look for these other guys. So you don’t trust Nigerian writers enough to live in their books?
Topazo: Not really. Growing up I read a lot of books from Nigerians. Pacesetter series. My fave was mark of the cobra. The most boring meet me in conakry or something like that. Followed by too cold for comfort. But the best drama I’ve read is femi osofisan’s midnight hotel!!!! It’s the best Nigerian book of all time for me. We were three that read it and passed it around and the general consensus was that it was the best book we had read at that time. A friend at that time said he had read a thousand books and that was the best. I could live in the midnight hotel for just that one night described.
The Inkheart: That time. And now?
Topazo: Now it’s still ranks no 1 jor. Have you read it?
The Inkheart: Lol, nope
Topazo: You will laugh from beginning to the end
The Inkheart: Maybe I have, it sounds very familiar though
Topazo: Arrow of God by achebe, have read it twice too! Although na boredom cause that one. Trials of brother Jero, Soyinka! Lion and the jewel
The Inkheart: Yeah, those books
Topazo: I must have read those two twice too
The Inkheart: Then I loved west African verse… a book of poems by west African writers, awesome and strangely, I was fascinated by Yoruba literature. The culture, tradition is very rich
Topazo: Lol. I tried to, it was too hard
The Inkheart: Lol. Like not so many Nigerian writers are book authors. (Trying to look for a sensible phrase, hoping you will understand the question). Amongst the fictional writers, who would you love to write a script about your life. Who do you trust to do a good job with your life story
Topazo: Hmm. Not thought about this. Nigerian writers you mean?
The Inkheart: Yes. But the ones without books
Topazo: Nigerian bloggers without books? You’ve narrowed them too much
The Inkheart: Yes. That’s exactly the point
Topazo: Most bloggers I know can deliver have books
The Inkheart: I think some writers are very good but they are not authors. Like Toyinfabs
Topazo: Oh, toyin fabs, yes. You sure she has no books? I think she does o
The Inkheart: I don’t think so. What’s the title?
Topazo: I’m not sure
The Inkheart: Okay, will find out. I just realised those bloggers I like have books o. Oya, let’s broaden the horizon. Bloggers in general
Topazo: Seun odukoya. Walter ude of my mind snaps. Tunde Leye. So who would you trust to write your stories?
The Inkheart: Sally, Toyinfabs, Glowingscenes. So, what’s your driving force? For every time you pick up your pen to write, what sets the fire in your belly?
Topazo: Sometimes it’s a single word or a phrase that sparks the flame and I keep writing and see where I land. It’s the mind, rather than my brain planning
The Inkheart: I can relate with the mind leading rather than the brain. In all your works, can you pick your favourite and why?
Topazo: It’s hard. “Help will come”, “Top of my head”. They were personal messages to me
The Inkheart: So, do you plan to have a book published soon? Like a collection of all your poems. I’m sure people would love it. I love the book already sef
Topazo: Working on it, if you link me to a publisher, I will bite. Lol, Stop with the flatteries already
The Inkheart: Not flattery, the truth
Topazo: Thanks #Blushing
The Inkheart: You’re welcome. Guess that’s the end of this interview
Topazo: You guess?
The Inkheart: That’s all.Thank you very much, you’ve been wonderful
Topazo: You are welcome, it’s been a delightful moment
Blog URL: http://www.zaphnathpaaaneah.com
Twitter handle: @zaphnath_paneah
Written by Dako. A. Temitope