Inspiration for writers

Writing is such a beautiful tool that can be utilized in a myriad of ways. I consider myself a creative individual, I play piano, guitar, draw, paint, take photos, and write poetry. I often find that it is difficult to sit down and force myself to write a short story or poem; I let inspiration come to me. In this day and age, teens and young adults are bombarded by various forms of media every single day. It is impossible to wake up and go out without seeing some sort of advertisement whether it be on a billboard, ads that pop up on Instagram or Twitter, or on shopping carts at grocery stores. Media is everywhere, and it is easy to get caught up in this virtual whirlwind. Three things I like to do to find inspiration for writing are going outside, painting, or watching the way people interact.

Going outside is a way to refresh your mind and get back to nature. I love watching sunsets or sunrises, going to the beach is a sort of inspiration as well. The waves crescendoing back and forth on the sand creative such a calming atmosphere, one that I think promotes creativity. You never know what sites you will see when you are strolling along outside; birds calling to each other, the grass waving nonchalantly over foothills, rain pelting down on car windows, street lights on a dewy morning the possibilities are quite numerous.

Painting is a way to get your brain working and your creativity flowing. I took a few art classes last summer and my professor taught about abstract artists, such as Georgia O`Keeffe. Georgia O`Keeffe has a painting called Music Pink and Blue (See Figure 1) which was inspired by her love of classical music. Painting abstractly comes from the soul, and it is something that can not be described with familiar shapes and lines. I am no stellar painter like Georgia O`Keeffe or Jackson Pollock, but I do find that stroking a brush across a canvas with no particular vision in your mind can be very freeing. If you let the lines speak to you, you have just created your own story, and thus the inspiration for your next writing.

Watching people interact might be one of my favorite ways to find inspiration for writing. I love sitting in coffee shops just observing the people who come in and out and trying to figure out their stories. I enjoy traveling through airports and watching people hurry about, knocking over luggage to make their flight, watching lovers kiss before they have to tearfully depart, and imagining what the loud couple is arguing about as they get on the plane. Noticing the dynamics and interactions between other people could spark a memory in your own head on when you had a fight with someone you love or when you had to say a hard goodbye.

Finding inspiration for writing does not have to be stressful or difficult; simply go out and enjoy your surroundings. Take a walk on the beach, watch the sunset, or get out your brushes and paint. It`s all about taking that first step, start setting aside a day each week where you can go out and enjoy nature or set up your easel and paint once a week. When you go out, always be aware of your surroundings and the interactions between the people you see every day. If you follow these three steps, you will be surprised how easily the writing comes.

Education and cultural change

It is April 1994; I am still in primary school. We are preparing for Children`s Day. Our school will compete for a prize in traditional dances. I have been included in my school`s traditional dance troupe, and the teachers are surprised that I dance better than the girls. But my mother will soon be summoned by the headmaster. I have injured a boy for calling me `madam`. No one remembers that my teachers were laughing when he did so. Two parents have even told the teachers to place their children in seats far away from “that wastrel that wants to dance his life away”. I learn that my culture forbids males from becoming professional dancers, which was why dancing was not prominent in our primary school curriculum then.

December, 2000. I am at my uncle`s house in Lagos for the Christmas break. He is angry with my aunt for speaking Igbo to his children. My aunt wonders what will happen to our language if we all forget how to speak it, but my uncle shuns her, reminding her how much he pays for the children to have extra English classes, and even refers to our language as `local and archaic`. My uncle is not alone in his belief. There is a culture of reverence for English language among the Igbo people, and many feel that a mastery of the language is the best proof of scholarship. They even register their children in private schools that exploit this craze and teach the children almost only , and in the, English language, without bothering to respect my country`s language policy which provides for young school children to be taught in their native tongues for the first three years of school.

Walk into 2001: My father  discusses my eldest brother`s intention to leave his contract work with a bank and go back to school so as to get the right certificate and become a teacher. The person my father is discussing with laughs loudly. “How much do they pay teachers? You better tell your son to continue working at the bank”. My father tries to explain that purpose and fulfillment are also as important as money, but his neighbour cuts him short and walks away. Here, there is a culture that supports the pursuit for money, ” instead of wasting your time in school. You can buy a certificate from those hungry lecturers when you have made money”.

In 2016 and May 2017, two Nigerian universities in Oyo State were closed unduly. The governor of the state promised never to open one of the universities because the protesting students failed to respect constituted authority by refusing to kneel down and beg him. The Vice Chancellor of the other school refused to dialogue with the Students` Union because the union`s president was a boy without beards. These two men are Yoruba people; Yorubas do not joke with `respect for elders`.

Secondary school classrooms in Kogi State are almost always empty on Thursdays because the people are mainly farmers who work on their farms on Thursdays so as to attend mosque on Fridays. And because people love titles in my country, lecturers want to be addressed as `professor` and `doctor`, alienating them more from their students.Also, a person who is studying medicine will be respected more than one studying chemistry.

The influence of culture in education is at many levels. This can make/mar a system,or distinguish it negatively or positively. Care should be taken to avoid ruining our education with our ways of life.