The first thing I felt when I was asked to be part of the Tales From the Other Side Anthology alongside Daniel and thirteen other writers was sheer horror.
You see, I’m not one of those writers that work fine when the word ‘deadline’ is being thrown about. This is why I don’t do workshops.
Daniel and a few other writers had submitted their stories two days into the ten-day deadline we were given. I got very polite reminders. The editor, Bankole Banjo (crowned Oga Banky by yours truly) was very understanding. But the thing is, everything I saw or heard reminded me that I had less and less days to write something tangible. At this stage, I had nothing. Nadda. Zilch.
It reminded me of a similar experience at a women’s magazine office in London, trying to cough up good fiction in twenty minutes. To be fair, my writing skills were tied down by something else this time.
I had arrived late to my meeting (after ending up three tube stations from where I was supposed to be). I was still flustered when I took the lift to the magazine’s floor and when a lovely lady asked if I wanted coffee, I said yes. I asked for sugar. Some water. She got me orange juice and writing materials too. She was even kind enough to show me around whilst I tried to relax for my meeting with the fiction editor. I was there to impress the fiction editor. This was why, when the woman that had been showing me around introduced herself as the fiction editor, all I could think was, no. I did impress her. She would forever remember me as the writer who sent her on errands. So, all I could think of was this incident whilst trying to write a short story that would appeal to their readers. And although I did come up with the first part of a story that she encouraged me to finish and submit to the magazine, I won’t be forgetting my diva moment any time soon.
For the anthology, I did the only thing I could do which was to forget the deadline and just write. It helped that I had finished writing the last episodes of the series I was writing. Letting nothing else but the characters in, I listened to their narratives and wrote from the heart.
So, now it is ready. The collection of great shorts by some of the best writers I have come across. These young men and women are amazing as some of you would agree. They are the type of writers that place you firmly in the middle of their narration so that the stories come alive as you read. They will entice you with words. Carry you with their artful lyrics. When you are done, you will be itching to pay for it.