On Friday 9th December 2011, I attended a storytelling night at Mezrab in Amsterdam. A fellow storyteller had mentioned the gathering and as a lover of stories, how could I resist!
As I had never been to the Mezrab before, nor knew the potential size of the crowd, my intention was simply to sit back, listen and enjoy a Friday night-out. On getting to the event, the friend who invited me insisted that l take the floor at some stage during the evening to tell a story; but I was unsure.
Even though I consider myself someone open to risks and often step into the unknown, there was something different about this time; I was not familiar with the space and had no idea of the expectations of the crowd, which was in the region of 100. In that moment, all I simply longed for was safety, comfort and the Known.
I gave an excuse that I could not think of any stories to tell and was therefore unprepared. Then I simply sat back, with a glass of wine, and watched the evening of stories unfold. After listening to a couple of stories, my boyfriend said he felt it would be nice to hear me tell a story. When I gave my earlier excuse, he went on to give me examples of some stories that I had shared with him about my life, suggesting that anyone of them would be interesting to tell and hear.
And so at the end of the 2nd intermission, I decided that I wanted to tell a story. It was an amazing experience, words cannot describe or do it justice. It went so fast and it went so slowly, and in that moment nothing else mattered to me – only the story I was telling.
A number of people came up to speak to me afterwards and it was great to have the opportunity to talk about my passion for stories. One of the people who came up was someone who worked for Radio Netherlands Worldwide. She said that she really loved the story I told and asked whether I would be open to coming into the studio to record it……. And so a few weeks ago, I went in to do just that and today the story was broadcast. You can listen to it here – ‘Escape from Lagos‘ (scroll down to my pic).
Taking a risk at the Mezrab on that cold night in December allowed me to do something I have always had a passion for – telling stories. It also gave me the opportunity to do something I had never done before – record a story for radio (and get paid for doing it).
And it reminded me that, taking risks opens a gateway to infinite possibilities. As André Gide said,
Man cannot discover new oceans, unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.