How to tell a story

18th May 2017

How do you tell a story?” they asked me.

“Which story?” I would reply. And, I would quickly add:

“The story of these days, or those past? The story of an exile, of a departure, of a journey that has reached a stopping point?

My story, the one that brought me here, today, in this room, together with other people whose origin is elsewhere; the story of all the steps taken and choices made – mine, and that of others – made up by a myriad of minutes gone by as like a gust of wind, which brought me here, to this room, to ask, which story?

Maybe it's the story of other people whom I knew, or who just passed by; stories grabbed from the side and in a rush, stories whose characters and places I would need to complete now; stories whose characters and places I would need to fish out from who knows which pockets of my past, from who knows which corners of which cities? In white waiting rooms, seashores, forests, roads, doorsteps, windows?

Or a completely made-up story – is that what you'd like to hear? A tale populated by characters and places from scratch... but of course, they wouldn't be all made up from scratch, because every invention is but an altered, opaque memory; a story to be completed and to be reshaped by means of all the fragments of my stories, and the stories of others. Fragments to blend, to muss up in order to transform the real story into an invented one – the result of a pure act of imagination. To make all of its shreds unrecognizable, untraceable?”

Antonella and Malcolm enchanted us with many ways to tell, write, listen to, act out and suggest a story during those two final weekends of April. And it all happened through various different languages. Because the most important lesson learned was that the true limitation is not one's language – not the details of vocabulary, or grammar. But rather, it is not meeting the challenge of allowing your voice to be heard, and to listen to the stories of others. To refuse to imagine them.

Story of who came one day to Malta. Story of who decided to stay up until today. Story of the one who heard about this workshop, and who is now here to tell a story.