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."

When Being Lost Is The Only Way To Live

There are those for whom being lost is the only way to live. They do not want to be found by others. They would rather live in the dark bowels of the earth, eat manure and slake the thirst of their dangling tongue from the dew that fall off the flowers of evil. These men and women are different from those of us who equate being lost with being dead. We who desire to be found and cry out in anguish:

“Oh cities of rejection come! Discover us!” —Adunis

These folks who we count as dead because they live in places where out maps cannot go. We could not leave them to their absence. We fished them out of their hiding places as though they were vermin. And then when we found them,  we counted it as righteous on our part to tell their story like they were heroes or men like ourselves. First, we asked them to tell their own story, but they refused, replying us with silence. That kind of silence that resided deep within the heart of an explosion, the silence that chilled the heart before it sets it to flames. Then we decided to tell our own story through them, to write a biography of them: a people with fatherland, descended from a ancestors., etc.  But these were no ordinary men. They were invisible like air. They had been running away from us for so long that their bodies had become thin and weightless.

Since the charitable act of fashioning a story for them was not entirely successful, we waited for them to die so we could write an obituary. But they chose to die slowly and intensely in unpunctuated time.

Tags: , , ,

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.

2 Responses to “When Being Lost Is The Only Way To Live” Subscribe

  1. Adebola Rayo 2011/02/09 at 16:09 #

    I like this, the solemnity to it, how it’s telling, yet not telling whose story it is.
    is it an excerpt from a longer work? i get that feeling there should be more… or maybe the more is for my head to create

  2. admin 2011/02/16 at 13:12 #

    Hey Adebayo: Thanks so much for stopping by Brittler Paper and leaving a comment. This piece actually came about from my reading of J.M. Coetzee’s Life and Times of Michael K. A good i definitely recommend. You’ll love it.

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

Cameroonian Novelist Patrick Nganang Details His Experience at Kondengui Central Prison

patrick nganang (1)

A few weeks ago, we reported that Cameroonian novelist Patrick Nganang was remanded in prison, following an article he wrote […]

Zahrah Nesbit-Ahmed Charts an Epic Adventure into African Books

Zahrah Nesbit-Ahmed

Zahrah Nesbit-Ahmed truly has a heart spellbound by books. The brilliant curator of Bookshy blog recently shared the road map […]

Angels and Muse | Artsy Co-working Space Opens in Lagos

Ehikhamenor angels and muse (1)

Award-winning artist and writer Victor Ehikhamenor has always given us the gift of beautiful art. But his latest project, Angels […]

WATCH | Nnedi Okorafor in HBO’s Afro-Futurism Documentary

nnedi okorafor afrofuturism black panther

For the past few months, fans have been connecting the dots between Afro-futurism and the Black Panther superhero movie. So […]

Adichie’s New Nigerian Publisher, Narrative Landscape Press, Is Releasing Box Sets of Wax-Print Cover Designs of Her Books

The Thing Around Your Neck

Dear Nigeria-based Adichie fans, this news is for you! Your favorite Adichie books are being reissued in iconic Ankara (wax-print) […]

“What Keeps Girls from Knowing the Power in Them?”: Mona Eltahawy on the Importance of Female Rage

Mona ELTAHAWY

Egyptian writer and outspoken feminist Mona Eltahawy is asking important questions about the necessity and possibilities of female anger. In […]

Thanks for signing up!

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

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.