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A Writer in Quarantine

“If our lips spoke truth and our ears heard meanings

Would our words be careful 

Our thoughts still bar their fill”

A clip of Pink Cadillac in Half Past in the A.M: a conversation amongst selves

Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria Tomisin Oluwole bravely left the only home she’s ever known to go study aboard at Cal State Long Beach as a fashion merchandising major. Since entering the states five years ago, as a young 17-year-old, she’s grown into a true renaissance woman: she’s a poet, writer, fashion stylist, photographer, and a model. As the wave of COVID-19 hit, most of the jobs she enjoyed came to a halt and she felt as it was time to start sharing her art with the world.

“I already had written several poems because that’s how I function. I write primarily for myself, but the moment I resolved to start putting it out there was when I began to carefully create Half Past in the A.M,” Oluwole said. 

Oluwole’s book captures the human vulnerability and a sense of nostalgia for the parts of ourselves we seldom share with the world, or simply don’t share at all. It’s a sense of poetry and short stories told in different personas, but they are all her. 

“Ultimately, I think it’s just me trying to capture moments and expressing them however I feel best. I’m a very sensual person, meaning I like to incorporate as much of the senses as I can. I care about the visual just as much as I do the words I opt for, and the feelings they can convey. So naturally, I take everything into account when I’m writing, both consciously and unconsciously. I wanted a beautiful body of work, inside and out,” she said. 

As unique as Oluwole writing is, so is the tile, Half Past in the A.M, which first was just a title for one of her poems, but overtime she began to realize it was the perfect title to display her work. 

“It was initially just the tile for one of the poems I had written but the more time I spent curating the entire anthology, that title sort of resonated with everything else I had and was writing at the time. I felt like my poems had a sort of nostalgic seduction to them, similar to the mood that time of the day usually inspires, at least to me,” she said. 

Along with expressing herself through her poems and short stories, Oluwole wanted to show her readers her love for visuals and added her drawings to do so. As the drawings were done in a different “mind frame,” she knew after writing her book that they tied into the poems effortless like, as if she knew from the beginning she was going to be adding them to it. She wanted to make sure she expressed herself as many mediums as she could. 

“I think that also illustrates the subtopic of the book: a conversation amongst selves. My subconscious was already conversing with the artist, fashion, and poet sides of me before I was even actively aware of it. I think that’s interesting and sort of impressive,” she said. 

Just as you wouldn’t ask a mother which child is her favorite, you most likely won’t have an author pick which character, chapter or poem is their favorite. When it came to Oluwole picking which one her favorite was, she really couldn’t pick. 

“At this point, I sort of just regard them all as one, but if I think about it, I could name a few: “Pink Cadillac,” “Always Sunny in Melrose,” and “Redefinitions of Love,” always come to mind. I guess it’s the romantic in me,” she said. 

Half Past in the A.M. ends with a specific date on the very last page: ’04.16.2020.’ 

“It was the date I wrote the haiku that’s on the final page. It also represents how I, and I believe everyone else, was feeling at the time. It was the middle of April and I think we all expected the whole COVID pandemic to have subsided by then, but it hasn’t. The world felt grim,” she said. 

Oluwole plans on continuing to share her poetry and short stories to the world, as she plans to keep writing. In the future, she wants to start writing scripts, too. 

“All in all, I feel like I’m surrounded by love and I want to share that with the world through my art. I want people to feel inspired by whatever I choose to put out there, and that’s another thing. I’m going to keep sharing my art with the world, so anticipate that,” she said.

Half Past in the A.M: A Conversation Among Selves is available in hard copy for $16.99 or as an ebook for $4.99 on Amazon, Authorhouse, and Barnes & Noble. If you’re also in Oluwole beloved Long Beach area, it’s also available at Page Against the Machine on 4th Street. 

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