I haven’t told anyone this, but I’ve been working on a book, it’s a science fiction book based off the myths and legends of our own Guyanese folklore, but the reason why I haven’t told anyone about it is, well because it’s still far away from even being close to complete. It’s not that I don’t know what to write, but I’ve been trying to tell a narrative, an epic story that breaks the stereotype of what people know to be “Guyanese” content. The story involves a main character, someone who embodies what it truly means to a Guyanese, but you see that’s the thing, while writing this and trying to create a character, I was always asking myself,
“Who is a Guyanese?”
I believe creative people in this country have a hard time crafting original content, they often must censor themselves when creating something out of the fear that people won’t think its “Guyanese” enough.
If the song doesn’t have lyrics that reference Guyana or the beat doesn’t sound “Guyanese” then people will automatically reject the content. But does everything we create in the country must have some reference to our “Guyanese” Culture?
Especially around the time when it’s our country’s Independence anniversary. I am by no means saying that we shouldn’t promote our culture or recognize our citizenship through the various art forms,
but what I am questioning or rather challenging is our perceptions of who a Guyanese is or who a Guyanese should be.
I remember growing up I found it hard to fit in when going to school, or even with people around my village, I wasn’t a very active child, I’d hardly ever go out to play because well honestly, I never wanted to, my idea of a good time would be staying indoors to read a good book or watch some TV. When I went to school most people thought I was a foreigner because of how I spoke. You see because I read a lot and watched a lot of television, my speech was unlike the traditional Guyanese creole, it wasn’t that I spoke in an American accent either, I just spoke standard English as a result I was teased a lot. However, as the years progressed I slowly adapted to speaking the colloquial language, as a result today I must force myself to speak standard English. Why am I saying this? Basically,
we’re all different and we’re all Guyanese yes, but our nationality doesn’t define who we are as individuals, there’s so much more to a single person than where they are from.
It’s true what they say, where you reside, who you associate with has a lot to do with who you are as a person, your personality and way of thinking is grafted around what you see and hear daily, but because of this you risk being sucked into the monotonicity of society.
Ask yourself every day, what are my interests? What do you love doing? Is it Art? Music? Poetry? If so, then go beyond the boundaries of your perception with your craft, don’t be afraid to take risks, create something better than the previous one and listen to your gut instinct but most of all be loyal to your creativity.
Artwork By: Pekahiah James
Follow her on Instagram: @pekahiah_art