NOT IN THE MOOD
When it comes to writing, I am one of those who believe that the wellspring of ideas never dries. But today is one of those dry days when I'd rather be left alone than go through the trauma of writing a column.
To write well, you have to be in the mood. To do anything well, you have to be in the mood. God knows that right now, I am not in the mood for anything.
What does it mean to be in the mood? To be in the mood means to be inspired. It means to be in a state of high alert. It means to be turbocharged for action. It means having all your engines fired up in readiness to fly. God knows I am not in the mood tonight.
In this life, nobody wants to be in a bad mood. Nobody wants to be filled with the blues. To kill the blues, you find yourself doing things that would make you happy, things that would keep engaged.
One way or the other, everyone has his or her way of getting in the mood. When you see friends and lovers sitting down for a drink, drowning glass after glass of alcohol over hot pepper soup or nkwobi or goat head delicacies, chances are they are chasing their worries away and getting themselves in the mood for something good.
Even criminals must be in the mood before they can go on their criminal expeditions. Robbers often confess that they don't rob with ordinary eyes. To rob, they, first, have to be in the mood. And being in the mood for robbers means downing alcohol, smoking marijuana and getting high on drugs. With that, the devil takes full possession of their souls and they are ready to steal, to kill, to maim, to destroy everything that comes their way.
May the Good Lord deliver us on the day daredevil armed robbers would come, in the mood to steal, to rob, to kill, to rape, to destroy, to cart away everything we have worked for. It shall not be your portion, in Jesus' name.
On the spiritual side, you have to be in the mood, if you want to receive the Holy Spirit. You have to sing songs of praise to put you in the mood to receive God. You have to heighten your spiritual frequency. You have to sing worship songs for the Holy Spirit to make its descent. You have to be on a spiritual high, if you truly want to see the face of God. God, I want you to put me in the mood to seek your face and to do the work you have assigned me.
In boxing, every fighter knows that he has to be in a killer mood, before he enters the ring. The role of the boxing coach or manager is to psyche his boxer and put him in a killer mood.
Mike Tyson, the once fearsome heavyweight champion of the world is most dangerous when he is in the dressing room, waiting to step into the ring. There in that moment of pent-up anxiety, he is like a caged lion, sweating profusely, pacing up and down the dressing room and hitting hard at an imaginary enemy in front of him. By the time he steps into the ring, he is a picture of menace waiting to unleash a flurry of killer punches. Gentlemen, I am not in the mood to fight tonight. I'd rather I am left alone in my solitude.
Among married couples and even unmarried couples, there is a constant war of moods. It's either the man is so tired or the woman is tres fatigue as the French would say. Either way, somebody would say to the other partner: 'Darling, I am not in the mood tonight.'
Sex is a mood thing. If you are too moody, you go off it. You have to be in the right mood to flow in the hot, exciting waters of sexuality. Like Delilah in the Bible, the woman would do everything to get her man in the mood, but tonight, this Samson of a writer would not move his body or move his fingers to write anything, because I am not in the mood.
And if you are married to a man of God who spends the better part of his life, fasting and praying, then woman, you are in for it. When you are in the mood, he is up there on the mountain communing with God, like Moses. On the mountain too, there is temptation. Was our Lord Jesus Christ not tempted on the mountain top? Was He not asked to turn stone into bread? Was he not tempted to jump from the mountain top? But Jesus was simply not in the mood for any satanic tricks or any satanic nonsense. My prayer for you this morning is that you will not fall into any form of satanic trap or satanic temptation that would destroy your destiny. I promise you a 'Journalism of Evangelism' and I am trying to fulfill my promise. As you read this piece, may the Spirit of God take over you and put you in the mood to do great exploits to the glory of His holy name.
Hey, I am not in the mood to write, but the spirit of writing keeps pushing me on and on. A writer needs emotions to write. Like poetry, writing is an emotional release. 'Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility,' says William Wordsworth, the romantic poet. I agree with Wordsworth that poetry and writing in general should be easy and accessible. It should be understood by the common man. I have always believed in simplicity of style, in everything I do. As a writer and as a human being, I like to be simple. And I like to write what I can feel.
Without feeling the fire, you cannot write. Without inspiration, you cannot write. I know of some writers who need to be high on something before they can write.
In those good old days, journalists crafted their best stories aided by booze and cigarette. As for me, I don't smoke, neither do I write under the spell of alcohol. The only thing that inspires me is faith. The faith I keep every week with my readers. The covenant to write for my readers. The zeal not to disappoint my readers. That is what inspires me to write, even when I am not in the mood to write.
To get me in the mood to write, something must agitate me sufficiently. Something must provoke me. Something must disturb me. Something must excite me. Something must burn inside me. I don't need marijuana, like an armed robber. I don't do drugs. I don't smoke. But I do the other things that good men naturally do.
To be in the mood to write, I need to have a mental picture of something beautiful. Anything beautiful. Beauty inspires me. The beauty of a glorious dawn. The beauty of sunset. The beauty of God's handiwork made out of clay.
To be in the mood to write, I need peace. The peace of God encompassing me. The peace of the ordinary people of Nigeria going about their daily tasks. The peace of the cock crowing to herald a new day. The peace of my two, big Rotweiller dogs, Bobby and Kaka, barking and dancing to welcome me home.
To be in the mood to write, I must have read an exquisite piece of writing by another fine writer, which inspires me to want to write. A good writer inspires another good writer. Writing is infectious.
To be in the mood to write, sometimes, I get inspiration from good music. Any kind of music. Classical music. Jazz. Rock. Nigerian popular music. Talking about music, one musician that influences me a lot is the jazz legend, Miles Davis. One blast of his trumpet would send my walls of Jericho tumbling down to free the words locked inside me. Oh, if only I can write the way Miles Davis blows his horns. If only I can write the way George Benson and Wes Montgomery play the guitar. If only I can write with the dexterity and the fast fingers of Slash serenading his rock guitar. Slash used to be the lead guitarist for the rock group, Guns 'n Roses.
I can write and write about music, but I am not in the mood right now. Maybe another time.
At the political level, the problem of Nigeria boils to the fact that we have constantly been afflicted with men who were pushed into the position of leadership when they were not ready for Nigeria, when they never were not in the mood to govern.
Alhaji Shehu Shagari was one such reluctant man dragged against his will to lead Nigeria, when all he wanted was to be a Senator. In Umar Yar'Adua, we found another unwilling horse, a sick man, not in the mood, but forced into the seat of power. Now, see what we get! A nation wallowing in mediocrity, not in the mood to excel, not in the mood to achieve greatness. I pray that Goodluck Jonathan won't be labelled among the list of reluctant horses forced to take Nigeria for a ride!
Like robbers, our rulers, our politicians, are in just one mood: to loot, to share, to maim, to rape, to kill a 50-year-old woman called Nigeria. As I said, I am not in the mood to write on anything. Maybe next Saturday, I would be in a far better mood!