This is intended to be a multimedia experience so please open links in new tabs/windows. If reading at work please wear headphones or turn volume down (nothing raunchy, promise!). Purists ignore above and read on.

The history of these streets is my history for my story begins here. My mother was born on Friday June 13th 1969, the night of a full moon. My grandparents were both civil rights activists who came north with the Movement when Dr. King called for men and women to join him in his fight for equality in housing. Grandpa was a freshly minted lawyer from DC and his newly wed wife, a school teacher from Selma, Alabama. They marched, they organized and they bought a house, 1469 S Serenity Avenue, in this New Jerusalem alongside many other idealists. The neighborhood soon thrived with black owned homes and businesses including the club at the corner, Mississippi Moon. It was a favorite watering hole for the activists, featuring leading Blues and Jazz performers. It is rumored that MLK himself may have listened to Muddy Waters there. Unlike many other establishments, it survived the riots after the murder of Dr. King but barely. The neighborhood fractured after the murder of Robert F. Kennedy, seemingly surviving but with its pulse irregular, its soul scorched and weakened, much like the partially burnt buildings that bore testament to its anguish. My grandparents never considered moving away, to leave was to hand victory to the murderers of MLK and RFK.

My mother was born one month and one week before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin cavorted on the moon. The images of grown white men in oversize white suits floating across the lunar surface like dandelion puffs whilst ordinary folks struggled to rebuild did nothing to ease the pain in the neighborhood. Their wry resentment was expressed in the phrases “they can put a man on the moon but they can’t …”, and in music. The slow burn of resentment yielded to the raging flames of anger, and in anger they waited for the revolution that would not be televised. The revolution was not televised. The revolution was not televised because it did not happen. Instead our young were sent to be devoured in the napalm fueled fires of Vietnam.

They named her Amina Alcyone, after the Hausa warrior queen and the Greek goddess of Tranquility, for they envisioned for her the life of peace and tranquility that they were waging war to secure. Some said her names were pretentious but this was a time children were named for the aspirations they would carry like freshly thrown clay vessels into the kiln that is life. My grandparents were unrelenting marshals in the rebuilding effort and spared no time for distractions including raising my mother. Alcy, as she was called by everyone else, was raised by the neighborhood and in the early days this was a good thing. The neighborhood included the baker's shop over on East 14th Street, Sherita's soul food kitchen two blocks south on Serenity, the drugstore Meekhams adjacent to Christ the Avenger Church of the Purifying Conflagration which was opposite the square from Mississippi Moon. She walked to elementary school at our Lady of Serenity Chapel Parish school four blocks north, just past the train station on 10th Street.

Vietnam took our young men and those it did not send back in body bags it sent back as shells with battered bodies and tortured souls. They brought back their nightmares and the drugs to silence the demons that haunted them. Young men who should have learned how to build bridges and heal bodies had been trained to blow up villages and to maim people. They came back and were unleashed on our neighborhoods. Alcy came of age in the 80s as did the scourge of crack cocaine in the community. I believe they call it crack because it cracks everything it touches and in the summer of 1985 it touched Alcyone. My grandparents fought to keep drugs out of the neighborhood but could not keep them out of their daughter.


One of the few pictures I have of my mother is her High School freshman class photo. She is looking into the camera, bright eyed and full of promise, with lips that parted away from beautifully set teeth, her jaw thrust forward in a defiant pose I recognize as Grandma's. She seems to be saying to the world "bring it on!”. Ah, if only. She was captain of the debate team in her sophomore year, taking advance placement classes for college, destined for all the greatness her talent promised and her names demanded. Then she met D'Angelo. D'Angelo, or Smoke as he was known on the street, was everything Grandpa fought against. He started out selling weed in school, graduated to dope and dropped out just in time to claim the corners for the new drug-lords and the poison they sold. I do not know what the attraction was, if Grandma knew, she never said. Alcy was Smoke's girl until she got pregnant, a fact she hid from everyone until her belly's protrusion could no longer be disguised under sweaters and oversize coats.

On Friday June 13, 1986, her 17th birthday, she confronted him, begging him to come talk to her parents. He beat her until her waters broke and she lay on the street bleeding from her mouth and vagina. The force of her contractions tore her uterus expelling me onto the street. I was born on the corner of 14th and Serenity while she lay there hemorrhaging to death. My mother, Alcyone died on Friday June 13, 1986, killed by my father as he attempted to kill me. He would disappear from the neighborhood never to be seen again.

Tranquility died on Serenity Avenue and my grandparents were never the same again. Grandpa continued to practice law and to represent minorities and union workers in disputes across the state but he no longer had his heart in it. Grandma loved me with an all embracing love that squeezed out the world outside and almost let nothing including air in. Their friends and family urged them to return south but again they refused for they could not bear to leave behind their memories of Amina Alcyone. They hardly ever spoke to me about my mother but when they did a cloud would loom overhead resulting in precipitation from grandma's eyes. I had grown used to her eyes lighting up when I did something special. She would start to say how my mother used to …, and her voice would trail off, memories of my mother dissolving like clouds of dust into the boundless desert.

I grew up in this neighborhood but I never felt part of it. I viewed it from my cocoon much like a fish in a bowl sees the distorted images of the world behind the glass, content to live its confined life blissfully unaware of the lights and shades outside. Even as I grew older it never was for me the place my grandparents recalled. Mississippi Moon had closed down only to reopen years later as Castignalio’s. The Rialto Theatre where legends like Redd Foxx once performed was now a crack-house. The banks were gone, replaced by a currency exchange. The barber shop, the bakery, the hardware store all gone, the store fronts boarded up. What we had in their place were the liquor store and opposite it the fried catfish and chicken hut, for what was better to gulp down your Daniels than a good helping of grease, gristle and bone. And on every corner were the hustlers and hoppers, who like termites gnawed away at the very foundations of the community blind to their own self destruction.

I went away to college, to Grandpa’s alma mater, Georgetown and I still remember the look on his face the day they dropped me off. On his face were etched hope, loss, joy, and pain as his eyes brimmed with unshed tears. That would be the last time I would see him alive for he died that Fall, from a stroke. He was buried next to Alcyone an empty plot to his left. Grandma was alone in a house that was now full of ghosts, shattered dreams lurking in every corner whilst laughter had long departed. I decided to quit and return home but she would have none of it and insisted I remained at Georgetown. She decided to become a foster parent caring for children who were the detritus of the carnage crack and heroine, like Scylla and Charybdis, had wrought on the community. She did this through my first three years of college until she gave up because of her failing health. She still found the strength to visit me and cheered louder than any parent when I walked across the stage to receive my diploma.

We planned to go traveling together. She wanted to take me to Selma, to see where it had all begun for her, so I could understand the journey that was not only hers but mine as well. The morning we were supposed to meet up she did not call as she always did. I phoned her only friend in the neighborhood, another hold-out from the Movement but she had no news. I called Father Michael who hurried to the house and later confirmed my worst fears with a call as I waited to board a plane at Reagan National.

There is a hole inside me, bigger than that being filled with the clod and sod and my beloved Grandma as she is interred alongside her husband and her daughter, all that is good of me lying in those holes. I have returned to Serenity Avenue to bury my past, I wish I could so easily bury my sorrow.

I am 22 today and alone. I stand on the corner of 14th and Serenity where my story began and I wonder, now what?

66 Comments:

  1. SMC said...
    FIRST!
    Shubby Doo said...
    2nd...
    @smc - don't you sleep?!!! lol
    InCogNaija said...
    ok, so i came in third. This is a new direction
    InCogNaija said...
    well, i had to quickly submit that comment before somebody came and took my lovely 3rd position away.
    Anyways, first the Whitey on the moon bit cracked me up. I like the way you went way back like corn-rows.
    The guy's birth was quite harrowing but at least thank God he has some sense despite his loss.
    Good Work Sir!!
    NigerianDramaQueen said...
    first 5
    Shubby Doo said...
    i liked this a lot...i wasn't expecting it at all...plus multimedia thing was nice touch...

    i liked the approach...documentary style story telling...very clean cut but so revealing. Honestly, if someone had told me this story outside of 14th & Serenity i would have believed it as history...every word on this page was plausible.

    if i quoted all the bits i liked i would have to re-paste the whole story so b4 i lay my head down to sleep, I just want to say this has been the best so far...hands down!

    I really have no constructive critic to add!
    NigerianDramaQueen said...
    ~Wow. Wow. Wow. I am seriously in awe. Just wow. I have been waiting for your story and this superceded my expectations! Where do I even start from?
    ~You know how I always write the quotes I like? Well almost everything in here is quotable. The first line ('The history of my streets is my history..')sounded like the beginning of a documentary/movie. And the line at the end ('I have returned to bury my past..') was perfect.
    ~Your blend of fiction and history is genious. You even had a bit of mythology in there with the whole 'Alcyone' thing. You raised the bar on 14th and serenity.I do not envy whoever has to follow this
    ~Pat yourself on the shoulders cuz this is DAMN good. I couldnt do the multimedia thing cuz Im not at home but Ill be back to read this.
    ~Just WOW!
    bumight said...
    great work, yay! for doctors!!!
    This was brilliant, and the ride through history was quite enthralling.

    I loved how you didnt mention the name of the protagonist...and I think I'm beginning to see 14th street a bit clearly now!
    SMC said...
    Two words describe this piece - Blooming Marvellous.

    From the title onwards (triskaidekaphobia used to be one of my favourites words), I really liked this instalment. I like the way the historical aspect of the story seems well researched (from the reference to the moon landing dates, to the getting the right years for Friday the 13th of June, to dropping relevant names of important historical figures like gold nuggets for readers to pick up). I like the way the civil right movement was interwoven into the story. I like the way the story reads like a mini-history lesson of something bigger than 14th and Serenity.

    Also, showing an evolution from a good neighbourhood to a bad one was a great way to go (from the writer's words, one can just about picture the neighbourhood as it once stood in its glory before rapidly metamorphosing into a crack haven).

    Everywhere I looked in this story, there were priceless nuggets to satisfy sagacious eyes, e.g. "The slow burn of resentment yielded to the raging flames of anger" and "this was a time children were named for the aspirations they would carry like freshly thrown clay vessels into the kiln that is life", but probably one of the best was " memories of my mother dissolving like clouds of dust into the boundless desert."

    VISUALLY SCRUMPTIOUS is what I call 'em.

    Any Downsides in this instalment? Apart from a couple of clich├ęs, none worth bothering about.

    One question though - Who on earth is the nameless principal character?

    On the whole, I enjoyed it (and that is without the multi-media bit).

    Well done sir!
    omidanbellafricaine said...
    Top ten sigh but i'll settle now i go to read
    smc said...
    Phew. It only took two hours to get that out in between other stuff and my internet connection bombing out didn't help matters at all.
    omidanbellafricaine said...
    Thank Jesus a personalized story at last. I really hate that these are supposed to be short stories because I would love to know what happens to this young lady/man. Nice work you obviously worked really hard on this one. Might I suggest you change the font the length and the small size makes this post harder to read.
    Best line's: The force of her contractions tore her uterus expelling me onto the street. (that was just painfully vivid)

    memories of my mother dissolving like clouds of dust into the boundless desert. ( succinctly capture's grief). I really don't have any complaints

    Next Up: Waffy girl, that ought to be fun
    omidanbellafricaine said...
    by the way i found a jazzier/blues-esque version of Way Down in the Hole


    http://www.last.fm/music/Tom+Waits/_/Way+Down+in+the+Hole
    Patrice said...
    I have wanted to leave comments on your blog, but you would not let me. I wanted to tell you that his name is Gregor, not George, ask you questions about Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and the circumference of your skull. And now that I can finally leave a comment for you, I have nothing to say, except what I have just written, which doesn't really amount to much.

    If my legs were less fatigued and fingers not busy typing this comment, I would give you a standing ovation.

    Such talent Naapali. You and Kulutempa would make great dance partners.
    Toluwa Lase said...
    this felt so real. I could almost feel myself walking with the character through his life...

    Good work. top 20..yay!
    southern-tree said...
    This was simply fabulous. The history bits and the fact that more than every 14th & Serenity was the focal character. There are too many parts here that are quite memorable. Well done!
    southern-tree said...
    This was simply fabulous. The history bits and the fact that more than EVER 14th & Serenity was the focal character. There are too many parts here that are quite memorable. Well done!
    30+ said...
    smc you
    moi said...
    The principal character wasnt nameless.it was suppose to be naapali.
    @30+,wats smc u????LOL
    Naapali,i bow unto you oh!nothing do you!!
    who's next to write now???please make us laugh,please let the characters be happy,its almost coming to an end,lets smile for once pleeeeeeeeease???
    30+ said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    30+ said...
    Smc u took the first position ....pssstttttttttew.


    BTW, SMC when do we get the pleasure of reading your posts or are you a blogger in disguise - lol
    30+ said...
    My heart was beating fast when I saw you had posted.

    Excellent, not that I expected anything less and that my dear Docteur is a compliment straight from the heart.

    Hopefully I have not dissapointed 'cos with all my 'insightfulness' I could not find the hole in this plot.

    Missisipi was now Castigallos, Father Michael easily woven in.

    Can't say more otherwise I will have to applaud each line.

    Please do us all a favour and publish the book.
    Atutupoyoyo said...
    After the murders, the rapes and the violence, the intersection has now found it's soul.

    We now know how things came to be. I am plagiarising from Shubby Doo (I think) in a seperate comment but it is very clear now that the intersection of 14th and Serenity is an allegory of hell. The allusions to fire, religion and death are too strong to ignore. All the characters we have seen so far are just meandering souls who are in search of some kind of redemption.

    Or perhaps this is purgatory or limbo and those that die are given the relief of eternal damnation. Maybe Clara is an Angel? Or maybe a Gorgon and guardian of the underworld? The symbolism and imagery is rich.

    One must not dismiss the tragic irony of an occupant of 14th street with a fear of the number 13. All this with a post wait for it - written on Friday the 13th June. Genius.

    In terms of its scope and breadth, this is, for me, the most accomplished effort thus far. The research and attention to detail is impeccable. Well done sir!
    Ekoakete said...
    Sombre narrative, Very well written as usual Naapali. I love your use of metaphors. The mood of hope, dreams & loss can be felt acutely reading that and I couldn't help but think our lives are so much not just ours alone. We carry the struggles, hopes and dreams of many before us, be they family, local or National figures. One just has to go out there and achieve dude, there's no other way.

    Didn't have the multimedia experience as circumstances will not permit but I'll be back later. Well done once again.
    southern-tree said...
    Re-reading this piece, I'm simply awed at the writer's cleverness. Brilliant! Triskaidekaphobia - the fear of the number 13 (Friday the 13th)... clever imagery and all!
    QMoney said...
    Waoh,i have read and re-reread the posts and it has to be the BESTEST so far!!!!
    and to think its friday the 13th today!!!!!!!!
    Triskaidekaphobia also means d fear of dis day!!!!
    hmmmmmmmmmmmm,i am really really really impressed.i dint understand d multimedia part though,it wont "werk" for me.guess u prepared for this well.good job!!
    smc said...
    @ 30+, na wah o. Abeg, why the bad belle that I am 1st? LOL. And no I am not a blogger (unfortunately I do not have the patience nor the commitment to be a blogger). Actually, before reading Fourteenth and Serenity, I seldom read blogs too (bar Wordsbody - the blog of Molara Wood which is predominantly on the literary arts). I am however a voracious reader and tend to do reviews and sometimes critiques (not my day job).
    Ms. Catwalq said...
    I am so in love with you right now....
    Allied said...
    What else should i call you except a Genius?

    You are the genius loci of 14th and Serenity
    Allied said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Jaja said...
    Masterful.
    There s this steady accumulation of details that I love. Its thick enough for me to sink my teeth in. This is very good, Naapali.

    Its hard for any human who can read to read this and not love it.
    UndaCovaSista said...
    Triska kini?!
    My poly-syllabic brother has come again!

    This is amazing! Words fail me. Every other sentence has something beautiful to linger over, i just want to grab hold of every sentiment and milk it for what its worth!!!!

    I particularly like:

    "...children were named for the aspirations they would carry like freshly thrown clay vessels into the kiln that is life.."

    Sweet!
    UndaCovaSista said...
    AAAAAAAAAAND...this sounds vaguely familiar (the clod and sod bit at least)

    "...There is a hole inside me, bigger than that being filled with the clod and sod..."

    Where's that from, anyone?
    Oyinbo said...
    Sod Law-
    It means that if anything can go wrong it probably will.

    Sod, although used as a mild swear word, means earth, or clod of earth. In one of the Christmas Carols - Good King Wenslas - one line says, 'He trod the very sod' - It wasn't considered swearing when the carol was written - shows how much language changes over the years.

    You usually find that those people who invoke Sod's Law are the same ones that 'Fail to Plan - So they Plan to Fail'...

    And whilst Sod is indeed a synonym for turf, in this case it has another meaning - That of the contraction of Sodomite - One who is involved with male-male anal penetration...

    This is also the root of the other popular British curse-word 'Bugger'
    Jarrai said...
    STANDING OVATION...LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS ENRTY

    ok...i am calm!! lol

    That was beautifully and carefully laced..you are a pro!!!
    UndaCovaSista said...
    @oyinbo - if your comment on Sod etc is in response to my question, you got it wrong!

    I was referring to the actual phrase (i think either Naapali or someone else has used it before), and not to the individual words...
    fantasy queen said...
    WOW!
    makes me want to say WOW backwards.lol

    you brought 14th and serenity to life, made it seem so real especially as this story is well interwoven with historic events, the whole whoring and druging and gambling wasnt overstated to make it look mafiaristic(if ever there was a word) thus removing the thought of 'what a great movie, nice effects'.
    Shubby Doo said...
    i haven't slept. my fault, bcos foolishly i tried to be 1st but smc beat me to it. I stayed up to read this. I read it 3 times then jumped in a taxi at 4am for the airport. the world you described here was so vivid in my mind that whenever i tried to sleep on the plane Triskaidekaphobia would say no.

    What you have penned here is a sweet lil classic. Honestly someone has to get it out there cos it will be a crying shame if stays hidden here. There is so much richness...you blend fact and fiction very well & there is such hidden depths in your words...whenever I come back to the comment section I learn something new

    Loved the named Amina Alcyone…when you explained the meanings of the names I knew that it was inevitable that warrior queen would clash with the goddess of tranquillity...think I know which one was in love with smoke.

    @undacovasista – I too was like Triska kini?! - it wasn’t just you o!

    @smc – you critique was on point – simon cowell ain’t got nothing on you...lol...abeg next time allow me to be 1st

    @ naapali - the way you did this was simply joyous. I’m just happy to read about well developed characters (and that includes the life of streets and where the scars came from). i don't even want to know the name of the character... for me he was the one that had been saved...however, as he stands there and ask “now what?” I know his true destiny is still undecided.

    I was giving out awards before but this just completely scuppered my thinking. I’m now at risk of taking all the previous awards from everybody and handing them to just you...so to be fair (not necessarily to you because you do deserve them all) I have decided to give you both an honorary award and the lifetime achievement award for showing us the life & times of 14th & Serenity through this family.

    Dear sir,
    you asked for my patience and then you gave me this.
    You have indeed satisfied my every plea.
    Thank you...thank you...thank you...thank you.

    The doctor is well and truly in the house!
    Shubby Doo said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Mz. Dee said...
    I'm crying.
    Wow.
    First i cant blive this is comin to an end in 4 dayz..
    U're a great writer. I loved every word of this story.
    I admit, when i began readin a part of me felt this was gna turn out borin... but it turned out so differently.
    I loved ur grammar, ur structure.. everything.
    Awesome.
    Shubby Doo said...
    @atutupoyoyo - it was me...I’m just glad that someone else sees it too :-)
    ablackjamesbond said...
    You have not disappointed. Welldone!
    Moody Crab said...
    Nicely written...very impressed. I concur with Patrice, you and Kulu (who is one of the best writers in blosgville. Why is she not on this list of writers anyway?) would make perfect dance/writing partners.

    Well done!
    Smaragd said...
    lmao @ "...Christ the Avenger Church of the Purifying Conflagration..."

    Friday, the 13th... a day of mixed blessings...

    the xter's granny took in Scylla and Charybdis, two greek monsters known for TKO (literally the devil and the deep blue sea), probably why her health failed...

    I cant even start picking out my fave quotes, it would be a whole new post in itself...lol

    14th and Serenity now has a history, a beginning, an evolution, a people... and old xters (father michael)were not forgotten, and the landmarks were cleverly woven in!

    Dr. Naps, u know now, u know that u are just too "MUSH"!
    Kiibaati said...
    great read. whoosh!
    UndaCovaSista said...
    @shubby doo - Thanks for alleviating the embarassment of my blonde moment! :)

    Naapali for President!!!
    Afolabi said...
    NICE!!! This was a striking (work), that I feel not only exhibits your talent-no-skill, but according to A2-2, adds soul and concreteness to this online anthology. You represent the kind of writer I work towards being someday, but mehn laziness dey kill o!!
    Chameleon said...
    absolutely brilliant
    Naijaxpress said...
    Words cannot explain this write up. It is absolutely brilliant. IT is for this reason that I am sad. When all writers have finished, would there be a continuation? Would there be a part 2? After reading this, I sincerely want to know what happens next cos there is definately a story out there. You mixed historical facts with fiction easily. You are indeed talented. WELL DONE !!!!
    Naapali said...
    @all thanks for reading and comments. I find story telling and reading interesting. People take away things from reading that may often be beyond the intent of the writer. In my mind the narrator of this piece is a young woman and I never thought she could be seen as otherwise until reading the comments but I guess that is why they talk about beholder's eyes and beauty.

    @smc
    - thx for reading and the comments. in the spirit of full disclosure you were very influential in the shaping and writing of this one.

    @Shubby doo.
    - the comments above apply to you as well.

    @ incognaija
    - 3rd is not a bad place to be, in fact research shows that 3rd place people have better mental health than 2nd place ones do.

    @NDQ
    - drama queen, queen of drama and lyrical prose. thank you.

    @bumight
    - yay for doctors!
    Naapali said...
    @smc
    - I see you did some fact checking, u r not easily hoodwinked I deduce.
    - cliche ke?

    @ Omidan
    -Merci boku!
    -personally I find Steve Earle's voice more haunting. Fans of The Wire know him as Walon, Bubbles sponsor. His country rock career has been punctuated by years battling addiction. The song Way Down in the Hole is the theme song for The Wire with different versions for each season, the Steve Earle version rang out the series on season 5.

    @Patrice
    - now I feel like we have formally met. I have echoed your comments across naijablog to the now defunct Hyena's Belly. You flatter me with your comparison, Ms. K Tempa has a style that is uniquely hers, this line from one of her posts one of my all time favorites: "We entered Gomorrah - Sodom was upstairs; we were going to tackle that later."

    - my head is big enough to mean that I am required to sit in the back at movie theaters to avoid the movie being accidentally projected on my head.

    @ T lase; thx

    @ southern-tree; thx

    @30+
    - sister, u know u have a hand in this. your comments are always helpful.
    Naapali said...
    @ Atutupoyoyo
    - u helped shape this as u have helped shape others, yet you give more credit than you take.

    @ allied, Jaja, Catwalq
    - my sisters and brother in this project. u know I have expressed my love and respect multiple times already, but I do so again. you all created the landscape.

    @ moi
    - I feel like I am talking to myself.
    - thx.

    @ Eko
    - na wa for u sef. U can be both intensely reflective and hilarious at the same time.

    @ southern tree
    - I never had triskaidekaphobia (perhaps because I was born on the 13th) until yesterday.

    @qmoney
    - sorry the multimedia did not work for you.

    @smc
    - a moment of self revelation, now my suspicions are confirmed.
    Naapali said...
    @ UC
    - na so u siddon gree make smc carry first throughout 14th&S. i hope u enjoy Nile water.
    - Poly-syllabic; syllabus used at East London Poly?

    @UC and Oyinbo
    - I learnt something with that explanation.

    @Jarrai
    - calm is good. thx.

    @ Fantasy Queen
    LOL re your comment, in fact I think I will just say LOL backwards.

    @ Shubby doo
    - from one omo iyaforce offisa to another, thx for caring/sharing.

    @ Bond-dudu
    - no shakings.

    @ Moody crab
    - comments to patrice apply. thx.

    @ kiibati
    - hope u liked

    @ Smaragd
    - perhaps Jeremiah Wright spent some time in this church

    @ afolabi
    - u have your skills and talent

    @ UC
    - surely u mean Obama!

    @ Naijaexpress
    - you like?

    @ Mz. Dee
    - please dont cry (sung to tune of eponymous Billie Myers song)
    Naapali said...
    @ chameleon
    thx

    @ UC
    - sista, hope I have fulfilled your request.
    guerreiranigeriana said...
    ...i haven't commented yet because i don't even know what to say....i'm completed blown away...my absolute favorite!!!!...you rocked it out...my vocabulary fails me...i hope you get what i am trying to convey...
    smc said...
    @Naapali,

    Abeg what suspicions? Pray tell.
    Naapali said...
    @ smc
    - suspicions that u do not approach this as a casual reader.
    UndaCovaSista said...
    @naapali - Above and beyond!
    smc said...
    @ Naapali, I just always do that. If I am reading a novel and the author has written something that requires a calculation or makes historical reference, I must always verify before I move on. A throwback to my Dad I guess. Old habits die hard. And you'd be surprised just how many books show many inconsistencies in the important little details.
    SOLOMONSYDELLE said...
    I've read this a few times and am shocked I didn't leave a comment earlier. But, as always, Naapali, brilliant.
    Baroque said...
    ok...ok...ok...this beat my imagination, like blue black...i echo...Master Piece
    naijalines said...
    I had to read this several times b4 making a comment. Again the usual 'disclaimer' applies. It is just my humble opinion o, nothing more.

    The background research behind the piece is 1st class. I think many would agree on that. However the same historical elements of the research somehow overshadow the actual story being told. This made it a bit of a struggle to read through and focus on the actual story. The multi-media elements added to the 'overshadow' effect.

    I do understand that a lot of work went into this and it shows in the amount of detail that's worked into the story.

    Another sticky point is why was the character not named. Could have made a big difference to the 'heart' of the story. As it is, I really did not feel the heart of the story as much as I would have wanted to.

    I realise I might be a lone voice in the wilderness but I am not hating o. Just offering my own apinni's worth here. I think it's important to hear the positives as well as negatives. And I wanted my comments to honestly reflect how I felt about the piece.
    Naapali said...
    @ Naijalines
    Thanks for your comments. No offense taken as certainly none was intended. Writing and storytelling are both fascinating as they are very different experiences from reading or listening to stories. I have found this to be very true in these nascent storytelling efforts of mine. The experience the reader gets from the story differs from that of the writer intentionally and unintentionally as they both stand on different ground facing different directions. Now with that long preamble which only stated what you already know, I will tell my side of the story stating my intention.

    There are two central characters in this story and they are both named. The narrator in this story (and indeed in many stories) is not named and was only relevant as a vehicle to tell the stories of the central characters. The title of the story gives the name of one of the characters. The other character is the neighborhood, 14th and Serenity also named.

    The historical details form the core of the story. For me they give a sense of place and time, a sense that the godforsaken nature of this place has a root cause.

    Regarding multimedia; this is an experiment in fiction in a medium that allows multiple ways of generating/enhancing experiences. Surely you would hope that one would try to expand the traditional boundaries of storytelling to enhance a story. I deliberately provided the multimedia as links that required the reader to click on them i.e. the traditional form exists for purists (as stated in the preamble) and an enhanced form exists for those willing to click.

    It appears the heart of the story lies elsewhere for you and that, as well as the experience of the story, is your prerogative.

    I again thank you for your comments and their thoughtful articulation.
    N.I.M.M.O said...
    At first the font size and the other effizzi made this not easy on my poor eyes, so I copied and pasted it to MS Word (thus missing the multimedia experience).

    Then I refused to read this post until the end of the series. You know what they say about saving the best for last.

    Then I read the comments before the actual posts and learnt a lot. And I was not disappointed.

    Triskaideka ginni? Doc, biko nu.

    @Atutu: Prof, very apt dissection as usual.

    @Oyinbo: We stand educated.

    @Naijalines: You are not quite alone. Noticed some of the same too.

    @Naapali: Methusela, I doff my fila.
    uNWrItten* said...
    this is was prolly the best entry in this whole series..i felt like i knew the character..good stuff
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