Only a few days ago, I was in a conversation with a friend who tried to express how much he was experiencing the yearning for home. He called this nostalgic feeling a sickness, a half-honied, half-bitter one, a vastness of self-wrenching, one he was not sure he would recover from except he harkened to its call. Leaving home, he said, is like taking an exit from your own self, walking past phases you never would understand, even though it seems you’re on a journey to purpose. But how does one walk away from himself? How do you take a stroll away from this very thing that you are, especially while still living? When you leave home, he said, you either lose yourself or find yourself in search of home. This, as true as it appears, is to say that we never are complete without a home.
That is why it excites me to reveal that the theme for this issue is “Home.” In the last issue themed “Transcending,” we recognised how much we had graduated over the years, how much our discoveries had led us thus far. And here, we speak of home. It is the interconnectedness between these two issues that especially sparks the excitement in me. Permit me to say, because that is what it really is, that transcendence ends at home. In other words, you haven’t really transcended until you reach a place you can call home.
One may want to argue that transcendence never ends at home, which is a point, really. They may want to ask how one graduates from a place they used to be into that same place? On this ground, I love to take for a definition of the theme, the saying by Warsan Shire that, “At the end of the day, it isn’t where I came from. Maybe home is somewhere I’m going and never have been before.” James Baldwin describes home as “…not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.” Coming home to one’s self, to the situation around them, to the things they have acknowledged they cannot change, and moving on with what they have, is in fact, what transcendence is all about.
The works which this issue bears, all seem to walk towards home. We were able to find this semblance in all, this call, this yearning, this unquenchable feeling of nostalgia. In the afrofuturistic story, The Argo, for example, the narrator responds to the home call; where home is only a coverage from the blackness the world is, the thing that has to do with class—the haves and the have-nots. The yearning for home, an alienated kind of home, proves even stronger than love in this story.
Maria in The Children Won’t Go Hungry, has a goal, and coming home to her goal came on as fulfilling. She, Maria, is not the regular kind of housewife, and she wants to be at home with herself, dismissed of her husband forever, so she plots his death. Besides that, she comes home also to living at the expense of her wealthy father-in-law, who tells her not to worry, that he would take care of both her and the children, and she smiles to how easy responding to the call seems. This brings to mind the story of Ada in the semi-autobiographical novel by Akwaeke Emezi, Freshwater, who walks right into a kind of home, the unseemliest one—if you may agree. Ada is unable to find something of an inner peace until she accepts that home is paying attention to the voice of her spirit brother-sisters who scream “home” into every part of her.
Sometimes, also, home may have a different impact on us; a cruel one, to say. But regardless, we still yearn for it. Even when it seems impossible to change it, we feel sorry for it. Such is the case of Kolade in Ezenwa’s “History 101.” Here, Kolade, when asked for the colour of his country’s flag, says regrettably, “Green. Blood. Green,” blood replacing the purity of the white in the flag.
Babatunde’s “Homestretch” is a fine place to draw the curtains on this piece. It brings hope to a broken, seemingly unfixable home. For some persons, home is something that keeps spitting them away, but Babatunde has this to say of such situation: “it is a new day to be pregnant/with hopes/forget the holes at home.”
Coincidentally, too, our interview with Igbo author, Kasimma, touches on her craving, and her indulgence on others also, to return to home. Kasimma notes that Igbo is the pioneer of the universe.
It is our hope that as you, our dear reader, begin to feast on the savoury delicacy this issue is, you, too, find home in what brings you happiness, because home is never too far. We are hopeful also that you find a way to make your home inhabitable again, if it, at the moment, seems to offer no room to you. Happy reading!
Orji Victor Ebubechukwu,