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may the bullet not find me: Writing Memories, Writing Identity

Nkiru Nzegwu


This writing is about remembrances, about the elliptical cycle of remembering, of re/membering facets, and of gathering together experiences of former lives. The weaving process of remembering unravels and re-fashions an identity while the act of remembering re-members the splits and tears in the fabric of consciousness. Remembering unravels the thread of memory from one patch of the identity fabric and resuses it in a different area to form new patterns and designs in the new location. Out of old fabrics, new patterns and identities are created. I remember myself remembering; I remember my restored self each time. The process of remembering engages earlier conflicts and dilemmas, resolves them, or heals the person by skillfully hiding traumatic experiences away until one is strong enough to confront them. In the interim, rough and grainy patches of patterns on immaturely woven identity-cloth are smoothed out. This time, the refashioning of my identity involved visiting grainy patches of war experiences I had hidden way. It became a process for fusing together two different personality traits—the creative and the critical (the Uwechia and the Nzegwu)—which the binary Western intellectual framework underpinning the structures of academia had rent apart into two opposing voices. This memory-writing reconciles and repairs the split as a path toward self-recovery and understanding what it means to “know thyself.”

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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