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Conversation with author Elnathan John: Complexities of a story
February 20, 2017
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  1. Last Friday Elnathan John, author of the 2015 Born on a Tuesday came to my school. It was a brilliant discussion that left me brilliantly confused. My questions leading to answers leading to more questions, some of which remained like bubbly air in my mind because I couldn’t find the words to express them. 
  2. Someone asked me what I thought of Elnathan John. I say, he is big, big like how I’d imagine those men in the Bible who were descendants of angels and men to be. He has a beautiful beard that connects all the way from one ear to the other. He is sarcastic, witty, intimidating and possibly capable of being pretentious. Yet he says, “I in no way think I am the one who will change the world. I see myself as a point in history. Sometimes you might be a footnote, and sometimes the footnote is more important than the whole page. Others are the page itself, and others a chapter. We all contribute to the story being told.”
  3. I ask him about his book. How after I close the last chapter I ask myself, ‘what was the point?’ how one of the characters in his book says, “sometimes there is no moral to the story” sometimes you just want to tell a story. Was there a moral to his story or did he just feel like telling a story? 
  4. He says something along the lines of, “every story in and of itself has intricate value. Regardless of whether a point was intended to be made or not the reader will be impacted by the story in some way or other.”                                         (Other complexities)
  5. EVERY story is political”
  6. “Every writer teaches their reader how to read their story on the first page”
  7. When asked how he wrote about a Muslim boy’s life, not being Muslim himself, he says, “You can write any story (experience), but you must write with respect for the story(experience). No one owns a particular experience…”
  8. “It is the duty of every writer to write the Complexities that humanize characters…as such when you are telling stories about people you cannot erase one whole aspect of their lives” – their Spirituality, their sexuality, their social and mental interactions are all integrated, all a part of being human. No one is absolutely good and no one is absolutely evil. 
  9. “Writers, like painters must be observers, understanding the bigger story is often hidden in the smaller stories; the every day interaction.”
  10. “Tell the stories you want to tell but tell them well.”                               Photo cred: Kiptoo Koimett
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    About author

    Shingai

    Going on twenty something Black Girl with chubby cheeks,fat lips, big hips, and a really kinky twa (Teeny-weeny-afro) Believer People Watcher Storyteller Favorite color blue, boo!

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    • A_ma_ZiNG

      brilliant!! Elnathan is one Author I’d love to meet in person and I feel a tight bit jealous when I read of someone else who has met him before me :-). From your ‘report’, He definitely ticks all the boxes of the image I have of him in my mind. Thanks for writing so beautifully.

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