LETTERS: TO A GREAT PERSONALITY, IFEANYI BERNARD
I won’t forget you in a hurry; I won’t. I will hold rivers for you. You have been a brother, a friend, a colleague, a teacher and motivator. You have been helpful to me in many ways in my writing career. You are selfless and kind and enduring. I am not writing this just to praise you, this is from my heart. You are a saviour to some of my write ups. I could remember in 2018 in Vivid Verses precisely when I posted an Article of which I can’t remember its title now, some guys attacked. They abused me of how my article was filled with errors. I could have stopped writing then because the attack made me felt like I wasn’t good enough.
I was lost in words to reply them because their critique wasn’t constructive but destructive, you came to my rescue. You slide into my thought and into my inbox and told me how brave it was to have written such an Article and promised to assist me in editing some of them if chanced. Then, I wasn’t sure I could do that again. I thought I wasn’t good enough to write, I thought I could not be better than I was yesterday because the critics were on me tearing down many ounces of my prowess. Sometimes those who does not critique constructively don’t really know how it hurts attacking someone, they don’t know how long it takes a writer to think out some things and craft it on the surface of a paper; some on black ink and some blue ink and others, red ink. They don’t understand those things take time. It is good to critique because it is from there that a writer knows his errors and his strong point. It is good to critique to elevate a writer’s creativity but when critiquing, it should be done constructively. There are ways you approach some things which may be insultive but when taking in a good approach the writer may not know.
I will always keep this in memory even as we all drive directly into making our art and voices heard somewhere better than where we are. I told them that my father’s house on the other side of the street no long breed ghosts of weakness; I will always pick a printed note from the soul of my writings to create tomorrow. I won’t taste weakness again; I won’t taste how the fierce hands of weakness could bring down a giant. You are a great personality, you are a man of many colours, a great personality who has taught many how to hold a pen and how to be themselves and how to face the sun and look into its eyes without fear. You may not know this but it is real. It is the truth, many know about it. later, we would be at the cliff holding our souls in the mind of the earth celebrating how great we made each other to be.
Later, we would be the first set of people holding the spirit of our forefathers and holding fast the great alluring faith of being who we are in the eyes of the world. We won’t hold grudges; we won’t let our smile collide with a fierce demon looking out for our fall. Think of holding that dreams, hold unto that spirit; there are many people who will hold down Rivers and oceans for your sake. Remember, life is too short but it becomes much longer base on those who you made smile each passing day, some you re-created in their struggles and made them see reasons to live above their fears. It is not easy to keep memories in the hole of mediocrity; it is not real to keep bouncing down on the testimonies that betray our uncertainties. Worries might come; the uncertainties of the world may hold us back against what we look forward to achieving but with grin of perfection we march forward to achieving them.
Peace is what we all need In life; peace to our lives, peace to our family and peace to the society and the world at large. Because any family that has no peace has no unity and progress. You will remember how Aba made us independent, you will remember how the hustle and hassle has been, a brother against a brother, a sister against a sister, a king against a king, mother against a daughter. We listen more to the fake prophets, they once told us about how our fathers are after our lives and we made our fathers our enemies. Sometimes I wonder how a mother or a father goes against his son; to kill him. Aba was the place my memories started; it did not start in Lagos where every man is on his own like the snake. Later, I would be telling you how Lagos taught me how to forget my old self and go on with a new me. I would be writing them on the glittering walls of heaven and earth how it all began to take shape after the first hallucination of being me.
You remember the consequences of failing in Igbo land. You know in Igbo land that we are all being looked up by our parents to make that dreams happen. To achieve those things they could not achieved when they were much younger. They pushed to the sun for us to get through those parts of their dreams they were not able to fulfill. If you are the first you would understand better what I’m talking about. I have promised myself many years ago never to live or place my life base on people’s expectation of me. I have learnt to be myself and push the derail train of life myself. How funny it is to hold down one’s life dreaming and someone out there re-channelling your steps? I am of the opinion that we have to work and pray and love; we have to love those things seen and those unseen hoping to behold the ray of the sun to our very heart. Keep being you, Ifeanyi.
Furthermore, do not be deceived by what is seen around you. Every tree shall one day crack on it stem. We must station ourselves to that greatness ahead of us. We must pray for the good fortunes to rest on our struggles. We are not perfect in many ways because we are children of breast milk but we must strive for the perfection of mankind. We must raise the standard. We must go extra miles to achieve those things we have in our mind. Mind you, when progress start to emerge, not everybody will like you. Not everybody you called friends will look in to your eyes and congratulate you. Love is far-fetched from this part of the world where greed and selfishness is the order of the day but, be of good courage, you are born for greatness among your peers.
But on a matter of fact, I admire you from afar. I admire your courage and spirit in the act of the art. I could remember our first meeting at costain under the umbrella of Wordaholic; you picked me up to officially open the program with prayer. I was skeptical at first being a shy guy. I wanted to reject that but on the other hand I grabbed the mic and prayed. I still have these tiny memories in my mind. Later you would be calling me to render a poem just like every other spoken word artistes did. I still remember everything that happened that night. I could still remember the first time we shook hand together. I still remembered you added me in poetry court what’sapp group and that was how we started. You are loved from here, brother.
I really appreciate those calls; I really appreciate them. They were like a medicine into my vein. I must tell you the truth that I never expected it coming, I never saw it coming but it came anyway. Thanks for being a brother. Thanks for being a friend. Thanks for being a colleague. Thanks for being there and making me learn that life could be in twos: white and black, sadness and happiness, life and death; no man is an island of knowledge. Later, I would be telling my children about you, I would be telling them how you stood behind me in days of troubles. Just smile if you really want to; it is true from my heart.
For me to spend my time in this deadest time of the night to write this letter to you shows that I have you in mind and my archive have your name on it. Be of great cheer for tomorrow when your children shall see this, they would know that their father is a great man of great valour. They would learn how selfless their father is. How he abandoned many of hos dreams to help another achieve theirs. On a lighter note, Remember we will still sit together someday to have a drink and cheer to the brightest days of our life and we’ll let this boyish laughter to show how happy we are.
This is coming from a pen that must not be frustrated.
© John Chizoba Vincent