Waiting for the Weekend
This, like every week before it, has been a rather lazy week for me. I honestly think that laziness is my biggest vice and should I overcome it, everything will be gravy.
I’m very pleased with myself. I wrote more this week than I’ve written in the past year which is definitely something. I think the best part is that I’m beginning to get a feel for my characters and getting to know them. It’s really weird. It’s like meeting someone for the first time and then discovering all sorts of things about them.
BTW – I’m sad that on Myne Whitman’s blog my vote didn’t win. The name is now Iphey. 🙁 *weeps*
Yeah, so I haven’t really done anything worth mentioning this week. About the writing though, I will mention that because I have been debating whether or not to make this a graphic novel, I have been drawing my characters as I write. Drawing them helps me to visualize them as real people and makes it easier to write about them. I might post some of the drawings here later on.
As far as pros and cons go, here’s what I feel.
A graphic novel would tell such a compelling visual story. It would transmit the story completely as I envision it, while a regular novel would leave it open to interpretation. What do you think?
My drawing is pretty shoddy since I’m totally out of practice so I’m going to have to brush up on sketching before I even start doing any serious panels.
Either way, here’s a paragraph or two that sort of introduces the next main character, Faza.
They came through the palace walls, they floated in the air over the grounds, permeated the windows of his room, waking him to bathe, dressing him, and serving him breakfast in the morning. They supervised his training with the ateta, the agada, the obo, and the ota. They called him to attention when he strayed from his studies, distracted by some new fancy or the other. For as long as he had been able to make sense of what he was hearing, he had heard the whispers. Ever since he could understand, though his father had forbidden it, not wanting his son to live in fear, he had known. And when his mother had died giving birth to his brother, the tension in the palace had been near palpable.
As each milestone came and went, first birthday, fifth birthday, first fight, first hunt, circumcision, he had felt them all holding their breath like they had done for him as his brother did what all hoped for but none dared to speak out loud, survive. And he had not merely survived. No, the boy had thrived, bubbling with energy and brimming with a zest for life that was unheard of in his reserved elder sibling. Now, initiation had come and he could hear their collective sigh of relief. His brother had made it. He had survived to his initiation into the formidable leopard cult without incident and broken the cycle. His confirmation and his victory was his brother’s bittersweet secret. His initiation marked his freedom from the burden that Faza was now certain to bear alone. Ozugo, now renamed Agaba, would never be what his brother was, an ogbanje.
Important Background Information:
Ogbanje: Igbo spirit that continuously reincarnates at will in a never-ending cycle of birth and death, usually to the same mother as many different children that continue to die. This isn’t just confined to Igbo mythology. There are names for the ogbanje in almost every West African tradition. (e.g. Abiku in Yoruba).
Faza: Igbo name that I made up. Because Faza is an ogbanje, that means that many children have come before him and died. Faza means “They Answered” (They – being the Alusi). Known Ogbanje children are not given proper names until they have passed a certain stage in life. Faza did and so his name reflects the gratitude that he has survived this far.
Ozugo: Igbo name that I made up. You don’t really find Igbo people named Ozugo because Ozugo means “It’s Enough”. You’re more likely to find Ezugo than Ozugo as far as names go. Faza’s younger brother Ozugo is so named as a plea for the ogbanje cycle to end. It embodies everyone’s frustration with the situation, and since their mother dies in childbirth, it represents the final assurance that it’s over.
Agaba: Ozugo is renamed Agaba (meaning Lion) when he passes his initiation into the leopard cult. Because there can only be one ogbanje in a family at any given time, when Ozugo is born and he is discovered to be male like Faza, everyone is holding their breath waiting to see which one will turn out to be the Ogbanje. Because the Ogbanje reincarnates as the same gender each time, there cannot be two children of the same gender in one family if one of the children is an ogbanje. If the first child is normal and an ogbanje of the same gender is born after it, the ogbanje will promptly die at the first available opportunity. However, if the first child is suspected to be (and actually is) the ogbanje and a normal child of the same gender is born after it, the ogbanje will continue to live until it decides on a death that suits its fancy, but the continued existence of the second child after a certain stage (usually leopard initiations or marriage) will confirm the second child to be normal, and by default confirm the first child to be the ogbanje in hiding.
Ateta: I explained this in the other excerpt. It’s a halberd.
Agada: This is an Igbo weapon. It’s a sword with a bent tip or head used for one on one close combat.
Obo: This is an Igbo weapon. It’s a spear with a lozenge tip. Used for medium range distance attacks.
Ota: This is an Igbo weapon. It’s a long war bow (as in bow and arrows). The hunting variation is also called Ota but if a warrior or prince (like Faza) ever talks about an Ota, know it’s the war version.
Sorry but it’s hard to type in the tone markings here so I just left them out.