The creativity of author, designer, broadcaster Ben Arogundade
Writers Stories & Articles: A Day In The Life Of Author Ben Arogundade
AUTHOR AND PUBLISHER Ben Arogundade talks about his writing routine, while revisiting his abusive childhood, and how he learned how to love. Feb.22.2022.
A DAY IN THE LIFE: Ben Arogundade, 55, was born in Shepherd’s Bush, West London, and studied architecture at South Bank University. After graduation he worked for a firm of commercial architects before diversifying into journalism and graphic design. He is now an author and publisher, with his own imprint, White Labels Books. He lives alone in Notting Hill, London.
I GET UP AT SIX A.M. EVERY DAY. I have a strict health and fitness regime. The first thing I do is drink a half-litre of purified water. I loosen up with a foam roller, eat a mouthful of organic dates or figs, and then I go running, usually a distance of 8k, and with some driving funk music in my headphones.
When I come back I strip off and put the clothes straight in the washing machine, and then I have a protein shake, all the time with the headphones still on. I usually have a little dance, naked, while I drink. Then I shower, with Radio 4’s Today programme in the background. Afterwards I moisturise with coconut oil, and then get dressed. Most days I wear a similar combination — loose-fitting cargo pants, T-shirt and silver trainers, of which I have about six pairs. After this comes a big breakfast. I start with a bowl of mixed nuts and seeds, sprinkled with bee pollen, coconut and blueberries, plus a blob of kefir. This is followed by a large bowl of steamed green vegetables and two boiled eggs.
I start writing at 9am from the study in my flat, and work right through the day. Living alone (I have a grown-up son who lives in Sweden) means no interruptions, and I am grateful for that, as I grew up in a house with seven siblings, sharing spaces, and so there was always noise and very little privacy. My parents came to England from Nigeria in 1961, as part of the Windrush generation. My father was a writer, filmmaker and musician, and my mother was a nurse. We were poor, and during my early years I slept in a double bed with two of my siblings, in the kitchen. I call it the kitchen, but in reality it was a room with a plug-in cooker and a large wooden table filled with tins, packets of food and pots and pans. At night I was terrorized by the sound of rats scurrying across the newspaper that we’d laid down on the floor instead of lino.
My father was a strict disciplinarian who believed in education above all things. To him, the concept of play was unnecessary. If I deviated from his rules in any way, he would beat me, either with his belt, his bare hands, or with a length of electrical cable, doubled up. I’d get beaten for the slightest of things. Even looking at my father angrily would get me the belt. As he hit me, he’d tell me I was “stupid”, or “useless”, and other things like this. My white English friends never seemed to get beaten when they misbehaved. Instead, they got sent to be bed without any supper. I was amazed at this, because to me this was not punishment. I remember wondering, is this what being English is about? Not getting punished for stuff?
It wasn’t until I left home that I began to address the effects of being physically and verbally abused. Women were the catalyst. It was difficult to be in loving relationships in which my feelings of anger, humiliation and low self-esteem were manifesting. I ended up seeing a therapist, which some of my black friends found funny. There is still a stigma amongst BAME people about this form of treatment, and we are worse off as a result. My sessions taught me to understand how my aversion to healthy, loving relationships was traceable back to my childhood of abuse.
Writing about this has helped me heal. Each day I finish work at six. Since the coronavirus I now watch the news every evening, which I have never done before. There is so much happening, I like to get the overview. I eat supper at 8pm. I have reduced my meat intake to twice-a-week these days, and so I usually have stuff like salads, vegetables, rice and fish. I eat with a plate on my lap, or at the kitchen counter, while listening to Gregory Porter.
I am in bed at 10.30. I round off with a phone call to my girlfriend, to see how her day has been. My therapy sessions mean that I can now say, “I love you” to her — and so I do. And then I turn out the light.
In Online Dating, by
“Intriguing and powerful.”
BBC Radio 5 Live
“Extraordinary and revelatory.”
Author Ben Arogundade recounts his journey as an online dater, during which time he was stood up, verbally abused, propositioned for sex and asked to be a father to an unborn child. Along the way he offers singles the secrets and best practices they need to know to boost the quality of their matches, and presents the latest strategies, research-based guidelines and innovations to take their online profiles to new levels of excellence. Get it now at Amazon, £9.99/$12.99.
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