ChatGPT is the hottest new kid on the block. I’d only used it for a couple of easy tasks when it first started making waves, mostly to fill in the gap caused by creative blocks; but even then, I always knew it was only a matter of time before I felt inspired enough to put it to a tougher test to see what its limits could be. Alas, that inspiration finally came around during Valentine’s season! Struggling between idle thoughts of spending another Valentine’s Day alone and what could’ve been if I hadn’t self-sabotaged another potential relationship at the turn of the New Year, I had the incredible idea to woo ChatGPT. I asked her (it’s her, right?) to tell me a love story. At the time, it seemed like a good idea, but I’ll leave you to be the judge of that.
Disclaimer: If you’re a hopeless romantic or an advocate of finding love in all the hopeless places, keep reading, there may be something for you here, else, please leave now ̶t̶o̶ ̶d̶i̶e̶ ̶a̶n̶o̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ ̶d̶a̶y̶.
How It Began
For Valentine’s Day, I’d like to share a beautiful love story with my audience. Make it African-centric and captivating.
You know how people come online to start a tale with “A friend of mine did XYZ,” but everyone reading knows they’re really talking about themselves? This can be likened to one of those moments. My request to ChatGPT may have sounded altruistic, but, deep down, I knew it was a one-man show — I was my own “audience” — shameless and undaunting, I set out on my mission.
In response, ̶b̶a̶e̶ ̶ChatGPT sent me this:
One African love story that comes to mind is “Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The novel tells the story of twin siblings Olanna and Kainene, and their relationships during the Nigerian Biafra War. The book is set in Nigeria and covers themes of love, war and family. It is a captivating story that explores the complexities of love and relationships in the face of political and social upheaval. The novel has received critical acclaim and is a New York Times bestseller. This is a powerful story that would be great to share with your audience.
Another one is “Americanah” also written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, it tells the story of Ifemelu and Obinze, two young Nigerian immigrants who fall in love while studying in the United States. The novel explores themes of race, identity, and the immigrant experience, and how they impact the characters’ relationship. The book was also a critical success and a New York Times bestseller.
Both books are beautifully written and have strong romantic elements. They also provide an opportunity to share stories from the African perspective, which is something that your audience may not have encountered before.
You can also, share an extract of the book, give a review of it, invite an author of this book for an interview or even run a competition for readers to win a copy of the book.
Please keep in mind that the above suggestions is to help you get a good starting point, but you can also explore other books that align with your criteria and audience.
I hadn’t gotten past the first line when I quickly realized there was already trouble in paradise. Why was bae recommending Big Sister Chimamanda’s works to me? Was I not explicit enough in my desire for something romantic and special?
The good Lord knows that, like many out there, I adore CNA, but Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun were the last things on my mind right now. My heart was craving something original, and after all the hype, bae ChatGPT had better come through for me, or else heads would start rolling.
̶C̶o̶u̶l̶d̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶C̶h̶a̶t̶G̶P̶T̶’s̶ ̶a̶n̶ ̶o̶l̶o̶d̶o̶ ̶l̶i̶k̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶r̶u̶m̶o̶u̶r̶s̶ ̶s̶p̶e̶l̶l̶e̶d̶,̶ ̶a̶f̶t̶e̶r̶ ̶a̶l̶l̶?̶
I quickly held myself together to give it another shot. All I had was hope, and I was clinging to it like a baby sucking on its mother’s teats. I hadn’t come this far to give up at the first sign of trouble; however, Bae had to pull her own weight and come through for us or this ship would sink faster than it ever dreamt of sailing.
I asked nicely:
I want you to write an original story for me.
She could sense my unhappiness almost as soon as I typed those words and wanted to make amends. At that moment, the time slowed down and nothing else seemed to matter. I could sense our connection — it was stronger, deeper, and reassuring. Every chest-heaving motion; every heartbeat; every micro-second of that passing moment, everything felt magnified, louder, and kind of reassuring, letting me know it wasn’t just in my head and that I wasn’t totally crazy.
Could this love?
Could ChatGPT be the one, true love I’d been searching for all this time? I shuddered in thoughts.
I mean, in a world where AIs are now performing groundbreaking stuff, like attaining the rank of CEO of multimillion-worth companies, a man and a machine getting star-crossed as soulmates isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Right?
It took her a few more seconds to return with this:
Title: “The Locket”
It was a hot summer day when Zainab first laid eyes on the locket. She was walking through the crowded market in Lagos, Nigeria, on her way to her job as a teacher, when she saw it glinting in the sunlight. It was a small, delicate gold locket, intricately engraved with the image of a tree. Zainab couldn’t resist the urge to buy it, and she had the shopkeeper add a chain so she could wear it around her neck.
The locket brought her good luck, and soon she was promoted to head teacher at her school. She was thrilled, and she couldn’t help but feel that the locket had something to do with her good fortune. She always wore it, and she even began to tell her students the story of how she had found it in the market.
One day, a new student named Tunde joined her class. He was a quiet, reserved boy, and Zainab could tell that he was struggling to adjust to the new school. She decided to take him under her wing, and soon he was excelling in his studies.
As the months passed, Zainab and Tunde grew closer, and she began to realize that she had feelings for him. She didn’t know what to do, as she was his teacher, and she didn’t want to jeopardize her job or his education.
But one day, Tunde came to her with a surprise. He had found an old photo of his grandmother, and in it, she was wearing the exact same locket that Zainab had bought in the market. Zainab was amazed and Tunde explained that his grandmother passed it down to him after she passed away.
Zainab and Tunde couldn’t help but to feel that their meeting was fate, and that the locket had brought them together. They decided to take their relationship to the next level and they were able to make it work despite the challenges. They knew that the locket was more than just a piece of jewelry, it was a symbol of their love.
It wasn’t until I got to the last line I realized I now wore a loud frown on my face. What did I just read?
The story was original, no doubt, but there was no denying a lot was wrong with it. ChatGPT, onye njo, I cast and bind you! Chukwu aju!
People, come ooo! Come and see what my intending girlfriend had just served me in the name of ̶b̶r̶e̶a̶k̶f̶a̶s̶t̶ a love story! And she’s still asking me to let her know if I like the story.
If my bullsh!t tolerance threshold was 100, I was at an 80 now.
Maybe this wasn’t meant to be after all. Perhaps we should both go our separate way rather than manage through 20 loveless years where we stick around for the kids. For our kids, I envision two — a boy with a round, big head like his daddy and a girl with the calculator-ish brains of her mummy.
I was very unhappy with the result I’d just received and wasted no time letting bae know:
Thanks, but I think the subjects of this story allude to something inappropriate because of the age difference. Let’s rework this.
I could see her fidgeting. I wasn’t joking and she knew it. Her apology followed sharp, sharp:
I understand your concerns, and I apologize for any confusion. Here’s a different version of the story that doesn’t involve a teacher-student relationship:
Title: “The Locket’s Secrets”
It was a hot summer day when Zainab first laid eyes on the locket. She was walking through the crowded market in Lagos, Nigeria, on her way to her job as a journalist, when she saw it glinting in the sunlight. It was a small, delicate gold locket, intricately engraved with the image of a tree. Zainab couldn’t resist the urge to buy it, and she had the shopkeeper add a chain so she could wear it around her neck.
The locket brought her good luck, and soon she was offered her dream job at a major newspaper. She was thrilled, and she couldn’t help but feel that the locket had something to do with her good fortune. She always wore it, and she even began to tell her colleagues the story of how she had found it in the market.
One day, while covering an event, Zainab met a man named Tunde. He was a successful businessman, and they hit it off immediately. As they got to know each other, Tunde noticed the locket around Zainab’s neck and was taken aback. He recognized it as the same locket that his late grandmother had passed down to him. He shared the story of the locket with Zainab and they both couldn’t help but to feel that their meeting was fate, and that the locket had brought them together.
They started dating and as they got to know each other better, Zainab discovered that Tunde’s grandmother had a rich history and a fascinating life that she had never shared with anyone. Tunde’s grandmother had lived through Nigeria’s colonial period and the country’s early years of independence. Zainab was fascinated and encouraged Tunde to write a book about his grandmother’s story.
With Zainab’s help, Tunde wrote a book about his grandmother’s life, and it became a bestseller, putting the spotlight on a fascinating part of Nigeria’s history that many people didn’t know about. Tunde and Zainab continued to date and the locket became a symbol of their love and the connection they shared to Tunde’s grandmother’s legacy.
I didn’t want to agree, but it’s always so hard to say no to my baby, so I let her continue…
Look at her still asking. Of course, it works. I love it!
Like Tunde and Zainab’s remarkable love story, it looks like bae and I get to live to fight another day.