On Difficult Women.

When I finished the first story in Roxanne Gay’s ‘Difficult Women’, I had to take a break and figure out whether I wanted to cry or not. I think I tweeted at some point, that I had just realised that the book would make me feel feelings.

At that point, I thought it would just be the usual mix of sadness, triumph, hopefulness, anger, pain, and that familiar feeling of oh-my-God-Roxanne-Gay-is-an-amazing-writer. I was pleasantly surprised, and then thrilled by her historical futurism, allegory and fantasy stories. No spoilers 🙂


Whether with a tweet, an article, or a short story, she is excellent at making me feel feelings, and this book was no exception. What I was not expecting were the historical futurism, allegory and fantasy stories. No spoilers. I’ve quipped a couple of times about counting Gay as a fantasy writer because she wrote a Black Panther prequel. I was not entirely serious, but I am now and I’m paying attention. There is a story about a stone thrower who marries a glass woman which sent my mind reeling with all sorts of imaginings… Most of the best stories ever, I believe, leave you imagining more… because they never seem like they really ended, and this story – Requiem for a Glass Heart – is one such story.

It’s an eclectic mix of fantasy, gritty realism and a whole world of heartbreak, wonder and stubborn home in between. I loved everything about Difficult Women, and I am now quite happily a Roxanne Gay stan for life.

To say I enjoyed reading it doesn’t seem like the right way to characterise my experience. It is not light reading, and if you have trauma in your past, this book is likely to bring up memories… Even without past trauma, a reader will find many of these stories dark. The thing about that darkness is that there are usually glimmers of light, but not in the usual neat ways where light overcomes happiness and every thing is cast in maximum saturation. The darkness is complex and contradictory and there is not a lot happily ever afters, but this doesn’t mean there is no happiness at all… it is what it is

I received my copy – an uncorrected bound proof – from Susan de Soissons of Little Brown Book Group, via Ghana’s favourite literary event organiser @BrunchoverBooks. Follow @BrunchoverBooks on twitter for book chats, book swap events and giveaways!

2017: My Year of Acknowledging the Log in My Own Eye

The title makes it seem like I’m just now going to start doing this, but it’s catchy because New Year and all… so let’s go with it and pretend this hasn’t been sitting in my drafts for more than a year 🙂


At some point perhaps 3 years ago, in the midst of an argument with a male friend about “a woman’s place” I got so severely frustrated and depressed that I thought there was no hope in the world. Dramatic, I know, but he was a black man who had moved to the USA from Ghana when he was 12 and one of the first people to really connect me to racism – in that I actually knew him and he recounted experiences to me. We would share readings on the subject and discuss the unfairness of that system and that’s how we remained friends really… 

But here he was, using some of the same kinds of arguments racists use to justify their oppression to justify my oppression as a woman. I don’t think I cut him off, but I stopped talking to him about that stuff, and since that was really the only stuff we talked about, we just stopped talking. 

Then last year, that memory popped into my head, probably triggered by a tweet I saw. That and other incidents of oppressed people who should know better oppressing other people weighed me down – I believe at some point, a prayer was said by me – “I want to stop caring!”, I cried out. (Lol, I annoy myself sometimes with how moist I get smh) 
And perhaps this is an answer to that prayer by some entity I didn’t ask, but it’s working for me and I accept it.
“When you point a finger at someone, three fingers are pointing back at you”

I don’t remember if I read it or heard it but it stuck in my head, and for some reason connected with my thoughts about all the hypocrisy I saw in activist spaces I’m part of. Anything I thought I saw in someone else, I examined myself 3 times (roughly) for similar. In this there’s no conclusion yet, because I haven’t figured out what to do with it, fully. I mean, it certainly hasn’t made me shut up when I spot an injustice, the main difference is I think of the related injustices I myself commit and then I’m able to frame things better and approach people from a place of understanding and way less judgement. This isn’t completely satisfactory to me though, I feel like I can do more… or differently. 

What do you think? Thoughts & ideas welcome – leave them in the comments (and stop whatsapping me Anji & co)

More rewarding in terms of General happiness has been my application of Kuukuwa’s Finger Pointation Theorem to my personal life and relationships. I’m more thoughtful in my work interactions,  as well as in my interactions with my friends and fam (well, most of the time but I’m trying!) 
Basically, when I get irritated or mad at someone, I examine my own role in the situation and how I might be at fault too. And while at first I felt I was silencing myself and should just let out everything I feel, with time and practice I noticed I mostly only confronted people when I had really really thought through the situation. More of that in 2017, I hope.