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."

A Scarecrow Letter

D ear Beloved,

Your photograph is on my nightstand. In the rare moments when I take my eyes off your face, which has grown yellow and moldy, I read Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust.  There is this passage that always makes me think of you. Even though I can’t quite remember the exact words, the suffering it expressed has always stayed with me.

Just like the narrator of the passage, I’ve been waiting for the postman to bring a letter from you. I often wonder about your silence: is it that having composed a letter, you are merely waiting to sign it? Or having signed it, the letter is sitting on your desk, wishing to be sent? Or maybe the letter has been sent but has just not yet arrived. Which is it? Tell me so I can stop this longing from corroding me from the inside.

Tired of waiting, I decided to dream up a letter. I composed a letter written to myself by myself pretending to be you. Yes, it’s perverse on so many levels. But to tell you the truth, I impersonated you to perfection. The letter looked pretty legit down to the very sentences, words, and signature. It’s not the real thing but a pretty damn good copy of the letter that is yet to come.

It was all supposed to be innocent fun. I simply said to myself, “perhaps this is what you would write to me if you were to write to me.” A little “perhaps” never killed anyone. But as Nietzsche said once, “perhapses” are dangerous things. And so instead of giving me that warm fuzzy feeling, the forged letter is proving to be quite scary. I tremble whenever I read it ’cause I realize it’s a mirror with your reflection. I swear it’s you, though, in your demonic form, the form in which you reside in the whirlpool of my desire, my lust, and my friendship, and, therefore, the form in which I see myself in you.

Write me! Save me! From this monstrosity of a look-a-like letter.  This possessed caricature. This scarecrow letter. This “disquieting [copy].” This forged “artifact in rags and tatters.”

Yours,

Anon.

 

Photo Credit: Roz McQuillan

 

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.

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

Psalm 151 | Theresa Lola | Poetry

PSALM151

Theresa Lola is a poet of considerable achievement. A few months ago, she became a joint winner of the 2018 […]

Opportunity for African Writers | Enter for the 2019 Gerald Kraak Award

gerald kraak - as you like it

The 2019 Gerald Kraak Award is open for submissions. The deadline is 25 June 2018. Founded in 2016 by the Jacana […]

If Football Nations Were Rappers | Musa Okwonga’s World Cup Thread Is a Twitter Moment

musa okwonga - god is in the tv zine

Writer-musician Musa Okwonga last week saw a fun thread he started, “If Football Nations Were Rappers,” in which he matched football […]

Cassava Republic Warns Against the Deletion of Local Publishing Houses

cassava republic books

A few days ago, publishers Cassava Republic published on their site a trend in which Nigerian media de-prioritize the work […]

Crime-Writing as Political Engagement in Moroccan Literature

InstaBox_201861813422729

Among the best known Moroccan writers are Laila Lalami, UNESCO-Sharjah Prize winner Bensalem Himmich, Grand Atlas Prize winner Youssef Fadel, Prix Goncourt […]

Mo Abudu Announces Film Adaptation of Soyinka’s Death And The King’s Horseman

mo abudu WOLE-SOYINKA premium times

Nollywood personality Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife Television, has announced a film adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman. She […]

Thanks for signing up!

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

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.