To Fear or Not to Fear

That is the question. We’ve heard all sorts of bad things about fear; it’s crippling, it hinders, it halts progress etc. And all these things are true. Very true, at that. My question, though, is; if we know that fear cripples, hinders, halts progress etc, then why do we fear?

Here’s what I think about fear.

#1 Fear Gives Us Security

In itself, fear is insecurity. But in our insecurity, we often find security. Don’t be confused. What I’m saying is, take someone who is afraid of heights for example. Such person would most likely be afraid to stand at the balcony of the third floor of a building, or fly in an airplane. The solution? Remain on the ground. As long as the person stays away from high platforms, they are safe. Now take my fear of elevators for example. Because of this fear, I am compelled to find security (and fatigue) on the staircase.

#2 Fear Breeds Caution

In essence, there will be no “thinking twice” if it wasn’t for fear. Most times, I find that to think twice is to have a fear of failure. Without a healthy dose of fear, there would be no caution. We would take on challenges head on, without even foresight or anticipation. Chaos will ensue, and failure will abound. In order to prevent this, we fear.

But there’s a flipside.

#1 Fear Gives Us Insecurity

As mentioned above, fear is insecurity, and insecurity often affects anything from boldness to self esteem. Fear makes our endeavours arduous and laborious tasks. Instead of standing on a spot and ascending the floors of a multi storey building, we take the stairs and get a good muscle-hardening job on our legs—trust me, I know. A journey that should take 40 minutes by air, takes almost a day by road. It slows us down, if ever allowing us reach our goal or destination.

#2 Fear Breeds Paranoia

It’s more than caution, really. It’s an acute distrust. One so bad, that it doesn’t just make us “think twice” as I pointed out above, but think thrice, and keep on thinking, without ever acting. We keep on mulling, wishing, hoping we could achieve this impossible goal of ours, which frankly speaking, are only impossible because of fear.

Fear is a battle. Fear is a dilemma. One the one hand, it could feel like we are keeping safe, and being cautious by giving in to fear. But on the other hand, it could be that we are insecure and paranoid because we gave in to fear. So, which is it?

To fear, or not to fear? That is the question.

@chosenmich


Get Real?

Have you ever been told that in the past? When you have a varying opinion from another’s, and the person wants you to see things the way they do, they say, “get real.”

But have you ever thought about what this means? I just did, and then I got inspired to write my first post since the release of my latest novella, Eyes (see the Free Books page).

In a world where everyone has their own interpretation of reality, what is “real”? One man’s reality is nothing but fiction to his neighbor, and the neighbor’s reality is nothing but fiction to one man. This suggests to me that the statement, “get real”, seeks to make one unreal just so they could be won over to our own thoughts, our own reality. But if they first of all have to be made unreal, can we truly say they are “getting real?”

Let’s face it. Each person’s life is their own reality. And everyone’s reality differs from the other.

So if everyone’s reality differs, how can there ever be common ground?

That’s where the only force that overrides reality comes in; Truth.

You see, to any given situation there can only be one truth. It doesn’t matter if the truth is not visible; it remains truth. It doesn’t matter if the stubborn try to reject it; truth is truth, and will always be truth.

Hate it. But it’s true.

Dispute it. But it’s still true.

Even deny it. It yet remains true.

If this is true (pun most definitely intended), how about this; instead of trying to make others to, ‘get real’, how about we make them, ‘get true’?

@chosenmich


It Begins…EYES

Today marks history for Mich Olorunfemi fiction with the release of Eyes across various platforms as a free ebook. With the little hype I was able to generate on my own, I’m sure a few of us are eager to get a copy, but first, a little history about the book:

Eyes (the captivating and enthralling story of a detective named Ricky Platt) is actually the first story I came up with, but was not the first I released. Three years ago when I decided to try my hands on this craft called writing, this was the only story concept in my head. I began penning it down, and hit the sixth chapter. However, not being satisfied with it (it was my first, after all), I scrapped it totally and began working on another title Feral (which will make a comeback this year), and others that can be seen in the “Free Books” section of this blog. The book, though short it might seem, took me a whole year to rewrite. Now, I’m more than delighted to share this thrilling story with you.

Where to download a copy:

You can download various formats (including KINDLE and PDF) on Smashwords:

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/401992

You can also snag a free copy off of the Apple iBookstore (not available in the Nigerian store, sadly):

(Available in 48 other countries)

If you have the Barnes and Noble nook, or nook app, you can get it at Barnes and Noble:

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eyes-mich-olorunfemi/1118114506?ean=9781304763709

Sign in, or Sign up to Lulu to get it from the Lulu Bookstore:

Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/eyes/14345104

The wait is over! Click, download, take the plunge, be thrilled. And be redeemed!

Ricky Platt has never lost case, now he’s about to lose his life.

EYES Covermediumsmall(blog)


Eyes Chapter 1…Coming 01.27.14

It’s been a great, long while since I posted anything into my stories category, and after almost two years of not doing so, I’m honored and privileged (in light of my new novella’s Monday 27th’s release) to share with you all, Chapter one of Eyes. Read it, and anticipate.
MiCH


Eyes…Chapter One

DETECTIVE Ricky woke up with a start, shirt sodden with sweat as he took in long, heavy breaths. Was that a nightmare? Maybe, but he had no recollection he was even dreaming. His wife Vivian always knew when he was having a nightmare, and she was always ready to tell him it was alright. But not tonight.
Ricky looked at his wife’s side of the bed, but she wasn’t there. Probably went for some water. Ricky thought. 4:15am shone in big green digital writings on the clock that sat on the nightstand. It was still dark.
Ricky put on the lamp. The room lit up with a golden-yellow hue. That was when Ricky saw it.
“Blood? Is that blood?” Ricky whispered to himself, as though he was being monitored. He flung the blanket off the bed. There was more, more blood. “Oh God.”
He flew out of the bed and fell to the floor, crawling as far away from the bed as possible on his rear, supported by his hands. He hit the wall next to the door then he tried to calm himself. I’ve seen blood on a countless number of occasions. He told himself.
But not my wife’s blood. A conflicting voice said.
Ricky opened the bedroom door, he ran for the kitchen screaming his wife’s name. “Vivian! Vivian!” He ran past his daughter’s door. Through the hall, through the dark living room, and into the kitchen. It was bare. His heart pumped blood up his neck, more from fear than from the running. Then he realized he ran past his daughter’s room.
“Nicky!” He ran back. Threw the door open. Her bed was empty, but her pillow and blanket were still in place. With the flip of a switch the room was illuminated. He angled for Nicky’s bed, and took a hold of her pink fluffy blanket. Neither the color nor the flowery designs made this any better. He froze in his steps.
“What am I doing? I have to call the office.” Don’t want to contaminate the scene before they arrive. Was this right? His wife and daughter were missing, possibly even killed and he was still thinking like a detective. But thinking like a detective would let him know what was going on.
He headed back to his room. Taking his cell off the nightstand, he dialed the Armston Police emergency phone number. Stay calm, Ricky. Stay calm. His head swam. Stay calm. The more he tried to control himself, the worse his condition became. He began to fill a slight chill wrap around his body. His fingers failed to dial the station’s number at the first try, they were shaking. He got it on his second try and pressed the cell hard on his ear, pulse racing.
An officer picked up on the first ring. “Armston Police emergency service. What’s your emergency?”
“Eh…this is Detective Ricky— ”
“Ricky, what’s the situation?”
“I…I…I think my wife and daughter have been…kidnapped.” Telling the officer on the other end of the phone that he suspected they were dead just didn’t seem right. After all, there were no bodies to prove it. But there was a whole lot of blood in his bed. Too much, for just a little struggle to cause.
“Hold on, Ricky. A unit will be dispatched to your location ASAP.”
Click!
The line went dead and Ricky’s hand went limp. The cell clattered to the floor. Ricky left the room and sat on a couch in the living room. He was too disoriented to realize that the lights were still off. He chose not to stay in the room as a means of controlling his curious nature. He needed the scene as clean as possible by the time the police got there.
His hands trembled in his weltered brown hair. His breaths were now drawn in short bursts.
Who was responsible? All the criminal cases Ricky had taken had ended with the perpetrator behind bars. All forty, and counting. Unless this was someone with ties to one of the criminals. He had put nothing less than twenty killers behind bars within the first forty-eight hours of their killings.
Vivian…Nicky. He wasn’t even sure if there was any blood in Nicky’s bed. He couldn’t be sure, not until the police arrived.
The four minutes, thirty-two seconds it took for the police to arrive—and Ricky timed it—was the longest wait Ricky had ever endured. But now he could hear sirens approaching. They were still at a distance, from the sound of it, but at least they were coming.
Oh no! Sirens. Surely the neighbors would be woken from sleep. Everybody will want to know what was going down at the friendly Platt residence. He walked over to the window and pulled back the curtain a little. The street lit up in red and blue. The sirens blared, cutting through the night. The light of a house at the end of the street came on. Then a second closer to his.
He spotted two Armston Police cruisers before he let the curtain fall.
The tires of the two cruisers squealed as they came to a halt at Ricky’s house. Three uniformed officers emerged and approached the family sized house through the driveway. Ricky didn’t wait for a knock on the door before he had it opened.
“Ricky! Hear you’ve got an emergency of some sort.” Officer Chris Baines said, adjusting his belt. The other two officers stood on either side of Baines. Another officer stood casually by one of the cruisers, he wouldn’t be coming in.
“This way.” Ricky let the three officers in.
They all angled into the hall when Baines said, “What exactly happened?” He was studying the house.
“I..eh, I woke up after I had a nightmare, I think, and Vivian was gone. She just wasn’t in bed. I thought she went for a drink of water or something, I turned on the lights,” he opened the door to his room, “that’s when I saw this.”
Baines walked in, eyes fixated on the bed. The ruffled blanket lay on the floor. He walked behind the bed all the while keeping a fixed gaze on the pool of blood now soaking the white sheets. “Hmm. What time did you wake up?”
“Four fifteen,” Ricky answered.
“And your daughter?”
“She’s missing as well. Don’t know if there’s any blood on her sheets.”
Baines stood. “Murphy, take some shots please.” It sounded like a question.
Officer Dan Murphy fiddled with the camera, before it clicked and the room went white for half a second. A few more clicks from every possible angle was enough for Baines.
“Doesn’t look like there was much of a struggle.” Baines said.
“Doesn’t look like there was any struggle.” Ricky’s voice was a little above a whisper. His heart was still pounding away.
“Let’s see your daughter’s room.” Baines headed for the door, and so did everyone else.
Nicky’s door creaked open, as Ricky walked into the room. The officers were directly behind. This was what Ricky had been waiting for. He would find out if Nicky was harmed as well.
Baines looked around the room. Everything was neatly packaged. A really large and brown teddy bear sat on a short bureau. The pink and blue striped wallpaper matched it in a unique manner. Nicky’s flip-flops lay at the foot of the bed undisturbed. Everything seemed to be in place. A little too in place.
A tear broke loose from Ricky’s eye. The bright colors, the blue teddy, the fluffy flip-flops. None of these items brought him joy—instead they did just the opposite.
Baines edged for Nicky’s bed. Ricky watched.
“Murphy, do your stuff before I proceed.”
Some five snaps shots from a good range of angles was all Baines needed. He went a bit low, placed his hand on the pink fluffy bed spread with caution, like it was rigged with a bomb or something, and dragged it off, letting it fall to the ground.
It was as Ricky suspected. Blood. And much of it. The stain on Nicky’s bed made Ricky’s body, quiver. “No…No. She was just a child…she…”
“Pull yourself together Ricky, we still don’t know if they were killed. As long as we haven’t seen any bodies yet there’s no proof of death.”
“Sir,” Officer Ed Milner was pointing to the floor.
“What is it?” Baines turned to face Milner.
For a moment the quiver in Ricky’s body totally ceased. He was in anticipation. He was ready for anything that might give him a clue to what the heck was going on.
Milner prodded. “You really have got to see this.”
Baines walked up to Milner’s side. There was a white piece of paper on the floor. Writings had been scribbled on it in red lettering. Baines pulled out a pair of surgical gloves and put them on before squatting and picking the paper from the bedroom floor. His face spaced out in horror.
“What’s the matter?” Ricky asked, but Baines didn’t give Ricky a reply. So Ricky inched bit by bit toward him, his eyes fixed on the white piece of paper, and only now did he notice the red markings. He could see it now, very clearly. He could read it.
It read simply and succinctly:
Enjoy the rest of the Journey.
Cutter
Ricky felt sweat begin to exude from all over his body. His head began to swim. Journey? What Journey? Should he be preparing for more of this? Evidently. That’s what Cutter was saying. And who is this Cutter? All these questions barraged Ricky’s mind at once like a meteor shower, but he had no answer to any one of them.
What Cutter didn’t say was whether he had custody of his wife and his daughter. Did he want to keep him guessing? Did he want him trying to maintain some kind of hope, when the very thing he was hoping for wasn’t in existence anymore? But one question cried out in a higher decibel than any of the others; what was going on?
Ricky’s journey was truly just beginning and Officer Baines was just about to prove that. Unintentionally though.
Ricky watched Baines flip the card to the other side. He probably wanted to see if there was anymore detail that could prove vital to the whereabouts of Ricky’s wife, and Ricky’s daughter, maybe even this Cutter himself. He flipped the card back with such swift hand motion.
“Hold on, what was that?” Ricky tried to confirm. He thought he saw a picture.
“Eh…it’s nothing. Milner, get this to the lab. Have it tested for finger prints.” Baines held the card out to officer Milner.
“No! I wanna see that.” Ricky was quick enough to get to the card before Milner could receive it from Officer Baines.
Baines cursed.
Ricky flipped it over to see exactly what it was that Baines didn’t want him to see. His heart skipped a few beats. His hands began to tremble again. His lips dropped open, unconsciously. They quivered in their open state before he let the picture fall to the ground.
“Ricky…” Baines was trying to be comforting, but surely he knew there was no amount of words that would do any comforting now.
Ricky stared at the picture which was now on the floor. It was a picture of Vivian and Nicky. Dead. Lying down on what looked like a concrete surface on their left side. Both had their throats slashed. The word ‘Cutter’ was brutally etched on their right cheek. They might have been dead but they looked anything but at peace.
Ricky went week at the knees. His right leg began to fail him and he began to drop to the floor.
“Whoa!” Milner was on hand to catch him. He led him to a small chest Nicky used to store her toys and made him sit.
Ricky stared on, to a great beyond. To nothingness. He seemed not to see the others in the room anymore. The trembles in his hands had spread to his entire body now. He couldn’t even try to contain it. It was useless.
Baines walked up to Ricky and gave his cheek a couple of gentle taps. Then placed his hands on his shoulder and rocked him gently. “Ricky! Ricky! We need you to be strong, okay? For them. For Vivian and Nicky. Can you do that?” Ricky raised his head and their eyes met. “Can you do that?” He repeated.
Ricky managed to nod his head. Slowly. But at least that showed him he still had control of himself.
“Gimme a minute.” Baines said before walking away from Ricky to join his partners.
Ricky watched him join the other officers at a corner of Nicky’s room. Nicky’s room. Ricky would have never thought his six year old daughter’s room would one day be a crime scene. He shuddered. This was too much. Much too much.
After a series of nods, belt adjustments, and off-shoulder glances at Ricky, Baines approached him again. Ricky knew what he was going to request. He was a detective, he had done this on scores of occasions.
“I know this is hard for you,” Baines started. Ricky already knew where he was going. He continued, “but this is one case Chief Delay would want to look into.”
They wanted him to be at the station. Chief Delay would definitely interview at the station.
“If you think you can handle —”
“I’ll be there.” A succinct response from a despondent Ricky. His wife and daughter—whom he loved more than life itself—had just been brutally murdered. He would do anything to make sure this Cutter guy was caught before he thought he had the advantage over him.
A killer with so much skill, who was able to sneak into the house of a detective, kill his daughter, and kill his wife whilst she lay next to him as he slept wasn’t one to present a weak character to. He had to look strong. He had to be strong. For their sake.


Weird and Unorthodox Ways to Improve Your Writing

Since I already wished you all Happy New year before taking a break, we’re jumping right in this year. I do hope the holidays were kind to you though.

There is a constant question that begs an answer on the minds of upcoming writers, of which I still see myself as, and that is, “How can I improve my writing?”

What I have noticed is that there are some pretty unorthodox ways to achieve this. Believe me, the activities outlined below are nearly full-proof, but they are so unorthodox you just might drop your jaw at them. Here they are:

  1. Chatting: Make no mistake about it, run at the chance to chat over the chance to speak over the phone if you really want to improve your writing. Chatting gives you the chance to creatively put your words together, and because you are writing (not speaking), improves your writing.
  2. Watch Cartoons: This one is difficult for adults to even so much as consider. In truth, Cartoons have some of the most creatively constructed dialogs, and wackiest conflicts on the planet. Thus, watching them could really broaden your mind.
  3. Mentally write what you see: Go out. Sit at a bench on the sidewalk, and mentally write in prosaic format, whatever happens before your eyes. This exercises your mind to getting used to the writing process.
  4. Listen to music: Music is also an art that seeks to send a message to listeners. The thing about music is; musicians try to tell a story in all of approximately four minutes. This makes them push the creativity of their words (lyrics), making for some pretty unique lines that could be really inspiring.
  5. Watch commercials: It’s really the same as music, but because a commercial is limited to a time frame of thirty seconds, adverts are even more creative than most music videos. A commercial seeks to tell you, “you can’t  do without this product or service you have been living without”, and make you believe it. Thus watching commercials can be highly inspiring.

Try these steps out, and let’s see that improvement.

@chosenmich


Merry Christmas (yeah, not Xmas)

Today, I want to take time out and thank you all for supporting me through the 12 months of the thirteenth yeah of the new millennium (that’s 2013 by the way). Y’all have been really fantastic; I got likes, comments, and follows like never before in this year, despite my irregular posting. Here’s hoping 2014 will be a more disciplined year for me (smiling).

It’s that time of the year again where we say Merry Christmas. For some we are walking in winter wonderlands, while some others (like me) are walking in harmattan wonderlands. Whatever wonderland thou walkest in, here’s wishing you a very merry Christmas (whether you believe in Christmas or not), and a happy 2014.

2014 is a big year for me. I’m looking forward to sharing some new things with you. This is my final post in 2013. Nothing fancy. Just wishing you all seasons greeting, and thanking you for making it worthwhile year for me. I’ll be kicking 2014 with a writing tip sure to get you thinking, hoping 2014 will be the year I inspire someone to write.

But we aren’t there yet. For now, my message is:

merry-christmas-01-2560-1600-905962

 

 

 

@chosenmich


I’m…Aliiiiive!

Yes, I’m still alive. Not dead as some might have presumed. Though I was dead to the world, locked up in my Vault all through November, clicking at my keyboard with a hunched back, trying to conquer my first ever NaNoWriMo.

The sad news: I failed, peaking at about 26,000 words only, not hitting the targeted 50,000.

The awesome news: I did learn a few things. And here they are:

  1. A truly passionate person can’t look sane to the passive: I know this because of those second glances I got throughout the November when people asked me what I was up to, and I went, “Trying to finish a novel in one month.”
  2. Art might not be seen as a discipline, but it requires major discipline: A person without discipline cannot commit to writing at least 1,600 words daily consistently for thirty days straight (Hey, call my indisciplined, but I’ll try again next year).
  3. The best motivation (not inspiration) comes from with-out, not within: When several people want to know whether your goal is being achieved or not, it puts you on your toes to deliver.
  4. We are often our own impossibility: Impossibility, though, comes from within. Most times, our not achieving set goals (especially in writing) is not to be blamed on external forces, but very present, snickering inside ones. The sooner we come to terms with this truth, the more we’ll see our dreams made reality.

So, December is still a writing month for me. I am excited to share with you my plans come 2014. It’s gonna be a great year for Mich fiction with some pretty big announcements.

…27 Days to go.


After Thr3e Years

Notice my spelling of the word “three” in my title? That’s my tribute to the author (and the book) that got me writing. Three years in the writing career, and I’m only just getting started. Every year, I post new things I’ve learned about the craft that is writing, and this year, being my third year in the craft, I’ve decided to share with my readers, fans, and followers, three things I’ve learned about writing in this short while.

1. Everyone believes they understand the craft.

By everyone, I mean everyone. If you are an upcoming writer, you’ve probably already had your works criticized by non-writers, and even non-readers alike. They try to analyze why you should do this, and why you shouldn’t do that. While most of them actually mean good, taking medical advice from an IT specialist probably isn’t the wisest thing to do. It spurs from a need to tell a story, because in the end non-writers and non-readers are telling a story one way or the other…just let me tell mine my way.

2. The blank page really is terrifying.

No, really, it is. When I first picked up the trade, it seemed that the one thing that was common with the opinions of all writers was, “The blank page is terrifying.” Flip forward three years later, and I still dread starting a book or a story. It’s really exciting, having a fresh tale to tell, but it’s dreadfully frightening when you open your text editor and watch that black cursor blink and mock you amid all that impossible white space. “How do I fill it?” You ask yourself. One word at a time. Something tells you…yet it’s never that easy. Never.

3. You don’t pick your genre, your genre picks you.

You don’t just wake up one morning and decide you want to write Steampunk Romance…ok, for a genre that weird, you probably get to choose. But I’ve discovered that the kinds of tales you tell are deep within you already. I think this affects readers too. You just find yourself drawn to a certain genre. Perhaps this is why it’s always hard to provide a definite answer when asked, “why do you write/read this kinda stuff?” Your genre calls you to the craft. Make no mistake about it.

@chosenmich


Who am I?

That agelong question that seems to be farther away from an answer with every passing generation. The longer the world remains, it seems, the less we know who we really are. And no, before you preempt this writer, I’m not insinuating that we now identify ourselves by what we do, I mean that we think we know ourselves, but really, we don’t.

We wake up in the morning and decide what we want to wear based on how we feel others will react to it.

We pick up habits and quirks opposite to our character just to gain recognition in the eyes of our friends (and sometimes enemies).

We hide our real traits not because we know they may be inappropriate, but because we are embarrassed to tell people, “Hey, this is who I really am!”

Peer pressure never really stops at school, I find. It graduated with you, took an interview at that firm with you, even got the same job you applied for. It’s an unwanted companion you can’t get away from. It’s really a subtle, yet strong, suggestion. One that could come from the people around you, the music you listen to, the movies you watch.

I’ve got to ask myself though: if I always dress because of what you’ll say (or think), talk a certain way because of you, change my habits, and pick up some few ones utterly dissimilar to those inherent in me simply because of you, you, you…

…then who am I? Am I me? Am I you? Am I all of you?

Am I even a person?

Or just a walking embodiment of several people’s opinions…


Hello, Apathy!

Notice how the quality of everything (except probably smartphones) is steadily dropping? While we are all modern and ‘21st Century’, hence dissociating ourselves from anything worthy to be referred to as “Old School”, the humble among us will admit, though very reluctantly (some blatantly), that there seems to be more quality in the works of old. We say things like, “Horror movies just aren’t what they used to be”, or “You just can’t get good music these days”. And this plagues mostly the intellectual and creative world. Ever wonder why people just aren’t doing what Michael Jackson used to do back in the day?

Here’s the real question: Who’s to say no one is doing what MJ did? Who’s to say no one is even making better music? What if the problem isn’t outside, but with us?

Hello, Apathy!

I dare say, the word apathy was probably created with this generation in mind. It isn’t that things aren’t of the same (or even higher) standards than before; we’ve only just evolved (or devolved) into the era of indifference. Perhaps the most used expression in the 21st century isn’t, “What’s up?”, but “It was just ok”. Hmmm…said that lately?

We are all incessantly searching for ‘the next big thing’.

The next big thing will never come, for when it does, ‘next’ is ‘now’, and ‘now’ is irrelevant—my definition of apathy.

So, while we can’t peek into the future and get a glimpse of the next big thing, we might as well step back into the past and relearn how to appreciate the little things.

#GoodbyeApathy

@chosenmich


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