Sacrifice today for tomorrow because today is actually all you’ve got.
- Ezeonyeka Godswill
My name is Godswill Ezeonyeka and I am blessed to be here. I feel privileged but what can I say. When God calls He fills also. That is to say whatever you are meant to do you already have capacity to. It just needs a bit of harnessing.
7 years ago, Wordsmith was not a word meet to describe me. In fact I was at an impasse with myself because I really wanted to know what it was I could do to impact my world, but writing at the time was not an option. Probably just a distant memory because rewind some 15 years I had tried my hands on poetry and that was it. But then during my university days, I once was watching an episode of Turning Point and they had this poet perform a piece. As I watched, I had this certainty, call it conviction if you will, that I could do what she did and needless to say I was excited inside because I loved it. I loved it and I wanted to do it and your guess is as good as mine “I did nothing about it”. Till I got an idea that was stubborn, it wouldn’t leave. It seemed as if my mind had a life of its own and soon I had to write. It was my first good poem (at least I think so) and it was more of a release than it was passion.
But then I had this question. WHAT NEXT? Now that I have written. What next?
That question’s metamorphosis is the vision that is Christ A Poet. You can visit http://www.christapoet.com to see what that is about. But this story I shared is to make a point; “Purpose is what directs passion and skill to solve problems”.
Many people writers are familiar with the writer’s block syndrome. But I can tell with your writer’s block on full gear, if your life depends on it, you will write and write well. As writers or artists in general, if your art creation is not for a reason bigger than yourself, you will always be substandard to who you can be.
Purpose drives you when you have the “inspiration”. Purpose drives you when you are sick. Purpose keeps you up late at night thinking of the perfect word to complete a line of thought. Purpose will make you go to your friends, beg them to put on the generator so you charge your phone and write. In general, Purpose takes the excuses out of the game. If you still have excuses (no matter how valid they are) for not writing, then you do not have a big enough reason/purpose yet. Purpose in simple definition is Why you write.
SO WHY DO YOU WRITE?
Before you rush to answer this question lets see what writing can do.
How Books Saved My Life
NOVEMBER 1, 2013
By Lindsey Collins
There is a term (a legitimate medical term), called bibliotherapy, and I think, unknowingly, it might have saved my life.
Bibliotherapy– noun; an expressive therapy that uses an individual’s relationship to the content of books and poetry and other written words as therapy. The basic concept behind bibliotherapy is that reading is a healing experience.
There are libraries that make a practice of prescribing books to people as a form of therapy. The Center for Fiction in New York City actually employs bibliotherapists to give out book prescriptions. I think this might be the most amazing idea.
But back to me, and how books saved my life.
I was never suicidal, but I was angry and confused and hurting. My story is less common than most (at least I think so) but I hope you will still understand. Tragic circumstances took an angry, typical 15-year-old and made me into a walking emotional wreck. Most people who knew me then probably thought it wasn’t a big difference considering what I’d been through, but it was. I am just an exceptionally good faker.
When I was 15, my dad got sick. The disease doesn’t matter, but six months later he was blind. It’s been more than seven years, and it’s a fact that I still have a hard time accepting. When he first got sick, there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t make him better, couldn’t show the doctors how to fix him, and I felt helpless. So I turned to books. And TV shows. Any story I could find with a mystical, supernatural, or mysterious component. I carried books everywhere, weighing down my purse or just in my hands like a personal shield. I needed stories that didn’t require me to think beyond reading the words or watching a screen, and I threw myself in other (fictional) people’s problems. I cried with them, I laughed with them, I pitied them, and I used them. I used them to soften my own problems, the problems lurking in my house that I couldn’t repair. I don’t think I realized at the time, how much my situation was influencing my choices. I picked shows where people had the ability to heal, something I would’ve given anything to be able to do. I picked shows where 16-year-old girls fought monsters, both real and imaginary. In those six months I probably read a hundred books and watched a thousand hours of TV (sleep was not really being a friend at this point). Mostly it’s all a blur.
I’m 22 now. I’ve graduated from college, and I’m looking for a job. Looking back, I think those stories saved my life. They let my mind walk away and showed me that the characters I loved were the strong ones, and that I could be strong too.
This I culled from a site to show something people don’t pay attention to. Writing can change the world, one person a time. Yes many think reading is boring, yes many don’t see why you work so hard to string these words, and yes it all seems futile and you feel not appreciated and irrelevant. But you have your audience and no matter how little or big they are, they are hanging on your every word and they deserve your very best.
I am for the most part a poet. This means I try a lot of stuff, and I have learnt much. This platform is a bit limited for a proper transfer of knowledge but instead of giving you fish. I will tell you why and how you could fish.
First, you are only as creative as the amount of skill you have access to. What you dont know you cannot be creative with. Grow your skill.
Lets take poetry:
Poetry is the genre of literature with the fewest use of words. Prose and Drama get the liberty of using a tonne of words to drive home a point that the rhythm and rhyme constrictions of poetry will give you only 8 syllables to do same. Like every art form, there are rules. You have got to learn them. Some of such is:
- Rhyme and Rhythm: Lose this and you don’t have a poem. Your ability to string words in such a fashion that the mind of the reader travels but you still have control of where it goes is key to creating a good piece of poetry.
Disclaimer: Not every poem rhymes but all poems have rhythm.
- Structure: With many types of poetry at our disposal, an understanding of structure gives you a guide to follow. So when you choose a structure, you stick to it and get the best off it.
Examples of structural decisions:
Number of lines per verse
Rhymes or no rhymes
Language of choice
Find them, understand them. This applies to most forms of writing.
There is a lot you can do with writing but if you don’t seek to know you might find yourself stuck in a circle, writing the same things. And then writing gets boring both for you and the reader. So seek skill!
One easy way to learn is to watch and learn from those doing stuff you can’t yet do. In the story above… The poet in question was Janette…ikz. I presently have almost all her videos available on the internet. Infact I presently have over a 100 poetry videos. I am not sure of the number because I have not counted.
Also exercise is key. Take time to try new stuff when you write. You might not get it now but you will get better if you start now. Subject your work to criticisms and take them well. In 5 years time no word said to you will mean as much. And by all means write! Write! Write!
One more thing.
There are two kinds of writers. Those that wait for inspiration and those that draw inspiration out of its hiding place.
All these I am pointing is to say; When you have purpose, you have a reason to write. When you acquire skill you are equipped to fulfill purpose.
These little lines of mine I wrote is a spin off the popular children song (I’m sure you all noticed). And like this song I hope this time we shared gives you a reason or an answer or inspiration to know you have what it takes to change the world in those little lines of yours.
(C) Godswill Ezeonyeka
For a long time in Christendom, there has been an unfounded nursed notion that, active political engagement is inherently defiled and corrupt, hence Christians who are serious and passionate about the gospel should not be involved. Most Christians are of the view that anything besides pulpit preaching of the gospel is a distraction from the Great Commission. while this sounds religiously true, it is urgently necessary to understand that we believe in a God who cares passionately about His world and the whole of His creation (Jn. 3:16) and is therefore concerned about its affairs such as, how it is governed and who governs it.
The Lord in Matthew 28:18-20, commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey God in every area of life. In making disciples of all nations and in all areas, we must also disciple people to make godly decisions about politics and governance. Nevertheless, this is not the stance of many Christians. Some prefer to be indifferent towards governance and the whole process of electioneering. In Nigeria, majority of the active and most influential politicians belong to the ‘other side’ and are at the helms of government, advancing the purpose of their beliefs. That is largely the reason why today, the afflictions of Christians are multiplying all over the country; the incessant harassment of Christian farmers all over the country by Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram insurgencies, the displacement of Christians from their original villages in Kaduna, Benue, Taraba etc. and many more terrorist actions are few examples.
While some of these persecutions may have their place in awakening the Nigerian church and increasing her thirst for revival, could this have been the original will of our God; that His people have no safe place of worship? These killings and terror attacks might go on and many more may arise simply not because God wants it but because Christianity lacks influence in Nigerian politics. It is not just okay anymore to fold hands and watch helplessly as evil men decide the fate of God’s true children. In this write up, I introduce the term “political hopelessness” to help explain the default condition of an ordinary Christian in Nigeria towards politics. I also try to charge the heart of Nigerian Christians to get involved in politics, lead and establish God’s purpose on earth.
The lack of Christian influence in the Nigerian government has led to a vicious cycle illustrated below:
Most Christians have recoiled from affairs of the government due to past experiences and therefore have developed a default mindset that sees politics and every politician as evil and corrupt. This has consequently engendered borderless political apathy. However, not getting involved does not solve the problem, it only makes Christians to be outnumbered and consequently loose in the elections. So when the elections are over and most of the seats are occupied by non-Christians, we have nobody to represent our interests. No one to stand up and pass bills that protect Christian interests and affairs as evidently displayed in various systematised anarchy unleashed against innocent Christian farmers, villagers, schools or gatherings.
As time went on, we lost our voices and because our voices were lost, our interest were buried! We consequently returned to the beginning of the cycle. And on and on goes the vicious cycle. This cycle has been on for decades in Nigeria and we have consequently settled with a sense of hopelessness having ignorantly concluded that nothing could be done anymore.
Furthermore, many so-called Christian politicians have worsened matters. They come to the churches and kneel on the altars only to get elected and enrich themselves. Such people have lost the trust of the Christian masses for they have helped make them hopeless. Reserved for them in hell is everlasting torment, except they repent and occupy for God.
In order to remedy the situation however, the cycle has to be broken. Christians must begin to deliberately strategize and put trusted people in the right positions. These efforts may not yield immediate results but at least will set the pace for generations to come. The Bible also challenges us in Luke 14: 28 & 31 to first sit and count the cost, and plan. With determination and proper strategy, Christ will rule and God’s counsel will be established. It is necessary that stable government policies that promote the preaching and practice of God’s word at all levels of civil service be implemented. It will be glorious if the government of the day sees and believes in the end time revival of the land and hands over power to the Holy Spirit to move in the lives of citizens. How can this be achieved? To what extent is this achievable? It takes having a sincerely consecrated disciple of Christ to be in power. How else can he/she be in power if not encouraged to accept God’s leading and training, and then get involved in governance?
It is worthy of note that the involvement of Christians in government through the ages is the most vibrant reason why today, we have hospitals, abolition of slavery and the practice of killing twins, modern science, the true understanding of the worth of women, regard for human life, great works of art and literature, a workable system of justice, education for the common human being, the free-enterprise system, etc. A writer tells a story of a Christian minister named John Witherspoon who became president of the College of New Jersey in 1768. While there, Witherspoon taught Biblical principles of government to his students. Of the 478 young men who were graduated during his tenure, 114 became ministers; 13 were state governors; 3 were U. S. Supreme Court judges; 20 were U.S. Senators; 33 were U.S. Congressmen; Aaron Burr, Jr., became Vice-President; and James Madison became President. As a Christian, Witherspoon exerted an enormous influence on the direction of American government. So did Joseph and Daniel during their times in the Bible. These are eloquent testimonies of men whom God used in politics during their time. What makes it different now?
As Christians, we must come to the understanding that God is interested in having His Children take over every sphere of influence even on earth. And we must deliberately determine to make His counsel stand if we truly love Him. The true proof of our love for God and one another lies partly in our participation in politics albeit, with a kingdom mindset. How do we claim to love God if we don’t engage in things that enhance and promote His kingdom? How do we claim to love one another if we don’t participate in the area that most profoundly shapes basic rights and the freedom of others? We must arise, take the bull by the horns and put an end to this vicious cycle of hopelessness. You have the opportunity to influence the world for God if you will only take it.
However, taking the bull by the horns comes with a price. We must realize that this is a mandate worth living for and if need be, worth dying for. We must be ready to loose our lives in pursuit of this mission, bearing in mind that to live is Christ and to die is gain. And also that as long as we remain in the will of God the Father, there shall no evil befall us neither shall any plague come nigh our dwelling, except it be His will. We therefore, must come to a point where our lives mean little in the face of God’s great promises. He has said, “he that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal”. Eternity is the bigger picture. We must be able to give up our lives to pursue Heaven’s mandate. If we do not come to that point, then it is better not to have started. Are we ready to die if need be? Are we ready to say like Daniel and his friends, “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” We will not compromise. And the Father will fight for us. We have the opportunity to influence the world for God if we will only take it. May God grant us the courage, Amen.
Steven Kator IORFA
So to begin, I’d like to know your full name.
No middle name 😁.
Oh that’s nice. Where were you born?
Oron, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
That’s where you’re from also?
Yes. Urue Offong Local Government, precisely.
Tell me about your childhood. What was it like growing up?
I was raised by a single woman as the only child, with novels for siblings. I was bullied through secondary school and I expressed my self-pity in my notepads. It veered into more productive content. About the home, there was nothing much to make of it, other than I spent most of my days alone with books.
Wow, that’s interesting, and to think a bunch of children go through this scenario daily. It’s awesome to see how you channeled all the negative energy to writing. What are some of your favorite things? (Book, Color, sport, subject, etc)
Wow. I didn’t have a favorite book. I read everything, but mostly fiction – Anything by Hardley Chase (original and fake Chase), Ian Flemmings (007 Series), Nick Carter, Don Pendleton (Mack Bolan Series). Read a couple of Mills and Boons but romance wasn’t my thing, so I left it. I never had the luxury of a favorite color either. I read mostly spy/detective/crime stuff, I wasn’t into sports. (Nice. I read Hardley too. Kept me company as a child) Oh Chase is quite common and popular, which is why there a lot of Chase novels out there that were not written by René Lodge Brabazon Raymond. I also loved Agriculture – because, I was raised in a village and farming supported my mum’s income.
So talking of income, how was it at home? Was it steady?
Oh, Akwa Ibom State Government has never been known to pay regularly. My mum worked with the General Hospital in Oron as a nurse, so income wasn’t steady, which is why we had to farm and sell the produce to support the little home.
That must have been challenging
Well, yeah! Mum, did what she could and we were okay. There was always food on the table.
Is she still with you?
Yeah, she’s retired now in Akwa Ibom and I am resident in Lagos
That’s good to hear. What about the friends you had grown up? How did they influence you?
I had one friend in primary school and Two in secondary.
I owe my creative bent to the friend in primary school. His parents were literature teachers and buffs. All the story books and novels I read while growing up came from him. They had about five shelves of novels.
Incredible! That’s a lot of novels.
Did you attend religious activities, growing up? What are the challenges you’ve faced because of your beliefs?
Yeah. I attended religious activities. My mum was and is still very churchy but after secondary school, adolescent rebellion set in and I veered off. Christ found me in 2007. My greatest challenge was graduating and receiving instructions to create Christian content. I wish I could say I have been burning ever since but I am just a struggling Christian trying to make sense of my walk with Christ.
Hitherto I was already writing for local TV and that instruction was hard to follow, is still hard to follow, seeing I have responsibilities. Also, I find in me a conflict to take in illicit content prevalent in the media today and a desire to stay off. Simply saying, going to the movies or not.
What about school? Tell me about your academic history. (Primary school, secondary school, University, any other degrees?)
Primary School – Infant Jesus’ Nursery school/Onyieme Montessorri Primary School (1989 – 1995)
Secondary School – Methodist Boys’ High School/Methodist Senior Science College Oron(1995 – 2001)
University of Lagos (Psychology) – 2005 – 2009 Just a B.Sc
Okay Nice. You mentioned earlier how you were bullied and expressed yourself in writing. How often did you express yourself with the ink and when did you eventually start writing professionally?
Writing was cathartic for me as a teen because I was bullied a lot. I spent my days expressing my thoughts on paper, but my pieces then were mostly on self-pity and loneliness. I remember my first poem pad in Junior Secondary School, I believe I was thirteen then. I gave it to a cousin to read and she said, “Billy, why are your poems always sad? Isn’t there anything happy about your life?” That remark changed my perspective and I started writing about things other than my self pity.
I write as often as I can, which is almost everyday because it also happens to be something I do professionally. I wrote my first script for TV in 2004 – It never got produced. My first show to be broadcasted was about 5 episodes of “Family Affair” directed by Kingsley Omoefe. That was 2005.
That’s pretty cool. What is your favorite genre to write? Being a professional writer, which author influenced your work and how did you improve over the years, What was the process like, Who helped you through?
I have a myriad of authors whose works I respect (this is not an endorsement of them as people, as I don’t know them personally),– some of them are Mario Puzo, Robert Ludlum, Ted Dekker, Dan Brown (he does his research), Stephen King. These are all Fiction Writers
For non-fiction – Robert McKee, Christopher Vogler, John Piper, John MacArthur, Francis Chan, Tim Keller, Charles Spurgeon, C. S Lewis (I love his fiction too). I read a lot of books on writing and film-making. Even when I was in university. I would cover my course syllabus early in the semester and borrow writing/film-making books from the library to read. I watch YouTube videos too. You’d be surprised at the depth of writing materials on YouTube.
I can say through the years, I have spent more money buying books than buying clothing items. Improving over the years was and is still hinged on research and study. About a preferred genre, I am not sure I do crime and fantasy well For TV, drama comes naturally. And when I write for Stage, comedy comes naturally.
But the most important thing in any genre I choose to write per time is the audience I am writing it for. Once the audience had been identified, it is easy to understand their needs and deliver. Audience and Value.
Awesome! You’re a well read African! Give me some gist on your book, Jesus in Jeans. (what inspired you to write it? When did you finish? When did you start? What were the challenges you faced writing and publishing?)
With “Jesus in Jeans” (JIJ) I just wanted to write the Jesus Story in contemporary times I started research in 2010, then started writing in June 2012 (Stayed in my apartment for two months without leaving the compound).
(How did he eat?)
When Pastors say, Daniel survived the lion’s den, what is the lion’s den in 2017? The routine was simple – wake, devotion, drink coffee, workout, work till 7 or 8 pm, sleep. That was the cycle I was living in a family apartment, so I didn’t need to step out to get food.
(Ok. Praise God.)
I don’t think I would do that anymore, seeing I have responsibilities now.
About publishing, it took me three years. I contacted Thomas Nelson and they rejected my manuscript because it wasn’t solicited, but they referred me to their self-publishing arm – WestBow Press. The major challenge I had was funding the publication. It took everything I had and some to publish the book in 2015. There you have it.
You finished writing the same year?
Within two months, because it was a marathon write.
In the publishing industry and among your audience, was there any opposition because of the Christian view?
I don’t think so, even though it wasn’t widely accepted I didn’t get any obvious opposition.
How would you describe the plot and setting of the book, was it easy bringing someone from 2000 years ago to 21st century?
Hmmmmm. The plot is simple – Jesus’ story; he came, battled with the “Syndicate of Religious Lawyers” and was framed for a crime he didn’t commit, then was sentenced and executed. It wasn’t easy merging the settings and some people think I took it too far. For example, the scene where Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman by the well – She was married 5 times and living with another man (Harlot, so to say). The well was forbidden for Jews (a nightclub is forbidden for Christians). So I made “Jay” (Jesus), preach to a stripper in a nightclub. Is this something Jesus would do? I will ask him when I see him.
What are the hopes you have for the novel? What kind of impact did you intend to make with it and what kind of feedback did you get, how did you feel about them?
My hopes for the novel? Help my generation see a relevant Jesus. Not a teacher who lived 2020 years ago but a homie who also happened to be God I was disappointed after publishing, because the book didn’t “blow” as I thought it would. Also, I was hoping to distribute it free in Secondary Schools, sadly my budget wasn’t high enough because I printed in the US. Howbeit, I distributed to about 6 schools, then I gassed out. However, I know better now.
That must have cost a lot. But I’m sure you didn’t give up. Are there any more of your works out there, what other occupations are you involved in?
I have a blog that I haven’t posted on since last year (you found the blog. Shame). I’m hoping to change that this month – C.I.A (Christed I Am). I am also a documentary filmmaker – I create documentaries, video profiles, presentations, commercials through my company Ideomania Limited.
I like the style of the blog, It’s really relatable. So What are the goals you are still working towards?
Per Goals – The vision is to establish a movement where any one who wants to create any form of Christian content can come, learn/develop the necessary skills, receive funding and shoot out. When I say Christian content, I mean anything arts and entertainment that proposes the relevant Christ.
That’s a really wide vision. I trust it will be actualized because this is what the world needs and what better way to start than in the immediate community. So what have you done so far that you are more proud of? How do you want people to remember you?
I believe that question is too early for now. Right now, I am more Jonah than Paul and I don’t believe I have done the best I can. So, nothing.
Well thankfully, Jonah got out of the fish eventually, I believe you will too. So Bill, Is there anything you do currently that you have decided “you know what? I would never do this again God help me”, and is there anything you would love to do over again?
Okay, procrastinate! I do that more than I should. Anything I would love to do over? I am not sure.
Being a creative, do you have someone who supports you through your process? A significant other perhaps? ( Are you married?)
Yes, I am, to a beautiful woman.
Wonderful! How does she contribute to your creative process? Oh, and what’s her name? If you don’t mind sharing.
She’s my number one critic. She reads all my works before they go out. Her name is Ibiene Bidiaque.
I’d like to hear your view on a prevailing issue in our society. What do you think is the problem with morality in our society? As Christians, what is the reaction to it and should it be that way?
Today, humans want to uphold morality and discard God. That is our society’s fault. The moment God is excluded from the equation then there is no single truth – no standard for morality I believe the entity who created this standard is God. Hence, there is no morality without God. So if this entity isn’t human, who or what then is this entity? An entity that isn’t human because humans cannot create a standard because all humans are flawed. I am no religious authority and I do not have any titles. My views are mine and must not be seen as doctrine – search for doctrine in the Bible. I am just a struggling Christian trying to make sense of his walk with Christ. But I know this, our society will never attain morality until it exalts God.
Then, any words for young Christian creatives out there?
For young Christian creatives, you have the Holy Spirit, allow Him lead. Even when you can’t make sense of where you are .
I forgot to ask; How old are you? And when is your birthday?
I turned 32 on July 31st.
Great conversation, Bill. It was nice getting to know you and we look forward to seeing more ground breaking work from you.
Thank you for having me, I hope my views will remain mine and seen as holy. We all learn. And I am always open to learn as long as Christ tarries.
Speaking with Bill taught me to take the creative process a step at a time and to be focused(how do you stay 2months in isolation writing?!). I do hope you learnt more.
To purchase a copy of Jesus In Jeans please follow this link https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Jeans-Bill-Bidiaque/dp/1490866574
Interviewer: Ifeanyi Chikereuba
For: The Christ A Poet Team