Tinuke is not like all the other Nigerian girls in Canada. She’s spent the night at Bankole’s place. As Sunday morning wears on, the two friends share each other’s company and think about a dark moment in their past.
Afolabi’s story is delicate and inward. Originally published as an audio story in DRUM: A Literary Magazine Your The Ears, “Force” is a story that gets a good bit of its power from the author’s reading.
The cadence and texture of Afolabi’s voice as he reads makes the sadness of the story infectious.
I asked Afolabi to reflect on what it was like making the shift from text to voice, and here is what he said:
Having to record my short story, as opposed to simply getting the text published was a bit challenging. It took about a year and a half before I heard back from The Drum, a literary audio magazine I’d sent my Open city-inspired short story to. So, I was eager to record. I had to find somewhere sound-proof or at least with minimal background noise. I am currently working and staying in a construction area and as you can imagine, it gets noisy. It was hard finding somewhere right, apart from a studio- which wasn’t an option for me. Hence, early in the morning at 5:30 when work hadn’t started, I recorded several versions of “Force.”
Recording my story gave me a different feel of it. As I read over and over the whole story and not just sections of it, my awareness of things such as pacing and continuity got heightened. Another interesting observation was the added intimacy between myself and my work that reading for an imagined audience produced. Words would roll out of my mouth even if I wasn’t looking at my screen. Recording gives you a chance at redeeming your writing, because you can play the role of performer and infuse emotions and feelings where necessary. It’s a great medium, though a bit of a hassle.
Afolabi Opanubi is a young Nigerian writer born and raised in the City of Lagos. He spent some time in Canada where he studied Environmental Science at Memorial University. His stories have been published in 34th Parallel and Rabbit tales. He lives and writes in Port Harcourt.