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Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I’m like a dog on a short leash trying to get a bone some distance away. Whether I’m Alsatian, a bull dog or a simple ‘Ogbonna’ soup licking, ‘Eba’ eating, regular local dog isn’t the bone of contention here. No, the problem is a bit more twisted than that. The problem is that my leash is only 45 minutes long. Big deal, eh? Well, let me tell you a story-I call it the ‘Bone story’.
                I’m not much of a veterinary gig, so frankly, I cannot say for sure what class of animal was once held together by that piece of bone. All I can say is that it looked about 12 cm long with little pieces of flesh clinging to it like long Indian hair to a head bearing a pretty face. It had a small inscription on its side written in a font style reminiscent of the Segoe script I like to use in Microsoft word. The inscription was just four words long. It said, ‘When less is more’.
                A sudden feeling of ineptitude crept down my spine as I read those words. Like a tuning fork on a material vibrating at a similar frequency, throes of questions resounded in my head as I realized what the real question was. It wasn’t a question of why bells of hunger chimed on my insides like a call to prayer. It wasn’t a question of how to secure a bone so near, yet so far away. No, it was an age-long question, something philosophers debated upon in hushed tones, under the spell of soothing, Greek melodies. It was an innocuous, simply worded question with mind-racking permutations…’How do you kill two rabbits with one stone?’
                Light years ago, ‘Oluwamimolaylowniwajuyin’, a heady Yoruba writer was faced with a similar dilemma (Yes, I am a well-read dog). He had to find a way to write poetry when he was only given 45 minutes to write prose. I remember the words he finally came up with. It goes something like this:

                In my part of town,
                Weeds cling to my windows
                Like a rescuer to the ladder hanging
                From a helicopter
                Horns blare all around me
                Like the cars were making a desperate attempt
                To send me a message…
                Poverty and death combine to form a stench
                That once made a skunk take a long bath
                But I stay safe in the refuge of
                My forest of flowers,
                I stay safe
                In my head…

Eureka! I guess I have found the answers to all my questions in one breath. It really was possible to kill two rabbits with one stone; it really was possible to get my bone and not fracture a bone. The answer you see is after all, really simple…
                I just had to stop thinking! When I stop imagining things, I would not be that dog trying to get a bone. If I was, I would have all the time in the world, because I was after all, the one dreaming these things up. Thus, if I thought less, I would write less, and if I wrote less, it just might count for more.  I also had a simple answer to the question of Oluwamimolaylowniwajuyin. It was possible to write something extraordinary within a short time because fashion, poetry, beauty and the arts have always struck me to be fields in which less was by several indications, probably more…

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