By Oluwalaanumi Blessings
Akanbi Odunayo Rhoda goes by the pseudonym ZOE. She is a member of TVO Tribesmen community, a proud student of the prestigious University of Lagos and also the latest tribesman of the week.
The tribesmen community is a network where we as creatives, writers, readers, authors and artists share our stories and experiences. In this community,we run a weekly writing contest which is aimed
at building our tribesmen not just to become consistent writers, but to become exceptional writers.The winner of this contest is crowned the tribesman of the week.
I had a mind blowing moment with Zoe and I’m sure you will, reading this interview.
Congratulations on your success on winning the tribesman of the week.
Did you just say celebrity? (Laughs)
Thank you so much. I’m really honoured.
My name is Oluwalaanumi Blessings. I am a tribe advocate @thevictoriao.com and I am super excited to have you here. Can we meet you please?
My name is Akanbi Odunayo Rhoda. I go by the pseudonym Zoe. I am a writer, a poet and blogger. I love art and literature and that’s what my works mostly express.
Wow! You’re a lot of beautiful things.
Thank You Blessings.
So, what part of Nigeria or Africa are you from?
I’m from Ogun state.
Why do you go by the pseudonym ‘Zoe’ and what does it mean?
Well,I believe names come with different interpretation for different people and that interpretation is what really matters. I used to go by the pseudonym ‘Rhoda’, but then I felt that writing is beyond me. It is more of what makes me up. Zoe came as a result of wanting to write things that will give life. I felt the life giving process should start with me first, then I reach out to others.
Zoe means life. Life to me and then to others.
This is absolutely mind blowing Rhoda!
Aww, thank you.
If you were asked to describe Rhoda in five words, how would you describe her?
Rhoda is calm, sensational, an art lover,a coffee lover and she can be really quite or loud. She’s both.
Have you always seen yourself as a writer?
Yes, I like to say I’ve always being a writer. Writing is innate for me. When I was younger, people would always ask my siblings if our parent were English teachers because they felt my words were poetic.
For how long have you been writing?
Basically, I started writing when I was sixteen. Prior to that time, I only wrote short stories (the likes of short stories sold for #100) . I started writing prose when I was sixteen and poetry when I was seventeen, but I became a consistent poet in February. That was about six months ago.
Could you please describe your journey so far in the writing space?
The journey is almost the same with every writer. It’s not easy. There are times I experience writer’s block. There were days I felt like I couldn’t write again. I got to realise that all of these are phases and they’ll pass. I came back better than I was. The journey is more like climbing a hill.
There was a day I went through things I wrote last year and two years ago. I was really amazed by how much I’ve grown.
The journey is quite hard, however, it’s an interesting one.
Talking about writers’ block, how do you handle it when it happens ?
Different methods work for different people. I love music so I listen to music when I have a block. Then I research on other art related stuffs like a picture prompt for inspiration. If the block is prose and poetry based, I switch to articles. I could watch movies because I believe they’re works of art too. I go over my previous works and also talk to other writers too. If the block persist after all these, I just take my mind off it. I could go round the cycle of watching movies and listen to music and slowly, it finds its way back to me.
What stimulates, or rather, inspires you to write?
First music, then pictures, my thoughts, imaginations, circumstances like #blacklivesmatter. Anything could be inspiring. The world itself is an inspiration.
If there was something you could tell your younger self, what would that be?
I would tell her to be calm and to worry less. I would tell her to believe in possibilities. I would also tell her to learn to be herself and to write to inspire people.
This is so beautiful. What would you like to tell that writer out there who is about to drop his pen?
There is this thing I read, it was written by a writer. She said, “Know your why. Your why is the reason why you won’t drop your pen even when it is logical to do so“. A person should ask himself why he is doing what he is doing. If he is able to answer this, it’ll be enough reason to stay.
Did you ever think you will be nominated for the tribesman of the week?
No! I didn’t even think of it.
How did you feel when you were announced as the tribesman of the week?
I didn’t expect it. When I was congratulated, I was like “what’s happening here?” I was amazed.
Can you describe the tribesmen community briefly?
I stumbled on the group on Instagram and I joined. It is different from most WhatsApp groups. It is quite organized.
Has the community influenced you in any way?
Yes! The activities are thought provoking. I get books from there which I add to myself and they have been really helpful.
I love the critics and reviews. I love the fact that I get to meet different poets too.
Thanks for being amazing Rhoda. I really enjoyed this moment with you.
Thanks Blessings, It’s an honour to be featured.
I wish you a life full of everything beautiful.
Thank you very much.