Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Guest Post with Author Ogo Ogbata

Why Do Some People Quit and Others Never Give Up?

You've heard it all before:

'Heart broken woman murders lover.'

Rich tycoon loses fortune in recession; jumps off high rise building.'

'Citizens lash out at corrupt politicians. War and terrorism brewing!'

Life is like a pressure cooker hissing at full steam sometimes. And there comes a moment when even well-meaning people, optimistic people, stop hoping and holding on. But have you ever wondered how a discerning few are able to weather the whirlwinds of life without complaining or throwing in the towel? Have you ever wondered why some people are able to forgive the unforgiveable, love the unlovable and forge ahead after one setback after another? I wondered too until I wrote the debut novel - Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman.

Imagine for a moment that you're a naive young girl from a very privileged family who's living in an explosive time in your country's history. However, you are shielded from turmoil in many ways. You eat the best food, live in a great big house, wear the best clothing, attend the best schools and have a bright future looming ahead of you. Then suddenly a series of mysterious circumstances befall your family. You lose your parents, food disappears from the dinning table, school is struck off the agenda and the big old house is no longer your home. Then fate sends an elderly aunt to the rescue. However, auntie is poor and has more than her fair share of problems. She cannot afford to feed two mouths and therefore your only sister (and last link to life as you know it) is cruelly torn from your embrace.

Imagine being sent off to live with another relative - one that you've never even met before now - a silent, angry, relative who works your fingers to the bone in exchange for food and shelter. Your idyllic childhood is a distant memory now, your adolescence unguided. Reality becomes the never-ending hunger pangs, the tiredness in your fingers, the tropical sun browning the back of your neck, the smell of dust, flowers in the cold rain and hard-work sweat. Then finally you come of age and meet the gentleman of your dreams. You fall in love and foolishly assume that love will make everything okay. How could it not when the song in your heart intoxicates you by the day? But love only complicates things because there is a secret in your past. A terrible secret. And you must fight night and day to keep this shameful secret from destroying everything...

I learnt much about love, courage and honour as the protagonist in my novel, Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman, metamorphosised into a woman of substance. Although of African origin, she is really no different from many who with grace and quiet dignity navigate the maze of marriage, motherhood and citizenship. My protagonist has truly inspired me, but it was 'belief' that inspired her to keep on walking no matter the odds - belief that life is worth living, that love is worth working at, that tomorrow will be better. Belief is... simple, sublime. And yet dear readers, belief is a very powerful thing.

To discover BBC interviews, juicy chapter excerpts and more news about the exciting historical fiction debut titled Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman, please go to:

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