Art Place

To the Extraordinary Heart of Literature

Blog post 5 – April 21, 2016 by Marta Singh

Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO)


photo used with permission from YOCISO


Two weeks into my residency, I discovered that OCISO runs a youth program, YOCISO. I called them, we conjured and I visited them in their creative headquarters at 1800 Bank Street, last Monday afternoon. The task I had been entrusted with? To elicit from a young circle the seed of a story, to be transformed into a script, to become a spoken word performance.

Have you ever asked yourself: what have you been unable to part with, after moving twenty-two times in the last fifteen years? What did you manage to leave behind, only to find how much you wish you hadn’t? What moment in life does the shirt you are wearing carry? And what does that bright yellow bracelet you wear just because you like it say about the invincible African sun of this Canadian winterland you walk?

In a circle of five we listened. Intensely. In a circle of five we watched the ordinary transform, take a life of its own, take on meaning, take on images. In a circle of five we wondered. Truly. What transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary? And is that not what great literature does? And is not story at the great heart of literature? And who lives at the heart of story, but us?

Have you ever tried it? Go on! Try it now. Choose a friend, a good colleague, a trusted neighbor. What are they wearing? What do they carry in their shirt pockets? Go not for the gold, but for the ordinary grit of everyday life. Ask for the story of it. And when the story comes, listen. Intensely. Then, watch it transform! Watch it become, the way we and our lives do when listened to, the extraordinary heart of literature.

Thanks for sharing / Merci d’avoir partagé!

About The Author / À propos de l’auteur

Marta Singh

Marta Singh

Born and raised in Argentina, Marta is renowned for the skill of her crafting, her poetic use of language, unique expressiveness and passion of presence. Her one-woman shows lend language, body and voice to what comes forth when fairylore crosses paths with personal narrative. Expect beauty, depth and emotional impact.

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