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Dear Ms. Paper: 

My editor hates me. And I can tell it’s because she harbors intense hatred for my ethnic group. It’s obvious in the way she enjoys pointing out spelling mistakes for no other reason than to shame me. In my last email, I called her out for daring to accuse me of writing in cliché’s and stereotypes. If the one Hausa character in my novel appears caricatured, it’s because I know for a fact that exaggerations carry the point across better than objective observations. If my characters are fond of forced and lengthy political speeches, it’s because I, like Achebe, believe a novelist is mandated to teach. She’s decided to drive me positively mad with her constant reminder that the sex scenes in my novel are forced and bland. Has she forgotten that displaying sex for the fun of it is a western thing? Africans are too morally upright for such exhibitionism. I have tried to explain this to her, but she won’t hear me out. Believe me when I tell you that she is bent on killing my dreams of becoming a novelist. She has to be stopped! 

Dear Mr. Murderous Thoughts: 

If anything has to be killed, it’s your delusions about your writing.

What a dreary life your editor must lead! Sentenced to a manuscript such as yours, which from your rant, sounds like a hodge-podge of a million kinds of wackiness.

The whole tribalism thing…seriously?

If your spelling keeps coming up wrong, your quarrel should be with the English dictionary, not your editor’s ethnic prejudices.

Tribalism, like racism, is real. I don’t doubt that for one second. But it’s become an all-too-easy explanation for any and every personal failures and insecurities.

Trust me, you won’t write so badly if you spent your time thinking less about ethnic differences and more about your work.

Want to become good writer? Forget about who hates or who loves you because of your ethnicity. Cast all murderous thoughts from your heart. And focus! Your writing will improve a thousand fold.

Good luck! Send me your novel when it’s published. I’ll be happy to write a review.

Sincerely,

Ms. Paper

PS. Reconsider your stand on sex scenes. African novels have been killing our sex drive since 1907. On behalf of your future readers, I beg you to end the culture of bad sex scenes in African novels. Write something that will give us a delightful turn-on.

********************************

#DearMsPaper is a fictional agony-aunt series that parodies readers, critics, and writers in the African literary scene.  

Previously on #DearMsPaper

Dear Ms. Paper: Help! I’m In Love with an African Novelist

Dear Ms. Paper: Can I Dump Him For Not Knowing Who Achebe Is?

Dear Ms. Paper: Save Me From This Boring African Novel

 

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5 Responses to “Dear Ms. Paper: I Want to Kill My (Tribalist) Editor!” Subscribe

  1. RealYvonne 2015/02/25 at 04:40 #

    Great post. Made me smile in a “I know what you mean” kind of way. Thanks.

  2. Kiru Taye 2015/02/25 at 04:54 #

    ROFLOL. Love your Ms Paper series.

  3. Eugene. O 2015/02/26 at 12:55 #

    I’ve got a friend who stalks your site waiting to devour your Ms Paper series. Delightful stuff.

  4. riverfall 2015/02/26 at 13:35 #

    That’s bad when I write I like to exhibit sex scenes she’s right… Craft is unique let’s consider it as it is…

  5. Farida 2016/06/24 at 11:05 #

    Now, I love the Ms Paper series.

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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.

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