Many people groups and tribes have educated, empowered and informed the next generation through the art of storytelling. My own faith’s foundation is the forth-telling of various protagonists’ stories, from the faithful Abraham to the lovely Esther, to the courageous David. These originally orated accounts were eventually transcribed into what we now call the Bible.
Or, in the case of the old testament, the Jewish person’s Torah.
I used to love reading the Old Testament. I treasured the action-packed, dramatic, enticing acts that each person’s life demonstrated, all invaded by the supernatural presence of Elohim. I remember my great-grandmother gifting me a book of Bible stories with illustrations of these characters. I wasn’t more than five years old, but I loved reading it.In these stories, it didn't matter the weaknesses of man. God's love always prevailed. Click To Tweet
But I grew up on other tales much racier than the Bible stories my great-grandmother gave me. These were filled with gritty scenarios laced with drug use, sexual escapades, murder, and imprisonment. My mom, unknown to either of us at the time, was a great storyteller. She would paint images of unimaginable happenings to her and her friends; sometimes, even the miraculous would occur. Like the one time she was in a very dark place in her life, and she cried out to God while in her bathroom on her knees. The light went out, then came back on in response. She knew that was God responding, and she knew she would be ok.
I think of Alex Haley’s Roots and the unfolding of each person’s journey beginning with the enslaved Kunta Kinte. I re-watched it in heart-wrenching agony a while ago but made myself sit through it. I was broken when Kizzy, a trained warrior, remained enslaved despite her efforts at obtaining freedom. Sadly, her training wasn’t for her own freedom but for her descendants.
These are the stories that have made me. The ones that shaped me. The ones I aim to re-create in my own storytelling career. I accredit my ancestors with my gift of writing, but even more so with my gift of storytelling. Click To Tweet
One of the beta readers for my novel said that she really enjoyed my work, not just because I’m a good writer, but because I know how to tell a good story. She said there was a difference.
I realize that the authors I look up to have this ability. They engage you in a way that you can’t stop turning the page because you’re driven to know what’s next. You fall in love with characters who fall in love. You weep when they weep. You rejoice when they rejoice.
I had a friend who is a marketing branding guru tell me that in his most recent workshop, instead of going his usual route of presenting facts and figures, he adopted the art of storytelling. And guess what? It worked.
I was in the room to witness the trancelike gazes of his audience. Saw their fingers typing speedily on their phones to take notes. Heard them asking well-thought-out questions that were evidence of their engagement.
I’ll b honest, when I started writing fiction, I didn’t think of it as a powerful writing method. I am still surprised at finding out how esteemed fiction writing can be and that a Toni Morrison could receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. That her literary technique and language creation and development would be revered in those sectors. That fiction writing is admired worldwide.
Over and over again, we see Yeshua use parables to win the hearts of men.
I believe I am writing modern-day parables.
“Does your novel end in hope?” My pastor asked me just today as we concluded our spiritual gathering.
“It offers hope, encouragement, healing, and so much more,” I assured him. I explained that there are so many hard, difficult, tragic stories within the Black community. I was raised on these stories, as previously shared by my mother, but I aim to tell how we have positive experiences as well.
I desire to share that love can win. And when it wins, it looks like this: healing, wholeness, transformation, and, yes, hope.
Do you crave a good story that esteems Black culture, offers hope and encouragement, and is enjoyable to read? Then join me for my book reveal for my debut novel, “When Love Wins” on Nov, 20th at 6 PM Eastern.
Just click on this link for the free registration and please share with a friend or two! The more, the merrier 🙂
See you SOON!
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