IN THE WORLD OF GIANTS
October 20, 2017, 10.30 pm, Abuja
I’m sitting at my desk, thinking of what to write. My mind is blank, so I stare at the bookshelf opposite me. I have my glasses on. I can see the lettering on the books clearly. I love my glasses. I got them recently, when it became clear that my eyes had started to dim. I’m told that the glasses make me look like a nerd. I have never looked like a nerd, and I had always wished that I looked like one. So now I wear my glasses at the slightest opportunity, grinning quietly to myself while the world observes me with mild curiosity.
On the bookshelf Kafka sits notably in The Complete Novels. To his left sits J.M. Coetzee in Summertime, to his right Gabriel Garcia Marquez in The Autumn of the Patriarch. I scan the shelf slowly. With reverence. The array of authors is impressive and I tremble at the quality of creativity on display. Amongst them Wole Soyinka sits broodingly, his words, You Must Set Forth at Dawn, like an urgent warning designed to get me writing. Maybe I should write like Soyinka, I think to myself. And then my eyes come to rest on Milan Kundera’s Identity, and I realise that, like him, I must find my own voice.
I look down at my computer, fingertips to keyboard, but still not knowing what to write. I return my gaze to the bookshelf. I try to imagine the boundless worlds contained in those books. Amazing that the authors had started each story with just one word. One magical word that unfurled timeless and riveting tales. Just one word. It occurs to me that if I could come up with that word, my story would be on its way to completion.
I try to think of the word. My eyes return to the bookshelf. Suddenly, I see a book with my name on it, as if it had never been there. I push my body forward to take a closer look, adjusting my glasses on my nose. Nerd! A smile spreads across my face. Five words come to me in a rush: In the World of Giants.
I sigh and begin to write.■