It is easy to believe that questions such as – why this story? why this story now? why this story in this way? are about stories. And while it is true, to a certain degree, that these are questions about stories, I have come to discover that most questions are meditations on transmutation.
Transmutation as in the art of exploring how what was not becomes what is. Transmutation as this ethereal art of strewing a thousand words together into a comprehensible spectacle of experiences created for public sightings. Transmutation to really mean an attempt at trying to contain what is not containable into something that shifts, that delights and recreates new meanings of the human experience.
This is true of my conversations with Writivism Shortlisted writers, as what lies ahead is a transmutation of the emerging writer to the shortlisted writer, a distinction that is historic, for the possibilities that lies beyond for each writer is now vaster, grounded and inspiring. What is inspiring is that the writers are alchemists of the stories shortlisted, which they created in alignment with who they are, their deepest concerns, their daily interactions with their worlds, and the multi-layered meanings and possibilities that exists in the periphery of their inner and outer experiences.
These transmutations are somewhere between Mbogo’s capture of hope as a fragile thing, the space between hope and hopelessness and invoking his readers’ greatest hope or greatest fear; Mali’s exploration of love in its different forms, passion for art and sharing one’s world view through writing; Obinna’s revolt against police brutality through the practice of writing, finding the gold in Sci-fi stories, and always reconciling with one’s past; Chisanga’s finding home in certain people and cities, the experience of having a foreign passport and exploring the idea of belonging in different narratives; Ope’s exploration of the complexities of the mind, what lies in an unquiet mind and the validity of our truths; and Karis’s revisit of her traumatic surgery experience, feeling extremely inadequate and migration.
Our meditation on these various transmutations is powerful because this is one way we are observing and practicing faith on the endless possibilities of storytelling. Something that Writivism is renown for. And so I invite you, the reader, to find the transmutation you need here.