In this week’s interview with Zainab Abdullahi of Northern Literary Forum, a poet and writer, Mustapha Mustapha Garba discussed his literary journey so far, his achievements and obstacles along the way.
Mustapha Mustapha Garba is a writer and poet from Gombe State, Nigeria. He grew up in Makurdi, Benue state and a graduate of Botany from Gombe state university.
He’s a member of numerous Literary Fora and Creative Clubs. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in anthologies, journals and online platforms.
His debut poetry collection “Box of Farewells” will soon be lunched. Mustapha believes literature houses the universe.
An excerpt from the interview:
How did you become a writer, what influenced it?
Actually, i can’t tell how I became a writer, i saw myself writing but at first didn’t know what I’m writing precisely.
What influenced my writing was an inspiration i got from my dad, coupled with a situation i found myself some years back.
I struggled with indecisions and when I had no one to talk to, i find solace in writing down my thoughts.
What are the difficulties you faced as a writer?
My greatest difficulty in writing was reading. I don’t like reading much and for a writer to attain the desired skill in writing, one must read.
I’m now gently enjoying the companionship of books.
How long have you been writing?
Officially for 3 years now.
What influenced you to become a poet?
Love gave birth to the poet in me.
How do you handle writer’s block?
I drop my pen and read books. When i read, i get inspired and my pen gets refilled.
Between when you started and now, what growth have you had?
Let me say, a medium sized growth.
I’m not where I was and I’m not where i want to be.
Have you ever thought of walking away from poetry?
Time made me over come it.
Through reading other people’s work, i got motivated to write again.
What do you want to achieve as a writer?
Personally, i don’t crave for anything.
For my readers, i want my work to speak in the language of redeeming humanity.
As we all know, every poet finds it difficult to write at some point, what are the tips you can highlight for someone to overcome this challenge?
Firstly, calm down and don’t hurt art.
Lay your pen at safe bed.
Read, go out for sight seeing alone or with friend, listen to stories in fact entertain yourself.
After a while your brain will be filled with inspiration and your pen will be motivated to hug your fingers again.
Do you accept critics?
Yes of course, it makes me better.
In fact, it’s one of the things that makes me write till today.
Do you have your poems published or you save them as draft?
Some are published and I’m currently on the verge to release my first collection.
Who are your greatest influence and why are you in awe of their works?
Khalil Gibran, I love his works because i find them easy to understand and mostly talks about love.
Maryam Bukar Hassan, she’s a top notch for me. I love the strength of patriotism in works and her prowess in humanity.
Zainab Abdullahi, i always find myself in her shoes when she writes.
How long does it take you to write a good poem?
It depends on what I’m writing.
If I’m writing on my own without a specific theme, it takes not more than five minutes. That’s without editing.
If I’m writing for a specific theme and guided by rules. It takes not less then 30 minutes.
What message do you have for aspiring writers out there?
I will simply tell them to write without hindrance, keep it simple, accept criticism and read a lot.
Believe in yourself, your style of writing and be patient.
Thank you so much for honoring our invitation. This chat session was educating and inspiring. We really appreciate.
The pleasure is all mine, thanks a lot for having me.
I appreciate the management team and members of NLF for organizing and engaging such a wonderful programme.
The level of cooperation is commendable.
Thanks once again.