“I feel it’s best to look at this story critically from two angles. The first is the merits of the writing, which should of course remain paramount. In this, Tubosun does very well. He captures the dry absurdity of a potentially terrible situation, and the ending is remarkable in its pathos. I believed both the matter-of-fact and slightly sympathetic tone of the nurse, and I believed the narrator’s feelings when he hoped he did not have the illness, but suspected that, because of his life and where he lived, he might. Tubosun alternates between writing with very plain, ordinary language, such as when a conversation occurs, and larger, quite grand sentences which seek to encompass the tumultuous shifts of emotions experienced by the narrator. He is adept at both, and perhaps most importantly, knows when to use which. When the narrator talks to the nurse, the writing becomes short and sharp because the narrator himself is tense with anticipation, he must be calm, because if he is not – collapse. When he retreats within himself, his conscious is allowed to expand, and so, too, does the writing, Tubosun’s sentences uncoiling like languorous snakes willing to take their time to reach their destination.”
teaching. lanugage. travel
A short story by Brian Chikwava in the Granta Magazine, here.
Written at Cougar Village.
Looking up into the predictable night sky, he saunters home. In other climes, he might have been a little high on the freedom of the night to surprise, and to appease his seething exhilaration and bubbling fears. Here, he just paces home in little steps that completely ignore the need for caution, yet a buoyancy remains. Even the geese have gone to bed, and the road is free of any surprises. Only the warm wind blows from all directions, and his open shirt blows with it opening spaces around his armpit and exiting through his similarly open cuffs. From afar and against the background of light – except for the colour of his shirt or the size of his frame – he could have been mistaken for a waving flag, or a moving scarecrow.
Once upon a time this was home to more shuffling feet and heaps of snow. But that was then. Once upon a time, trees and their leaves that now whistle with the night shedding grains of white pollinated flowers were only high and dry, and winter shook the alien city to the barest limit of its own survival. Then there was nothing but death and dryness, and a certain music to the melancholy of heavy and seemingly wounded trees. It was seasonal. Hope had sprung up later like the flowers that now scatter on his head from on top of the tall pine trees. All in one night the change came, suddenly and without warning. Even to him a traveller, it was an unexpected miracle of a seasonal revival.
Like a visitor in a now growing market place, he looks around again with a certain brightness. The fears that returned were about how in a different place and a different time this might have been unwise, coming home at this time of the night. In his mind was something similar to a mother’s scoff of a rage: “Bloody fool, you toss your life around like a game of cards.” The delight in mischief of such confrontations has gone now, and only a nostalgic smile remains drawn on the face of the dark night sky that breathes on his upward gaze. Like looking at a mirror of one own smeared reflection, he muses, head up towards a direction that could only be east, judging by the position of the crescent moon. Home lies there, he whispers.
In a few days time, a new book will hit the shelves all over the world. It’s African Roar! It is a collection of short stories written by authors from different countries in Africa. As the name suggests, it is an African roar! Do you hear the rumbles?
My first published story, first titled The First Test has now been published in the anthology as Behind the Door. It is a story of one man in contemplation while going through the aisle of a private hospital.
But African Roar has more than just one story. From Novuyo Rosa’s Big Pieces, Little Pieces to Ayodele Morocco Clarke’s The Nestbury Tree to Beaven Tapureta’s Cost Of Courage, Chuma Nwokolo’s QuarterBack & Co and Ivor W. Hartmann’s Lost Love, the collection takes you onto imaginative plains and hills, and all the eleven stories leave you with an exhilaration that you can only get from the little pleasures of the other person’s imagination. Other stories in the collection are Yesterday’s Dog by Masimba Musodza, Cost Of Courage by Beaven Tapureta, A Cicada In The Shimmer by Christopher Mlalazi, A Return To The Moonlight by Emmanuel Sigauke, Truth Floats by Nana A. Damoah’s and Tamale Blues by Ayesha H. Attah. Each of the stories tells something of the African experience, and more.
The stories that make up the work were all drawn from the very best stories published from 2007-2009 on the Story Time website. The anthology is published by Lion Press Ltd UK, and is edited by Ivor Hartmann and Emmanuel Sigauke. It will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and some physical book stores worldwide in a few days. It will also be available on the Kindle.
You may follow the twitter feeds of African Roar at http://www.twitter.com/africanroar and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/African.Roar for more information. Autographed copies will also be available, I’m sure, as soon as possible.
I’m ex… ex… excited. Are you?
In this guest post, children’s story writer Ayodele Olofintuade writes a autobiographical account of growing up with her brother in Nigeria. It’s reproduced her as cross posted on her blog totallyhawaya-haywire.blogspot.com.
… At five years old
“What’s the west of the stowy?” He asked staring at the pictures in the comic book
“The oko baba dudu first!” I said making a grab for the sweet.
He clutched it tighter, “Who is that man standing behind Spiderman?” He pointed at the comic.
“Oh he’s just there.” I said dismissively. “You promised to give me the sweet if I read the comic to you.” I said eyeing the oko baba dudu anxiously. In spite of the fact that I am three years older than Yomi he’s always one step ahead of me.
“How will I know? There is no balloon coming out of his mouth.” Then it dawned on me that Abayomi has no intention of giving me the sweet, so I made a grab for it . Abayomi gave the loud screech that always fetched our mother from wherever she was … I snapped my fingers at him. “I will show you! Mcheew!!” I know when to run …
“Wale! Biodun!!” he called his friends. “I have finished weading the comic. But you have to give me one oko baba dudu each before I tell you the stowy … is it me that said you should not know how to wead like me? … This is spiderman and the other one is emm… emm, …superfly…!”
… And then he turned eleven
“But why is your cousin not talking now?” Jide said, eyeing my ‘cousin’ who is dressed up in a black mini skirt with a pair of very high heels and a big afro wig.
“I told you she’s mute, she can hear you but she cannot talk.” I said smiling at my ‘cousin’ as she applied … no smeared… more lipstick on already blood red lips and added powder to a ghostly face.
“But that your cousin looks like Yomi.” Jide said staring at the huge boobs straining at the tee-shirt.
“Wo Jide, I’m tired of this jare, do you want a girlfriend or not? She will allow you touch one of her breasts, just pay up.” I held out my hand for the twenty naira. Jide reluctantly handed over his life savings to me, his eyes still glued to my ‘cousin’s’ balloons… “Are you sure she will let me touch th…the…them?”
“You can take your 20 naira back if you don’t trust me.” I watched with disgust as Jide started squeezing one of the big pimples on his face … no wonder he doesn’t have a girlfriend.
“Where is Yomi?” He asked as he dipped a finger inside one of his nostrils.
“He’s in Lagos.” I said haughtily. “Come back around 8.30pm, my cousin will wait by that door.”
“It will be too dark.” He whined
“You did not say you want to see a breast you just want to feel it, so you don’t need light. You have to leave now, mummy is back.” I said pushing him through the door.
“Good afternoon ma. Bye-bye.” Jide said as he ran off.
“Abayomi what are you doing in my shoes … my wig and my make-up?” Yomi stood up from the chair and nearly fell off the heels he was wearing.
“Get that muck off your face. Go and change. What’s that on your chest? The balloons I bought for Oba’s birthday abi? Don’t worry; I’ll get to the bottom of this later. I hope you’re done packing because the taxi that will take us to Lagos is waiting outside…”
… Yomi at 34
What fun we had in those days didn’t we?
Ayo is the author of a forthcoming socially-conscious children’s storybook titled Eno’s Story scheduled to be published by Cassava Republic.