Interview with M. Chidi Okorie
What do you love most about being a writer?
First the ability to create art. Then, being able to create a world; realistic or not, where people can journey with me and see art, from my own eyes.
Is writing personal to you and what does it mean to say writing is personal?
Yes. Very personal. All the literature that stood out for me is personal and authentic. I mean, they were often inspired by very real-life events, so I have always wanted my art to be very authentic and decided to allow myself be vulnerable with my writing.
What personal qualities do you possess that contributes to being an excellent writer and particularly, a poet?
One of my lecturers in the university; Prof. Jasper Onuekwusi, gave a very apt definition of poetry in class one day. He said that poetry is prose but in a few words.
The ability to take an idea and spread it out into a novel or prose and at the same time, sum it up in rhymes and lines and still be able to pass the same message is one of the personal qualities I own.
What causes are you passionate about? If any.
Female sensuality. Are these causes? Lol.
Just for fun: Cat, Dog or Rabbit?
Cat and Dog.
Do you care about distinguishing yourself with your writing and if yes, how are you doing so? What about your writing do you think stands out?
Not anymore but, before now, yes.
What career field do you work in or are you studying in if you are still a student and how do you manage to combine your other demands with your writing?
I’m in Brands & Marketing Communications with a preference for Digital Marketing Strategy.
Writing will always be with me. I stopped trying to combine the two or my other demands.
I just set a goal as regards writing, and I do my best to achieve it. If I am not able to meet the goal’s deadline, I am not hard on myself. I have concluded that writing comes to me when it wants to and so, I let it.
Who are your favorite Nigerian writers? (Mention up to 5)
What are your favorite Nigerian books? (Mention up to 5)
Which top writers have been most influential to your writing? (Mention up to 5)
THE CREATIVE ENERGY, GROWTH AND TRANSFORMATION
If you were not a writer, how else would you have unleashed your creative energy?
The earliest poetry I found on your Instagram account (published March 23, 2015) reads:
I swear by the gods,
Her lips taste better than yours.”
…between when that poem was written and when your debut anthology was published, what grew or changed in your writings? What significantly changed or remained the same in your mindset and who you are?
How did you develop your writing? Who or what contributed to your development as a writer?
Again, Life in general. I think one thing I have learned and has helped me to develop as a writer was to pay attention to every moment in life, significant or not, to help me carefully create an amazing piece.
What challenges have you faced as a writer?
Acceptance and fear.
I think every writer hopes that their works find acceptance, and this ignites fear. First, you wonder if people will appreciate your works and when they do if they will spare you judgment. Eventually, I learned just to create amazing pieces and not bother about these.
How have you challenged yourself as a writer?
To let myself write without boundaries and fear. This has been my greatest challenge; to write everything that I want to- I mean everything; taboos, sex, sensuality to mention a few.
How has the internet limited or contributed to your success as a writer?
It has created an awareness and exposure for my works. It has also allowed me to connect and relate with other brilliant and talented writers globally.
THE MEN THAT COULDN'T LOVE ME
Is your maiden collection, The Men That Couldn’t Love Me a poetic memoir and primarily influenced by personal experiences?
If you had a reader or friend who found themselves in the predicament of the character in The Men That Couldn’t Love Me, what suggestions would you give them?
To find love first; for you, with you.
Then, if it so pleases your heart, to let the love of another share space with yours.
Until you feel what it is to be loved by yourself, you will be at the mercy of lovers loved and lost.
At what point do you decide to write or collate The Men That Couldn’t Love Me and what was the book assembling process like?
Sometime in August or September 2017. It was traumatic and beautiful all together. It was intense.
How did you know or decide where to end The Men That Couldn’t Love Me?
I separated some of my poems into sub-themes and book titles. Each poem went into the title that was most appropriate for it. I stopped when there were no more poems to add to this collection.
What challenges and breakthroughs did you have while writing The Men That Couldn’t Love Me?
I wrote these poems long before I decided I’d make it into a collection- Any challenge encountered would be when I was writing it, and that would be substituting stronger, harsher and intense words for softer words. While it is important that I expressed the exact emotion I felt, I didn’t want it to steer the reader from whatever message I was passing.
The breakthrough would be realizing the truth or message in each poem that I wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t write it.
A distinguishing literary device you used in your book The Men That Couldn’t Love Me is repetition. Besides emphasizing the character’s feelings, loss of love and heartbreak, what other intentions did you have while using this style? Was your use of this style a reflection of how you perceive life?
Emphasis. I needed to draw attention or highlight that line or stanza. It’s up to the reader to figure out why. Lol.
Partly yes, partly no.
What did The Men That Couldn’t Love Me make you learn about yourself?
What is your favorite poem from the book: The Men That Couldn’t Love Me?
That’s hard o! I have a lot. I think Poem16.
What are your top three beliefs/advice about love and were they replicated or challenged in your book The Men That Couldn’t Love Me?
Love is a deliberate action.
Love is never enough.
Until you learn to love yourself, any other love will never be enough.
I think these beliefs were both replicated and challenged too…lol.
What plans do you have in the future with your writings and what impact do you hope that your works make?
The plan is to become a recognized and studied poet/writer globally.
I hope that with every work, an awareness or self-realization of some sort is discovered.
Do you think that you will continue writing books following this same theme and patterns or should we expect something different from you?
It’s a mix of both worlds for me.
What is the best advice that you have gotten as a writer?
Don’t be afraid to write exactly how you feel. There will be people who will judge you, and there will be those who do not care. Don’t bother about any of them. Create impactful and beautiful art.
What advice would you give to writers that read this interview?
The greatest gift you have is the power of your imagination. Make magic with it!
4/1/2019 10:36:15 am
I am deeply enthralled by the beauty of Marie's art. It speaks to me. Her responses are beautifully articulated and sincere. Someday i wanna write and if i cant write as deep and vulnerable as she does, i wont bother. Thank you Marie, we await the manifestation of your mind in art. Love. Confidence.
5/1/2019 01:51:00 am
I am really inspired by M. Chidi okolie. I love raw literature. The feeling and imagination it gives is so real. Yes as a writer too, when I sense I want to write I pour out the whole flow through my pen on my paper. I really love the idea of saving the moment of writing especially when it's not possible by the surrounding environment.
5/1/2019 01:55:35 am
I am really inspired by M. Chidi okorie. I love raw literature. The feeling and imagination it gives is so real. Yes as a writer too, when I sense I want to write I pour out the whole flow through my pen on my paper. I really love the idea of saving the moment of writing especially when it's not possible by the surrounding environment.
5/1/2019 03:00:36 pm
Wole soyinka is the Godfather of Poetry. He has and is still inspiring great souls
5/1/2019 03:59:44 pm
To find a writer who let's herself get vulnerable with her art is rare. For me, this is inspiration to dig out those stories and poems I considered too controversial or bizarre and just write.
I do not know her but through her answers I feel like I now do. Her words have echoed true with mine in fears, aspirations, inspirations and hopes. I took note of all her answers felt uplifted that my own dreams are also attainable. Looking forward to being interviewed.
17/1/2019 09:47:14 am
Cool. I love the part she stated not being concerned about differentiating her writing from her person anymore... Writing as it comes
28/1/2019 11:42:48 am
Wow! Writers. I love you as a writer M. Chidi. I could smell the aura of writing on you from your answers, they really inspired me. I Iove poetry too.
21/12/2022 08:45:39 pm
Grreat reading your post
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