Chinua Achebe


Tonight I read about an African writer Chinua Achebe. His most celebrated book is Things Fall Apart.  I am not sure I would like it. I say that because I don’t know much about Africa and it is about Africa.

No matter. I own too many books already.  Until I have read fifty more, I have purchased my last one. Kindle makes books buying too easy. For now I am on the wagon.

A later book of Mr. Achebe is Hope and Impediments. It is a book of essays, non-fiction. He also wrote poetry. Past tense because he died in Boston in March of this year. He was 83. Since 2009 he taught African Studies at Brown.

What intrigued me most about him was a statement he made as to the responsibility of writers. “A writer who feels a strong and abiding concern for his fellow cannot evade the role as social critic which is the contemporary expression of commitment to the community.”

I don’t why I am attracted to that. I don’t think of myself as committed to a community. My guess is that many writers are not. How can one be a writer with a strong connection to community? Writing is a solitary thing.

Achebe also mentioned he has “a strong and abiding concern for his fellow.” To that I can relate.

I favor one on one. So much so that community has fallen by the wayside. So much so that I am looking for ways to bring me back. Do I really have to? Are not some of us better suited to handle our fellows one at a time?  Say yes, and you will make me immensely happy.

I remember words from a therapist, no one can make me happy but me. Kind of narcissistic? I am confused

11 thoughts on “Chinua Achebe

  1. hitandrun1964 November 20, 2013 / 8:29 pm

    Yes, yes and YES. There is absolutely nothing wrong with one on one or solitary because when your brain/mind is constantly composing poems or posts or thinking about books or essays or the plot of a good story, sometimes you can only see their lips move. LOL I feel exactly the same way. And I have chickens wanting to be drawn on top of that! 🙂

    • fictionfitz November 20, 2013 / 8:33 pm

      We always wanted chickens! :>\

  2. jhvn November 20, 2013 / 9:47 pm

    To me you are definitely interested in community.Why else would you pastor a church and make your office the nearby coffee house? Why else would you volunteeer your time as a nursing home chaplain? Writing truly requires solitude, and a chaplain often attends to one person at a time. But writing and chaplaining benefit the community — don’t they?

    • fictionfitz November 21, 2013 / 6:06 am

      Good questions.

  3. Carole Webber November 21, 2013 / 5:49 am

    When you are one to one with an individual, you are part of the community through that one person. It is not always necessary to know how far one’s influence may travel, into the community perhaps?
    The same with your writing, a community of people read it and that is a way you reach them.

    • fictionfitz November 21, 2013 / 6:04 am

      Something about that I like.

  4. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist November 21, 2013 / 7:04 am

    I think his statement refers to the subject matter on which the writer writes e.g. I’m guessing that as a ? South African he may have been compelled to write about apartheid. Harper Lee’s To kill a Mockingbird certainly dealt with racism. By dealing with issues that concern the community by way of being a social critic the writer shows his commitment to that community.
    I agree with the therapist that no-one can make you happy but yourself but the companionship/love of another can enhance that feeling of happiness. Happiness definitely comes from within and this I don’t think is narcissistic.

    • fictionfitz November 21, 2013 / 8:29 am

      It seems to me that the more our lives have been influenced unjustly the more we tend to get on the band wagon, writers included.

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist November 21, 2013 / 4:06 pm

        I don’t know that I totally agree with you there. I think it boils down to love and knowledge. I grew up with “love thy neighbour as thyself” and have lived by this all my life. With knowledge there is no choice but to fight for against the human rights abuses, climate change, natural disasters and many others in whatever way you can. Some people go out and physically work, others send donations and writers write despite the fact that none of these things have affected you personally.
        Gosh – I love the way you make me think about things although you probably don’t desire a debate. :}

      • fictionfitz November 21, 2013 / 8:57 pm

        Thanks Irene. I bet I do end up writing about causes that only indirectly affect me.

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