Writivism Short Story Shortlist: A Dialogue with Blessing J. Christopher
Blessing J. Christopher writes short stories and flash fiction. She is currently working on her first novel.
This interview took place between a green bedroom in the sweetspot of Gaborone, Botswana and a hard floor, over chips, in Nigeria.
Gaamangwe: Congratulations for being shortlisted for the Writivism Short Story Prize! How are you feeling about this? What does it mean to you to be shortlisted particularly for your story “This Story Has No End”?
Blessing: Thank you, Gaamangwe. I am thrilled, of course. Honestly, I am surprised that my story made it this far. This is my third Writivism Short Story Prize entry.
Gaamangwe: Really? That’s inspiring. What did you do different with this entry?
Blessing: I think I needed those rejections. I kept reading and writing even when it didn’t look like I was going anywhere. That’s the key. I can say that I am not the writer I was last year and getting shortlisted proves this.
Gaamangwe: Writing when it seems that it’s not going anywhere seems to be the key. What inspired this entry?
Blessing: I had an idea of how the story would end, so I wrote the last paragraph first and the rest of the story took shape after that. I wanted to write about love, bravery, betrayal, and of course, life after death. And the ‘fantasy’ route was the best way to tell this story.
Gaamangwe: What interests you about those themes, particularly the theme of life after death?
Blessing: In my culture, it is believed that death is only the beginning. Of course nobody really knows what really happens after. I wanted to explore this belief through the life of a boy who was destined to become king. Just not in this life.
Gaamangwe: Reading your story felt familiar somehow, like the kind of stories my grandmother used to tell me. But I think that’s the thing about folklore stories, or at-least stories that read like folklore. They carry esoteric and ancient ideologies. And death as an impending and unknown thing is a great fascination. What are your personal ideas with regards to death?
Blessing: I enjoyed writing the story, too! Let’s just say I have a healthy interest in the idea of life after death. That’s why I used quotes when I mentioned ‘fantasy’ earlier. One person’s fantasy is another person’s concrete belief.
Gaamangwe: We thank you for writing the story. All the best of luck with Writivism!
NB: This interview is part of a collective book project with all the incredible and talented shortlisted writers for the 2017 Writivism Prizes.
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