Art is constantly in aid of explicating the traditional values and ways of life of people, and projecting those values to the future. This has been the preoccupation of Pamilerin Jacob, author of Memoir of Crushed Petals, a poetry volume.
The poet recently gathered journalists, friends, family members and stakeholders to his book launch at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
It was an event full of razzmatazz in a cozy environment.
Kick-starting the event, the publisher of Nigeria News Direct, Dr Samuel Ibiyemi, eulogised the author for hosting such a colourful event, adding that it was first introduced during the 7th anniversary of Nigeria News Direct at Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos, with about 500 copies sold, and had been on the newsstand for a month now.
He affirmed that it was critical in the art’s world for a book to be written that would create awareness and sensitise the citizenry why it wasn’t good to stigmatise people living with mental disorder.
He gave kudos to the writer for his courage to write about a subject treated with levity in Nigeria. While acknowledging that he was not the reviewer of the 92 page book, Ibiyemi noted that the author x-rayed the issue of stigmatising mentally challenge people.
Pamilerin, a final year accounting student of Babcock University, asserted that the book was written to promote mental health awareness.
“It is meant to disapprove the myth surrounding mental illness in Nigeria because there is this tendency to demonise mental illness in Nigeria and a lot of stigma comes with it. Basically, the book is confessional in nature with images.”
He said, “In Nigeria, we are used to political poems, but that is not only what poetry is all about. It’s vast and infinite; we should think outside the box; the book is some sort of revolution. For instance, when you read the book, you begin to see mental illness in a new light.”
According to him, he majorly focused on depression and trauma, because depression permeated all facets of mental illness just as poetry is therapy, voice of the voiceless, and it was a form of release of emotional stresses.
The excited writer disclosed that his primary goal of writing was first to ease internal turmoil and also to shed light on the struggles of mental health patients in Nigeria.
Continuing, he remarked that “I started poetry 3 years ago, but writing discovered me though my dad is a journalist; he has a great influence on me. In every human being, there is a voice that is not still, that keeps you going. There is a different medium in different artistes.”
Pamilerin added that he started writing with a dream. “I started writing with a dream; I knew what I wanted to write about, but the word ‘memoir’ came to my mind. Then I was thinking of flowers, and in the book, there was a place where jungle justice was meted out and I use flowers to illustrate the broken head.
“It’s an allegory, we all are petals. Throughout the book, there is this recurring thing – trauma – because sometimes it led to mental illness. If not noticed, it can compound the illness. Besides, the book is also educative for readers but for people with mental illness, it has a connection.”