[PAST EVENT] WMSURE ?Run That by Me One More Time?: Listening as the Secret to My Success
The work that I have done in folklore, in genealogy, and in literature has grown out of the griot tradition in African and African Diasporic culture. My career has been dedicated to preserving ?the voice? to which the Griot Mamadou refers when he declares in the African epic, Sundiata, "Other peoples use writing to record the past, but this invention has killed the faculty of memory among them. They do not feel the past any more, for writing lacks the warmth of the human voice? (emphasis mine).
First, I shall talk about how I have worked to develop listening skills so that I could effectively hear, record, transcribe, and analyze ?the human voice[s]? of ancestors, of storytellers, of writers, and of a wide range of other individuals, living and dead. Secondly, I plan to briefly detail the process of conducting the research and shaping the nine books that I have published, with some emphasis on the latest, In Search of Annie Drew, the Mother and Muse of Jamaica Kincaid. And, finally, I shall reflect on the rewards of the kind of research and writing that I do.