Jacqueline was my first interview ever and a successful one. She is an amazing writer, poet, and blogger. If you haven’t read her poetry book yet, please see below. Also check out her YouTube videos full of wisdom.
This same interview will also post on The Go Dog Go Cafe, an awesome community for baristas of the site and writers who want to share their work there too.
Make sure to visit the Cafe and keep up with my weekly Tuesday Interviews. Every second week I do a ‘Rewind Interview,’ someone I’ve interviewed in the past. This week should be an interview of a Barista at the Cafe, but I have been too busy with other projects to put the interview together. Please expect a new interview next week!
“Personality wise, I would describe myself as a simple, deep-thinking, friendly, inquisitive, and vivacious human with multiple layers which baffle me at certain times” – Jacqueline Oby- Ikocha
1. Please Tell Us About Yourself.
My name is Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha. I’m a Nigerian-born, Dubai (UAE) resident, of Igbo heritage. The Igbo’s are a hardworking, industrious, nomadic and proud tribe of Nigeria whom can be found in almost every nook and cranny of the world, even in places that you would least expect to find them. We strive to thrive wherever we are found.
Personality wise, I would describe myself as a simple, deep thinking, friendly, inquisitive and vivacious human with multiple layers that baffle me at certain times.
I’m an ambivert, a people person, an outspoken, and focused woman. I can own up to being a loyal and upright person and you can take my word to the bank. Hard work doesn’t scare me. I truly believe in encouraging others to be the best that they can be. I’m also a wife, a mother, a writer, a perpetual learner, a life-enthusiast and a die-hard optimist. I don’t believe in the word impossible.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and/or Blogging?
I actually have no conscious date as to when I started scribbling. I use the word scribbling because I would write drama series at a very young age and designate my siblings to roles that I deemed fit. I was both the story writer, the film director, and everything in-between. Sometimes my siblings fell out with me because they weren’t particularly enthused about one role or the other.
However, I consciously started taking my writing seriously and away from the realm of a hobby two years ago. My venture into blogging started on May 6, 2015, as I searched for areas to help harness my writing and opportunities to interact with like-minded people.
“As some people resort to drink or other vices of choice, writing is my vice, which is only possibly matched by reading” – Jacqueline Oby – Ikocha
4. What does writing/poetry mean to you? Why do you write?
I write for vision and clarity. I process things better when I write. I write to share thoughts that I may ordinarily not give voice to. I write to deal with issues that bother me. As some people resort to drink or other vices of choice, writing is my vice, which is only possibly matched by reading. I wouldn’t know how else to be.
My reason for writing is so strong, a lot of times, when I need my husband to understand a point that I’m probably not expressing vocally as well as I should, I write him a letter.
My heart has known peace through my writing. Some of the turbulence I experienced earlier in life have been manageable due to writing. It’s a voice that God gave me. A lot of times my husband, children, and friends marvel at the speed at which my fingers fly acrossthe keyboard even without looking at the letters. Or they marvel at how quickly my pen flies across a journal endlessly.
It’s the way it is for me. While some people say they experience ‘writers block,’ I’m yet toexperience the feeling. What I experience is insufficient time in any given day where I’m able to write the words, thoughts that flit through my mind. I have many otherresponsibilities which have my name written on them.
5. Where do you find your inspiration and motivation to write? Is there a time of day you prefer to write?
I see inspiration in everything. I could see a mustard colored car and a story comes to mymind. It could be the way someone wore their clothes, spoke, smiled, or didn’t smile. Inspiration just comes. Sometimes I ask God’s Spirit to lead my hands.
I enjoy writing in the wee hours of the morning before my entire household rises, but such opportunity is becoming less. Someday’s I write late into the evening after work and other chores before I knock off to sleep. I normally wake up at 4:00 to 4:30 am and put in an hour either prepping my blog or writing something before I prepare for school runs, work, and the rest of my day.
I’ve learned to write on the go, anywhere and anytime, otherwise, I’ll never find enough time during the day to write. My notepad is always ready in my bag and I can tune out if need be and scribble. I scribble all the time. Morning, afternoon, evening, night, sitting, standing, even riding the train or bus.
6. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? Have You Published Or Are You Planning to Publish Any Work?
Presently, I’m working on a collection of stories, two novels, an inspirational book, and another poetry book. I’ve decided to take them one at a time because it was getting crazy. I want to focus on one work, have it finished, and then move on to other projects.
Out of The Silent Breath is my first published poetry book. I’ve done freelance writing in the past, writing content for others, as well as ghostwriting. However, I’ve decided to focus more on my own works. I still freelance when the right briefs come, but I’m planning on having my second book published by the second quarter of this year.
I honestly haven’t gotten around to submitting my works for external publication. It’s a plan in the pipeline, but for some reason, having my writing published in a magazine or otherwise,hasn’t been a driving point for me. Possibly after my second book, my mind will be more attuned to that.
“. . .[T]he joy of having one’s work published, far outweighs the challenges. The hard work involved in self-publishing, shouldn’t deter anyone.” – Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha
7. Can You Briefly Describe The Process You Experienced Publishing Your Work?
To publish in itself is not difficult, yet it isn’t easy either. Being self-published is twice asmuch the hard work. It includes writing, editing, publishing, marketing, and accounting (etc); however, the joy of having one’s work published, far outweighs thechallenges. The hard work involved in self-publishing, shouldn’t deter anyone.
I’ve been writing for a while and sometimes when family or friends read my articles they ask me why I’m waiting to publish them. Getting to the nitty-gritty of choosing the pieces to publish, trying to edit my material, and do all the formatting myself, was where I experienced difficulty.
My days are filled to the brim. I realized that if I had to do everything myself, it would probably take forever. I outsourced the cover production and formatting to a professional. I focused on the writing and marketing; marketing is a big job.
As well, I couldn’t afford professional editing since it doesn’t come cheap, so I sought out beta readers among friends. With that said, I think that having an editor is important, especially when one embarks on writing as a career. Now I am working on a compilationof stories about 40,000 words and also motivational handbook which should hopefully be published in the latter part of this year.
To break my publishing process down:
Sourced beta readers.
Tried to do publishing myself (which took me ages).
I then outsourced the book cover, formatting, and uploading to a publishing firm.
I don’t have a writing process per se. I try to write early in the morning before I get busy with house chores, school issues, and work. Sometimes, it means setting the alarm to wake up at 4:30 am to 5:00 am and work on a story for an hour before my family wake-up.
Throughout the day, I find minutes to center my thoughts and scribble. After dinner when everyone is settled, I blog or write until around 10:00 pm to 10:30 pm, then I retire with the present book I am reading and hopefully, fall asleep within the hour.
I write as the thoughts flow and then edit after. Many times, I find myself rising in the midst of sleep to write something that’s running around in my head.
“My reading and writing is eclectic as my personality.” – Jacqueline Oby- Ikocha
8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing Styles or Genres?
I’ve found that I’m no longer finicky about genres because having read various genreswidely, I have learned information from different scenarios. I would actually refer to myself as a cross-genre writer and reader. My reading and writing is eclectic as my personality. For me, it’s what catches my thoughts of the moment. My writing could be descriptive (mainly for poetry), narrative, or persuasive to sway thoughts.
I always read a myriad of books. My book purchases in a month usually encompass books of non-fiction, fiction, poetry, romance, thriller, adventure, motivational, and self-help (etc). I try to keep it balanced.
9. Do You Have Any Advice to Aid Other Writers?
My advice would be: What is that piece of thought and writing that keeps you up at night? Which makes your inner engine rev in anticipation? Don’t give it up!
Some days, it will be hard and almost impossible to find time to sit down and put pen topaper;sit down anyways and type nonsense. Type as the words flow into your mind without any sequence. Each day, find time to write. The time doesn’t have to be in one huge block, a lot of us don’t have such leisure. You might find a half an hour of concertedflow far outweighs an hour or two without any flow.
As well, never listen to the naysayers and please go with your heart. Fashion your own writing and leave trying to be the next whoever to someone else. Just be you. When you write from within, the writing flows and is far more compelling than trying to imitate someone else. It can be done because your words count.
10. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Writing.
I have no particular favorite piece of writing and I don’t understand why. I’ll share with you several which people have read and enjoyed. I do hope you find my writing pieces interesting:
Thank you so much to Jacqueline for doing an interview for me on my blog. I would love tointerview you too. Please let me know if you’re interested in sharing yourself and yourwriting. You can reach me on my Contact Page.
A few months ago a dear friend passed away at 98 years old. She was a grandma, my great godmother, and in these last few years, a genuine friend. I miss her very much and writing her letters to mail with a poem or small story. It was our thing and I visited her as much as I was able. The last time I saw Evelyn we visited a few hours in her room. Then, I was leaving and I couldn’t get out the door to reach the elevators. Finally, I got to the elevators went out the front time and stopped.
I looked back at the wonderful care facility she’d been staying in these past three years. She was in her own home until she was 95. I had this strange feeling that I woldn’t see her again. I gazed back deciding all I could do was hope that in a month or two, she would still be alive and well. I do wish one more visit might have been possible.
She was a wonderful, outgoing, and opinionated person. She demonstrated great care with people and her hospitality is/was famous. She even drove big trucks and was a mechanic in her day besides working at the Woodwards Department store for many years. For much her life, she was a single mother. Evelyn had many talents, her cooking, her unpredictability, and a spirit that kept on shining and pushing through life’s miseries.
R.I.P Evelyn. I’ve been trying to finish this last poem for you for a few months. It’s taken me awhile to get right! I’m so happy you are with our Heavenly Father and no longer suffering in any way.
A monument falls, crumbles,
Although, she was strong.
An impenetrable force,
A spit-fire, a trail blazer.
You can press your hands against thick steel, rock, or concrete,
Wonder how such monuments are designed,
Buildings of beauty, fortified through time;
How could they fall?
Then you realize that soft skin isn’t stone,
And a woman isn’t a superhero.
When you gaze into the past, into beloved photographs,
You see how smooth marble crinkles,
As fine lines, directions on a map.
The most elegant calligraphy,
Words muted in the unforgiving sun.
And photographs appear in memories,
The warming light of conversation,
Over hearth: satisfying food and laughter.
Yet, still I attempted to see how her puckered lips,
Were once plump, young, and beguiling.
Long gone are her cherubic child’s lips,
Nearly a century ago.
And flawless cream skin is marked,
Lines settled in, can be followed,
A pattern of an Autumn leaf.
No monument left to be seen, no eyes sparkling,
With a smile uniquely hers,
Never to be repeated;
Only in whispers of genealogy.
A monument stood and —
She was significant.
Someone who was seen and not afraid to be,
A grandma who paraded around,
In forty two pairs of shoes — probably more.
Her body could be strengthened with steel,
Knees and hips better off with fabrication;
The real ones worn out.
Do stone monuments feel the pain of lost children?
Of polio’s grasp, sucking the life out of a small boy.
Of a little girl who passed away a whisper.
And of one child who survived,
A reader, a teacher, a traveller, a builder.
One who is imperfectly perfect as her.
My godfather with his wife,
My godmother, both I adore.
Yet, the stubborn cheerfulness,
Of this monument lives on in her family,
In her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren,
And beloved relatives and friends;
Partners who marked her life, always leaving early.
Sisters and brothers, marrying others becoming new brothers and sisters,
How she adored and missed all them all,
Passing away before she could blink.
For the most part, she was unsurpassed in years,
She mourned her family and friends gone first,
But reunites with them now.
And when she fell, the monument’s pieces scattered,
Although all feels lost,
She needed her relief in heaven.
And no one ever thinks that day will come,
Until it crashes upon those left behind.
Monuments fall, it happens every minute of every day,
For every type of personality,
To each person someday;
Special and authentically themselves.
It’s okay to morn the monument’s empty place,
To hunger for her caring advice,
Her kind words.
The silence is hard, her not being,
In her home or in her room.
Now she’s aged, is dust of the earth,
She is the ideal of herself, the creator’s perfection.
Her life was imperfect, as we all are,
It was shadowed by pain and misery;
Yet her optimism always pulled her through it.
Remembering her and taking comfort within,
Her greetings to all those she meets again.
The suffering and sorrow has ended, so do not cry your tears.
For every monument is eclipsed,
Heaven’s radiant light filters into the cracks,
Rebuilds the rubble.
Her figure of faith and grace.
The love she had, that does not die,
But multiplies in eternity,
Waiting for her family someday.
And for her her dear friends.
When we arrive,
She’ll wonder what took us so long.
Offering a piece of pie, uncooked fresh blueberries in a crust,
With soft dollops of whipped cream.
Her timeless love in cooking, baking, hospitality,
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is poem type called an elegy – a poem that mourns or honors someone dead or something gone by. Center the elegy on an unusual fact about the person or thing being mourned. ” An elegy generally combines three stages of loss: first there is grief, then praise of the dead one, and finally consolation.” Please see Literary Devices for more information.
I’ve paired this prompt with The A to Z Challenge quote, having the author/quoter’s name begin with the letter C.
——— “We are all the pieces of what we remember. We hold in ourselves the hopes and fears of those who love us. As long as there is love and memory, there is no true loss.” ― CassandraClare, City of Heavenly Fire
Here we gather, today it finally hit —
Me, you won’t be coming back; such grit —
You displayed, at the crux, as death grew near.
There was no “going gently” for you dear.
I always admired that you were strong,
At the finish you groaned your last song.
The pain was so great, it hurt us to see,
A candle flame who flared, flickering free.
Death was not easy, nor was your young life.
But you always shouldered through the strife.
A kind, giving person — philanthropist,
With death, you became a minimalist.
Objects hold memories, the Stone’s song we know —
well: “You Can’t Take It With You When You Go.”
As we remember, we wonder why —
Three-years ago you left, disappeared wide —
Across the world, sending postcards to —
Us all, as you adventured across through —
Every country you could see with no —
Face Time, Skype; we were scared you wouldn’t come —