I write mostly at night when the world is asleep, and when the world stirs I allow myself a couple of hours’ sleep. By 10am I’m up, though. I start my day with two bottles of water, sometimes three, and a cup of black tea. No sugar. I potter around for half an hour and then eat. Then I take a shower and here I find I can begin to work again, developing my story in my mind. I could stay under the shower for an eternity. Maybe in my next life I will come back as a fish.
It is almost noon by the time I sit down at my perfectly arranged desk, and from then I write until my neighbour’s dogs start to bark. They can’t see me but I glare at them through my window anyway. The harder I glare the louder they bark. I keep writing while they bark and tell myself that I must learn to write to the barking of dogs. If they refuse to stop, I open the window, place a small speaker on the ledge and play loud music. I leave my study for a while and use the opportunity to get something to eat. The music often does the trick: the dogs stop barking and I can return to my study to continue writing.
I’m working on my third book. Depending on my mood, I play quiet jazz on my computer to start me off. I turn off the music when I’m in full flow, pulled deeper into the world I’m creating.
I’m writing on a Dell Latitude E4310; I flew all the way to Lagos to purchase it back in 2011. It’s a lovely laptop that has produced two books. I guard it jealously. No one is allowed to touch it, not even my wife. I’m thinking that when I finish my third book on this faithful computer, I will put it up for auction and become rich from the sale of my good luck charm, a laptop able to produce three novels in as many years. Life is so funny. Ironic. I used to believe that my books would make me rich, but it looks like it might be the computer that produced my books that makes me rich. If my books make me a million pounds before I finish the third, I might drop the ugly idea of putting my dear computer up for auction. #SaveOdafe’sLaptop!
Sometimes, when I’m drained from writing, I take a break and count my shoes, of which there are a few dozen. I remember the days when I had no shoes at all, as a child living under a master who had two wives. I try on shirts, trousers and shoes to determine the right combination, until I’m convinced that I can match David Beckham for style. It is not vanity, it is procrastination, something that becomes a bit of a talent for the full-time writer. And it is a good affliction, because it purges me in a way, and helps me channel my creative energies when I get back to my desk.
The dogs are observing siesta now. Silence settles on the world. I’m oblivious of that silence as I type away. I take a break at 6pm. Time to do some exercise – push-ups, planks, weights and so on. Then I get back under the shower and allow my mind to go blank. Dinner and TV take the next hour of my life. I go to sleep at about 8.30pm, waking up just before midnight to continue my work. It is much calmer at night, there is perfect peace.
This is my life now. I’m grateful that I have arrived at this point. This is where I had always wanted to be; writing full-time is much more challenging than I had imagined, but I’m truly enjoying the experience and learning from it each day”.
His new book wake me when I’m gone is a story contrasting between tradition and modernity, while the village people adhere to many superstitions and customs, Ese, a character, thinks progressively despite being a product of the same village.