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Beyond Your Blog: Freelancing, Getting Paid to Write, and Writing for Free

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The Daily Post

Many of you are growing as writers and seek opportunities beyond your blog. To continue this conversation, let’s talk about freelancing and getting paid to write, and the flip side of this: writing for free and exposure. We’ve rounded up four working writers who offer different perspectives on the business of writing:

  • Julie Schwietert Collazo, a bilingual writer/editor who has written for publications such as National Geographic Traveler and Scientific American, blogs at Cuaderno Inedito.
  • Caitlin Kelly, a National Magazine Award winner and frequent contributor to the New York Times, blogs at Broadside.
  • Kristen Hansen Brakeman, a writer who has contributed to the Washington Post and the New York TimesMotherlode, blogs at KristenBrakeman.com.
  • Deborah Lee Luskin, an award-winning novelist and radio commentator, blogs at Live to Write — Write to Live: a collaborative blog for the New Hampshire…

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THE MAGIC RICE

THE MAGIC RICE

     Back in the days when we were growing up as kids with my parents, my brother Uzo was one of the youngest in our family. We are a family of four girls and three boys of which Uzo is the sixth child and almost everyone’s favorite, especially my dad’s because of his kind heart and simple nature. Uzo was an adorable little guy and hardly makes trouble with anyone but will always like to help out with little chores around the house. When he was two years old, he would always like to sit and watch my mum cook. No wonder my big cousin Boma nicknamed him ‘Doc-homes’.

I remember one day I asked Uncle Boma what ‘Doc-homes’ meant.

“It simply means ‘Doctor of Homes’” he replied.

“But why do you call Uzo that?” I asked him again.

He smiled and said, “The name is derived from the fact that Uzo is so fond of the kitchen. You know how he monitors meal time and sings along while it’s almost set.”

We all laughed because we remembered how hilarious it was each time Uzo took it upon himself to alert every one of us that the food was ready in a sing-song pattern. I still remember how the lines go: “Food is ready… come and eat.” He would continuously repeat that line and dance along until we were all seated at the dining table.

So one day, my baby brother Uzo decided that he wanted to cook for everyone and he went over to my mum and said to her: “Mummy, I want to prepare lunch today, but I want to do it all alone please.”

“Huh!” Mum responded. “What kind of meal are you planning on cooking for us?”

“Rice,” Uzo replied.

“Really?” Mummy retorted. “Okay, let’s have it. I’d love to eat my baby boy’s delicious meal.”

Poor Uzo did not notice the sarcasm in her voice. He felt so privileged to try his first meal with a cup of rice and ofcourse he couldn’t wait to brag about it among his friends.

We all watched him as he washed and poured it into the pot, placed it on the heat and added water to boil. After about thirty minutes, we all asked, “Is it ready?”

And he said, “No.”

Again, after about an hour, we all asked him again, “When is it

going to be ready?”

Feeling so elated that we were all waiting on him, he replied,

“Don’t worry; you will all enjoy my rice.”

He went back to the pot and added another bowl of water to it. Suddenly, we heard him screaming at the top of his voice,“Oh my God! This rice is magic rice- oh I love magic rice.”

The excitement in his voice was unimaginable and he was so proud of his new discovery.

Everyone laughed and asked him why he thought the rice was magic. To our amazement, he replied saying: “Each time I add more water to the rice, it rises and now it has filled the pot. Clearly it is magic for a little cup of rice to become a full pot.”

Everyone concealed their laughter from him. It was already obvious the meal was a disaster, but we all chose to patiently wait for when he would say it was all set.

Alas! He came out from the kitchen saying: “Mummy, the food is finally ready. The rice is so much that everyone can have a good portion.”

“Wow! Why not serve some for yourself first?” Mum complimented.

Obviously, she was making fun of him because, as he was about to serve it, he found out that it was just as watery as soup or soaked cereal. The rice had dissolved into a watery paste. It was really so amusing and we all kept laughing at how silly he was. How he took advantage of the rising power of the rice and cooked it for over two hours instead of just fifteen minutes.

How ironic that even our great cook could not eat what he cooked.

Poor magic rice! You were not good to eat after all.

The good part was how Uzo gently asked me why it got so bad. I taught him how it is done and promised him another chance to make it right. I showed him how rice got cooked in less than twenty minutes with little quantity of water added at intervals without being burnt. I also taught him how to reorganize well cooked rice. He never gave up and watched every step of every meal that was made: rice, pasta, beans, soup and even traditional dishes.

He vowed that if he was ever going to cook us another meal, it must be perfectly made. He promised us another ‘magic rice,’ but this time, it would not be because of the rising power, but it would be in the great taste that would make everyone go back for more. “That” he said, “is real magic rice.”

IJEOMA KOLAWOLE (2012)

 

 

THE LIVING SCAR

THE LIVING SCAR

As a little girl, I was so compassionate on helpless little babies, insects and little animals especially when no one cares about them. But as I grew older, I began to learn a lot about animals. Within the environment I was raised, dogs, cats and goats were mostly found living with people in their homes as pets and friends. I was told how interesting a dog could be, but no one taught me it could also be dangerous.

So one evening, I was out with my mum to see a friend of hers who had a female dog known as Brandy. She usually comes into the living room to play with people. But this time, she was nowhere around the house. So I thought; maybe she’s gone out to play.

When it was time to leave, my mum’s friend, Aunt Beatrice handed me a paper bag to dispose in the trash-can outside the house. So seeing the huge can a far off, I ran towards it just as most kids would do. Suddenly, I heard what sounded like a howl than a bark from an angry dog. As I turned, it came right behind me. All I could remember was the paralyzing feeling I got from my waist down to my feet; the pain and then the blood after I had opened my eyes. I was too terrified to scream or cry out loud for help. I started to cry while standing at the spot of the attack.  Aunt Beatrice raced towards me and found out I was seriously attacked by her dog. My mum came out looking really confused. They were not sure the scare was her claws or teeth. So we headed to the hospital.

Only then did I turn to see that the angry dog was Brandy who was only trying to protect her six little puppies. I guess I scared her too and she did what she thought any mother would do to keep her babies safe.

After few weeks of treatment, I was fit again. The wound was healed but the scare of that scene, I still have with me. I guess no antidotes or prescription can bring back the love and compassion I once had for pets or heal the fact that for over fifteen years, I still replay that scene whenever I see a dog bark or howl at me.

 

                                                                                    IJEOMA KOLAWOLE  (2012)