So, last year, I wrote a post about a friend who I have known for a while now and one whose writing style is one of eloquence and evokes deep emotions within you. We met on Naijastories, and whenever I see any post by her, my heart leaps because I know I am about to be treated to something really nice. She writes of passion, of pain and hope. She writes of hurt and growing up and moving on by forgiveness and courage. Her stories are of strength and will to survive despite scars made on the soul…
Okay, I need to stop. So, I begged her (and threatened her) to do a series here and she came through despite her busy schedule (I call her super woman by the way, considering the many things she juggles successfully).
So, for the next 4 weeks, every Sunday, we would be treated to a new series by the Inkheart, ‘Finding Redemption’.
Please, this is a new year, and you have new resolutions to keep. They are ‘Share‘ (on all your social media accounts!) and ‘Comment‘. Do well to keep these resolutions.
So, here is the first part. See you on the other side (the comment box)
I am a storyteller.
I spend every minute of my life telling stories to anyone who cares to listen. It doesn’t matter if the story is real or not, I will tell it so good, you will have no choice but to believe me. I know I’m good because I see the awe registered on people’s face as they listen to me talk, I see the trust in their eyes. Most of them wonder in silence how I came about my stories. They debate in private that I get them from experience; either mine or another’s. Some say it is because I have seen too much, heard too much or read too much. Only few have been bold enough to question the authenticity of my stories but I never tell. A storyteller must keep his source a secret, my mentor had once told me and I believe him.
I am a writer.
I spend my spare time typing furiously on my tablet, recounting those stories to total strangers. Some days, I break the stories down into tiny fragments, doing my best to capture the emotions that come with the stories and others, I just summarize them, trying to keep the secrets that come with the stories secret. People say I am too good, maybe it is my life experience I am sharing with the world. Some tell me my stories are too emotional; almost too sad and it makes them cry. Some condemn me for being so outspoken, advising me to wash my dirty linens in private. Some sneer and make jest of my stories, thinking my imagination is on overdrive. Either the stories are true or not, some really want to know but like my mentor will always say, a writer never reveals his source. My secret is my weapon and I believe him.
I am a character
My secret, I will never tell but what I can share with you is that the voice in the story are all mine. Sometimes, I shed real tears and laugh so hard just to capture the true emotions. I have once walked my street on barefoot and unkempt clothes just to understand what my characters are going through. I skip meals and welcome the pangs just so I can relay vividly these things. I live with my characters and nurse them like my babies. I am a character in my stories but the part I play, you may never know. You may keep guessing who I am in all my stories. Fact is, you may never get it right because I can be male or female, I may be young or old but I don’t want you to stop guessing. My mentor says when I stop keeping my readers and listeners in suspense, I have failed as a character and failure is not one of those attributes I appreciate.
I am a victim
This is the part where I should stop writing and run back to my shell but I have reached a breaking point where I need to talk. It may not be what you are expecting, it may not even be real to you but I am a victim; a victim to my stories. And this is the story I want to tell. This story may not even have an ending as I am a work in progress. Either, you believe this or not, I will let you decide. My story is a simple one yet complicated. It is the type of story that confuses you and then boom, like a big knock on the head, you have clarity. This is the kind of story that will make you cry and then make you smile. This story has a beginning but the end is uncertain as I do not know where I am headed, I only know the one taking me. To make my story a complete one, I have to tell how I became each of these persons. Like I said earlier, I am a work in progress.
How I Became A Storyteller
I was born like every other girl to a family that desperately wanted a boy. Whether they were happy or not, I could not tell; I was too little to know what anyone was feeling at that time. If they liked me or not, it never mattered. I was already born and there’s nothing anyone could do about it even if they wanted to. I grew up like every other girl, wanting to love and be loved. Well, I did not get my wish. I tried everything I could do to make them love me; I read hard, played little and did many chores but nothing worked. At an early stage, I learnt no matter the sacrifices you make for some people, they may never feel the same thing you feel for them. My childhood passed in a blur and frankly, I have little memory of it. I grew like every other girl depraved of love. No, I was not a rebel, I just became my own favourite companion. My childhood was almost nonexistent but it is an important part of my story. It is an important part of my life because it is amazing how something you could barely remember, shape your life and form a future you are yet to have. It is important because something you see as insignificant can create a significant part of your life.
I grew up like a stranger in my own home. I felt like an alien, like I have been picked up by the roadside by kind couple and brought to live with people who just looked like me. I grew up surrounded by faces almost like mine yet I was so different. I was like a cat, raised amongst the wrong pack. I was the wild one; the one always wanting to jump out of the jungle to explore the world they termed dangerous. I craved the things people said were abominable. I wanted things that were deadly, I was not afraid of death. I only feared dying while still alive. I wanted to live. I remember they called me crazy and some other not so nice words I dare not mention but no matter how different I was, I could not be myself. I lived by the standards set for me by their own standards. I was hindered, stopped from spreading my wings to fly.
Because of my restriction, there was always to tell someone how I was feeling, what was going through my young mind. It did not matter there was no one listening to my stories, the four walls of my room became my audience. My voice echoing in the room brought me comfort and I discovered the power in talking. My voice gave me the surge of energy I needed. It felt as if I was out in the wildest jungle mingling with the fiercest of animals. I was not ordinary any longer, I became a storyteller.