Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Debate Tuesday - Connecting with an Ex on Facebook

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So Facebook clocked half a billion users this past month. I know almost everyone reading this, if not all, has an account on Facebook. Today's debate Tuesday is about connecting with exes on Facebook.

I joined Facebook several years ago as a Masters student but only recently started actively using it after publishing A Heart to Mend. Before then, I was hidden and I frequently culled my friend’s list for those who I felt were not necessary to be there. I wanted my friends list to remain less than 100, and it remained so. Now that I’m back to using the media, my friends list is over a thousand and growing. I’ve added some of those culled people again, among them so-called toasters, chykers and boyfriends. Having heard some tales from friends, and read some articles, I’m left wondering if I’m making a mistake.

Let me back up a bit. When one gets into a new relationship, the expectation is that both people cut any close ties with their exes. Though some of us choose to remain friends with them, it is physically easier to distance ourselves from exes. What happens is that you start hanging out in new spots with the new love, or you establish a new set of friends. The BB messages, phone calls and emails also reduce drastically with the old flame as time passes and both of you pick up new interests and drift apart.

On the web, it may be a different and difficult ball game altogether especially on Facebook. You have their status update automatically popping up on your newsfeed and the same thing happens when they add new photos. Some of us may even feel like the former girlfriend or boyfriend is taunting us. This is most likely the case when these updates have to do with the ex having found a new person. Imagine seeing that red heart which Facebook uses to denote changes to relationship status. I guess it would irk some people to see their ex hook up with someone else just days or weeks after their break-up while they’re nursing a bruised heart.

So what to do? Some people say they will never add their boyfriends as Facebook friends in the first place, and will remain as single until they’re married. I understand not broadcasting that you’re in a relationship which may end up as transient, but not adding the person as a friend doesn’t really sound realistic. Others say they will remove those friends once they become exes. Sounds more doable, at the same time, you may come across as churlish and bitter and who wants to be the one who is worse off by a break up?

Let’s even talk about people who are in exclusive and defined relationships or now married. A lot of us prefer to be ostriches about past sexual or relationship history. For those who do know, do you insist your partner removes all the exes from their friend list? Or do you encourage your partner to add their exes? I’m one who believes in not burning bridges and have found myself doing the latter. I add old flames and ask Atala to feel free to do the same.

Of course, one part of my mind expects that the reconnections will stay superficial. But what if it doesn’t? What if old embers burst back into flame during the course of a cursory Facebook chat? What if you open the door to the kind of ex that will leave hurtful messages that can be misconstrued by those reading. You know the kind of suggestive insinuations that can even set off the person you’re now with?

What do you think and what would you do?


****Excerpted from an article published in the September issue of AFRIKAN GODDESS Read the full version at the link.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Weekend Pictures - Universal Studios Hollywood

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UPDATE: For those in the United States, have a great Labor Day! (Atala thinks this is ironic, a holiday with no work is termed labor day. Oh well, enjoy it my people.)

These are a few of the snapshots I took during a visit with my cousin to the Universal Studios Hollywood. All I kept saying was wow, wow, wow. They have this new KingKong 360 3D showing as part of the Studio Tour and men! If you're ever in LA, don't miss it. I can honestly say that I had not experienced 3D until I went to Universal. Forget what we see in the cinemas, these were the real deal. Shrek 4D, Terminator Virtual experience. OMG! I'll stop here but check out more pics on my Facebook page.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Debate Tuesday - Scholar!

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For people living in Nigeria - Is it better to get a graduate degree abroad or find a good one in Nigeria?
Doesn't matter where you live - Is it better to get a masters immediately after the first degree or find a job?

This is a topic that always crops up among us young and not so young people. We seem to be caught at a crossroad at almost every stage of our lives. I visited with some family last week in LA and the second issue came up with one of my cousins. She is yet to decide. I've also read blog posts from here where people are taking one path or the other.

I personally know it's difficult to see the road to our goals, one of the most important of which is to be successful in life. At around 18 or so, when we're in University getting our first degree, our parents begin to allow us some independence. They accept that we can make some decisions of our own since we now usually live alone and away from home.

This independence can be exciting and at the same time scary. It means that all the mistakes you make are now on your head. You can't blame anyone for your flops anymore.

Some of the major decisions we're faced with are the ones above. I had the same dilemma on both counts. I graduated in Nigeria, finished my NYSC and began thinking of the way forward. I knew the value of a graduate degree so that was part of the plan but where to get it.

I started searching online for schools abroad with scholarships. I was also checking National dailes for schools in Nigeria. This search took sometime, so I knew I had to get a proper job in the meantime. I applied for schools in Nigeria but there was always something not right. In the end, it was a school abroad that offered me an admission which I took up.

I can say it was worth it, but I have also heard people who are not too happy with their scholarly sojorns abroad. It is either too expensive, too tasking, you get no job afterwards, they don't want to return to Nigeria, you name it. And for working before graduate school. I admit it was a bigger shock going from being an banker to a poor student doing odd jobs to make ends meet.

One thing I can say is this. Degree from Nigeria or abroad, work first or directly back to school, I think it is best to get a graduate degree somewhere along the line.

What do you think?

ps, All the best to those in the middle of making these life-changing decisions. God's grace.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Picture Weekend - @ the LA Black Book Expo

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It was a wonderful time at the LA Black book Expo. I had fun meeting with other authors, most especially Lutishia Lovely (in the fourth picture), who Atala and I are fans of her books. I shared a table with a wonderful lady who makes inspirational stuff, met some book club reps and sold AHTM to a great guy who carried his copy with pride. Who said men don't need their hearts mended? The video is of me reading a poem on my thoughts on romance and relationships as derived from AHTM. You can see more pictures and video when you join my page on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Myne.Whitman .








Friday, August 27, 2010

Listen to my review on KUOW/NPR radio Today 2.45 PST

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Myne Whitman: Books About Leaving Home

If you've lived in the same place your whole life, it's tough to know what it's like to have your life split into two places. Myne Whitman knows exactly what that's like. She's a writer who lives in Bellevue, but she immigrated here from Nigeria. So she's thought a lot about what it means to make a life in a new place while missing the old place. Myne talked with KUOW's Jeannie Yandel about two books that explore what it's like to leave home for someplace new.

Myne Whitman discussed the books "The Road Home" by Rose Tremain and "The Thing Around Your Neck" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

This was a thrilling experience and my first time in a radio studio.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Onaedo - The Blacksmiths Daughter

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Onaedo - The Blacksmith's daughter is the first novel by Ngozi Achebe. If you’re a fan of the style of Chinua Achebe, who happens to be Ngozi's uncle, this book will not disappoint. The main story is that of Onaedo, a young teenager of Igbo ethnicity, in the time before the English colonialists made our geographic space a country called Nigeria. The novel is engaging and swift-paced but also manages to be serious and moving.

Synopsis from the publishers

Onaedo - The Blacksmith's daughter is a work of fiction and the tale of two women separated by four hundred years of history. Maxine, a modern American woman who is half-white and half-African comes across a set of diaries written by a slave in the 16th century and tries to write a book about it. She uses elements of the discovered diaries in her book and also information she has discovered herself based on ancient stories retold to her by a collaborator.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Picture Weekend - New African Woman

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So I got a magazine recently, a woman's magazine. The name is New African Woman. It was courtesy of Belinda Otas who had several articles in it including one in which I appeared, woo hoo...LOL. I was so very excited.

Don't get me wrong. I've appeared on several other magazines and newspaper articles, some full page, especially in Nigeria. But usually, I'll just hear about them from my publicist or friends and family, and maybe a scanned copy. This is my first international press appearance and I was also able to get a physical copy. Myne Whitman and A Heart to Mend in the summer issue of NAW. If you haven't got your copy yet, go out and look for it. The mag is available in major cities around the world.

Yeah, and another reason I was excited to get the magazine was this. The fashion. I need to go back to women's magazines seriously. Especially as I had been moaning about my lack of fashion sense and style. I had a subscription to True Love WA (now FLAIR) back in Abuja and getting NAW reminded me what I was missing. The inspirational stories, the news, the role models, the fashion, LOL...

Check this page and the new African woman below. Don't mind my geek glasses. Another unwise decision. I should have stuck with my old no-frills.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I need a Stylist. Help please!

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Don't I wish I looked like Brandy right there?

I know some people who wake up every morning, shower, and step out the door looking great. I even used to think that celebrities were blessed with some awesome fashion sense by which they look gorgeous all the time. I later found out that they have stylists working on them from head to toe. I've come to start wishing that I also had a high quality personal stylist, but where will I find the money to pay the hefty price?

There are some absolutely amazing bloggers who share their style when they can. I follow a few of them in the hope that some of that fabulousness will rub off on me but for where? I still have to make my own decisions on how to dress up each morning.

It used to be better when I had an office job, I dressed corporately up every morning and built my style around what my colleagues wore or what I saw on the streets. Now that I'm a full time writer, it's more difficult. Casual has never been my forte and that's usually how I have to dress when we go out for fun or just out. Though I'm a bit better at evening dresses.

Now I'm about to travel to LA, you know the fashion capital of the world. Who knows, I might even run into some of those celebrities, our very own fashionable DITH and so on. And I feel I need a stylist to prepare. Or maybe I can get my family over there to take me shopping.

But that would be too late right? LOL...

When I go shopping, I just don't know what to get. I hate trying on clothes for hours on end in the fitting room so I end up just picking up stuff that I think looks good. And then when I get home and wear them, I will tire for myself.  Sometimes I return, other times, they just pile up in my wardrobe until I can offload them to my less discerning friends and family, hehehehhe...Do I even need to talk about accessories? Did anyone say clueless? I have my Swarovski ear studs and heart necklace and my rings and that's basically it. Shoes nko? Please don't rub it in. I have stacks of them and none that sweets my belle.

Anyway, this is a cry for help. From Myne to YOU...You know I have to form celebrity to fit in with the celebs on the red carpet.

If you live in the Seattle area, give me a shout.

If you live in LA, even better. I can trust your credentials. LOL...

Someone please give your sister a hand or don't blame me when you see my dowdy LA pics. And believe me, I will put them in your face every weekend as usual. So don't say I didn't warn you.


ps, where are the must see places in LA?  If you can make it to the book expo, lovely. If not, I'll still love to hang out.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Folake Taylor - The Only Way is Up (Guest Author)

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As you may have guessed, I meet a lot of people online and some of them are writers. Folake Taylor is one of them. I saw her review of "In my dreams, it was Simpler" on Amazon and added her on Facebook. I later won her book in a giveaway. Since then, we've started a good relationship.

As part of this interview, she has agreed to give out an autographed copy of The Only way is Up to one of my readers. So first person to comment saying they want the book gets it. (restricted to US residents only and someone who hasn't won something here before. Sorry!)

- What inspires you to write?
Life. I am a great thinker and as I see things that cause me to ponder and go into deep thought, I get the urge to write about it. These are most commonly issues of injustice, love, relationships, marriage, gender roles, gender inequality and such.

- Do you have a specific writing style?
I am down to earth and to the point, if that counts as a style of writing.

- What are your current projects?
Presently, in addition to continued marketing of my debut book "The Only Way is Up", I am working on my first novel, a women's contemporary novel AKA chick lit, if I might say. I don't like to take life too seriously even while addressing very serious issues of our times. A good laugh is never out of style. I also run two blogs. A writers blog called "This 'n' That" and a blog for "The Only Way is Up" called "Empowering You".

- You're a practicing physician, do you see writing as a alternate career or will it remain part-time?
Writing is definitely an alternate career but only if I want it to be. I love medicine just as much if not more than I always have and the practice of it is fun for me on a daily basis. I love my job. I will continue to practice medicine for a very long time. There is a shortage of primary care doctors so I believe my services are needed. I love writing and to me, both writing and medicine go hand in hand. As long as I am of service to humanity, I'll be fulfilled. So, yes writing will remain part-time.

- Can you share a little about your writing routine?
I get inspired about something and I immediately start to make a note of the idea in it's rawest form. I do not like to write long hand. I usually either make a note on my blackberry or type directly into a word document if my laptop is handy. I am an organized person so for my non-fiction work, I started off with an outline of the chapters and the whole of the first chapter in one evening. I subsequently filled in the gap and was done with my rough draft in one month. I then went into edit mode, some research etc. My current project is a little different. I tried new things.

Terry McMillan had a challenge on her facebook fan page for writers after I had written my first one hundred or so pages over a few weeks really as a trial of fiction. Prior to then, I had never written any work of fiction. I have always written articles or narrative type pieces. I wrote the next three hundred pages in three weeks and finished the book's first draft. I also got sick afterwards however and will not be trying that again! For this, I did not have an outline or a full story in my head. As she suggested, I let the characters take on a life of their own and didn't think too far ahead of where I was taking them. I thought about it the night before and had a rough idea then put it in writing the next day. We'll see how it turns out when it's done. I have slowed down my pace however as there is only one of me!

- The Only Way is up is your first novel. Do you intend to write only Non-fiction?
I already touched on this so I won't bore you with a full explantion. I intend to write anything and everything. I will stretch myself. I will push myself to the limits. I have to admit that non-fiction does come more naturally to me however as it is what I have done all my life, informally.

- Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Marketing a self-published non-fiction book is challenging but I have enjoyed every step of the process and I feel like I have learnt a new trade. I love challenges. I learn more each day. And it may be surprising to some that the writing is the simplest part of an author's job. I was also erronously of the opinion that I had done something huge when I wrote the book. Little did I know it was the mere beginning.
The most challenging for me is perhaps the lack of time since I have another full-time job in addition to my domestic duties and the writing.

- When and why did you begin writing? When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I began writing professionally on memorial day weekend in 2009 to be precise. I have however written for fun all my life and in recent years, I have expressed myself more commonly on facebook.
When I was a teenager and I had several friends in boarding schools in Nigeria, I would write them very long letters with graphic descriptions of happenings back home and they found these so entertaining that they would read my letters with their friends who did not even know me. This was of course before emails became popular and we wrote and mailed actual letters to friends and family. These started of as "Dear Dolapo..." for instance and not "Hey girl" like nowadays. It was formal and structured and it really did form part of a foundation of being articulate. I suspect that my vocabulary then was more extensive than now unfortunately. What I would do to get aspects of those times back.

- What books have most influenced your life most?
Barack Obama's "Dreams From My Father" had an immense impact on me that I cannot explain. It changed me. And though I was raised to be a confident black woman who believed she could do anything, I had a renewed sense of the true meaning of going out on a limb and trying new things.

-Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Yes we are still talking about my president! I love his style, his humor, his intelligence, his wit and his directness. If you have not read his work, please start with "Dreams From My Father" and you will be glad you read it.

- Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? What books are you reading now?
I am currently reading "Apologize Apologize" by Elizabeth Kelly and it will take me forever and a day because I have yet to find a plot or storyline in it and I am on page 150 of 320. The prose is to die for however and I am reading it like a text book in the art of story-telling!

New authors that have grasped my interest include Myne Whitman and I just applaud her for doing something with "A Heart to Mend" that I have not seen any Nigerian do in recent years with fiction that is romance. I look forward to more excellent work from this prolific author. I recently read "In My Dreams It Was Simpler" by a group of Nigerian authors and they have me hooked on their blog for the season two.

I have also enjoyed "The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives" by Lola Soneyin. I just recently started reading fiction again as I had a close to ten year period in which I only read non-fiction. I guess I was trying to develop myself. Maybe? How else can I explain it? (Laughing).

- Are there other people that have inspired or supported your writing outside of family members?
I have a lot of supportive friends and even authors I have recently started to network with such as Myne Whitman, Pauline R. Evans and several authors I have come in contact with through social networking. It is important to surround oneself with positive and progressive people in the industry that are headed up just like you are but secure enough in themselves to not need to waste any energy pulling you down.

- Any last words? How can on reach you?
Thank you Myne for this interview. I can be reached at Ft@theonlywayisup.net
F. Taylor on facebook
@folaketaylor on twitter