When I was younger, I liked reading writers, writing about a writer. As I grew older, I began to see this as misplaced vanity. This probably explains why I wasn’t quite able to enjoy Dare Falowo’s The Visions of Atanda Ekun. A dark story that I couldn’t really get into. Is probably why Adebola Rayo’s, When I was writing my Bones, didn’t quite speak to me. But this is merely an idiosyncrasy that I’ve decided to own. By no means does it detract from the fact that the Solitude Issue of Saraba magazine is crammed full of some really good writing. This issue touches solitude with a light hand, a practised hand, a deft hand. It weaves between loss and love and betrayal.
Yusuff Omoloja sketches a poignant picture in his poem, Fine Days; while Efe Paul paints solitude into perfection in a piece of flash fiction. Iquo Eke’s Yellow Slipper was a painful study on the solitude of marriage. Kechi Nomu’s Other Valuable Angles gave me
“I see a love song he swallowed when
love was a young boy’s kite that did not
find ways to fly”
– lines that filled me with wonder.
I must confess though. It’s been some time since I last read poetry, so I lingered over the poems. Attempting to digest. Some of them went over my head. I admit this with some degree of embarrassment. After all, I subscribe to the illusion of being an otherwise intelligent person.
Arthur Anyaduba’s The Cinema deserves a bit of scrutiny. It is non-fiction. I would have been more forgiving had it been a work of fiction. It speaks of a man living out his last days fingering women in a cinema.
““Nothing has happened in there.” It is true: nothing has happened. It is only a moment of non-existent actions – the cinephilic moment, the moment when the love of cinema is articulated. It is not just the moment. It is also the feeling. The feeling of non-existent, intangible pleasure.”
When I imagine myself in that piece, I am discomfited. Dying does not justify taking liberties just because you’ve told yourself that ‘nothing happened’. I know this sounds harsh, but as a woman, I hold dear the idea that I own my body.
The whole point of writing is that it should result in self-interrogation or at the very least, add something to one’s life. The various ways that this issue of Saraba unpacks solitude does both.
Definitely a worthwhile click.
Saaleha Bhamjee writes between mothering five children and running her bakery. She was shortlisted for the Writivism 2014 Short Story award. A self-confessed Twitterholic, she blogs at here