So #Bythefireside happened! Blogging Ghana invited me to come and speak on the Capital High Series and what it felt like to win the Ghana Blogging and Social Media awards. My procrastinating self sent the Powerpoint presentation to the two Eddies at 5:20 pm and jumped into a taxi to head to the Impact Hub.
Of course my taxi ride had to be full of drama. The driver took a turn, landing us in the go slow traffic from the Fire Service to Danquah Circle. As expected, I was livid.
‘Oh boss, I told you I was in a hurry. Why didn’t you use the Osu-Labadi road?’, I shrieked after we had been sitting in the same spot for 10 minutes while beating myself up mentally for not leaving at 5. The poor guy swore that we would get there in 7 minutes.
‘Yoo! If we don’t get there in 7 minutes, I won’t pay the 10 cedis. I will pay 7!’
‘Ei madam, and what if we get there in 7 minutes? Will you increase the money?’
Hehe, quite the bully, am I not?
Any ways I got there in 7 minutes just like Opana had promised. So yes, he got his 10 cedis and even wished me all the best in my presentation. It was 5:40, leaving me with 20 minutes to try and calm down.
I was nervous, yep very nervous.
I know I look and sound confident but I am quite shy as well. And that side kicks in when I am the centre of attention. I was worried about a lot of things:
What if people don’t turn up?
What if I gbaa and someone puts it on Twitter?
What if my talk is boring?
What if nobody there has heard of Capital High?
Chale, as you can see, my mind was racing. Kwame Gyan spoke first- about politics and why he considered himself to be ‘another too known guy’. He also make some bold statements about politics and the present government, not that I expected any less. This is KG we are talking about. He also spoke about being suspended from Airtel because he was saying a bit too much as far as they were concerned. Before I knew it, it was my turn.
So I started my presentation with the usual ‘Forgive me, I am nervous’ greeting. I was! My hands were shaking koraa! I pronounced my name twice and told them the theory I had invented to explain my rather strange surname. Then I spoke about the blog and some of the milestones it has chalked in the last one and half years. I also spoke about what made me start the blog as well as how I felt about winning the awards at the Ghana Blogging and Social Media Awards 2016. By that time, I was getting more comfortable with my audience but I still stayed in one spot.
Then it was time to talk about Capital High. A lot of the people in the room had never heard of the blog or read the series before, so my job was to summarise all 16 episodes in a way that captured the beauty of the story but left enough mystery for them to go and read the stories.
I must admit, going through the story made me miss it. I told them a few things I have never told you. Things like:
- Capital High was set up in a fictional Ghanaian town that was a cross between Akosombo and Aburi. Aburi because I was probably leaning on my Aburi Girls experience and Akosombo because I like the drive to Akosombo and the way the town is set up. I pictured Capital High as a ‘dadaba’ public school, where the GES syllabus was taught. No British curriculum things!
- I didn’t intend for Akpene to become the leading character. It was supposed to be Adriana, but the feedback from the audience showed me that people were looking for a love story so I gave them one! ☺️
- Gagert was fashioned after my headmistress Sylvia Asempa.
- I created the Christoff and Lawrencia characters to fill the gap before the finale so I won’t give too much away.
- My guilty pleasure every week was picking a title for the episode I was writing.
- I was so excited when I saw the characters come to life in the Photoshoot with Kwame Pocho. It made me feel like it was more than just a story I had cooked up in my head because a big deal photographer like Pocho had brought them to life.
- I cried when I published the last episode of Capital High. Not only because I was sad it was ending but also because of the reactions of my readers. It was such a moving moment to see all the comments and all the reactions from seeing the pictures. I was humbled.
Then there were questions and comments. Someone asked if I intended to do a University version of Capital High. The answer was no, at least not at the moment. Another person asked if my emotions got in the way when I was writing. I told her that they did sometimes. I would normally picture a sad scene and capture the emotions I was feeling in words that allowed the reader to feel them too. I showed them a few of the pictures that I had from the shoot Kwame Pocho did for Capital High and the show was over.
I was touched to discover that some of my readers came by to listen and to meet me for the first time. I guess I should not be surprised when it comes to the world’s best readers! 🙌🏾🙌🏾
Now that I think about it, I am sad that none of the pictures showed my bright orange heels. I am exceptionally proud of them..lol!
Pictures by Gerard Nartey and Dromo Fotos