The background of Circus of the Absurd, a collection of short stories by Deji Rahman, shows how the social media can aid literary productivity, writes AKEEM LASISI. If there is anything like that, the first shall be the last at times. What eventually comes out as a writer’s first book may not be his first manuscript.
It is the same with writer in the corporate world, Deji Rahman, whose collection of short stories, Circus of the Absurd, was recently published. The first fruits of his creative enterprise are two earlier manuscripts which he has yet to publish. Formerly a journalist, the writer who currently works with Fidelity Bank says the social relevance of the story in the book published by Kraft Griots prompted him to first pushed it to the shelf.
Something that is, however, particularly striking about the birth of Circus of the Absurd is that all the stories were, according to the author, written on his Blackberry, a situation that reinforces the fact that very positive things are being achieved on the social media.
Rahman says, “I wrote the stories over a period of six months. All the stories were written on my Blackberry phone while being driven to or from work, while waiting to see the doctor or any other person or once I am able to get an idle time on a week end. It’s all about interest, commitment and effective time management.
“If you do what is a passion to you, you will do it like some hobby. Some people still find it difficult that anybody can write that kind of volume on a phone. When people say this, I usually laugh. It was a very great and exciting experience. It was one of the most pleasurable things I have done in my life, one which I intend to do again and one which I will forever remain proud.”
Rahman says he has always had passion for writing since childhood, adding that he enjoys reading books naturally.
“Reading and writing are routine activities and form important components of my everyday life. I wrote my first book in 1993 as an undergraduate of the University of Lagos.”
Circus of the Absurd is about life and living, especially in a country like Nigeria, where, the author believes, things are largely absurd and weird.
Rahman explains, “Stories of betrayal, malfeasance, treachery, deception are everyday staples. A day hardly goes without anyone hearing stories that beggar belief. Everyday Nigerian life is the background of Circus of the Absurd – across social classes, Nigerians are all artistes playing in a drama that is all life, with suspense and intrigues as key elements of the drama.”
Many of the stories came from peculiar personal encounters and experiences but he likes to single out some based on certain incidents that produced them. One of such is Aunty Stella, The Lamb, which derived its source from some tragedy in his neighbourhood.
He recalls, “A girl had come home during the weekend and got murdered by some robbers who came to operate in her neighbourhood while she was going to buy some items in the neighbourhood. That was a well behaved girl with a lot of talents. And it just struck me, as I reflected on this tragedy, that there were so many bad ones out there who, instead of going home to stay with their parents, will go to the night club. And I thought I could do a story about this to warn the bad ones who might want to laugh at her tragedy and conclude that being well behaved does not guarantee long life or success.”
Tears from the Sky is also a story of some peculiar significance. It seems to be prophetic on the part of the writer as the experience of the woman, whose funeral her daughter was condemning, is almost the experience of an aunt that died some few months after I wrote the story.
Rahman enjoys reading South African writer, Toni Morison a lot, as her style strikes a chord in him. He says he also loves the works of Sidney Sheldon, Jeffrey Archer and John Grisham while respecting the research and depth that reflect in their crafts. He enjoys Chinua Achebe too. Punch