Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Tracing Home

SHARE THIS

If home ever had a home, it would be in the poetic distance of the past. To stare at trees and think about home. That’s the only way I know to spend my summer evenings. Thoughts that wander off and take me to places I can no more call home and those other places (you know them) I am happy never more to call home. People say that home is a fiction. They say that home is the byroad where longing meets fantasy frothing at the desiring mouth of imagination. Home, they say, has no real home. Dreams are the only places where a true home can be found. Or when ghosts of homes long dead flutter about like lips of flames and sting with the pain of loss.

Home is pain, but the sweet pain only the masochist can crave. Home is almost always a simile. You think of a place as home or like home because home can never exist in the concreteness of the real. Like most sentiments in our lives, and probably even more than most, home can only be experienced in retrospect. The homey things in our lives are more often than not momentary fulfillment of things we have dreamed of in the past.

Nevertheless…I miss all the homes I have ever known. Now that I think about it, home as desire is passion and sweetness and life.  Am I not all the homes I have ever lived? I cannot help but think of all the selves I have worn and how each home steals a piece of these selves for the next home-comer even as it leaves on my body the traces of its own self and all the other selves it has sheltered. So whether imaginary or true, homes are alive in the indelible traces of sense and nonsense it scribbles on our migrant bodies.

Image by Ash Sivils

Tags: , ,

Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

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

Archives

What We Are Reading This Week | Magical Tales About Life in Northern Nigeria

abubakar the whispering trees

BUY Cassava | Amazon A new edition of Abubakar Adam Ibrahim’s The Whispering Trees is out in Cassava Shorts, a […]

Poda-Poda Stories Calls for Submissions from Sierra Leonean Writers

poda-poda stories Sierra Leone

Poda-Poda Stories is a new digital platform curating Sierra Leonean literature. The platform was founded by Ngozi Nicole, a Sierra […]

Petina Gappah’s Out of Darkness, Shining Light Wins the 2020 Chautauqua Prize

Petina Gappah2020 Chautauqua Prize

Petina Gappah’s Out of Darkness, Shining Light is the winner of the 2020 Chautauqua Prize. The Chautauqua Prize has been awarded […]

Brittle Paper Quote of the Week — Wole Soyinka

quote of the week wole soyinka

  The of Quote of the Week is by Wole Soyinka: “The man dies in all who keep silent in […]

Chimamanda Adichie Shares the Ins-and-Outs of Writing Half of A Yellow Sun for Biafra Remembrance Day

Untitled design

  It’s Biafra Remembrance Day, and while many authors have written about the Biafra War, perhaps no other book on […]

Teju Cole’s Essay on The Disposability of Black Lives is Essential Reading for Our Current Moment

george floyd minneapolis teju cole

As we mourn the death of George Floyd, whose life was brutally taken by a white police officer in Minneapolis, […]

Thanks for signing up!

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

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.