If after a hundred years of colonial quibbling, the past is fragmented beyond recognition and leaves nothing to be remembered in its purity, just stick to your guns and remember the evils done to you and your people. That’s how nations are born. Just don’t forget to forget the evils you and your people inflicted on others.

But never lose sight of the fact that past traumas are borrowed traumas. That is why rather than reopening scabbed wounds to flare up old pains, it is far better to create your own pain and, therefore, your own pleasure. Your own traumas and, therefore, your own convalescence.

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Failure to do this will result in mixing up nightmares and mistaking the fears of one generation with those of another.

Whatever you do, do not lose track of where one generation’s anxieties begins and where those of the other ends for fear of forgetting whose dream is whose.

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As much as you like to think the contrary, you have not existed from the birth of your world, so take care that in holding on to the past, you are not simply bearing the trash and truths of all the worlds that came before you.

It is imperative that at all times you are aware of what items make up the burden of memories you are carrying into the future.

Most of all, when the past gets too heavy and the burden of continuity sad and weary, remember that you can always ditch the past and its pretensions to historical importance and find an absolute beginning in the dazzling emptiness of the present.

Photo Credit: Jos Wade. 1784. “”A Plan of the Fort and Factory on George Island in the River Sierraleon or Sierra Leona”