Meet a Medivoice member, Olaitan Joy, popularly known as Ravanjie, who has dazzled us with her gripping storytelling through words, artistic skills, and her very unique sense of humor.
She has published several stories on Medium, including: Olajumoke and the Yoruba Demon, Chronicles of a Nigerian dog, Cockroach problems, Digging to hell…and lots more. You can check out her stories by clicking here.
Hello, Writer/Artist/Everything-else-that-you-are. Can we meet you?
Yes, you absolutely can. I’m Joy Olaitan, a creative writer, painter, medical student and whichever new label I fit into in the future.
A multipotentialite. Niiiice. When did you start writing and what has your writing journey been like?
It all started when my teachers taught me how not to be illiterate. 123. ABC. I can’t remember a time I haven’t been fascinated by words, to be honest. My sisters and I used to write short stories to show each other. And for as long as I can remember, I’ve always fancied myself as a writer. I pretty much learnt to write my name and went- “Yeah, this is going to be my whole personality for the rest of my life.”
In other words, you were born to write. Impressive. I’d like to know: what does writing mean to you?
Writing, to me, is one of the greatest inventions of humankind. Storytelling is a very human trait. And writing has helped us capture the imaginations and perspectives of people from different times and places. As a Yoruba girl, in particular, I really feel the impact of the lack of my people’s written history. Most of the Yoruba stories were transferred by mouth, which is great. But it also means a large chunk of our beautiful stories is lost forever. That’s heartbreaking.
It is. Maybe you’ll compile all our folklores and share it with the world one day. Anyway, what do you like to write?
I actually love writing nonsense. No, not nonsense in the sense that I can’t write for shit. But nonsensical writing where you can’t predict where the plot is taking you. Like Alice in Wonderland, or Hitchiker’s guide to the galaxy. I also love writing fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary – anything that places humans in new, interesting situations.
Ooh. Multiple genres. Impressive. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere — the world. It’s so wild how much inspiration the world and people around me have to give. I also get inspiration from my favourite books: they really set my belly alight with new ways to tell stories.
Also,what are your other interests apart from writing?
Oh, I love making things in general. Painting is a hobby I developed recently that seemed to stick. But I love any chance to try new things – new recipes, new art mediums and a new Nigerian government.
That last one. Ha ha. What’s your favorite book?
This is a hard question for almost any reader. It’s hard to commit to just one amazing book when they’re so many of them. Six of Crows, and Deadly Education are fiction books that I have gushed the most about recently. My favorite nonfiction book this year is probably Of this Our People.
What’s your favorite story amongst the ones you’ve written?
My favorite piece so far is one I wrote about a woman who talks to herself from another time dimension about her choices. It’s sitting pretty in my drafts because I still feel it needs a little more “oomph.”
But my favorite published pieces on Medivoice are probably “Nothing- a short story” and “Sango, Oya and Oba’s ears.”
One last question: As a medical student who writes, how do you balance both?
My misplaced priorities. I think we always make time for the things we care about. When I don’t write anything for a while, my brain just doesn’t feel right. I have to write, but I also have to read my medschool books and allow myself space for distraction when inspiration strikes while reading, for instance. I just make sure it doesn’t consume too much time.
Six years + x is a long time to not do the fun stuff you love outside medicine. Unless medicine is your one and only true love, but I’m a bit more polyandrous than that, I’m afraid.
Thank you for your time, Ravanjie. We can’t wait to see you do bigger things and make Medivoice proud!