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."

When Being Lost Is The Only Way To Live

SHARE THIS

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: , , ,

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.

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

  1. Adebola Rayo February 9, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    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

    • admin February 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

      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

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

Itiola Jones Joins 20.35 Africa Poetry Collective as an Editor

itiola jones - graph

The American Nigerian poet Itiola Jones has joined the 20.25 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry collective as an editor. […]

After One Comes Ten | Golden Anurika Ahuachaogu | Poetry

marco-bianchetti-KFzvvFitypM-unsplash

Somewhere in the north, above red earth and foils of prayers, the smell of wet henna fights to outlive the […]

Sumbua | Gloria Mari | Fiction

zakaria-zayane-Xaeo-OpD39M-unsplash

BEATRICE WATCHES THE parking lot, her ornamental beads jingling. “Is Sumbua coming?” she asks her mother standing beside her. Her […]

Americanah TV Series: Chinonye Chukwu to Direct First Two Episodes, Corey Hawkins Joins Cast as Blaine

chinonye chukwu and corey hawkins for Americanah

Chinonye Chukwu, the Igbo-born director of last year’s Sundance award-winning film Clemency, will be directing the first two episodes of […]

Photos | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Is the Inaugural Recipient of the ILFU Festival’s Belle van Zuylen ring

Chimamanda - Belle van Zuylen ring 1 (6)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been honoured with the inaugural Belle van Zuylen ring, an award by the ILFU International Literature […]

The 2000s-10s Generation of Nigerian Writers Has Failed Politically | Michael Chiedoziem Chukwudera

nigeria map graph

1. At the Ake Arts and Books Festival in Lagos last October, the novelist Helon Habila said something about identifying […]

Thanks for signing up!

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

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.