All Stories, Literally Reruns, Writing

Literally Reruns – Garuka – Please come back by Ogunyemi, Ernest O

Leila has been doing some detective work this time, she knew what she wanted but not where it was stored. Nothing daunted she has found it and here is what she said.

I wanted to highlight Mr. Ogunyemi’s Garuka–Please Come Back ever since the rerun feature first put out its shingle, but, for the life of me I could not remember either the name of the story or its author. Surprise! Placing “It is a beautiful and lyrical thing” in the search bar was of no aid. Then I happened to be chatting with a co-worker who is from Rwanda; for whatever reason her mention of the horrors there, not all that long ago, helped me to insert something a bit more intelligent in the search bar. Voila! There the story was in all its undiminished glory.

Literally Stories means it when it says “Writers from around the world.” There are some awfully tragic and tough places in the world. I guess that has always been the case, and though I hope otherwise, it will probably remain the case for times to come. It’s both a cliche and patronizing to throw empty praises and forged sympathies to authors whose experiences are so foriegn to our own that we feel obliged to say something, anything, that, more than anything else, is actually designed to make us feel better about ourselves.

Let’s ask the author how he did this.

Q: You found a wonderful place located somewhere between the first and second person to tell this from. It, as much as the content, drove the story forward. Was it difficult to maintain the unique narrative POV?

Q: My next question has been thought and rethought dozens of times now, but I can’t find a better way to put it. So, here goes: What do you believe it will take to help the human climate in Rwanda (unless everything is just dandy there, nowadays). Seems to me that the West and Jesus Christ haven’t been all that helpful.

Leila Allison

***

Garuka – Please Come Back

Ernest’s responses:-
“You found a wonderful place located somewhere between the first and second person to tell this from. It, as much as the content, drove the story forward. Was it difficult to maintain the unique narrative POV?”
A: I don’t think it was difficult maintaining the narrative POV. For this story, and for a good deal of other stories I have written, what I had in the beginning was an image and a voice. The voice had to belong to a mouth. But the mouth had to tell the story of two people, with the Genocide and the pre-Genocide days of warming hate as the background. Though it wasn’t something I thought up, but I knew I wanted this to be a kind of letter, from this lover (Schema) to that lover (Keza). The story was not meant to be read by us; it is by a kind of grace that we are let into their lives, into their story. Writing this story was a kind of grace for me, too; it seemed it chose me to tell it, in the way it wanted to be told. As at the time I wrote this story I knew very little of craft or technique.
The second question: “My next question has been thought and rethought dozens of times now, but I can’t find a better way to put it. So, here goes: What do you believe it will take to help the human climate in Rwanda (unless everything is just dandy there, nowadays). Seems to me that the West and Jesus Christ haven’t been all that helpful.”
A: I can’t speak on the state of things in Rwanda right now. I haven’t been there yet, though I have read and I still read about the country, and I have been so obsessed with its past. However, the country is doing quiet well now, considering where she’s coming from. And I think the country’s done better than most in burying what birthed the genocide in the first place, and it has done this without burying the history. Today, almost every Rwandan is Rwandan, not Hutu or Tutsi or Twa. 

2 thoughts on “Literally Reruns – Garuka – Please come back by Ogunyemi, Ernest O”

  1. Hi Leila,

    Excellent as always.
    Choice and questions – Both are as good as each other.

    Ernest- It is always interesting for a reader to get a taste of any thought process that goes into either the story or the construction of the story – Thanks for that.
    Hugh

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Leila, I appreciate your first question and Earnest, your answer: “The voice had to belong to a mouth.” I often find myself searching out the best mouth for a voice I hear. Thank you for giving your language to that process.

    And so I read the story Garuka-Please Come Back, because I hadn’t before. I wanted to hear that voice located somewhere between first and second person, the voice of the two lovers.

    And after reading, I am grateful that you, Leila, asked the second question. And that you, Ernst, answered the way you did.

    Liked by 1 person

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