Monday, July 7, 2014

"I Tried"

Katherine Dunham who is best known for her groundbreaking choreography influenced by African American, West African and other sources, once said, “I felt there were bridges that I was destined to cross and ties I wanted to make to bring those people more into our lives. I wanted to bring them into our whole notion of being black. I wanted them to know about Africa… I wanted them to know about North America too.”

Miss Dunham started receiving invitations to perform with her troupe, making Hollywood bowl appearances, doing nightclub engagements and performing in concerts in over fifty seven countries of the world. For more than thirty years, she maintained the only self-subsidized dance troupe in the world. You might wonder how she achieved that feat all by herself, the answer’s simple; she tried.

“It’s good to know that something needed to be done, and that you did it,” Katherine Dunham said. “I was once asked what I would like to have on my tombstone, and I replied, ‘She tried.’ Always try. Seldom have I not tried to get anything that I really wanted.” There are no losers in life only people who encounter defeat and allow themselves to be defeated. I have an understanding that life is one hell of a race. But folks ain’t my competition. It’s always about overcoming challenges and huddles. The goal is to get to the finish line anyway I can get there. Like the gospel singing sisters said, “How can I expect to win, if I never tried?”

If I was asked what I’d like to have on my tombstone (I suppose I’m too young to be asked that), like Miss Dunham, I would say, let these two words suffice,
“He tried.”

Keep your pens bleeding.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

IntShoWriMo 2014: Last Words

First of July represents two important events in my life; on this day, roughly nineteen years ago, my father (who I called Sir) passed on. He once told me, while he was still around, “I fear for you. I fear for you because you set your heart on a cause and don’t quit until you turn the subject on its head. What worries me is if you eventually, turn out as the bad guy.” His many words of encouragement inspired the next event which feeds import into the day in discussion; IntShoWriMo grew out of my childhood writing habits. And in a sense, I guess I did turn out as the bad guy. If you take my choice of genre into account, that is. Horror (as Stephen King puts it) “appeals to us because it says, in a symbolic way, things we would be afraid to say right out straight, with the bark still on; it offers us a chance to exercise emotions which society demands we keep closely in hand.”

International Shorts Writing Month 2014 aka IntShoWriMo 2014 officially expired at 23:59PM yesterday June 30th, 2014. I’d like to thank the websites that provided invaluable resources by way of incitive prompts posted on their blogs; thanks go to WritersDigest.Com especially, Brian Klems, the online editor for the weekly writing prompts, and not forgetting CreativeWritingPrompts.Com run by Shery Russ. Isn’t it a nice coincidence this site is a one time winner of the Writer’s Digest Top 100 Websites for Writers? I’d also like to acknowledge the Admin of Poets & Writers (PW.Org) for the great prompts served up on that site. Also deserving thanks are members of the greatest online writing community, Writing.Com especially, the StoryMaster and StoryMistress for the most rousing one-liners obtainable anywhere on the cyberverse.

Writing those short stories without the writing prompts, would have been the equivalent of chopping up century-old timber with an axe. So, thanks. I’m also acknowledging you guys who participated including those who attempted but didn’t quite make it. You got credit for trying. This year’s IntShoWriMo was such fun and when my hands got tired of typing all those words, I decided to paste scanned copies of the written drafts because impossible is nothing.
            2015 is just over the horizon and its gonna be inundated by the stack of the short stories cause we’re gonna churn ‘em out in their thousands!

Keep your pens bleeding.

Eneh Akpan,
July 1st, 2014