Looking Back Through a Misty Film: Recollection from the 2019 Purple Hibiscus Creative Writing Workshop

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by Bura-Bari Nwilo

In December 2019, I stood over Oly in my apartment in Nsukka and drew her attention to posts of Facebook friends who had screenshot acceptance letters signed by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for the year’s creative writing workshop. And in my eyes, she could see mild fury hinged on disappointment. I deafened her with tales of my yearly rejections and why I felt I had a right to be disappointed with all things Nigerian.

Then by whatever stroke of fate it was, I checked my email and saw my own letter. Like a letter I had once received explaining how I was among a shortlist of 50 amazing writers and the apology for what could not become my invitation letter, I read those years of rejection and apology into what was an acceptance letter for 2019. When I read through to the second paragraph, I felt an inch taller and almost swiftly, I was massively subdued, like I stood on a tower of resentment for all that had been my misfortune and it turned out it was a day of glory.

When I read through to the second paragraph, I felt an inch taller and almost swiftly, I was massively subdued, like I stood on a tower of resentment for all that had been my misfortune and it turned out it was a day of glory.

Oly shared kind words with me and I went back to the email to see if I had not been too optimistic to have read into a poor letter an acceptance that was only in my imaginations. And I was not dreaming. I was truly invited to the now renamed Purple Hibiscus Creative Writing Workshop after more than five rejections.

At the workshop, I shared experiences of my years of application and some of the wild thoughts I had nurtured. Once, I had thought that my serial rejection, after many of my friends were invited, was because I was not Igbo and I thought I could change my name to allow me entrance. Don’t die yet. And for the year I received a consolidation email signed by Ms. Adichie, I could not mix anger with such obviously patronizing letter. Goodwill messages from Facebook friends, of how I was such an interesting writer, added in me some courage to keep writing. And looking back at such thoughts, I am grateful it ended up between Arinze and me.

And for the big question in class, I asked Ms. Adichie what interested her in my entry that did not meet her many years ago, especially since it was just a regular story, something I had not even taken seriously, against the many I had written with all hopes and concern. And there, I concluded that maybe what makes the big mark comes in the funniest wrap. I had written a story about a serial killer who lured her victims, especially taxi drivers. The killer writes about the incidents on her blog. The few paragraphs I sent were the reason I was invited.

And there, I concluded that maybe what makes the big mark comes in the funniest wrap.

I come from a place of ‘serious’ literature. And I have tried creating most of that seriousness. I have given elbowroom to experimentation and maybe it is why I am yet to decide on writing a novel. And after listening to other participants share their acceptance tales; I knew that I was not alone. We were a universe of people motivated by Chimamanda and would do as much as applying for several years just to hear her up-close, watch her read and share thoughts on story writing and being a writer while addressing us by our names and whatever it was that made us stand out.

The 2019 workshop had it a bit unfortunate. The classes were cut to five days instead of ten days and a lot of things had to be stuffed into a really tiny car. Chimamanda, Lola Shoneyin, Eghosa Imasuen, and Novuyo Tsuma Rosa gave us thrilling experiences with backbreaking tasks: reading multiple stories into late night and class writing tasks that would see you read aloud your writings and listen to others and give constructive feedback. We made a coolly glossy family in a few days than would have been imagined. And maybe the shared rooms enabled bonding, but the 2019 workshop was tense, practical, overwhelming, indulging, compelling and it ended on such evenings where writers knew tears like they knew words and sentences. And those whose tears did not make the warm walk through cheeks, it formed a bubble in their hearts and stayed there as a priceless memory.

Her brilliance lies more in her ability to share quite controversial yet informed thoughts without breaking anyone’s back.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is brilliant and adorable in giving kind words. We share a birth date with a ten-year age difference and that’s my consolidation for being a lazy writer. Her brilliance lies more in her ability to share quite controversial yet informed thoughts without breaking anyone’s back. Her playfulness and humane jibes and photo sessions informed me that it takes more than a fine head and great skill to be a superstar. A sprinkle of warmth, friendliness and sometimes vanity could be other awesome additions.

With the workshop, Chimamanda builds confidence, encourages collaboration, and invents homes for broken yet agile storytellers whose shortcomings are not only placed outside the spotlight, but their strength and wellness are given so much cheers and support to germinate.

Bura-Bari Nwilo is the author of The Colour of a Thing Believed, a book of short stories.

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Keanu Reeves Goes Public with Girlfriend for the First Time in Decades

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If there’s one thing that the internet can agree on, it’s that Keanu Reeves is an all-around great guy. From his roles in some of our favorite action thrillers, to his more dramatic roles in films like Dracula, he’s a multi-talented actor, sure – but that’s not why the internet loves him so much. He’s also known for being one of the nicest (and least problematic) celebrities on the planet.

Reeves has lived a life marred by tragedy, and has only ever come out of it with generosity and kindness for the world around him. The internet is basically obssessed with this incredible dude.

But his latest red carpet appearance has got everyone excited – because he’s finally gone public with a girlfriend!

He currently resides in the Hollywood hills after gaining fame in an impressive range of massively successful movies.

He first rose to fame in a pretty unlikely franchise.

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) told the story of two slackers travelling through time. It was so successful that it was followed by a sequel: Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey in 1991.

But Reeves has never stuck to just one genre.

In 1992, he starred in Gothic horror-romance, Bram Stoker’s Dracula – although his performance in this rather overblown movie has been pretty much universally panned.

Reeves is perhaps primarily known for his roles in action movies.

He starred in buddy-cop thriller, Point Break, in 1991, alongside Gary Busey and Patrick Swayze. It was a commercial smash and went on to garner a cult following.

He continued this trend in 1994’s Speed.

The suspenseful thriller told the tale of a rigged bus that would explode if it slowed down. Reeves starred alongside Sandra Bullock and Dennis Hopper, but has since shaded the film by refusing to star in the sequel. His reason? “The movies I wanted to make were movies I wanted to see.” Ouch.

But there’s no doubting where Reeves gained most of his fame.

His role as Neo in The Matrix franchise is what really made Keanu Reeves into a household name. The movies are still thought of as touchstones within the science fiction genre.

But Reeves isn’t just an actor.

He’s also a talented musician and spent many years playing bass for alternative rock band, Dogstar, in the ’90s.

There are many strings to his bow.

He’s made a name for himself particularly because of his versatility, playing leading men, brooding heroes, and goofy losers with equal panache.

But aside from his professional achievements, Reeves hasn’t had such an easy life.

via: Shutterstock

He’s faced a life that one wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy. First, he and girlfriend, Jennifer Syme, suffered a tragic loss when their premature baby was stillborn in 1999.

via: Shutterstock

Soon after this tragedy, in 2001, Syme crashed her car into three parked cars and was thrown from the vehicle, dying instantly.

But Reeves hasn’t let this tragedy make him bitter.

via: Shutterstock

Instead, he’s become an incredible philanthropist. He’s well known for supporting a wide range of charitable causes, from PETA to Stand Up To Cancer.

And that isn’t all.

It was recently revealed that Reeves gave all his profits from the sequel from The Matrix to the crew. And he didn’t even want credit for it, saying, “I’d rather people didn’t know that. It was a private transaction. It was something I could afford to do, a worthwhile thing to do.”

Reeves has been fairly quiet on the acting scene in recent years.

But that’s all set to change in coming months as Reeves will be starring in the third part of the John Wick franchise, Parabellum, out this month.

But, in spite of his fame, Reeves is known for being fairly private.

In the past, he was always less-than-eager to take part in interviews and was known by the press for being a little difficult to deal with.

Including what’s going on with him romantically.

Until now, that is. Because last night, Keanu walked the red carpet at the ACMA Art + Film Gala, and he wasn’t alone.

Reeves made a public appearance with his long-term girlfriend, Alexandra Grant (who looked totally gorgeous, by the way).

Grant is a full-time visual artist.

And a super talented one at that. Her Instagram page is filled with beautiful images she’s created. We knew Keanu would pick a good’un.

Reeves and Grant have acutally collaborated on some creative projects together. This includes the 2011 “grown-ups picture book” Ode to Happiness, written by Reeves and with illustrations by Grant.

This is one of the cutest couples we’ve ever seen – and it seems the internet agrees. Images of the two being generally adorable are cheering everybody up.

For more on Keanu, keep scrolling!

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Church Rejects Kanye West’s Donation Over Pro-Trump Comments

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A church in Atlanta has decided to redirect the money Kanye West donated to them elsewhere after the rapper made some pro-Donald Trump remarks at a Sunday Service event in Salt Lake City, Utah on Oct. 5.

Speaking to a crowd at the Utah Sunday service West reaffirmed his support for Trump:

“Abraham Lincoln was the Whig Party—that’s the Republican Party that freed the slaves… I ain’t never make a decision based only on my color. That’s a form of slavery—mental slavery. I ain’t drink from the white person fountain. … I ain’t playing with them. All these mind controllers, the media, all of these mind controllers. I find that wherever Christ is where I’ve got my mind at. We find that the love of Christ is where I’ve got my mind back.”

However, Atlanta’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Jamal Bryant explained in a social media video he uploaded some time last week, that West gave a large donation to his ministry after his performance there back in September.

In his subsequent video, Bryant issued a statement saying that he’s redirecting West’s donation to Morris Brown College because of the rapper’s support of Trump.

“To say that you unashamedly support Donald Trump…he called the mother continent of Africa a collection of s-hole nations. Smacking the entire diaspora in the year of the anniversary of the year of the return,” Bryant said.

“I don’t align with the statements of Kanye West. I don’t endorse it, nor do I subscribe to it. And I am not a runaway slave. To that end, Mr. West made a significant donation to New Birth Cathedral. But I do not want to be guilty of double speech. I met with my team today and the donation that he made to our church, I am now redirecting. I’m going to be giving that donation he gave to Morris Brown College.”

Harrison revealed that the donation will be divided to create two scholarships. One scholarship will honor West’s late mother, Donda West. This holds a significant sentimental value because Donda West used to be a part of the faculty at Morris Brown College. The other will pay homage to Vanessa Long, who is the wife of the church’s former pastor, Bishop Eddie Long.

By: Dammy Eneli

See Also: Kanye Celebrates Kim’s Birthday In The Most Adorable Way

The post appeared first on AccelerateTv.

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How Much Is Too Much When Posting About Your Kid On Social Media? | Betches

This article is probably going to #trigger a lot of you, so go ahead and read your horoscope or one of our Real Housewives articles to calm down before you @ me in the comments.

With the dawn of social media has come the dawn of oversharing. So many people feel the need to have their existence validated in the form of comments and likes on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook that it makes my head spin. Now that our generation (millenials for life) is hitting the wedding and kid age, you may have noticed that a lot of your friends are constantly (and I mean CONSTANTLY) sharing stories, pictures, and videos of their kids and partners online.

The question is, how much is too much? Will the subject of these videos, the children, be cool with the fact that mom is documenting a blowout/bath/toddler meltdown for the whole world to see? Let’s break it down.

The Rise Of “Sharenting”

Oh, yeah, there’s a name for it. If you weren’t aware, “sharenting” is basically sharing everything your kid does while simultaneously asking for advice, posting embarrassing sh*t, and generally airing out your parenting dirty laundry all over the internet. It doesn’t, on the surface, seem like that big of a deal. However, it can lead to everything from your kids looking for validation in the form of likes later, to identity theft, to children feeling like they have no sense of privacy.

We get that sharing that inspirational quote with a picture of bath time gone wrong is going to probably get a lot of likes from your friends, but is it worth it? You’re creating a digital identity for your child before they can even say, “mom, chill with the photos.”

Not Sharing Helps Your Kids Later

It may seem like a wild thought when you’re up at 3am changing diapers, but eventually, your kid is going to grow up and see all the stuff you’ve posted about them online (provided the internet still exists then). In addition to them feeling weird about it, all that sharing can actually lead to serious problems, like identity theft. According to Forbes,  “Barclays has forecast that by 2030 ‘sharenting’ will account for 2/3 of identity fraud, costing hundreds of millions of dollars a year. With just a name, date of birth, and address (easy enough to find in a geotagged birthday party photo on Facebook, for example), bad actors can store this information until a person turns 18 and then begin opening accounts.”

That kind of makes you stop and think about posting the full name, date, time, and location of your kid’s first birthday party, doesn’t it? As someone who has personally dealt with having my social security number stolen and having some jackass try to file taxes in my name (joke’s on you—I have no money), I can attest to how not fun that situation is. Is posting that photo or video really worth the headache your kid may endure later?

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Aside from identity theft, posting about behavioral issues, tantrums, illnesses, and other trials and tribulations your kid is going through could come back to hurt them later. Maybe your kid, upon reaching age 10, didn’t really want people to know that they were wetting the bed/had a biting issue/licked walls, even though it was hilarious at the time. You posting that online didn’t really give them a choice in sharing that information when, at the end of the day, it directly affects them.

Genevieve von Lob, a clinical psychologist consulted for an article about sharenting on The Guardian, says, “‘More and more parents are questioning the wisdom of posting so much about their kids online. The pictures that are uploaded can form a permanent digital tattoo. Because it’s all so new for parents, we need to start thinking about asking children’s permission to post online.” She wants parents to ask themselves, “Are you leading with a positive, respectful, appropriate example? Are you modelling that you think before you share online? If parents are posting things online to get likes, it’s about getting that validation from others. It’s important kids aren’t learning that posting [photographs] is a way of being validated.’”

So, if you’re sharing everything from cute outfits to “inspirational” mommy quotes with a pic of your kid to tummy time and everything in between to get validation that you are a GREAT parent, your kid is going to pick that up. Basically, don’t be surprised when they try to drop out of high school to be an influencer.

This Isn’t Your Dog

It kind of goes without saying, but your dog isn’t a person.

** slams computer shut in disgust **

You dog doesn’t have a future other than to play all day, sleep all night, and eat whatever you drop on the floor while providing unquestionable loyalty and snuggles. Your kid, however, could potentially be looking at going to an Ivy League school, or trying to make friends while appearing normal. Whatever the case, your kid is not your dog, and documenting their antics to the same degree you’ve documented that of your pets isn’t all that chill. Like, do you think your kid, when they hit age 15, is going to be SO PSYCHED that you posted that time they smeared sh*t all over the walls of the nursery? How about when they just looked **so adorable** during naked naptime? It’s important to remember that your baby is a person, and just because they can’t tell you to stop posting sh*t now, doesn’t mean they won’t think it (and yell at you about it) later.

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Stacey Steinberg of the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law wrote a legal analysis regarding sharenting and was consulted for this Forbes article. Steinberg concludes that “it’s important to give children the right to say no to parental posts about them (including photos, quotes, and descriptions of their accomplishments and challenges). She notes that by age four, children have a sense of self and have already begun to compare themselves with others.” Additionally, Steinberg says, “‘children who grow up with a sense of privacy, coupled with supportive and less controlling parents, fare better in life. Studies report these children have a greater sense of overall well-being and report greater life satisfaction than children who enter adulthood having experienced less autonomy in childhood.” She emphasizes, “Children must be able to form their own identity and create their own sense of both private and public self to thrive as young people and eventually as adults.’”

Your dog doesn’t NEED a sense of autonomy in puppyhood to experience greater life satisfaction. You kid, on the other hand, totally does.

Post, But Keep It Chill

Overall, posting a few pics here and there of your cute kid or kids is like, fine. They aren’t going to be mentally damaged by it; your friends may talk sh*t about you behind your back, but you can rest assured that you’re just one of millions of cool moms documenting your “totally crazy fun #blessed” life on social media.

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But, for the love of God, try to keep it to a minimum. Personally, I would rather see your dog than your spawn—and, also, you’re potentially setting your kid up for all the issues we discussed above. If you just NEED to post that pic, keep it vague, don’t geotag, and limit your audience. Even better, send the video via text to friends and family, post for a limited audience as a story on Facebook or Instagram, or Snapchat it. No matter what you want to post, think before you do it. For f*ck’s sake, think of the children.

Images: Jomjakkapat Parrueng, Unsplash; Giphy (3)

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