On Blogging

February 9, 2007

What did I think when Kui first told me about blogging? Actually, a friend once asked why I blog at all? I suppose I imagined it would be my confessional, or perhaps my diary, where I’d write my secret thoughts for the whole world. Or maybe I thought it would be my tabloid. Imagine the headlines in the Ife Mirror, or the Ife Sun! “Ife was seen walking out of his house with a beauty … and here’s a photo taken when he wasn’t looking.” … And the next day, “Ife was seen with another lovely today, and this is the picture, taken by our intrepid cameraman, Ife, when he wasn’t looking.”

Seriously though, it’s a lot different from what I expected. The first thing is that I was never able to shake off the thought that people would eventually read what I was writing. I always thought the internet was the great guarantee of invisibility. But it’s not, and I know it. So, I never let go, not even at 2 AM, because I know deep down that once I’ve posted it, anyone can read it.

Sometimes, I lead a busy life, and I’d love to share it, but I don’t. For example, this last week, I’ve been so busy with the organization of the International Conference of Nigerian Students, (ICONS2007). It was great; very successful, local MP in attendance. Leading up to it, I started to correspond with students from all over the country. That was good too, but you didn’t know about it, did you? I didn’t write about it. So, maybe I’m not a journalist after all.

In the end, nobody has learned anything new about me by reading my blog. I’ve always shied away from deeply personal stuff. If I thought my blog would cure that, then it’s failed. Maybe that’s not so true; after all, I’ve always wanted to tell people about my faith, … and I do. I wanted people to know about disability, and I hope I do. But I’ve also wanted people to know me, what it’s like to be Ife, and that shell is still as impenetrable as ever. Instead of writing about what I’m doing, or even what I’m feeling, I’ve been writing about what I’m thinking. Maybe I’m not a tabloid journalist, but one of those broadsheet commentators who write about whatever they fancy, using intellectual language that displays logical thinking but little passion.

But I noticed something else. I thought I knew how people thought. I thought people responded to my writings. Actually, just reading through, the piece that has received the greatest response was a very short posting on the annual conference of the Overseas Fellowship of Nigerian Christians. It’s amazing how my friends have spotted it. One comment was posted by a friend just last week, five months after I wrote it. Other postings that I thought were well written and covered a topic of interest attracted no comment at all.

Still, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing. Sometimes, I’d be sitting, thinking, “what will I write next”. And that thought has kept me busy, planning, even though the writing never materialised. Actually, maybe I’ve blogged more than I’ve written serious stuff … you know those things, reports, papers, the things I’m actually supposed to be doing.

And now, I want to move onto the next phase, and read other blogs more. I’ve seen some interesting stuff. Maybe because my reading is slower than other people’s. I can only read at the speed of my screenreader, and that’s never as fast as your eyes can read. And it does get tiring jjust listening to the monotonous voice of a machine, reading what would otherwise be a gripping posting. But I’m interested, and soon, I’ll get round to it.

Of course, it doesn’t help when I’m always on the move. I’m writing this on the train. It’ll make its way to the blogsphere soon, but I need a 26 hour day!

David and Rachel Prince

February 9, 2007

On Wednesday, I went to visit David and Rachel Prince with their retired guide dog Rula, in their lovely cottage in the little village of Great Houghton, just outside Barnsley. David’s a singer/song writer and an excellent pianist. He has a whole room devoted to his grand piano and while I was there, he played for me. There was one song in particular that I couldn’t get out of my head, it’s also Rachel’s favourit, and it’s caled ‘The Rainbow Song’.

He’s also got a story to tell. In 1990 after a double transplant, there were complications. At some point, the doctors told his wife that 9.1 out of ten people in his condition die; he had three days to live. But his wife wasn’t having that, and as David told me, “it’s been a long three days”. I think I’ll leave his story to his website.

He’s remarried since. Rachel is a really quiet but hospitable young lady. She just kept feeding me … and who am I to complain. I threatened that next time I visit, I’d be recording her voice; I could almost see her shrink from the recorder.

David’s health has slightly deteriorated in the last three years. He now takes 42 tablets a day, and he is still blind. But in the Rainbow song, he wrote that whatever happens, God’s love remains the same. Hhe is unquestionably a miracle man. Ask him, if you ever attend one of his concerts; or perhaps listen to my interview with him when our programme gets broadcast. Better still, check out his website. Rachels story is there too.