Emmanuel Idaago Odogo

Emmanuel Idaago Odogo: Lagos, Nigeria

Poetry is my thing. It lets me express myself in the most creatively captivating way. In poetry, every word is heavily pregnant, and can be beautifully understood in different ways; even in ways different from the poet’s, but equally beautiful. As a poet, I can express myself and still be my non-talkative self.

Connect with the Author here.

A Voice from Nigeria: CLOAKED

This is a poem I wrote about Death. We may or may not have people close to us who are already dead but if we do have, it’s best to know all hope is not lost. They are gone but will never be forgotten.

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CLOAKED

You’re the priest at the altar,

Where loved ones are brought to rest.

You rule the kingdom,

Where so many have called “Home”.

Possessor of a boundless vial

Stealing precious breaths.

With heavy hearts and helpless wails,

Cherished ones taken

Tears flow, hearts broken.

A mother and a father,

Little ones, future unknown,

Teens with brighter goals,

Lovers, journey unfinished.

Merciless Taker,

How I wish you turn your back

To see many who have wept,

Many who are shattered.

You’re the sailor, the captain,

You come to take,

Only to return, vessel empty.

Except you don’t know,

That those who left never left,

Those gone, never gone.

There is a land you can’t reach,

A place you’ll never touch

And there we have given them homes,

To keep and remember

In our bleeding hearts

__________________________________________

Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash

Hannah Faleti I. has spent a lifetime in Nigeria. She is currently living in the cosmopolitan city of Ibadan, north of Lagos and the Gulf of Guinea.  She begins law school in March of 2018 at Obafemi Awolowo University where she hopes to become an advocate for civil rights. Her poetry and writing reflect the grand dynamics of her homeland of Nigeria. Hannah will curate a weekly series of postings from Nigeria for Introvert Press.

 

A Primer on World Building

This initial primer to World Building will be followed with weekly excerpts by published and emerging writers in our World Building Wednesday blog series. If you would like to contribute, please feel free to submit excerpts from your worlds. Please subscribe to our blog to make sure you get all the wonderful and weird things Introvert Press has to offer.

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I wouldn’t say I’m an expert in worldbuilding. Many people build worlds for different reasons. The most common ones I’ve encountered are for tabletop RPGs or personal fantasy world. I find the ladder super interesting, but I won’t get into that. Personally, I’ve only encountered a few people who are building worlds for elongated, story-telling purposes.

Those people seem to know what they’re doing. I often feel like my own world is inferior to say, Middle-earth or Elder Scrolls. And that’s what I want to talk about it.

When you are first building your world, design so it pleases you and only you. Obviously, through the writing, editing, and publishing process you will have to tweak the setting, characters, and plot so it is coherent enough for your audience to read and enjoy. But I’m talking about when you are starting from scratch when you are endeavoring on the long, frustrating, and hugely rewarding process of building your very own world.

Don’t listen to what others are saying, or what they would say. Create only what you find beautiful, what you find stunning, what you find undeniably cool.

If you want to have unicorns and aliens in the same world, so be it. If you want your character to switch gender identity three separate times, go for it. This is the time where your imagination can explode into the infinite colors and creation of your own design. Nobody else is looking over your shoulder unless you let them. This is something you can build without any physical effort. It’s something you can create on your own without having to hammer down walls and cut up wood. It’s something expansive and beautiful made from the musings and daydreams of your mind. So treat it like you would be tending your own garden or decorating your own house. Fill it with things you love.

Take it from me, if you try to create your world with more consideration on what others think instead of you think, eventually the world you’ve built will feel dull. It will feel hollow. You could have a solid plot, a solid world, solid characters… but if you are designing it to please anyone else but yourself, eventually, that world can lose its colors. It can lose its life. You will look at all the stuff you built and something inside you will be whispering you don’t want to write what you have created.

That feeling is so heartbreaking.

It’s devastating, but it’s a strong learning experience. You kind of get a “screw it” attitude and you grant yourself the freedom to create what you want to create.

I like to think your audience can sense your passion through what you create. I like to think that’s why titles like Harry Potter and Game of Thrones do so well because the person who created them poured all of their creativity and all of the passion into their own paper-and-ink worlds. The transfer of passion from writer to reader is a really important and intimate experience. I think that’s a big reason why creators should start off with what makes them happiest.

A piece of worldbuilding that I’m proud of and I’m passionate about in my books is this clan of elves called the Solvaryn. Along with other elves in my verse, they are very protective of nature. The one thing these elves hold sacred to their heart is a special, isolated grove filled with an arboreal plant-life called the “Sun-Spilled Trees”. These trees collect sunlight in their dew early in the morning, reabsorb the light into their systems and at night, they glow with the light they absorb. They aren’t blinding, though, they glow like those calming, yellow lights you see around the holidays.

I’m really proud of them and so is the Solvaryn clan, because they protect those trees fiercely. They rarely ever allow any outsiders within the fold and when they do, those outsiders aren’t allowed to touch those trees. These trees are fragile and rare because people cut them down to mine the sunlight from their systems. But the other thing that is a big enemy to these trees, the only trees left in the world, is the season of winter.

Going off of this, next in line to lead the clan is a male half-elf named Ro, short for Rowan. He’s witty, charismatic, dutiful, and loyal to his clan. The clan, and Ro, only know that his father is an elf. Blood purity isn’t a big thing for these people and up until the day before his coronation, they had no problem with Ro leading the clan. However, that night, there was an assault on the grove and in a last act of desperation, Ro pulled out this surprise winter power that only he knew about. He managed to save everyone and everything in the grove.

Now, the Solvaryn clan is pretty progressive. Before Ro, there was a female elf leading the clan. They don’t care about blood purity or gender/racial superiority. But when it comes to those damn trees, everything goes. Even though it wasn’t his fault for having winter abilities, even though no one was more dedicated to the clan than him, even though not a single tree was harmed by his powers, within the hour of using his abilities he was banished from the tribe.

He has two brothers; Dillon who is a full elf and Morgan, who is half-elf, half-tree nymph. With Ro’s banishment, the crown is handed to his younger brother Dillon. Morgan, however, had always had an aloof attitude towards the clan and towards his brothers. So when he saw his oldest brother show a secret that got him banished, Morgan left with him because it humanized Ro for him.

Ro is different from my other characters in that even though he is suffering, he tries his best to be funny and positive. He tries to keep a smile on his face and bring light to the people around him. Morgan and he grow closer in exile and despite how much he misses his clan, Ro now has this great opportunity to explore a part of himself that he always knew about, but never gave himself permission to understand.

I am very proud of everything I just shared. However, I’d say the most important part in all of this is Ro, my character. Pretty trees and special names are great, but the characters are what catches the attention of the audience the most—at least that is what happens with me. I think the passion the writer feels is delivered to the audience through the characters and the more relatable they are, the more the audience will care about the world that was built.

So seriously, have fun with the project and the world you are building. You are doing a favor for yourself and a favor for your audience by choosing to focus on what inspires you because your audience will get the very best of you and what you can create.

* * *

Victoria Folch-Pi is a dreamer and has a tendency to pour her fantasies onto the page. She’s got a proclivity for the emotional and the fantastical, but she still explores different avenues of writing (and life), even if it’s scary. She has been everywhere from Boston to England in her studies of writing, receiving a B.A. in English from UMass Amherst for this very purpose. All in all, she ultimately hopes that what she writes—fiction or otherwise—will inspire others on their own life’s path, wherever that may lead.

Victoria’s YouTube Channel

Victoria’s blog

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Terror Tonight

JD Hyde enjoys rocking back and forth in the shower rethinking his life decisions. Follow him on Twitter.

JITTERS

At first, Patty thought it was a case of the bugs, she had been out all day and the jitters had started. She had scraped her glass pipe clean a few times that day and wanted to call her connection. He had warned her though, that the next time that he got a call at an ungodly hour she was cut off. She couldn’t risk it.

She laid in the dark, hoping to sleep until the hours stopped being ungodly. She kept hearing a scraping sound from the walls and the closet. Patty grabbed the decorated tin box she kept her pipe in. She held it to her chest the way a child holds its favorite stuffed toy. As if they knew it would keep the monsters away until light.

Leaning against the wall, Patty stared at the grey shapes the dark made in the room. The scraping started again reminding her of something deep in her unconscious, something she had heard many times over the years. She thought it might have been rats, but Patty knew what noises rats made. It wasn’t rats.

 

“Mommmyyy…Mommmyyy”

 

Patty shook the tiny whisper from her head, she knew she was alone. She was damned sure knew she wasn’t a mommy. The cry came a little louder this time. She couldn’t tell if it came from the closet or from the shadow in the corner. Patty brought her knees to her chest and tried to watch both places at the same time. Without looking she opened the tin box and held the glass pipe in both hands, mumbling to herself. Like a nun praying with her rosary.

 

“Mommmyyy”

 

She shivered at the voice, so hollow and wet and tiny. “Shut up, you’re not there.”

There was a chuckle. “We are here, mommy. We miss you.”

“Who are you?”

There was more scraping and laughter. From the dark corner, a shape crawled out. It moved slow, dragging itself. When it got to the edge of the mattress, she could see it more clearly. A round, bald shape with one small arm. Its tiny hand held the other. Eyes shining like a cat.

“We are your forgotten. The ones that you scraped away, tossed away. And we want more. We need brothers. We need sisters. We need you.”

From the shadows of the room more small sets of eye began shining. One set for each of her visits to the hospital, for each of her missed periods, for each of the forgotten….

______________________

JD Hyde

Contest Announcements

This months contest had 52 submissions. The top ten are listed below:

WINNER

Rob Burton — The Storyteller: A man who walks the Earth in perpetuity chronicling the lifetimes of those he touches. Rob was born in Birmingham, UK and currently lives in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. Rob’s story will be published in IP’s Annual Anthology of Thought, along with the other monthly contest winners. Congratulations Rob!

RUNNERS-UP

These authors will have their stories featured in our quarterly e-Zine MOTIF.

Deanna Mc Neil — The Sexual History of America: an exquisite poem about the genetic history of the world.

H.J. Ross — Jazzie: The story of children of different races dealing with the signs of racial prejudice in their neighborhood.

Becky Kapjon — The Circle of Love: A family experiencing the phenomenon of birth and adoption, and all that goes with it emotionally.

Lance Corbett Feyh — Old Folks Home: A grandson visiting his grandfather in an old folks home finds love while his grandfather has a curious relationship of his own.

Steve Pool — Old Tommy: A man in a retirement home reminisces with an old friend about wartime and their life in their twilight years.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

These authors will have their stories published in our Sunday Short Story blog series.

Michael Recto — The Upper Twenty Percent: Four humanoids contemplate their role as the Upper Twenty Percent charged with protecting humanity.

Laura DiNovis — Hunting: A young girl, being trained to hunt, contemplates her feelings and the animals she hunts.

Megan Russ — Light to Lead: A woman, trapped in her depressive world, finds a reason for her light to shine once again.

J.B. Talyor — A Dragon Unbound:

Open Call for Short Story Submission

Introvert Press is now accepting submissions for its monthly short story contest. Submissions must be between 1500 and 10,000 words. The theme for February is Dark Romance. Let your gothic, twisted, unsettling pens write the darkest of hearts! We accept all genres, including poetry. We have no prohibition about profanity, but please understand we want your words to transport us to somewhere interesting – not just be gratuitous for shock value. Please make sure your submissions are fully edited.

Each month there is a new theme, so stay in touch with the Introvert Press blog or the Twitter feed @IntrovertPress. There is no submission fee. As with all Introvert Press submissions, you retain rights to all of your content. The winner will be included in the Annual Anthology printed by Introvert Press. All runner-up entries are eligible to be printed in MOTIF, the quarterly newsletter published by Introvert Press as well as Short Story Sunday.

Best of luck!