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At the blue morning

I’m finding comfort in the inky blue of the morning. It may be that the cold of the Johannesburg winter is easing and the promise of spring and summer is coming to the Southern Hemisphere, to my place at the bottom of the world. It’s been a cold season, one where cups of tea and coffee stopped my shivering for a few minutes only, and it was only deep in bed under layers that I found warmth.

My mornings, my favorite and most convenient time for writing, have been a challenge over these cold months. I missed the heat of the Accra morning when writing with a cup of hot coffee meant sweat pooling on my back if the ceiling fan wasn’t on to air me out. I missed the light at dawn that comes reliably, not like the fickle seasonal change of winter. I wasn’t ready for winter, and my writing took a long time to adjust.

But the morning light outlining the black trees is worth tugging back the covers, putting on the coffee pot, and getting to it. My words are coming back, emerging just in time like spring blossoms.

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“I know nothing about a writer’s block that lasted beyond a few minutes”: Q&A with Nana Yaw Sarpong

2199Akwantuo’s Q&A series kicks off with Nana Yaw Sarpong, curator of Creative Writing Ghana, an online literary news hub.

Q: What genres do you write? Which one most attracts you when you sit down to write?
A: Of genre, I write both poetry and short stories. I started a novel twice but I abandoned it. If I want to communicate something, my impulse says poetry.

Q: What is the first piece you remember writing?
A: I don’t recall the title, but it was after a class on Literature in High School. We had just analysed Amu Djoleto’s Ut Omnis Unum Sint. The poem struck a chord. It might not have been my first attempt at writing. That honour goes to a play I wrote in 2000. I was in a drama and we performed our own plays at the time.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge for you as a writer?
A: My biggest challenge as a writer? Now or before? I know nothing about a writer’s block that lasted beyond a few minutes. I think that there are a few thematic areas I cannot touch because people would see what I thought and I fear they wouldn’t be able to distinguish that process from my person.

Q: Do you write from the same physical space? If so, describe it. If not, what are your ideal surroundings for writing?
A: I can write anywhere. I find it creative to sit in the midst of people with talk going on all around and you sort of mute them all out and write.

Q: Writing can be a lonely business. What do you get from being part of a creative community?
A: I dedicate my time to ensuring that there’s a place for writers to meet. And working with Writers Project of Ghana makes that possible. But which writer doesn’t like to be invisible when they’re writing?

Q: How do people react when you tell them you write?
A: In the past it used to be weird. Today, people look on it more favourably and think that it’s cool. I also think that writers have a tough skin and would rarely allow how people thought of them being writers stop their writing.

Q: Are there challenges unique to Ghanaian writers that others may not face?
A: I think there’s barely any local support for writers. By support I mean enough workshops, spaces for writing, publishing opportunities, competitions -prizes, that kind of thing. Are they peculiar? Some are. There’s no serious national award in Ghana. All that money goes to football. What’s a national investment promotion center doing pumping cash into a national football team? Do you know what happens even in Nigeria? They’ve a literary prize. So that’s a major challenge right there. The thinking being done about creative writing is problematic.

Nana Yaw Sarpong is the Curator of the platform Creative Writing Ghana, an online literary news hub. He’s also the Media and Projects Officer with the Writers Project of Ghana. He is a poet and he’s currently working on a collection of poetry on babies.

If you’re a writer and would like to be featured, email Akwantuo

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…One small area

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Writers’ Q&A

Akwantuo wants to interview writers for an occasional series on the habits and inspiration of writers of all levels and publication experience. If you’re interested in taking part, email me (akwantuo AT gmail DOT com) for some questions that will be published here and on Facebook!

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Why I Write…Non-Fiction

Because the story of me matters.
Because what I see, hear, smell, touch, taste matters.
Because I am learning who I am. And non-fiction teaches me who I am.
It exposes me. It makes me uncomfortable. Squeamish. Regretful.
Proud, joyous. Alive.

Join me. June 15, at Felicia’s Spot, in Cantonments, Accra

AkwantuoWriting on Facebook

June 15 - Accra Workshop

June 15 - Accra Workshop

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Posted in Non-Fiction.