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."

A Scarecrow Letter

SHARE THIS

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

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

The Heart of It: Working Through Xenophobia in South Africa | Ruksana Elk

XENOPHOBIA - South African civil society and private citizens march in protest against xenophobic violence in Johannesburg. EPA-EFE and Yeshiel Panchia

READ: 15 Pieces to Guide Your Understanding of Xenophobia in (South) Africa Talking xenophobia with South Africans of all classes […]

The Brittle Paper Interview with the Caine Prize 2019 Winner: Lesley Nneka Arimah

Lesley Nneka Arimah with bust of Sir Michael Caine - credit to John Cobb slash Caine Prize

In July, Lesley Nneka Arimah received the 2019 Caine Prize, the award’s twentieth edition, for her short story “Skinned,” published […]

Hollywood or Nollywood? As Americanah TV Series Goes to HBO, Actress Stella Damasus Suggests Industry Slight & Chika Unigwe Responds

danai gurira, lupita nyong'o, chimamanda adichie, stella damasus, chika unigwe

The Americanah TV series adaptation, starring Lupita Nyong’o and written by Danai Gurira, has been ordered by HBO Max. The […]

15 Pieces to Guide Your Understanding of Xenophobia in (South) Africa

xenophobia in south africa - photo by guillerme sartori for agence france press and getty images

Once again, this September, xenophobic violence was unleashed on other Africans, mostly Nigerians, in South Africa: businesses were closed, shops […]

Johary Ravaloson’s Return to the Enchanted Island Is the Second Novel from Madagascar to Be Translated into English

johary ravaloson - winds from elsewhere - graph (1)

In May 2018, we brought news of the first novel by a writer from Madagascar to be translated into English: […]

Sundays at Saint Steven’s | Davina Philomena Kawuma | Poetry

unsplash3

when god runs out of money (how, no one says) once a week, these days, we come to where the […]

Thanks for signing up!

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

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.