Omissions As Dara Saw Them

Osanota is an old Urhobo word, that means ‘selector of words’ [for presentation]. My father used that word to describe those known to be masters and copycats in the art of omitting key details from audiences. All narrators tell incomplete stories. They are human, after all. The limits of time, space, witness, and language offer them little choice. Hence, problems arise when narrators have choices; facts become fair game in their creations. Omissions! Omissions, good or bad, distort facts and verify fictions by sheer absence. The wizardry of omissions in stories is that they are extraordinary tools. Moreover, they create and sustain desires by altering perceptions. Omissions worried my father very much. He was philosophical about communications in general and influenced me a great deal. When he attended school precis was as scary as arithmetic, algebra, and geometry but he was the best at it. He felt relaxed summarising a story everyone in his class knew, but was sceptical about ones only the teller knew. I try not to worry myself about them.

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