Writings of the general word's body

Monday, August 18, 2008

New Read

To make up some for the silence here of late, how about a new read from me? "Smoking Bamboo", a tale of love and loss and lots more besides, is published in Serendipity, the online journal of magical realist fiction.


The notion of babies from the sky was drummed into us by the mothers, to explain how we came about. I had long concluded that this could not be true. No babies had arrived since the men of the gorge went to the never-ending war in the place below. Still, I had the fanciful idea that morning and I was determined to hold on to it.

But Amugbo had heard me. He sauntered down the steps of his stilt-house, movements unsteady. I did not remember a time when he did not walk like this.

'Foolish children,' he slurred. 'Women get babies from men, not birds.' He ignored our collective intake of breath, scratching his head. I wondered if his hair had ever met a comb. A nest woven by an inattentive bird, the hair was knotted, and bits of leaves peeked from the locks. 'Well, you can't be expected to know any better, living as you do in this unnatural environment.

''Unnatural? Babies from men?' Simisola, indignant, scrambled onto her feet. 'Let me go and ask my mother.'

'And what have I said to you all about hanging around my place? Go and disturb your mothers. Leave me alone.' Amugbo hit the air with a kick thrown in our direction, falling on his backside. We knew he meant none of it. We put up with his interruptions in our play because his was the one place we could converge without being driven elsewhere. He tolerated us and we tolerated him.

And for me, Amugbo's place was a refuge, somewhere I could play with my friends, away from the creeping spectre of death at home.


JD said...

...Angelina laughed. A tinkling laugh, like the chiming of tiny
bells. Like the sound of shells driven in water to the roots of
coconut trees in the hush of the gorge.

The house of the smoking bamboo tired of its old magic, and Amugbo
cleaned up his act. He washed daily, took care to look nice. His eyes slowly lost their redness, his lips were less chapped. And he
introduced his hair to a comb.
* * * * * * * * * * *

Wow Molara! What a wonderful story. I have read quite a bit of your works, and this one is remarkably different. The prose was rich in many places and the magical world you created was so haunting...so were the characters. The best bit to me was the whole passage that chronicled Angelina's final departure...simply wonderful piece of writing. I am so happy to see this in mainstream e-media with all it's Africanness. Well done!


Wordsbody said...

Thanks, JD. One tries...;-)

iGwatala said...

I loved this - the craft. Well Done.

Anonymous said...


This is just to inform you of a new African literary magazine called "palapala magazine". You can check out the the second issue at: http://www.palapalamagazine.com/

Anonymous said...

Ms. Wood, Just a quick question unrelated with your post. At what point did the Commonwealth Short Story contact you to tell you you had won one of the prizes? I am aware that the results are released in November, but I also know that winners are contacted and notified way before then.

Midori said...

Thought this was a terrific story. I posted a quick review on my own blog of the issue and your wonderful piece:

Looking forward to reading more of your work in the future.

Wordsbody said...

I am not at liberty to disclose that information. Any questions please contact the CBA directly. Thanks.

Wordsbody said...

Thanks very much for the heads up on your lovely blog (which I enjoyed browsing), and for the encouraging words here. Do come back.