Saturday, January 3, 2009

"OUR LUO SUNRISE IN THE WEST (Old Prophecies and Our Improbable Journey)"

Fans of "SUNSET ON POLYGAMY," I'm digging in to polish my next novel, "OUR LUO SUNRISE IN THE WEST" or some title to that effect. If you wanna scoop me, you ghost writers out there, go right ahead, at the risk of fighting with my ancestors. Anyway, if you are not in the know, the Nilotic Tribe, The LUO, fathered the new man of the world, The Man of the Moment.
It is a tough project. I am grabbing every catchy phrase and idea that visit my dreams. Writing one line is taking me two days, on some cloggy days. You must be wondering why? when the history of the Luo is out there.
This is why: Novelists are not historians; they are not prophets, even as their works may foretell some events , as Novelist JR Alila in the closing chapter in THE WISE ONE OF RAMOGILAND. They are not bound by any truths. They have to try to relive the lives of some of the subjects of their imaginations and creations. Novelists try to dig into the hows and whys, even if these are unusual or untrue. For example, they have to imagine what their subjects could have done if faced with a hyena eating a Buffalo; or when forced to live in a cave of serpents like a Special Forces Soldier; or what a woman, ejected by her in-laws, would have done in the middle of nowhere in a vast wilderness in seventeenth-century Sudan. Novelists embellish their facts because they may have to (for example) describe the musical bowel movements of a glutton in the middle of a scarce meal, even if such the noises were absent! So don't take catchy "commercial" phrases from a scribe like me as sources of wisdom!
Anyway, I'm trying to put this historical event of our times, precipitated by the very grandson of Ramogi the Great, into prophetic and escatological context (you may use your GoogleSearch or Dictionary here), even though I am no prophet.
Don't misunderstand me: novelists purposes are never vain, even as their truths are embellished. The reader walks away with some new knowledge and some truth from amidst some half-truths. The Novelist has some agenda though, even as he may just be some innocent storyteller. You may read a story and come out with a plethora of literary devices used--- virgin metaphors, oxymorons---all products of the language, slang and culture he or she lives. But most novelists don't wake up and say, "I'll use so many metaphors in this action packed, boiler of a paragraph." The novelist, often, is just talking to you, on a street, at a diner, in bed without thinking about the literary classification of his or her work.
But this project is taking me long to complete because the characters such as Ramogi the Great were not mere men; their wives were not ordinary women; their decisions could have impeached a modern President; they walked under a special cloud; they fasted and prayed more often than you and I, because their burdens were weightier and their circumstances more dire than any modern president would ever face, even if these ancestors could have had responsibilities over less than 200 men!
But even if the final novel may end up being a mere product of my imagination, I want my readers to realise that we as MAN have travelled a difficult road, and are here today because of sacrifices made by those before us. Tread the land with reverence; fast and pray more often, think before you burn 50 gallons of gas chasing an illusive girlfriend or boyfriend; eat what you need and not what you want; donate when you can!

Happy New Year
Joseph R Alila

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