Ben Okri’s Arrogance

Tonight I should have been at the readings in Hackney of some of Ben Okri’s work. One stinking cold gripped me. I was to have been in the audience for what would have been a clever set-up to learn about another author through her self-promotion and then would have been invited to join a reading appreciation group. The organisers never knew I was coming so never knew I didn’t make it.

*****************************************************************************************

“SHANTI-CHI Afrakan Storytelling and Spiritual Healing Director of Shanti-Chi Place of Residence: UK T: 07765070042 E:  chicreations@shanti-chi.com http://www.shanti-chi.com/

Griot Chinyere is one of the directors of the first Afrakan Storytelling Festival in Britain, along with Sista Mena. Shanti-Chi Shanti-Chi is a creative healing space where individuals, families, communities and organizations come together to explore spiritual healing through Afrakan storytelling performances, workshops and retreats for personal development.

They have created a series of courses; Training Rites and Griot Journey, to prepare ones and ones for  the powerful event. All you have to do is book yourself onto one of these life enhancing programs and completion guarantees your participation in this amazing adventure.

Shanti-Chi would like to welcome you into their world. They will host The First Afrakan Storytelling Festival in Britain during July 2012!

http://www.shanti-chi.com/

********************************************************************************************
Recently, as Kindle took over, I gave away my “The Famished Road” paperback. No-one else wanted it. I was doing a clear-out of all my reading group ‘boughts’ and my dipped in African authors library which was again unwanted by any one else I know who actually reads.

neech in RAGWORKS 2012
Ben Okri was bought up in Peckham London. We should remember that. His father arrived with his nuclear family  just on top of Nigeria’s independence from the United Kingdom when travellers were still suited in the post-colonial era. Besides that family in came the many sons of villages whose fathers and uncles had decided their fates. They were versed by the foreign office in how to dress for breakfast in an English boarding house. Their fathers would arrange the bride-prices for them to marry when they returned home.

Those early journeys to London  were the beginnings of a sharing. Nothing was planned. From the early boat trips and Nigerian Airways flights came voice-powerful fighters with nothing to lose and a fresh found freedom from compliance. They were the soul brothers with their chewing sticks and an itch. Chinua Achebe was their father. The story-tellers were unleashed and Longman’s reigned them in. From the kerosene lit huts in small-case towns, fictitious characters emerged glorious with headaches and heartaches and a way with words.
Poet and author Ben Okri did not like being called a post modern writer or whatever the publishers wanted to call him. I was intrigued that he wanted to be known or wants to be known as a writer shaped by magic.  Cherishing the folk-lore of a nation, he calls his work dream logic as he explores the rooms in his mind. I can relate to that . When I read he said that my spirit awoke. Yep I said my spirit .

Palm Oil DaughterRAGWORKS

I lived in Westray. When I wrote in fiction, safely, about people and experiences on Westray I was immersed in a culture I knew from somewhere before. There was a specific language and a vocabulary unique to the island. There were ancient ways of behaving which came naturally to me because I belonged there but wasn’t from there. When the first nations’ people came from Canada on an exchange visit in 2004  I knew their dancing steps. They were my relations through my grandfather. Nowadays the magic has gone for I am not soaked in the sunsets and snow drifts, the slyness and the friendliness, the isolation and the judgements.

At the time I lived there tourism was a dirty word and so anything attempting to record the ways of the folk was unwanted, seen as a way of exposing private people to a world they could do without. I, despite having bought my ancestors’ house and having tramped on my ancestors’ fields, was in the islanders’ eyes not worthy of writing about the island because I was a labelled “Incomer” not born of the island’s earth. Well, excuse me! The place seems timeless so therefore dream-like and all muddled up , wrapped up in a universal togetherness. A writer delves and goes deeper, looking at the people and morphing those people into one scary guardian of the culture.

So yeah I get Okri’s arrogance and respect it.

Issue 2. Up Your Street

Mon 13th Jan free 7.30pm The Welcome Centre Walthamstow E17  “Stowtellers” invite us to listen to stories.

free 12-2.30pm Learn to Ballroom dance for over 60 years young people. 28 Powell Road Hackney

IMAG002618The three photos show seniors getting together.

Tues 14th Jan  free Workshops constructing and being creative. No.1.

Sign-making using gold leaf!

Blackhorse Workshop, 1–2 Sutherland Road Path, E17 6BX
email studio@wemadethat.co.uk  to book a place.
                                            free 2pm-5pm Hale End Library, Castle Avenue, Highams Park, London, E4 Free screening of the film “Summer In February” (Cert 15) Book through Eventbrite

Wed 15th Jan    free 6-8pm Private meaning anyone can come preview at Peer in 97 Hoxton Street E1 . Exhibition “Out of Site” Moving images on windows.
Thurs 16th Jan free 6-8.30pm E17 Community Kitchen. Free cooking workshops. Bring yourself to Waltham Forest College E17. Burgers today.

herbilicious
Tues  21st Jan    free   6.30pm Hackney Archives, Dalston Junction. Hackney. Readings from Ben Okri’s work. No need to book

.all ears

Book in advance  for Tues 4th March 7-8.45pm. “Spread The Word” session called “Write Here In Waltham Forest” at Wood Street Library E17. Fun. Creative writing. Free. To book, email lucy@spreadtheword.org.uk

***********************************************************************************end