A Look Back at Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart on its 60th Anniversary

Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is a classic of the Nigerian literary canon. It’s a story set in a period in which the tragic colonialization of Africa as just beginning, a period when traditional African customs were forced to give way before the brutal invasion of  strange customs from a land called Britain. Read a review of the book and its politics: A Look Back at Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart for its 60th Anniversary

 

 

Responding to the Creative “Ding!”

by Maggie Brito, PhD

When I attend to the Ding! at the time it Dings! I become absorbed in the layered, complex type of creative idea it tends to be.

Sometimes when I’m working an idea would pop into my awareness and kind of hover, as if it’s waiting for me to pick it like fruit from a tree. Ideas like these are fully formed, complete and finely detailed, and I’m usually excited by their unexpected appearance. Thing is, there are loads of other ideas in my mind already, and to attend to this new one means I have to take time away from the others I’m already attending to.

These new ideas come with a little “Ding!”, that is, a kind of alert that lets me know they’ve arrived. They tend to pop into my mind and go “Ding!” despite the fact that a lot of other ideas are already there, lined up in a mental queue, awaiting their turn to be attended to – essential tasks like emails to be answered, writing to be done for clients, content to compose for Facebook and Twitter, online meetings to attend, articles to be read – all these are the legitimate mental activities in which I engage during the course of any working day and then along comes this unscheduled “Ding!”

So what do I do? I have to make a decision: either attend to the unruly Ding! or put a pin in it and keep focused on the well-behaved, orderly, scheduled mental tasks I’ve lined up for the day. I have done both at various times, and have found that each choice brings a different result.

When I attend to the Ding! at the time it Dings! I become absorbed in the layered, complex type of creative idea it tends to be. I always enjoy the exploration of these ideas, because they seem to hook nicely into the higher-level layers of thinking I enjoy so much as a creative writer, such as metaphor, critical thinking, logic, all wrapped up in a kind of imaginative play as I give form to the idea.

The Ding! is usually creative, and some part of it is totally original; if not the idea itself, then some aspect of its execution. The reason I get excited when the Ding! arrives is because it signals a period when I can be completely authentic in my writing. And I just love how the Ding! rolls itself out in an auditory way, snuggling up among my regular thoughts, but possessing enough of its own bright quality as to be distinguished as its own peculiar kind of thought. I don’t hear it with my ears; it’s more an “inner” hearing. And though I can “see” the Ding! it’s with my inner vision. You know? The Ding! is kind of mystical, though entirely practical. It’s one of the inexplicable technologies with which humans are endowed.

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The Dinged! idea usually invites extended exploration, and while I enjoy it, I also feel I’m doing it at the expense of other pressing tasks I’ve put on hold, all of which have tight deadlines. There was actually a time I felt that the time I spent doing intensely creative work on the Ding! was “stolen” time, and so creative work became a kind of guilty, clandestine pleasure that was even more enjoyable because I felt I was doing it in stolen time. However, the creative work always turned out to have its own rewards, and not just enjoyment and emotional release, but it also benefited my career for a long time to come.

If I decide not to tune into the Ding! I find that by the time I do get around to it the bright, sharp quality it had when it first Dinged! had faded a bit. I liken this to the difference between picking a fruit at the point of ripeness and enjoying all that goodness right there, and letting the fruit sit for a while. Anyone who has picked a ripe mango or apple or strawberry and eaten it right there and then would know what I’m talking about. I’m from the Caribbean, and we do this all the time – pick a ripe fruit from a branch and eat it while it’s warm and filled with sunshine. When you eat the fruit after its finest moment has passed – maybe after letting it sit in the fridge for a bit – it’s still good, but not as good as before. Not only that, the emotional “skin” of this creative fruit, that part of the fruit that makes it enticing and irresistible (and where a lot of its substance happens to be) has faded a little, and some of the intricately filigreed details of the idea have gone as well.

Other times, when I finally decide to turn my attention to a neglected Ding! I find that it has dissipated entirely, like a burst bubble.

This doesn’t mean not attending to a Ding! when it Dings! is bad. There’re good reasons for putting a pin in a Ding! Both choices are valid, however, not responding to the creative Ding! delays my entry into my vision, for though the arrival of the Ding! is unscheduled, it’s not unsolicited. It’s a response to an idea I’ve been mulling over for some time and which I had de-accelerated to idle mode while I dealt with other things. The Ding! would pop into my awareness after being formed in the silent unknown on my unconscious.

Lately, however, I have been tending more and more to receive the Ding! no matter when it shows up.

Book Review: Ajani’s Wonderful Summer and the Imaging of the Black Boy

One aspect of the assault on the African family and on Black families has been the removal or lessening of the role of the father in the household.

The underachievement of boys in educational systems throughout the African diaspora, as well as the fact that the majority of perpetrators and victims of homicides, violent crimes and assaults in the diaspora are young men, are important issues that have been engaging the attention of people from all walks of life, for these are symptoms of crises occurring in Black communities and nation states.

Barbadian author, Dr. Akhentoolove Corbin, is concerned about the crises which exist in Black communities, especially as these affect Black boys. One of his major concerns is that many Black boys throughout the African diaspora grow up without a father figure in the house. We are well aware of this, for many of our Caribbean sociologists have drawn attention to this matter, and the absentee father has been one of the major themes of Caribbean sociology for a long time. Read More

 

 

Steeped in Tradition: Best Books to Understand Haiti’s Past and Present

Haitian history is defined by turmoil and upheaval, victory and freedom. In 1804, Haitian slaves won what is still regarded as the only successful slave revolution in history, to become the first free black state when the planet was being redefined by Caucasian genocidal geopolitics. These books provide an opening view into the fascinating world of Haitian literature.

Source – Penguin Random House: Steeped in Tradition: Best Books to Understand Haiti’s Past and Present

The Black Panther: Symbol of Black Power in the Caucasian Paradigm

The image of the black panther is a symbol of Black Power, which bespeaks bravery, excellence and the willingness to use one’s skill to out-manoeuvre a cunning enemy with every intention of winning the fight. The symbol of the black panther enjoys a heritage rooted in authentic Black civilizations which flourished before the colonization of Black populations by the Caucasian paradigm.

The Black Panther movie has been described as the best movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), grossing, according to one estimate, $704 million worldwide within the first month of its release, making it the highest grossing film of 2018. It crushed box offices in the USA because of its immense patronage by Black audiences, precisely because of what the black panther has always represented for Black people – a symbol of Black power – a symbol, it is true, caught within the Caucasian paradigm, but one possessing a pedigree which both predates and transcends the paradigm.

As such, its dazzling success communicates a message about the consciousness of Black people at this time, the kind of knowledge we seek now, and what we expect of our artists, especially those who have been given much. Read More…

 

 

 

Baldwin, Brathwaite and Walcott: “Flight’s” Crewmen

by Harold Adrian Beckles

 

“..Well is one trip/[chorus] de Caribbean man/on de same ship/[chorus] de Caribbean man/an’ is one race/[chorus, as above]/in de same place …,” are the words that mark the distinctive antiphonal dynamics of a highly popular calypso of some years past, as its Trinidadian performer made an appeal for Caribbean peoples to embrace a heightened intercultural Pan-Caribbean awareness that would be founded upon a greater popular agitation for regional re-federation at the political level.  The question that emerges here, becomes this one: ‘What is this “one trip .. on de same ship,” when it is taken as the animating force that energizes the writings of a James Baldwin placed in conjunction with those of his West Indian peers Kamau Brathwaite and Derek Walcott?’  To a significant extent, the answer, as it applies to these three writer-academic, New World Africans, is, the sea.  For, according to St. Lucian-born poet and playwright Derek Walcott, “The sea is History” (derek walcott: poems  237).  The West Coast of Africa, Brathwaite’s “painfields” of the Caribbean, and the terminal ‘human marketplaces’ of the American southlands, were points that triangulated the European colonial powers’ operation of The trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.  These geographical points also serve to interweave the contemporary voices of these three writers of the Americas, across the abyss of memory within which their common ancestral spirits, in turn war against racial amnesia to awaken their sons and daughters to a purposeful vision for their people’s future.

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