Chioma Ibeh is an ingenious poet and writer that loves to transform her remarkable and ever growing imagination into a permanent literary form.
Her writing is something that reflects the true essence of her soul; beautiful, intense and humane. You’ll also find that her meticulously crafted words never fail to impress and comfort her devoted readers.
If at all you need a creative boost or a virtual world to explore, I highly recommend you visit her blog, where Chioma self publishes most of her poems and writings. I hope you guys enjoy meeting this great mind and get to learn a few things from her as I did.Chioma Ibeh
As always I advice you grab a cup of coffee or snack and enjoy the read below 🙂
What’s a typical day like in Chioma’s life?
It depends. During the school year, a typical day would be attending my lectures and then going to work if I’m scheduled to work that day. When I’m not in school I stay home a lot, I enjoy staying by myself, reading poetry, catching up on shows or just listening to music and writing.
What are three things you can’t live without?
My Bible (I use the app on my phone a lot more so I guess my phone lol), my glasses because I have astigmatism so I need them to see, and lastly my earphones, I mean if I have my phone I should have my earphones too!
You are an incredible poet, where do you draw the inspiration to write the things you do?
For me, inspiration comes from absolutely anything. I can literally be sitting quietly in my room and BOOM! Inspiration for my next post comes to me. I get inspired a lot by nature, the beauty and complexities of life, my personal struggles, family, friends… absolutely anything!
Writing is often times described as a thing of passion for most writers. On your personal blog, you described writing as ‘an escape’ and something you find as ‘therapeutic’, could you further explain what you mean by this?
Growing up I wasn’t verbally expressive. Even now I still have to consciously remind myself that it is okay to talk about things that bother me; it’s okay to let people in. So, I always found myself writing everything. I wrote about things that I would never talk to anyone about; I wrote myself into a different world/life a lot – that’s the escape part. I find that every time I write a new poem about something that is bothering me, in that moment of writing it down, I feel good about myself and every time I would go back to my old poems and realize I’m mentally in a different space, it makes me so happy.
As a writer, what are the things you do to help overcome writer’s block?
I watch a lot of inspirational videos on YouTube and they help a lot! I’ll either watch a sermon or a spoken word performance, it depends on my mood. Sometimes I just need to clear my head so I take a walk while listening to alternative music or love songs from the 80s/90s. There are times when writer’s block lasts weeks or months, when that happens, I try not to beat myself up about it. I rest during those times, read a good book and just wait until my mind clears up again. It gets extremely frustrating but it is what it is.
Your writing is something that I’ve witnessed develop a great deal over time, what do you do to develop your writing skills and are there resources that have been helpful to you as a writer that you would like to share with other writers?
I am constantly trying to improve my art by reading works by other poets, blog posts etc. just to see what I can do better. I also watch a lot of spoken word performances on YouTube because it just challenges me not only to write something people can read but something people can watch me perform. I think it is one thing to read something and another to hear it performed. I also send some of my works to friends I know will give me constructive criticism. You need people around you who are willing to help you improve your art, not just people that say “it was nice”, get people who give you good feedback! My friends buy me books, send me helpful links etc. and I must say it is encouraging knowing there are people out there that want to see me do great.
So a common theme you adopt in almost all your writing is love (a lover’s love, a friend’s love, a mother’s love e.t.c), why is that?
I just love love! I think I talk about love so much because it took me so long to love myself. I grew up hating myself a lot and I always searched for people to love me, to fill up the void. I did not think it was possible to love myself enough not to need anyone else to do it for me, so a lot of my old pieces are about me looking for that love in the wrong places and now I write about love differently, I no longer sound like I’m obsessively looking for it instead I see love differently, I recognize the love I can give myself and I understand God’s love for me.
Can you describe what your ideal writing space looks like?
Anywhere! I do not have an ideal writing space. My best works come to me right before I fall asleep, so I do a lot of my writing on my bed. But I write anywhere, at work, in class, at social gatherings… anywhere! That’s why a lot of works are saved on my phone.
Who are some of your favourite writers?
My favourite writers change a lot. It all depends on what I’m into at that moment. Right now, I’m obsessed with Ijeoma Umebinyuo. She has only one book published but I follower her on twitter and I think she is phenomenal. I also watch a lot of spoken word artistes, a few of my favourite ones are Ezekiel Azonwu, Chris Webb, Jackie Hill-Perry, Rudy Francisco and Janette (a.k.a I am genetics). They are amazing writers, absolutely amazing!
Is there any movie or book character you relate to the most or is very similar to your own character?
I mostly watch action movies and I mostly read poetry books, so no I do not think I have come across any character that is very similar to I am.
Last year you did an incredible job creating awareness for the Mental Illness Awareness Week, by gathering a few bloggers, writers and others to share their own personal experience or story on mental health. Do you have any future plans to further promote mental health in the African society?
Definitely! That is why I am currently studying psychology. I plan on getting a master’s degree in clinical and counselling psychology before I relocate back to Lagos to start up a mental health centre. I am very passionate about mental health and the importance of understanding mental illnesses, especially in Nigeria. There are a lot of psychiatrists in our society but not a lot of psychologists and yes, there is a difference between the two.
Majority of African parents want and push their children to study medicine, law or engineering. You are presently studying psychology (as your first major) at uni, how did you manage to win your parents approval in light of the stigma that surrounds psychology, psychiatry and mental health in general.
Hmmm…let me start off by saying it was not easy at all! I am the first child and daughter of four, so all my life there has always been this pressure to be the best and do things right all the time, just so my siblings have a “perfect” figure to look up to. I remember being called lazy because I was hell bent on studying psychology. I must say it is God’s will that I study psychology and that is the only reason I’m still in college doing so. My parents did not support the idea; my mum eventually came around but it took my dad a while. I just stood my ground and decided I would add a business minor to my degree to make my dad feel a little better about my major. But I believe the strength I had to stand my ground came from God.
I have heard and read a number of theories on infidelity, what do you think is the psychology behind men and women who cheat or are unfaithful to their spouse?
Personally, I think if you cheat on your partner you are immature and have no sense of self-control. It is so funny you asked this because recently I took a class called “Psychology of Sexual Behaviour” and we talked about cheating. PEOPLE CHEAT BECAUSE THEY WANT TO. There is absolutely no excuse! A lot of people (mostly guys) argue with me when I say this and they always lead the argument with “I just got tired and I did not know how to tell her.” The fact that people try to excuse hurting someone they are supposed to be committed to blows my mind. A lot of people don’t know this, but heartbreaks hurt just as bad as physical injuries. Some people fall into depression because of it! There is no reasonable explanation to why people cheat, they just do and it sucks!
What other artistic pursuits do you indulge in apart from creative writing?
I take a lot of pictures. I enjoy capturing moments, and beautiful scenery in general. Sometimes when I take pictures I get inspired to write a piece that matches that picture and sometimes when I write a new piece I have the urge to take a picture to fully illustrate the piece and connect with my readers who enjoy visuals.
If you could drink just one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
Water! I’m not really a drinks girl. I rarely drink soda because sometimes it makes me feel sick. I only drink wine on special occasions and juices, smoothies and shakes when I’m really craving them.
I’m sure you hear this a lot but you’ve got the most amazing skin, what skin care products do you use to maintain that natural glow?
You know what, I get asked this a lot and I always answer with the soap I’m using at that moment but to be honest it is all genetics. I do not have a skincare routine, and I sleep with makeup on when I’m too tired. Also, I change my soap and cream a lot so saying what I use won’t really help anyone that wants clear skin.
What is the best purchase you’ve ever made?
Hmm, I don’t think I have made that purchase yet. I do not currently own anything I will say is my favourite thing ever, mostly because I do not get attached to anything physical I guess.
Can you tell us something not many people know about you?
This is such a difficult question for me because I own a blog where I am very transparent and so I think people know quite a lot about me. But, one weird thing I do when I’m really tired and trying to fall asleep is rub my feet together until I fall asleep.
If the whole world had your attention right now, what would you tell them?
Be kind to people. No matter who they are, how rich or how poor, it is important that you remember to love everyone equally and treat people how you want to be treated.
Last but not least, do you have any good book, movie, documentary or place you’d recommend to your readers?
Good books.. hmm. I only read poetry books and short stories so if you are into poetry you should definitely pick up “Questions for Ada” by Ijeoma Umebinyuo. That woman is amazing! She is unapologetically herself and she stands by her truth always. Another person I adore is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. “The Thing Around Your Neck” is a book with short stories by her. I just love strong women, who write with so much passion and power.
To stay updated with Chioma’s work be sure to follow her on any of her social media platforms below:
Thank you for stopping by today but before you go, do show Chioma some love by dropping a comment or any question you may have for her below, and be sure to watch out for my next popular and final guest this season!