Manyika’s debut novel In Dependence sold three million copies, and was rereleased in a ten-year anniversary, updated edition this month. Her second book, Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, published in 2016, was shortlisted for the 2016 Goldsmiths Prize.
- ‘Women can bring men flowers too, you know’—Read an excerpt from In Dependence, the bestselling novel by Sarah Ladipo Manyika
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: I read the tribute piece for Toni Morrison in The JRB, which was so fabulous. Excellent. My big thing with Toni Morrison—it’s a critique in a sense — is that reactions to her work are very America-centric, which is fine and understandable, but there are so many people from around the world who have things to say. I interviewed her, as you know, and I wanted to bring out a bit more how she speaks to a whole world, which is what Mapule Mohulatsi did, which is wonderful.
Jennifer Malec for the JRB: Thank you. I wanted to ask you about the Toni Morrison interview. Meeting her in person must have been quite something. What are your memories of her?
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: I think the overriding memory is just of someone who was very generous. Generous in spirit, generous with her time. I don’t think I was really expecting that. And funny, really funny, very theatrical, she has that theatre background. Her house was very orderly, very neat. Somebody asked me recently, what did it smell like?
The JRB: That’s a good question.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: I know! It smelt like fish. She had a housekeeper, Nadine, from Jamaica, who was cooking her something very healthy. So that’s what the house smelled like.
The JRB: I thought you were going to say it smelled like patchouli or something.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Apparently she made the best carrot cake, she was a great baker, so I can imagine the house smelled like lovely cakes. But, you know, one thing I didn’t mention in the tribute piece or the essay that I wrote about her, at the very end of the conversation, when we’d turned the recording devices off, I wanted to ask her, what is it like to be an older woman? I’d written about older women, and she was eighty-six at the time. And I went about it clumsily, and I said, oh, you know, my oldest friend is ninety-seven, and she inspires me, and I was trying to make my way around to saying, what drives you, what’s it like to be an older woman? And of course she saw right through me, she knew what I was asking, and to paraphrase her, she said, the writing is central. That was another thing that struck me as a writer, is that her eye was on that next novel that she was writing. And I hope she finished it.
The JRB: It’s a wonderful thing to have, to be a writer, I suppose it never really leaves you. It’s a job that you can do your entire life.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Yes. And while we were there, her son visited her and brought her books, historical books, that she was reading for the next novel that she was writing.
The JRB: That was such a nice angle to the interview, because one of the most important things about her as well was that she was a mother. That was central to her identity.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Exactly. And it was wonderful to see the one surviving son bringing her materials for her work, it was almost like he embodied that that is what life is about, it’s about family, and the work.
The JRB: That interview also contains one of my favourite quotes from Toni Morrison, when she said ‘I’m writing to, about, and for other black people,’ which is where the quote often ends, but she continued: ‘And if it’s good enough, it will be read by and appreciated by people who are not African-Americans.’ Which means she wasn’t excluding any reader.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: I’m so glad you continued. Absolutely.
The JRB: I think I can see a similar intent in your work. Is that something you strive for?
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Well I’m very flattered if there’s any kind of little connection between what she was trying to do and what I try and do. I think what I take from Toni Morrison is that she was not writing for the gaze, whatever that gaze may be, be that the Western gaze, or the white gaze, or the powers that be gaze, or the male gaze. She was writing what she wants to write, I write what I like, to riff on Biko. So I think in that sense that’s what I’m trying to do. First and foremost I’m writing for myself. I’m writing stories that I want to read and I’m not finding. I don’t feel the need to explain. If I’m writing something about a Nigerian, or some cultural something-something, I’m not going to belabour my writing and make it heavy by explaining because I’m thinking, oh, most readers or a lot of readers won’t understand. No, I’m just writing what I’m writing. And there’s a certain freedom in that.
The JRB: I suppose that idea of not explaining yourself ties into what you’ve said in the past, that it was very important for you to have an African publisher. It’s something I am also passionate about, because I think working with an African publisher is different for you as an author, but it also produces a different kind of book.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: For me, there is something so exciting about having a publisher who can see my stories from so many levels. This is a generalisation, but I think there’s an element of truth in it: most African publishers get what you’re saying. If you’re writing a story that has some link to Africa and African characters, they know that, but they also know the Western context as well.
The JRB: Because we have to.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Exactly, yeah, we’ve got no choice. There’s something just amazing about that. And this is why I always love coming, I mean I say ‘Africa’ too generally, but I mean various countries, and now I’m in South Africa it’s just wonderful to have people read and they get my references to South Africa and Nigeria, as well as England and America because as you say we have to know the rest of the world. The rest of the world doesn’t have to know about Nigeria’s history or South Africa’s history. There’s also the freedom to write stories that might not necessarily appeal to what the West has come to expect from an African author or from a story with African characters. So my second book is the story of an older woman who is not the typical immigrant or refugee or anything like that, she’s quite a bourgeois character, and she’s not young, she’s in her seventies. It’s not the kind of story the West has come to expect of an African character, whereas my publishers were like, yeah, bring it on. It’s also not the ‘right’ length, novellas are traditionally—and I don’t really understand this—not easy to sell. But Cassava Republic Press were like, no, we love that. And as we’re talking I’m looking at the book covers and there’s no baobab tree, there’s no sunset.
The JRB: Oh god.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: So even on that level, I really think Cassava Republic Press, and other presses, are having a knock-on effect, because I’m now looking at covers and seeing fewer sunsets. And there’s nothing wrong with sunsets, right, but I’m just using that as an analogy for how there’s been little imagination, or there’s been lots of stereotyping or troping of how to represent anything relating to Africa on the page.
The JRB: I wanted talk about your covers, because they are lovely.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: I saw the design early on, and they played with various things, and I gave some input, but I just love it.
The JRB: They’re almost like those iconic nineteen-sixties Pelican book covers, where there’s a deep meaning in the picture. You could almost write a whole essay about this cover, really.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Yeah, and I almost got shivers down my spine when you said that word ‘iconic’, because I can’t attach the word ‘iconic’ to baobab trees and sunsets.
The JRB: I once did a feature on those types of covers, during the ‘acacia tree scandal’ of 2014, and I remember we interviewed a famous cover designer called Joey Hi-Fi, who asked, ‘Are any of those books even about acacia trees?’ Because, you know, the book doesn’t mention an acacia tree once but it’s on the cover.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: This is kind of what I was doing, there’s a bit of tongue in cheek in the way I started In Dependence, by saying, let me see,
One could begin with the dust, the heat and the purple bougainvillea. One might even begin with the smell of rotting mangoes tossed by the side of the road where flies hummed and green-bellied lizards bobbed their orange heads while loitering in the sun.
When I was writing this book I used to say, there’s kind of a mango-guava approach to a lot of African literature, and by that I was meaning that people were interested in these exotic stories and representing them in that way, and so I was psychologically dispensing with the mangoes and the guavas and the bougainvillea—as much as I love all of that, I don’t love the way that it was pigeonholed.
The JRB: I love that opening line. Acknowledging the tropes and the history, and then taking it in a different direction. This is the ten-year anniversary edition of In Dependence, and it stands now as an almost seminal work. A lot of books nowadays deal with a young African student who goes to study overseas, but this was one of the first novels to deal with those kinds of ideas. I was wondering how you feel about the book now, if you feel African literature has changed over the last ten years.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: It’s so interesting that you say there are many more books of students going overseas to study. When I was writing this book there was nothing, maybe that’s an exaggeration but there was not very much. There were certainly not love stories, and I was told repeatedly that a love story would never sell, there wouldn’t be interest.
The JRB: Who was telling you that?
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Well this was when I was trying to publish in England and America, I kept hearing that. And you know, I wanted to read a different kind of story. I was reading stories about war, and lots of male characters, and again, nothing wrong with those stories, I’m not dismissing those stories, but I wanted a different kind of story. And again this was within the kind of Western perception of stories, all of this is generalisation, I’m not saying everyone thought like this, but there’s definitely this line of thinking that a love story just was not marketable. But then again that’s thinking about a particular audience. When I was writing this book I didn’t want it just to be the West or even the West at all. So it was very important for me to have the book out with a Nigerian publisher.
The JRB: The book spans four decades. Why did you decide to write a book partly set during the sixties and seventies, and not simply in the present?
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: It’s very interesting, it almost feels like what I was writing about in the nineteen-sixties is very present now, in terms of the issues we are still talking about, be it racism, civil rights, women’s issues, abortion rights, all those sorts of things are back, have never been resolved. At the time, and again this shows how much things have progressed, which is great, at the time I was looking for historical fiction and I wasn’t finding books that started around the dawn of independence and moved into—
The JRB: Post-independence novels?
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Yeah, and I wasn’t finding that, and perhaps now we’re seeing more of that.
The JRB: Still not as many as you would expect. It was such a promising and exciting time, but there aren’t many novels that focus on that atmosphere of excitement and hope.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Exactly. And I was fascinated by the nineteen-sixties. I was born at the end of the nineteen-sixties, I didn’t live through them, but it seemed like such a turning point moment, with the independence movements, Pan-Africanism, civil rights …
The JRB: The time in the book and the attitudes almost feel more progressive than what we’re living through now.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: And also young people at the forefront of change. I see these parallels, now we have a younger generation that seems to be pushing where past generations have failed, on climate change, civil rights, Black Lives Matter, it’s coming full circle again. So the nineteen-sixties was a period that I thought was very interesting, politically and culturally. Like you said, it was a time when there was great optimism. People in Nigeria, when you read the newspapers from the time, were thinking that Nigeria was going to lead the world. The currency was very strong at that time. We kind of forget all of that now, mired in what’s happening. I wanted to capture that moment.
The JRB: Do you think you would write about the present moment? A lot of writers seem to have a sense of desolation. I’m thinking of Zadie Smith, who said recently that her early books had an element of fun, but that she can’t write like that any more, because there’s so much to be depressed about, we haven’t progressed as much as we expected to.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: I think there’s a part of me that always wants to be optimistic, and there’s a part of me that really believes in the power of art and in the power of writing. I’m never going to give up on the human race and I don’t feel that I’m allowed to. I think even though this book started out on an optimistic note, you then go through and see how things start to fall apart. So it’s not joy, joy, joy all the way through. James Baldwin talks about …
The JRB: I was just about to mention James Baldwin. In a piece for Brittle Paper you wrote, ‘Baldwin guides me towards being committed to the struggle against racism while trying to keep my heart free of hatred and despair.’ I think that’s a guiding principle in In Dependence.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Yeah. Being very personal, I don’t have the luxury to sit back and despair, you know? I’m not homeless. I do despair about the world, but I am able to write, a lot of people are not able to write. So exactly like Baldwin says, try and keep the heart free of despair. And I’m trying to bear witness, which is another thing Baldwin said, that he is not a spokesperson, he’s bearing witness. And that’s what I’m trying to do with my writing.
The JRB: That’s an interesting way of putting it. There seems to be a trend towards centering yourself and reacting to circumstances in the world, whereas bearing witness is, it’s not a passive standpoint but it’s perhaps more detached.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Yes, and I think the thing about being a spokesperson is that you’re speaking for other people. So in a sense when I write I’m not trying to tell the whole story or give the whole solution to everything. It’s not passive, in that you try your very best to give of your best. If we go back to Toni Morrison, who says, it’s important to reach towards the ineffable. You can never pin down slavery, genocide, war, with language, but it’s that reach that is important. So I see that as a negation. It’s not passive, but it’s also not …
The JRB: Sure of itself.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Yeah. And we should always be questioning ourselves. That’s definitely Baldwin. Going back to one more thing that he said, not to make this all about Baldwin, but why not? Often when writers are asked to talk about their writing they’re asked to talk about it as if we know everything, we can sum everything up, which is antithetical to the business of writing, which is that you have to come to the page and really not know anything, and you’re trying to work things out.
The JRB: On a more logistical level, how did you research the recent past?
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: I did a huge amount of research for In Dependence, and one of my fears was that it would read that way. [laughs]
The JRB: The novel is very evocative of its time—it rings true but also doesn’t seem overdone. The historical aspects are not in your face.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: That’s good. I’m glad. Because in terms of the research I read all the student newspapers at Oxford, it’s called Isis. And I read the three or four years that my characters were there. I really wanted to know what people were talking about. I wanted to get that feel, were people talking about South Africa, Mandela being in prison? I wanted all of that to be in my head. I also did in-depth interviews with people who had studied at Oxford. I wanted to know what they were eating, how cold it was, what the winters were like, all of that sort of stuff. And Malcolm X was there. There were some things that I did put into the book, like Malcolm X speaking at the Oxford Union, but most of what I researched is not in the book. I just felt a great responsibility that if I’m writing about the sixties, I want to have a really good sense of what that felt like. And I watched lots of films, I read the West African, which is a newspaper, getting a feel for the language and the terms that were being used.
The JRB: Is there an archive of the Nigerian newspapers of the time? You mention the Nigerian Guardian, and a couple of others.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: I went to the library at UC Berkeley, where I did my PhD, and I looked at microfiche, I don’t know if you know what microfiche is. [laughs] I wasn’t using the internet, I was literally going back to primary sources. I spent a lot of time, and in many ways I felt like, am I wasting time? But I needed all of that in order to have the courage to try and write.
The JRB: How do you avoid the temptation to put all the information you’ve found out in the book? I imagine you almost want to show off all the research you’ve done, but you can’t let it go there.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: [laughs] There were so many times when I wanted to put things in … if I were to go back and rewrite the book, what I would do is I would write essays at the same time, because there were so many angles I wanted to explore. For example one person that I spoke to from East Africa who was at Oxford in the nineteen-sixties, he was one of the people who was instrumental in bringing Malcolm X to speak, and after he left Oxford he had a correspondence via postcard with Malcolm X. So he literally has a box of postcards, and I just wanted to hear so much about that, I was so fascinated about this correspondence, again this is not part of history. So in a way the research almost derailed the whole thing because I just wanted to down all these rabbit holes.
I think what helped was that the book was written over a few years, and there was a period when the book was just rejected by everybody, and I shelved the novel for a year. And back to Zadie Smith, she said one of the best things you can do with writing is put your book away for a period of time. And so when I went back to it a year later, I think I was able to pull out some of the extra stuff that might have been show-offy.
The JRB: Like Samuel Johnson said, read over your writing, and wherever you see a passage you think is particularly fine, strike it out. For this new edition, did you alter the text at all? Did you work with Bibi Bakare-Yusuf at Cassava?
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: The story hasn’t changed at all, but I spent an intense two weeks, fifteen years older this time, going through the text and making it tighter. And then Bibi read it and gave me a few comments. So there wasn’t intense reworking, editorially. That was an interesting experience for me, as a writer.
The JRB: I’m sure a lot of writers wish they could do that with their debut novels.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: I have to say, I was really scared when Bibi said, we want to come out with it again. I just said, oof, it’s the first book I’d written, and it feels like training wheels. And one of the amazing things for me was that I hadn’t read the book in a decade, and I remember when I used to hear authors say, I haven’t reread my work, I would think, well I don’t believe you. But it’s true. And the reason I didn’t believe people was because with your first novel you’re so intense, and you rework it and you rework it, but once it’s out in the world, that’s it.
The JRB: Do you think you don’t reread it because you’re afraid you’ll pick up on things you want to improve?
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: I don’t know! For me it wasn’t. I don’t know. It’s a good question.
The JRB: I guess you know the story. You know how it ends.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Well, yes and no. [laughs] One of the things for me rereading In Dependence was that I was pleasantly surprised that I was enjoying it. There were many times when I thought, oof, the writing, and I would still love to rewrite the whole thing. But it was an interesting exercise to say, Sarah, you can’t change anything, just, what can you do to tighten it.
The JRB: Books are never finished, they’re just abandoned. I forget who said that one, but it’s a good one.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Yeah. Yeah. Again, rereading it I was surprised that I’d forgotten so many aspects of it. When you’re writing a novel there are so many drafts, and I couldn’t quite remember, oh, did I make this character do this or that? So it was a sort of refamiliarising myself with the text.
The JRB: Where there any characters you wish you had given a different story?
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: I think there were a few characters that I had forgotten about. When I go back to this book there are a few characters, especially women characters, that I wish that I had fleshed out a bit more. I go back to Vanessa and I just kind of roll my eyes. But it’s interesting … I’m going to talk about life now. It’s interesting to me to go back and to be okay with knowing that nothing is ever perfect. I’m still really, really proud of this book. I like this book. Even though if I were to write it from scratch again it would be quite a different book. I think that’s really great for me, as I’m growing older, to know that I’ve given it my best. I tend to be a perfectionist, so to know that perfection is never attainable, and that’s not the point, going back to Toni Morrison, it’s that reach, it’s how hard you’re trying, and it’s exciting for me to see how I’m growing and evolving as a writer. What I wrote fifteen years ago is not the way that I write now, and it’s okay. And also these two books are quite different. In Dependence is more plot driven, and that will appeal to some sorts of readers, more than Like a Mule, which is a little bit more philosophical.
The JRB: Aminatta Forna, who I interviewed at this very table last year, said Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun ‘shows ordinary people at their best’. For me, the book is particularly memorable for its characters.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: I’m glad you felt that.
The JRB: The people in In Dependence are exceptional, whereas the people in Like a Mule are ordinary.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: I was dwelling with the characters in Like a Mule and I was really trying to step into their shoes, even more so than Tayo and Vanessa in In Dependence. With Tayo and Vanessa it’s over a few decades, there’s a lot of history and context, it’s bigger and more ambitious, in a sense. I just wanted to dwell more with these few characters and just take snapshots of their lives. It’s a very different sort of project. I wanted to explore the way that we can meet people and have these wonderful intimate, deep conversations, and we may never meet them again, we move on. The intent was definitely very different and I think that gives a different flavour to the way the characters come across.
The JRB: Were you deliberately doing that to test your limits? To flex your muscles in a different area?
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: I think it goes back to books that I want to read. I have been reading a lot more poetry in the last few years, and the title Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun comes from a poem. In some ways I was finding that the kind of writing I was enjoying more at that time was not necessarily plot driven, it was writing that I could read a little bit and then sit with and think, and muse. And not necessarily be turning the pages all the time to see what happens next. Although hopefully you still want to see what happens next.
The JRB: It is a more poetic book, in the way that you can take a paragraph and find a lot more happening than you realised at first.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: I think it comes back to growth, as a person and as a writer. When I started writing I remember saying to myself, there’s no way I can write a literary book, I’m not even going to try. I’m going to write a story that I want to read but I’m not going to have any aspirations to write a literary book. And then a decade goes by, and I start writing for myself, and I’m …
The JRB: In a different space.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: I’m in a different space. And I’m no longer saying to myself, I can’t, I can’t, I’m saying, why not? Just try. Sarah, this is what you’re enjoying, something more literary, something more poetic, so this is how it comes out.
The JRB: Books about older women are quite rare, and when you read a book that has an older woman as a character they tend to stand out. I think of Rabih Alameddine’s remarkable An Unnecessary Woman, Yewande Omotoso’s The Woman Next Door. The characters really stay with you because there aren’t that many of them. Young women, young men, older men, all tend to have more richly imagined inner lives.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Again, it goes back to the stories that you want to read, and as I grew older, something that just didn’t make sense to me was that in literature I was finding all these stories about older men, Ian McEwan, Philip Roth …
The JRB: And they’re so deep and interesting.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: So I was finding that in what I was reading, but in what I was living, the most interesting people I was meeting were older women. As opposed to older men. And again, this is a stereotype, but there’s an element of truth in it, I think, that many men, their paths are quite linear. They’ll work one or two jobs, or whatever. The women, they’ll often have children, or they’ll be looking after older people, their lives are less linear, and more all over the map, and interesting, and surprising. I have two close friends, one in her eighties and one in her nineties, and their stories defy the whole stereotype about the doddery old woman. These are fabulous women, doing incredible things. There are all these rich stories, and I don’t understand how in literature it’s always the virile … I could go on and on. And also, the emphasis in our culture is that it’s important to be young, and when you’re past thirty, or forty, at a push, you’re past it, in every sense. You’re not beautiful, you’re not interesting, but for men, I mean, look at the leaders of the world. We need to have stories that counter this, because it’s simply not true. I don’t want younger women growing up thinking, by the time I get to thirty the rest of the focus on my life has to be on staying young. What a waste. When actually there’s so much to be excited about.
The JRB: Well, I appreciate that. Thank you for writing that. What are you working on at the moment?
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Well, Like a Mule started as a short story that I expanded into a novel. And I’ve written a short story that’s set in the future. It’s a lot to do with climate change, which has been very much on my mind.
The JRB: Are you a fan of spec fic?
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: I’ve become much more interested, yes.
The JRB: Do you have any authors you’re currently reading who you would recommend?
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Well, with the passing of Toni Morrison I’ve gone back to her work. I think every writer should read or listen to her Nobel lecture, it’s just the most powerful lecture on language and speech. It’s absolutely brilliant. And I also went back to Song of Solomon. But the great thing about being here for the Open Book Festival is that I’m being introduced to writers that I hadn’t heard of. There’s a writer called Rémy Ngamije, I’m reading his debut novel, An Eternal Audience of One, and I love the voice in which it’s written. So I’m loving that. There’s a new writer out with Cassava Republic Press, Jumoke Verissimo, A Small Silence is the title, and I’ve started reading that. One writer who I think has not received as much attention as I would have loved her to receive—but she will be now! [having been shortlisted for the Booker Prize]—is Bernardine Evaristo. Start with Mr Loverman. And to your point about negativity and dystopian futures and so on, she is great with humour, she’s very funny. And it’s hard to write funny. The question of recognition is a funny thing, but I would recommend her.
The JRB: I was talking to Chigozie Obioma and Oyinkan Braithwaite at the Open Book opening bash about the capriciousness of literary awards. Chigozie had just been shortlisted for the Booker Prize for his second book, and Oyinkan’s book was the top selling title from the longlist, so she said it had made a tangible difference to her life. Chigozie also said his first book The Fishermen had almost sunk without a trace before it was nominated for the Booker.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: The politics of book prizes. I’ve judged a few, and I’m really happy when people are shortlisted—and I’m very happy when I get shortlisted!—it’s great for bringing people’s attention to works. But it means something and then it doesn’t mean anything.
The JRB: Being long- or shortlisted is the same as winning, in some ways.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Exactly.
The JRB: I wanted to ask you about the Etisalat Prize or 9mobile Prize, which you were a patron of but recently resigned from, along with the rest of the patrons.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: It’s very sad. I should start by saying it’s not the first time a corporation has fallen through. The Women’s Prize used to be the Orange Prize, and then it stopped being funded by Orange.
The JRB: And then it was the Baileys. And the Booker Prize is now just the Booker.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: So this is not unusual, that corporations start something and then they don’t follow through. But as a writer and as a patron of that prize is was very disappointing, pushing and pushing and asking what’s happening. My hope is that someone else steps into this void and continues with the prize in some shape or form.
The JRB: They did hint that the prize would continue.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Yeah. I don’t want to be too cynical but I’m not holding my breath about that.
The JRB: It’s a lot of prize money.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: It is a lot of prize money. And it doesn’t need to be that much, so I’m just hoping that someone else steps up, or several other people step up.
The JRB: Patrice Motsepe.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika: Yeah. It just needs someone to give some energy and spotlighting to it. Hopefully it will continue in some shape or form.