Sometime last August, I was contacted by a colleague writer to share my art process and the importance of the narrative with a group of students, as part of the Nkabom Literary Festival 2017. Knowing myself and how lowkey I am/try to be, the first word that came to mind was FLEE. The second word that came to mind was WHY. Then HOW. And then WHAT. The questions kept rushing into my head and I started to think up all excuses so the cup could pass me over. I thought, “how can I share something I haven’t mastered?” No, I haven’t mastered the art of writing, I’m not sure I ever will. I continue to learn and practice every day. But then I also thought, maybe I don’t have to master the art before I can share with others. We can learn together. We can all learn to be lit at this writing distin.
I woke up that Saturday thinking of what I was going to say and how I was going to say it. I said to a friend, “I want you to go with me, but I don’t want you to be there”. It sounded pretty stupid, I know.
When I was asked what materials I needed for my session, I simply said, “Well, it’s just going to be a discussion, nothing formal”.
That was exactly what it was – a very constructive 2 hours (?) of my Saturday morning with art lovers talking various forms of creative art and the industry in Ghana.
In the end, I was grateful I made it.
Now, here’s why I feel it is imperative that we tell our stories.
- Storytelling is identity. Just as what you say can reflect who you are inside, what you write reflects who you are on the page. It is self. One’s own distinctiveness.
- Storytelling is continuity. Anything that has an identity needs to be etched into history. Without you, your story won’t be told. Your voice matters, and by telling your stories, you are giving them longevity.
- Storytelling is activism. It is involvement. When we write poetry, or whatever, we are taking an action, a stand. We are telling people about something they didn’t know about, or reiterating something they didn’t quite understand or grasp before, or something that has been there all this while but they’ve been failing to notice, we may even be telling people about the little things happening all around them – the joy, the anger, the injustice, the love, the cultures and traditions.
- Storytelling is your truth. Tell your truth how you want it to be told. How it actually is.
- Storytelling is the memory and the mirror. It is history and the future, present in whatever art form you take on. Be it poetry, fiction, painting, photography or music.
Do you agree?