Sometimes I lie awake and worry. For hours and hours and hours. The moon often keeps me company, in her own solitary way. Last night she lit up a jug of flowers from my garden. And I could not help smiling.
I remembered that I live in a world of outrageous beauty, where loveliness keeps me company absolutely for free; all my problems are first-world problems, and all my worries are man-made worries. The world in fact is a beautiful place. And I can just stop worrying and go back to sleep.
I've just got back from the extraordinary Hay Festival in the UK. Hay is a literary festival that gathers together authors of some of the very best books in the world to do presentations to the public. This year Margaret Atwood was there, and Phillip Pullman, Rose Tremain and many many more, including ground breakers like Candice Braithwaite who are currently blowing people's minds.
Usually I gorge myself on events presented by novelists, getting inspired and amused by their own peculiar ways of getting the job of writing done, taking comfort in the fact that I am not alone, even though most of the time, I am alone.
This year I said my youngest son could choose the events we went to. I thought it would be all David Walliams and Derek Lundy. But no! He picked quantum mechanics, Ada Lovelace and the history of computer science, People vs Tech, and maths, maths, maths....
So I found myself sitting in events listening to questions like, "If some infinities are bigger than other infinities then are some zeros smaller than other zeros?" You know the feeling... when you don't even understand the question....?
But it was Hay, so it was a magical mystery tour of brilliance - even when I could not understand!
And when my mum took over going to events with him I got to hang out with some brilliant novelists.
Like Chibundu Onuzo (in the pic with me) who is one of Nigeria's most promising young novelists. She wrote the hilarious and heart rending novel "Welcome to Lagos" where a deserting soldier and a woman escaping an abusive marriage and a minister on the run with billions of stolen government money and a deluded BBC correspondent all end up in the same hide out in Lagos together. My country-o!
And Catherine Johnson who writes important and necessary historical novels for young teens with diverse heros that history overlooks.
And Candice Braithwaite who is audacious and outrageously inspiring.
And, of course, the audacious Candice Braithwaite of Make Motherhood Diverse who I took the world apart with and put it back together so it looked a little more like us. Which is - as Candice defines it BMW - Black Mother Woman.
And when the sheer brilliance of it all got too overwhelming... well, Hay is held in the green hills of Wales... so we just ran for cover in the trees!
I am Atinuke. I am author of all the bright and beautiful children’s books shown here. I am also a traditional oral Nigerian storyteller.
All my books are set in Africa. And all the stories I tell as an oral storyteller originate in Africa too. There my roots go deep into the rich soil.