Secrecy and speechifying, collegiality and hierarchy, exceptionalism and opulence on the Supreme Court.
If you’re going to write about a place you’ve never been and people you’re not familiar with, if you want to bring truth to the tales you tell, it might be a good idea to listen to the voices of those who know and what they have to say.
This is the first book I encountered in my African studies written by a man of Africa. There’s a rich literary history most of us are quite unaware of, that is really not that hard to find. The problem is not enough of us are really looking and our schools are not going out of their way to expose our children to Afrocentric literature.
Facing Mount Kenya was something I stumbled on in a used book store in the 1980s. It was the author who caught my eye. Jomo Kenyatta, for all you younglings out there, is not just any Panafricanist; he’s like the father of his country, Kenya. I’m not going into his history at this time. It’s the book we’re concerned with here, which speaks of his pride of home and of his culture.
Published in 1938, this was essentially an anthropological study, from the inside, of Kenyatta’s Gikuyu people. It imparts their values and traditions, perhaps giving away more than he was really supposed to, and mayhaps that was the point, to explain his home and people to the Western world. And perhaps open some minds to the fact that they are more than the mindless savages all Africans are portrayed as in Tarzan novels, as well as too many adventure movies to come.
It may have also been too British in tone, a reflection of Kenyatta’s love for his Anglo home away from home. This is where my true African re-education began. Possibly some of my male characters in my writing are scewed to the lessons I learned from this book, and if so, well here’s where it began.
We’re in the final stages of proofing and I’m looking forward to putting this baby to bed.
I never really intended this to be a trilogy at all. I hate trilogies; they’re as bad as cliffhangers, or major motion pictures of books that stretch ONE book into two–or three- pictures. Thank you very much, Harry Potter, for starting that trend. I thought this series would wind up at two books, at best.
Well, the first book, Butterfly & Serpent (above) was already clocking in at over 200 pages. Once I finished the first section of the follow-up volumes, I realized this section would be completely different from the rest of the material and would probably work best as a stand-alone.
Not to give away too much, but in Book 2, Fathers & Daughters, Youssou is forced to call on Jamai’s help when a new situation rises, and he has to confront his family’s pains of the past. Jamai will come forward as a stronger, more assertive personality.
For Book 3, because of their actions in the previous adventure Jamai & Youssou find themselves thrown into the wider world. Their relationship will be tested, with the usual troubles one can expect from two very young people.
That’s all for now. I’ll keep everybody up to date as things move along.