Akwaeke Emezi in The Paris Review:

In Akwaeke Emezi’s new book, Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir, the writer traces their experience as an ọgbanje, an Igbo term that refers to a spirit born into a human body, through letters to friends, family, and lovers. In the below excerpt Emezi describes trying to find community within their M.F.A. program and their discovery that working fearlessly could be a form of worldbending. 

Dear Kathleen,

Sometimes, you remember me better than I remember myself. I think that’s important in a friendship—to hold reflections of people for them, be a mirror when they start fading in their own eyes. I hope I do the same thing for you, too. I can’t wait for you to get here for Christmas; I know Germany has been hard on you this fall.

The last time we texted, you wrote, I need you and our time this break. I know what you mean. The world can be a grit that sands away at us, and love can be a shelter from that. If this godhouse in the swamp is a wing, then I imagine you arriving and joining me underneath it, where we make syrup with the chocolate habaneros from my garden and sit out on the haint-blue porch. I wish the house was bigger, five or seven bedrooms instead of three, so I could fit more of us in here. We are safer with each other. We see the worlds we’re trying to make, and we lend our power to each other’s spells. I was steaming baos in my kitchen today and I got so excited to show you this house, my house. Just a year ago, you came down to the swamp for Christmas and we stayed in that sublet and cooked fish fresh from the lake. And now I have this house, this land, and the shock of what I made happen still makes me reel when I look at it fully. You think I’d be used to it by now, the way I can make things come true, but every year it expands. Every year I make bigger and bigger things happen—and it’s not just me, obviously. It’s my chi and the deityparents and God and so on, but I have to say yes first and I have to do the work and I can’t believe it works.

You know how people are so in awe of Octavia Butler’s journal, the way she wrote down what she wanted with her books? I think it’s because written worldbending resonates so widely.

More here.