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Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer

WB Yeast, “The Second Coming”

 

It was a Facebook friend who joked, “If you’ve not read Things Fall Apart raise your hands let me block you. How could you not have read that bible?”

The first time I read that bible it was an old well beaten copy. One of my older sibling had bought it as a literature text in school. I smuggled it when I had the opportunity — I had seen the movie adaptation where Pete Edochie played Okonkwo— and read it. It didn’t make much sense then.

I read that bible again when I did my own English Literature, and another time when I was super bored. It started making sense.

 

Many years later also known as few weeks ago, I was scrambling through a pile of old books, searching for a notebook I once used to scribble words. Then that bible peered at me, it wasn’t worthy of its name. Rats most have read it too. Luckily I found another copy the rats must have missed, although it probably was involved in an accident as a huge bandage ran across its spin.  And so I read that bible again and I couldn’t believe how simple it was. No big grammar, just simple words placed side by side. How could this simple thing be translated into several languages and be regarded an all-time classic?

 

But the themes echoed in that bible are still relevant in today’s society. You can see them everywhere and all of a sudden it made sense to me that great works of fiction should have a purpose apart from entertainment. Every piece of writing should be deliberate and not just a combination of big big grammar. It should have a clear sense of direction that even when an alien picks it up, he can relate fully to what’s been said.

After reading that bible, I realized writing like music find its true meaning and value if it’s still relevant years after. If it is locked in a cage with trend and time yet emerge victorious.

That bible carried the good news that those who write are archives of information and ought to do it responsibly. Because they shape the thoughts of society together with other forms of art. It screamed the importance of destroying topical issues yet living them alive to be relevant years later. So people can do a throwback, pick up valuable lessons and use it to solve current problems. It reminded me writing should be reflective because life is an ever cycling wheel.  So those who write should develop their craft and write more meaningfully because what they write about is not for them alone.

Few days after reading that bible a friend recommended I read No Longer At Ease.  I recognized the voice of the Lord and obeyed. Achebe maintained his form. It was a continuum of Things Fall Apart, many fallen lessons were picked up again. Both books were set two generations apart yet men continued to fall apart, the heroes especially.

A sub-theme of both book is the belief that the next generation is on a steady slope to continuing the fall apart. Often I hear people say, “children of nowadays…” and after that comes various evidence of decline, supported by stats that ranges from imagined to well-documented survey.

The falling apart continues with our communal relationship, thanks to social media we are closer than ever but the chasm between us keeps growing. What is supposed to connect us pulls us apart and like Obi Okonkwo we are no longer at ease with being too close to folks who were there when we started.

Both books left me wondering who should be blamed for our dive into self-inflicted anarchy, the old folks for not properly passing the torch, the new folks who in the name of growth and development decided they do not need the torch or the white man who according to Obierika “…he has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”

One thing I know now is many years from now, I will pick up that bible, read it again and see how much I have unlearned to learn. And then I will repeat the process again, encourage the generation which will come after me to do same. Because like the Holy Bible, some books were written to be read several times in one’s lifetime.

 

 

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

WB Yeast, “The Second Coming”

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