For ages we have been warned not to judge a book by its cover and that has generally been good advice, so who am I to say otherwise?
Firstly, because I know 100% what’s written inside, I have the advantage to ignore that aspect of making a judgement and to leapfrog directly to the book covers which in my case I saw for the first time in paperback form couple days ago and which I found to be attractive enough to make me want to see back what was inside.
But since it is easier for critics to tell me my hair is thinning or my car badly needs a wash than to get a review for my book in this country, I shall do the needful. When I say critics, I include close family, friends, and other members of the writing fraternity who meet me, talk with me totally avoiding ever saying the word “book”. Book has now been added to the list of unspeakable four letter words by those who know me, and know that I could produce a 50,000-word book of international standard in a matter of weeks; and that I have actually produced five such books in the past five months, and which has made me persona non grata to some persons who were formally my buddies until now. True, people have just inexplicably stopped talking to me.
Previously, I got the bad eye from some persons insinuating from their looks the sarcasm, the disapproval, which screamed who are you to feel you should be a writer when you could have, should have, been just a clerk in the civil service? Now, I have aggravated the condemnation to, who are you to write a book in just days when even the best take years to do so, many often never finishing what they started to write.
So those who will tell me about my hair or car will not say to me, “see you’ve got another book out and where can I get it to buy” or any such thing. If I am to not offend anybody about my writing, my conversations with friends are totally made seemingly oblivious to it. I say not a word about having another book being released just to make my frenemies comfortable.
To sell my book here by way of writing is a more existentially self-defensive approach. So to my detractors, read it and cuss me in the fullness of your privacy. Because, I dare say, my books are well written in language that is different from the old school style of, say, Dickens and Bronte but are avant garde in the use of pyrotechnics as a style of writing typical of the acceptance that language is organic and I am happy to say I have adapted to that literary evolution and that it is evident in my books. Language apart, readers are treated to a good story filled with anecdotes, analogies, metaphors, comedic episodes, futuristic scientific examples, so that reading my book is not just to get a story but on completion, one walks away with enough material to quote, to stash away as of treasures discovered.
Because I understand writing from the cricket analogy, my writing is as exciting as watching AB De Villiers bat as opposed to watching Boycott’s forward defensive style. I know that there are persons who still long with nostalgia for that kind of Boycott torture but AB’s style is an inevitability in a world of change. My writing – in terms of style and in its prolific flow might be described in that context. Hmm, the De Villiers of literature.
So who ever feels this falls in their garden take a bow. Being petty is something common to mankind and thus you identify with a quality that is universal. I say this, as I include my wannabe PhD associates who I imagined would have been more transcendent in their response but who are as guilty as charged here. However, I’ll just continue to do what I am driven to do and if it continues to offend, so be it.
L. Siddhartha Orie