Aoiri Returns

And why not? It has been a season of returnees since I have been gone. General Olusegun Obasanjo returned as a chief to Aso Rock and GMB returned as PMB.

Even Nigeria Airways as Air Nigeria almost made it back. Like a bearded toddler, we are yet to produce a postcolonial Nigerian as president. Political views are now best driven home with daggers and guns. So here I am but as a gangster writer.

Whatever does that mean? We are over two thousand friends on Facebook, writers and curators, who are concerned about the bleak prospect of African literature and our legacy. We are all committed to doing something about it.

Here’s the premise for our intervention. The failure of Nigeria is not a failure of the political class which fetes on division, but of the intellectual class which abdicated its role as pathfinders to scramble for crumbs on the floors of political enclaves.

We are members of a generation who were led to believe in the greatness of Africa by profound literary giants like Achebe, Soyinka, J.P. Clark, Okigbo and others.

These eagles have grown weary and some have gone home. There is a gap in the thinking vatic class without whom a nation drifts. Where are the platforms we used to have where some of us first saw our scribbles in cold print?

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All the dailies, even online, are torn between Atiku and Buhari. The deeper voices of Africa are restricted to online magazines. Hidden away from the maddening crowd.

What kind of future can we expect to have by pretending the political class can lead us out of this maze? They used to seek the company of writers and write books to impress the intelligentsia. Now they hug thugs in public and invest in dropouts.

We have chosen the task of grooming the new voices from the fringe. The page is a watering hole for a project critical for our survival as a race. We hope to groom three novelists in our first year. The building where we would house nine writers every year has gone past foundation level.

We hope to find good corporate citizens who identify with our aspiration, but we would not wait. The clock is ticking and we are no longer so young.

So let the writing begin. Fiction and creative nonfiction. That tomorrow may be brighter for our children. This is our mission.

Words are tools. We assume, you are going to need to describe people, so here are words that help you draw more precise images.

Probably the most commonly used adjective to describe someone who has too little fat is thin. ‘Thin’ is often used in a negative way: She’s very pretty but she’s too thin.  Skinny, a slightly informal word, means very much the same: I don’t like his looks – he’s too skinny. Even thinner than ‘skinny’ is scrawny (also a slightly informal word).

Someone who is scrawny is so thin that their bones stick out: He was a scrawny little kid. Gaunt, meanwhile, is used to describe a very thin face, sometimes a face that is thin because a person is ill: Her face was gaunt. The adjective emaciated describes a person who is very thin as a result of disease or famine: some of the patients were quite emaciated.

The above adjectives are generally negative, but there are as many adjectives to describe people who are thin in a way that is positive.

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Probably the most common of these is slim. If someone is slim they are quite thin in a way that is attractive: Charlotte was looking lovely and slim in the photos. Other synonyms for ‘slim’ have an extra meaning in addition to ‘having little fat’. Slender, for example, means ‘slim and graceful’: She was small and slender, like a dancer.

Lean describes someone who is slim and strong: Long-distance runners are usually fairly lean, which is positive in tone, means ‘short and slim’ and is only used for
women and girls. Slight, meanwhile, petite which is neither positive nor negative,
means ‘thin and delicate’.

Of course, there are just as many words to describe the opposite situation. Fat is probably the most commonly used adjective for describing someone who has too much flesh but, it is very direct. We sometimes use other, slightly less negative words to describe someone who is a little fat.

Stocky, for example, means ‘strong and wide’: He’s got the stocky build of a rugby player. Solid too is often used in this way: As a child, James was always quite solid. Similarly, big is sometimes
used as a less direct way of saying ‘fat’: Sophie didn’t use to be so big, did she? Plump and chubby mean ‘slightly fat’ but both sound almost pleasant and are often used of young children: She was admiring the baby’s plump little legs; Look at his lovely chubby cheeks!

Some ‘fat’ words, on the other hand, are very direct. Overweight is an adjective that a doctor might use to describe a fat patient. It is slightly clinical  in tone. A patient who is extremely overweight might well be described by the doctor as obese.

So many ways to be fat and thin!

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The post Aoiri Returns appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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