The End of a Series

vintage envelope

 

I grew up in a close-knit family, a middle child, disciplined and socialized within the same context as my siblings. Our mannerisms were similar and we shared friends the way we shared hand-me-downs. However, if you had asked us, “What do you think about . . . ?” our views would have differed.

So after I approached nine guys to write this series,  my fear that I would end up with a monologue—each writer parroting the other, was perfectionist-phobia. They were to distil their opinions (in 300 words or less without preaching), about a phrase, think like a man, end up without one. The phrase might be a tongue-in-cheek response to Steve Harvey’s book on what men really think about love, relationships, intimacy, and commitment.

When I told one writer that his submission was controversial and would draw ire, he said in essence, “What do you want readers to do—smile, turn over on their sides, and fall asleep or frown, stay awake, and ponder what they read?” He reminded me of something I had heard, that those who are least like us, have the most to teach us about ourselves.

Maria Popova says that a great story is not about providing information, though it can certainly inform—a great story invites an expansion of understanding, a self-transcendence. More than that, the story plants the seed and makes it impossible to do anything but grow a new understanding—of the world, of our place in it, of ourselves, of some subtle or monumental aspect of existence.

Because I read with an open mind, I embraced each writer’s invitation to stack his opinion against my experience and preference. My beliefs about why I’m here and what follows death as well as my present cultural reality shaped the points of consonance and dissonance I found. The comments showed me mathematics makes sense:  3+6 and 4+5 and 1+8 and 2+7 all equal nine, but not when it comes to the heart. Tomi captures it best: Perhaps love is our different similarity. We love differently, but we love all the same.

The first time I liked a boy whom I thought liked me back, I told a friend. She had acquired a worldly veneer from eavesdropping on the conversations of her many older siblings. Thus her advice, play hard to get, went unchallenged by me. I must have looked like a toy atop the Eiffel Tower because, with no ladder in sight, the boy’s hands hung limp and he left. I suppose the moral of the story is life is art, more fluid than formulaic, and a variable presents an opportunity or a looming threat. As Tola reminds us, embedded in every story are endless possibilities.

It seems everyone wants love and yet, in the words of C.S. Lewis, to love at all is to be vulnerable[;] love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. What to do then? Dela wants the predictability of drama. Ife sighs at the two hunters in the jungle. Samuel unveils a game of thieves; Ifeanyi makes it about egos. Tonwa advocates for less brain and more heart and Seun stresses, a human brain, please! Brian hints at the delicate balance of pursuit and protection: We want to be loved for who we are, but we fear the risk that comes with disrobing to be known.

 

Love slays what we have been that we may be what we were not. – St. Augustine

 

Relationships are oxygen. The post views, likes, comments, and shares, do not lie. If I had any sense I would start a series (written by women), dance like Cinderella, end up with the Prince!

What about you, what do you think?

 

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2015

 

p.s. Thank you Tomi, Ifeanyi, Ife, Dela, Tola, Samuel, Tonwa, Seun, and Brian!

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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35 thoughts on “The End of a Series

  1. Oh, more to read about it…..”The first time I liked a boy whom I thought liked me back, I told a friend …her advice, play hard to get, went unchallenged by me. I must have looked like a toy atop the Eiffel Tower because, with no ladder in sight, the boy’s hands hung limp and he left. I suppose the moral of the story is life is art, more fluid than formulaic….

    I couldn’t agree more with you, unfortunately, this advice and “wisdom” still runs wild and gives lots of people headaches…… lol 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. 😉 Abi O. I think we SEEM TO BELIEVE we need help whereas our helpers too MOSTLY need help. Most times when we just follow our hearts, we end up doing the right thing. Most times among guys, you hear stuff like, “guy, if she come your house, do am, na wetin she come for be dat” whereas the lady simply just came to have non-sexual fun with you at home, and then your friends’ foolishnesses makes your new girlfriend lose some trust in you or worse. Same with ladies, make him work hard to get you, you end up putting a 20something year old brother on prolonged wait(just to get you). Heck, 80% of guys think life is shorter than 30 years.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Lol@ our helpers too MOSTLY need help. I have read that in the multitude of counsellors there is safety 🙂

          Seriously though, I hear the ‘spirit’ of your words from the examples you share. The caveat with just following our hearts, I guess, is that our hearts aren’t so smart. But we can train them ….. 😉

          I’m glad the series gave us things to chew, swallow, and spit.

          Like

  2. A fitting capstone to the series which I’ve read at a leisurely pace, not allowing myself to get pressured into weighing in 🙂 In the end though, I suppose it boils down to there being far too many possibilities for one book to conclusively explore them all. Think like a man (in the sense of trying to understand what might be driving certain behaviours), but don’t be afraid to go against perceived wisdom now and again..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ” . . . and new ways of looking at things give oxygen . . .” true, although I suppose we can also feel as if our oxygen supply is being threatened 🙂

      In the end, we can gain . . . a new understanding—of the world, of our place in it, of ourselves, of some subtle or monumental aspect of existence. Thanks Susan.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like you’ve struck quite the chord here, Timi (for some reason I’ve been automatically unsubscribed from your site, which is why I wasn’t getting any updates.) I think it’s important that you created a forum for men to speak their minds about this- I think we each want to know always what the other is thinking when it comes to the opposite sex.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Timi:). I just had to drop you a line because I’ve missed reading and blogging lately…Been feeling terribly under the weather, all that comes with the woes and wonders of pregnancy! I hope to bounce back soon and catch up on your intriguing series here.

    Like

  5. “If I had any sense I would start a series (written by women), dance like Cinderella, end up with the Prince!

    What about you, what do you think?”

    Not sure it would be dance like Cinderella that would appeal to (some) women these days. Instead choose something like a woman warrior on a horse..she rides off to defend her beliefs..

    🙂 And the Prince is the one who finds compatibility with what she believes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lol, different strokes for different folks. Did you ever read my post, The Hunter Games?

      In any case, if I ever do the series I mentioned, it would be like this last one. Assemble a group of writers, give them the ‘provocative’ statement, and let them churn out 300-word opinion pieces. Each writer would be free to interpret the statement as they saw fit. I would hope that the end result would not be a ‘monologue’ but a blend of different voices, experiences, and cultures.

      Thanks Jean!

      Like

      1. Perhaps you can provide me the link to The Hunter Games post.

        In terms of love-intimate dynamics between men and women, I just haven’t read nor thought much further over the past few years.

        Not to say that I’m not a feminist, but I am. Maybe it’s because I’m content with my partner and have lost abit of interest in reading the dynamics amongst others. (I’m glad not to be dating. Sheesh.)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. As a whole, the series didn’t resonate with me. The expressed views and shared opinions don’t mirror or echo the relationship balance BFF and I have achieved and shared for the past 34 years. That could be due to different countries, cultures, continents, or conditioning.

    My conclusion: Men do not think alike . . . but many men like a think. 😎

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Although the writers were free to share any perspective, they understood that the statement was likely based on Steve Harvey’s book. Harvey’s book is geared towards singles looking for long-term commitment. I like to think that it is to this demographic they (mostly) spoke to.

      Nevertheless, a broader audience provides depth and balance. Thanks Nancy for sharing your feedback. Appreciated. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  7. It is hard to know which direction to go with writing, I am usually ‘all over the place.’ But, you chose a thought-provoking subject and your series, the ones I was able to look and read fully meant a lot. Don’t try to be popular or question your choices. I had a point in my blogging I had over 2000 followers. I look back at that time, the subject matter was more ‘surface-y’ didn’t delve into issues or deep thinking. I still find the posts I write that get more ‘likes’ are the ones I just chat or give amusing stories or pet poems. Do what you feel is valuable, Timi. Maybe this may not be what you were talking about, but it is the essence and feeling I got from you….

    Like

    1. @ writing, yes it can be difficult. Didn’t you like the ‘surface-y’ posts? Did they not reflect where you were at that stage of your journey?

      I usually say that I write for people like me and the only pressure I feel writing my personal blog is the one I put on myself . . . I am a hard taskmaster 🙂

      Seriously, many subjects interest me, but I ask, “Would this interest my readers?” I find balance by adding a lively twist to any subject I choose. That way it’s sure to have broader appeal. David Foster Wallace shares a sentiment I subscribe to:

      “I am not, in and of myself, interesting to a reader. If I want to seem interesting, work has to be done in order to make myself interesting.”

      http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/08/11/david-foster-wallace-quack-this-way/

      Thanks Robin! 🙂

      Like

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