Dernière mise à jour : 5 juil. 2021
Some people must ask themselves why the paradise do I write in English? Actually, yeah, I write my Lobelogy’s papers directly in English. These are not translations, and I should (quickly) underline here I don’t want my translators to become unemployed. Eh? So, you my wonderful translators from French to English, I beg you please not to worry. By God’s grace I do hope I still have plenty years to live before me and loads of stories to tell. Not just stories, novels, but also poems, my autobiography, essays and much more. Talking about essays, I’ve been thinking for a while about a question: is homosexuality a vocation? I must tell the truth: it isn’t my original idea, but a question a girlfriend of mine, a wonderful soul, asked once while we were thinking and re-drawing the world, smoking hemp – and Omo is always a great detergent. I will come up sooner or later with a text about that reflexion.
So, let’s come back to the reasons why I’ve decided to write directly in English in this blog. I was asked months ago by my Londoner publisher if holding a blog could’ve interested me. For the promo of a book, holding a blog can be an asset to better discover the author’s universe beyond his novels, to better encompass the topics he’s interested in.
A Long way from Douala, my first translated novel from French to English. That means a larger audience, for my voice, potentially. In addition, there are specific things I really wanted to address directly to my readers. Mostly Africans. Why should I wait every two years to publish a book in French, knowing they will be surely my last readers? Those specific topics are migration, exclusion, language as powerful medium with all what it contents literally or figuratively. I’m persuaded we need to talk about the massacre which is being taking place against the Black African queers (the Blaqies, I’ve decided to call them. Isn’t that sweet? I’m a Blaqy. We are Blaqies).
The suggestion sounded then sweet to my ears. But – because there’s always a but, I was not sure I could handle it properly. How many writers can really manage to look for their daily bread and hold a blog?
It’s all a matter of time. I have published 6 novels in 10 years, papers or hundreds of short novels in reviews. I like doing sport. I like reading old and new books. I should take care of my place, my administration and all that kind of boring stuff. As well, as an African migrant to Europe, I’m supposed also to help my family which remains back over there.
I even thought I could keep my ideas for potential novels. Why should I post them on a blog people would barely browse or read? Aren’t there more interesting things to see on social media?
I’m used to give creative writing classes worldwide. For me, there are four core-rules in writing:
2- likehood (or credibility)
3- nuance (or humour)
It’s precisely in order to implement the fourth core-rule, the distance, that I have decided to write directly in English in this blog.
Can you put your ear over here on my heart? It’s like a volcano ready to erupt. Seismic shocks, the beat is loud. An earthquake. An ebullition of thoughts. Flashbacks. Shouts. If I open up my mouth, you will surely see the dark lava’s smoke coming from my inside, I mean my deep-deep inside, there where everything is already burnt. But still, no worries my peopo, there is a beautiful green flowered garden somewhere in there. I hide it for me, me and only me.
Have you ever had that deep and painful feeling that things don’t work like they are supposed to? That bitter feeling there’s something outrageously unfair happening to people who are like you. Have you ever thought, oh Dio! this could have happened to me? I mean this brutal barbarism could have happened to me just because I’m a also Blaqy. Have you ever lost your mind, literally go crazy because you can’t find your peace, your sleep? Have you ever felt things intelligibly, concretely, the dept of the wound? Have you? Actually, the wound is still open, bloody, fresh, ripe like a rainy season mango.
Alright, this is what I’m facing. It’s like to be part of discriminated group, a discriminated race, gene. I didn’t even consent of being part of that group! That was a divine blessing. I’m from those regions where they are talking about how the eradicate the gene which flows in my blood. They are proud to persecute. How is it like to feel you aren’t living your life, people just tolerate your existence? There is no net to rescue you in case anyone wants to put you into trouble. Nothing. Even your own mama, the one who gave birth to you in pain, can publicly reject you. Your life smells nothing but shame, shame and sadness.
And I’m honoured to write this aloud. Not because I want to be at the front line or because I want lights on me. No. I’m honoured to tell you about all this, as an author, because I surely want to be a witness of my time, of our time, our era. I can’t just close my eyes, specifically on the Blaqies issue. I can’t close my eyes before the blaqycide taking place before all of us. And so, it’s my deep and even profound desire to leave some testimonies about what I, as a Blaqy, have gone through. May be also give some advice on how to overcome the threat, how to escape from the blaqycide. Am I not a survivor?
Writing in English for me is taking few steps backwards. Writing in English for me is expressing myself like an illiterate, like an Analphabète, a wonderful novel by Agota Christof, a Hungarian well educated woman who fled her country during communism and found refuge in Switzerland. She learned French like a child. She had to put aside all what she already knew – she was already a Phd owner in her homeland – and write in French like a kid, simply. We always try to make it simple when it isn’t our mother tongue.
I really don’t know if writing this in French would’ve been easier. What I’m persuaded of: writing directly in English forces me to more simplicity. It’s a tough, hard but wonderful exercise. It helps to take distance and mostly-mostly, cultivate my patience.