Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Staged Discoveries

There is only one God, and it is the god called Secret, who lies in wait at every corner of time and world, pointing us to the next corner where the truth of our existence lies buried in silence. Sometimes, this God speaks from within the deep gloom of our inner world, administering the mining process through which we seek the truth of our reason and unreason. Other times, it simply transforms us into confessing automatons.

It’s really all monkey business when we go about the world with creases of expectations on our faces, looking for things that we placed in hiding ourselves. Frantically gutting our bodies. Pulling out entrails, dissecting heart tissues, examining bones, inspecting fluids, and, the most excruciating of all, waiting for them to speak to us, to tell us the truth we already know because we whispered it to them in the first place. If we chose to take Foucault seriously, then the body is the greatest casualty of our endless craving for staged discoveries, for it is the one thing that we have succeeded in making silent just so that when we get it to speak, we can pretend to hear the cackle of a liberated voice.

We are at a point where we have long since forgotten whether the things we discover and confess in our search for whatever we are searching for are genuinely there waiting for us or whether they were planted there just so we could find them. Daily rituals of life in which we mask things so that we can unmask them. Silence things so that we can make them speak. Bury things in the earth so that it can inexhaustibly give us the pleasures of finding treasures. Evade the truth, so that we can turn around, re-encounter it and act surprised like we did not know it was there all along.

How can we escape this entangling web of the world, self, and secret? The point is that we can’t. But if somehow we can see that the secret is not in the secret itself, waiting there, stolid as a virgin, destined to be found and taken, we can come to terms with the knowledge that in this gnomish obsession for finding things, the quest, the seeker, and the discovery all create each other as they go.

Photo Credit: Brian Talbolt

Website: brian-talbot.com

Tags: , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Opportunity for East African Writers | Fellowship for Early Career Writers and Publishers

african writers trust publishing fellowship

In the wake of Nigeria’s Dusty Manuscript Contest, it is encouraging to see Africa Writers Trust rolling out a fellowship […]

Nnedi Okorafor And Marvel Comics Team Up For Yet Another Black Panther Spinoff

african writers trust publishing fellowship (1)

Marvel is expanding its Wankada storyline by adding on yet another spin off. Titled Shuri, the spinoff revolves around T’Challa’s […]

Vote for Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Chimamanda Adichie and Nnedi Okorafor on The Alternative Nobel Prize Longlist

Nnedi-Okorafor BELLA NAIJA

Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Nnedi Okorafor have been longlisted for The Alternative Nobel Prize, the only three […]

In Love and Ashes | Writer-Filmmaker Umar Turaki’s Drama Series Stars Patience Ozokwor, with Soundtrack by 2Baba

umar turaki

Nigerian writer and filmmaker Umar Turaki’s new drama series, In Love and Ashes, has premiered. The series stars Nollywood icon […]

Poetry x Fashion | Attend a Class with Brunel Prize Winner Theresa Lola in London

poetry x fashion

Brunel Prize 2018 joint winner Theresa Lola will be teaching a class on poetry and fashion. The class will “explore […]

Tomi Adeyemi Narrates Frightening Encounter with Racist White Policemen

tomi adeyemi

Tomi Adeyemi, author of the million-dollar Children of Blood and Bone trilogy, shared to her 43,000 Twitter followers an encounter […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.