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DAMN YOU (LETTER TO NIGERIAN LITERATURE AND ALL INVOLVED)

(SMALL NOTE TO NIGERIAN LITERATURE AND ALL INVOLVED: DAMN YOU!)

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Yup, damn you!

I am usually conservative but even for that, damn me!

Nigerian writers and its literature is largely uncelebrated in the country – for most of that, damn Nigeria!

Nigerians prefer to read foreign books – damn Nigerians!

Readers would rather read a book by a known author than a least known one – well, I can’t blame them but damn both the readers and the unknown writer!

DAMN YOU WRITERS!

We all want to be taken seriously by the society and even government but are we even serious with ourselves?

Many times we rush off to print – without getting several things right

No proper editors or editing

Shabby production with lots of typos and grammatical blunders plus the tense

inconsistencies! Grrrr….

Should we forget the horrible covers that adorn most of our books?

What about those stories that should rather be in a text book?

Furthering, we keep doing the same thing and expect something to get results that are different… Kai!

Damn us!

You don’t read at all or pay the price for writing and you expect to have something good? Hee hee hee – Damn you jor!

Other times, you don’t do anything to help other writers – no reviews, no good comments, and you expect that the reverse would be yours… this is more hilarious than the price issue! Yes, yes, damn you!

You put some exorbitant price on your book and would rather have them under your bed than sell affordably – damn you!

You refuse to buy a book by another writer – no matter how good and expect yours to be bought – haba, if you keep expecting to be dashed or don’t even buy, you should respect karma now… but still, damn you!

A book launch is called (and this is often) and if you do the mistake of going, you go only to drink the free mineral, buns or meat pie – faya your head!

Here now you find some others – yes, you who set up some awards just for the glory and then end up giving your cronies – damn you!

What about you who is selected as a judge and decide that it is time to give the favour to some pal… O! I guess I forgot to mention that other person who decided that only the one with a big name should get the prize to increase your prestige… Whether you are a judge, whether you are the organiser… hmm, need I say more? No, not damn you, have your head examined!

More, you as a literary association or its members are more political than literary – choi, go and join PDP, CPC, ACN or one of them parties! Literary associations should be L I T E R A R Y !! Shikena! Damn you!

You are in a literary association and your only aim is POSITION – nothing else… damn you!

Okay, you get the position and you can’t effect any change – damn you still.

You claim to be a publisher while you only print and get your full payment for the copies, at best collecting payments for the print job…The same you refuses to market the writers or pay royalties when you sell their work – whether it is one of these or all, Oga/Madam Printer, damn you!

In your academic circles, scorning any writing not from your literary circles, or flowing only those sent from high towers – keep those noses in the air, may mighty flies dance alanta inside! See your head – damn you!

Now, here we go with all these and we have to start to think about why this rant has come about but not to worry… It takes time and a lot of damns to get us into doing the right thing… It takes time to ignore the big names, it takes time to get to discover that we can make those small people to be big…it takes time to ensure that we make ourselves – polish ourselves right and give ourselves the utmost shine… it takes time to make people know our worth… It takes time to take time…and while we are taking all this time, why don’t we simply just damn time itself! Damn time! (If you agreed to this, damn you!) As the times grow, we have to give it its respect and let it slowly flow… After all, isn’t it with the passage of time that wine gets better? Well, you might be lucky and not need to go through all the wahala to get there… On behalf of us all who really do not have the luxury of that miracle, damn luck! Damn the luck that would make others to really suffer to make a name… Damn the pirates who help us spread our work but don’t give us pay… Come to think of it, maybe we should give them some commission for marketing … What happens to our hard work and labour? Damn you pirates! Damn! Damn! Damn! Double and double and quadruple damns to it all till it comes to a time when we have to even damn damn itself…

At that damning time, we would have to find a way to undamn ourselves in one or several ways…and if we don’t find a way to remove the damns…well, what more do I say?

Ouch! There’s a damning headache in my head and I just discovered that someone still hasn’t got this whole message – phew! Damn! Okay, here’s what I am saying and if you don’t get it still (do I need to say it? Damn you!)

IT takes one and all to bring all the change we want and we can do it…if we don’t, damn us all!

(First published in Conflate Magazine, June 2012)

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Some all-rounded writer with the wits to turn anything and everything to words with inspiration... cheering to glory and on...

20 thoughts on “DAMN YOU (LETTER TO NIGERIAN LITERATURE AND ALL INVOLVED)

  1. …and the many ‘damns’… Can you be literary and NOT be political? Poor royalties and the REFUSAL to CULTIVATE writers by the Publishers! PIRACY! A BOOK ON THE PUBLISHERS’ desk since 2005! And a ‘non-reading’ populace!

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    1. Fasanmi, I feel something of passion in the question. Well, to be honest, I think that there is a big answer to your literary/political question. Yes. But the question is not about being political – after all, we all are political in some form. What I am driving at is that the major priority should be literature first and anything – better yet, everything else would be secondary.
      About cultivation, you really can’t blame publishers…we have to pay our dues ourselves. Learn to harness our skills. Having said that, you might have realised that there are several workshops across the country these days and more is being done. But on his/her own, the writer has to learn to read more, read more, and read more – reinvent the person’s self and keep getting better. Very few of us do that.
      If you write what the populace wants, they would read. Don’t let no one tell you different: NIGERIANS READ and they read A WHOLE LOT! I know because I have done some research. What’s more, I see it everyday.
      Thanks for stopping by…and don’t worry, the damnation ends as we chart our way towards salvation but for those who wouldn’t…oh well. 😉

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  2. damn you all for saying all the right things here……and I’m damned if I don’t point out your forgetting the shackles of visions, of styles, language,diction, editorial and technical continuity, sophistication lyric, rhythm, challenges of originality (anti-competitiveness) resulting in readers’ ‘disdain’ as well as most Nigerian writers’ apoplexy, loss of existentialist – (phenomenology) orientations, others related to content emptiness that could make interesting and engaging readings….all damned for executing this normative clarity.

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    1. And wouldn’t our damnation continue? Hee hee hee!

      Heavens have mercy! Thanks Leke… you sure have brought back memories. May the heavens help us!

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