Thursday, February 16, 2012

Let The Writer Write

This is an old subject, but I think I want to return to it as I have never let my opinion on it get known.
There is a school of thought amongst some writers, readers, and critics that sometimes make me sick when I hear them writing and also articulating that they think writers should stop writing about the wars, the hunger, dictatorships, and all such images they think portray a negative picture of the African continent and the Third World.
Some go on to tell the picture they want to see written about, describing the beautiful natural landscapes and wild life of the continent.  Some have even go far and tried to suggest that why don’t these ‘negative’ writers write romances or thrillers or some such literature that does not touch on the hungers, the wars, the child soldiers, dictators etc.
I have never commented on this opinion like I said whenever I come across it, especially on social networking platforms, mainly because I have always been amazed, and if not disappointed, that there are some people with this train of thought, because, for goodness sake, what constitutes of the very term of literature?
Of course we are aware that people have diverse tastes, just as we would see somebody preferring to go half dressed whilst some hold that as a taboo in their cultures.  But does having diverse tastes warrant a ‘dressing down’ of the other? Is there anybody who can rightly say they are the judges of world literature, and people should always pay homage to their opinions on this matter?
I hope I am not being abstract, as I have often discovered myself confusing myself in some of my writing when I use words that seem to hang in mid air, but my opinion on this matter, which I will stand by through thick and thin, is that let each horse chose from which river it wants to drink from, for who knows, maybe those forbidden waters are the ones that hold healing chemicals.
Literature should heal.  There can be no healing if there is no exposure.  Lack of exposure can lead to a perpetuation of the illness, a suppuration of the wound. Let the political writers write.


Kiru Taye said...

Writers should write but hopefully not different versions of the same story. Africa has more than one story. Surely. :)

bm said...

"There can be no healing if there is no exposure"... so true for more than just politics and writers. We all need communication, much more communication, and I want to specially thank you, Chris, for 'exposing' Rashid Jogee's work in your great video on Youtube. Wonderful to see, specially for those of us so far from home.