Times

I would like to thank all the people who sent me messages about last week’s short story. As I have always said, feedback from readers is one of the greatest motivations for any columnist. We will continue to do this better week after week because of you – the reader.

While I am happy about the feedback I received, I am happier about the decision to write a short story about Valentine’s day. Before I wrote this recent one, I had two previous short stories on Valentines. The first one (Be My Valentine) is lost somewhere in my archives. However, I had it published in a magazine. I wrote it in 2010. The next one was written five years later. It is titled The Day After Valentine. It’s available to read here. Since I wrote it, every year, on the day after Valentine, I share it. It was while I thought about sharing it again this year that I conceived the idea of writing a new one and I am glad I did.

I have written in the past that writers must take advantage of the times and seasons to churn out materials (whether fiction or non-fiction) to freeze the moments for prosperity to enjoy. This is not only for the purpose of enjoyment but also for education and for the archiving of history. These are the high callings of the writer.

Regardless of the season and how insignificant it may be to anyone, I have always encouraged people to write about them. We live in a country that has several holidays, festivals and celebration. Constitution Day, Independence Day, Founder(s) Day, Easter, Christmas, Valentines, in some years we have elections and a whole lot of traditional festivals and celebrations. These should give the writer enough to write about all year long. Be it a poem, an opinion article or a short story, it is important to pen something during these times and you will be grateful you did.

For me, any time we approach any special landmark or occasion in the country, it is almost as if a bell is tolled and all my senses are commanded to pick up my computer and write away. I am however also cognizant of the fact that a writer should busy himself with whatever absorbs his fancy, stirs his heart, and unlimbers his keyboard. I do not in any way say all writers should be obliged to write something about the times and season. But I also make a case that literary writers must feel a responsibility to society. We must understand that we do not merely reflect and interpret the times we are in; we inform and shape the times. We must respond to our calling of being custodians of what will become history to our children.

It is important for us to know that writing is not just about writing but it indirectly records history and events and encapsulates the nation’s culture. It is a clash of creative ideas and facts that inform the uninformed. The place of literature could not be over-emphasized and overlooked during these special times and seasons.

Furthermore, writers must understand that if we do not rise up to this calling, other people will do our work for us and plague the system with untruths and other materials that are not worthwhile. We need to provide inspiration and guidance at such times from the tips of our pens. It behooves us to provide more content to rid the system of deprecating, destructive, and sentimental writings.

Now, I have an announcement to make. Imagine the drumrolls…

In view of the above, a couple of friends and I are planning to capture the spirit of the independence of Ghana and write short stories themed on that very important historic event. We also intend to organize a reading event on March 9, 2018 at James Town for anyone who would like to come and listen to our pieces.

I’m excited about this project and I would like to invite you to it. In subsequent weeks, I will provide more updates on this.

Before I bring this to an end, writers must understand that we have an important role to play in helping build Ghana into a developed and prosperous nation. Nation building is not solely reliant on material progress. It must be in tandem with the development of the people’s maturity of thought and the development of national identity. Literature is a key vehicle to deliver this. Literature is one of the best ways to shape the thinking of society. Literature is the mirror that enables people, especially the young, to learn from the mistakes of the past.

Let’s seize the moment and capture its spirit for posterity!

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