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Stanley E Asia

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Telling My Story
By Stanley E Asia
Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rated "G" by the Author.

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“When a man stands on the edge of a cliff and begins to dance, such a man has no love he cares about.” African proverb.

“When a man stands on the edge of a cliff and begins to dance,such a man has no love he cares about.” African proverb.

Telling My Story

As I sat on my balcony watching the scenery of the greenery, the horizon was standing out admirably, the migratory birds were moving towards the Southern Hemisphere and the cool evening breeze was blowing the young lady’s long hair Eastward. Instinctively, I declared my appreciation to the Holy Hand behind these creations.

The aptitude to create thoughts is imbued in mankind. Mankind is endowed with beautiful talents to tell the story of man and his immediate environment but the ability to pass the story across clans, communities and the world is the calling of a few. The power to recreate events lies in our ability to pass down the folklore from generation to generation.
Growing up, I listened to folklore. Listening creates the atmosphere but telling creates the stage because the narrator leads the listeners across the story lines like one leading the blind. My eagerness to listen to good tales enhanced my creative ability from telling to writing. To enjoy the prize of being a storyteller is good. It is beneficial that every listener grows to become a teller. Listening broadens our learning ability but telling improves our creativeness and increases our curiosity to write stories.
I remember as a young child, my utmost joy came from listening to folklore. Every evening after dinner, Ma would light the lantern and place it in the centre of the sitting room floor. With my siblings, I sat on the floor in front of the narrator, who sat beside the lantern. Grandma always started story time: “Once upon a time.” At the end of her time, Grandpa would tells his story, then Pa or Ma. When my Grandpa told a story, his sugar coated tongue polished the story lines and he played an organ Made from local bamboo plant, the organ created an exceptional sensation in my muscles. I usually had nightmares from his horror stories. Sometimes, my uncle, aunt or eldest sibling would tell; they were all good story tellers and usually added more thrills to my imagination with their sweet tales.
Moonlight provides the best scenario for storytelling. Everyone gathered at the village square to listen to the tales of the great storyteller who usually came from a far away village. Each night, the great storyteller told a new story. His memory was full of myths and legends; he could tell a story in different versions; he created realistic details while the exaggerations always added beauty. Always, the gods emerged victorious while the evil never went unpunished. The tales in the moonlight continued until the moon lost its full hung shape. Then, everyone returned to telling stories at home until a new moon assumed a full shape.
On a cloudless morning, every kid in the neighbourhood would wake up early and assemble near the village square. We often gathered withered leaves and lit a fire whose heat warmed us till sunlight appeared. We narrated the stories told the night before: the greedy housewife, the clever tortoise, the great hunter, the king of the forest and the horror story of the spirit world. The kid who told a new story was crowned the leader until someone told a new tale. The crown kept going around but it never came to me as the stories I told were the generation tales handed down at home. The kids stayed at home until they came of age to farm or hunt. As a kid, the whole life process seemed like the sun that rises exactly East and sets exactly West each day, except I noticed changes on my Pa: he grew grey hairs.
Unlike most kids in the neighbourhood, I was fortunate as my Pa showed me the path to school. That risk transformed my life in latter years. As I grew older, the young ones always looked to me for folklore. In memory of all I was told over the years, I began to tell them the best I could:

“Once upon a time.”

Everyone in my clan knows the story of the origin of my village. This has been told over and over again and from generation to generation. The story always begins with: Once upon a time, the son of a great king from a great kingdom founded this city. The story goes further to say that the great kingdom was founded by an emigrant from another greater kingdom; and that greater kingdom was founded by another greater, greater identified kingdom. The beauty of the story is that it links the whole world to the Garden of Eden.

Not so long ago, I visited a zoo. I remembered the story of the great hunter who travelled far and wide; sometimes, he came back home with wild animals. I assumed that the story of the great hunter added colour to a tourist centre like the zoo. The stories of flight objects in the skies have long been told before the advent of airplanes. Storytelling helps preserve information for man’s use. All I have been told, I create time to tell others. When I am alone and my lips refuse to tell the stories, my hand picks up a pen and begins to write down the stories as handed down to my generation. In my adventures as a writer, I have the opportunity to discuss characters but their story always starts with “Once upon a time.” Their narration was what I cherished most because everyone has a story to tell. My interest in listening and telling folklore has caused me to stumble across all kinds of clubs and storytelling societies. I have always wanted to hear tales about other continents and to tell African folklore across the globe. Every story and article I read inspires me. I always feel a real part of me when I read and write new things.
As I sit quietly listening to the North East trade wind blowing across the Sahara desert, the fever of seasonal change mirrors in my bones, my ears thirst to hear more folklore, my lips eager to tell a new story and my hand burns to write more tales. In the nearest future, my goal is to achieve a peak in my career: I will tell stories across my neighbourhood, community and the world at large; creating values, learning enthusiasm, and bridging the cultural gap; as well as bringing social peace to our vibrant society.   

Stanley E Asia

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