An Evening of Storytelling

Krishna Balakrishnan

At this residency, I propose an evening of story-telling followed by a discussion afterwards. After the sun has set, when the residents have eaten dinner and before bed-time, I would share my story around a small burning light (ideally, we could turn off some lights).

My draft is currently in its 5th draft. It is a piece inspired by a five-minute walk from my doorstep to the tube station, which I attach to this application. I am considering whether it would beneficial distributing the story in the beginning of the week, or perhaps I can distribute other small stories, but this is to be determined.  

This project would allow me to present my draft which is influenced by the way in which I see my surroundings. My writing employs the concept of magic realism to celebrate the mundane, everyday life whereby making the normal seem fantasy-like. My experience of living in London has inspired me to question what I see, or whether it is merely my imagination. A black cat passing by a black gated fence, only to be a black plastic bag filled with dry air night.

I have shared an early draft with another group which proved to be effective in improving my work. I am therefore hoping that reading this out with a group of designers, artists, educators and writers will prove to be an enriching experience and that the dialogue afterwards will further enhance my work. My writing is highly inspired by personal experiences and reading them out is intimidating, as I express not just my life but ways in which I see. It’s also a process of weaving difference of multiplicity and trying to give readers an invitation.

By reading this story, I wish to increase my own writing confidence. There is a power attached with reading your work in front of a group which also uniquely contributes to the concept of re-writing as it allows the author to hear the story read aloud. The author hears how the words flow and essentially how their work becomes text. In ‘From Work to Text’ Barthes explains that ‘work’ is a concrete object; something that is definite and complete, ‘a fragment of a substance occupying a part of the space of books,’ whereas the text is the composition or the meaning the reader takes from the ‘work’ and it is not a definite object. If a text is viewed as a text, then it is not limited and confined to a genre and the reader does not expect it to fit into a category of type since it is part of a grid and free to be interpreted beyond the author’s intentions.

Barthes further explains that ‘work’ is an object of consumption in that the reader tends to be passive and is expected to be fed and entertained when reading. If the reader approaches a text as writing and not as ‘work,’ then the reading experience becomes interactive. The text narrows the distance between reading and writing by replacing consumption with the free play of collaborative reading. When interacting with a text rather than a ‘work,’ the reader questions and thinks about the writing instead of taking it for granted.