I write to bring healing – Elisha Bala | Dailytrust

I write to bring healing – Elisha Bala

Elisha Bala
Elisha Bala

Elisha Bala is a writer, poet, as well as a theologian. Here, he talks about his experience being all three, one of his most recent short stories, ‘The Rise and Fall of Juliana Mensah’, and more. Excerpts:

 

You are a writer, poet, as well as a theologian. What is it like being these three and more?

It’s like having three selves, a task I cannot say is easy. I do not want to be found wanting in any of the three. Sometimes, I have sleepless nights just to make sure I cope with the demands of each field. However, I can’t deny that the prestige and opportunities that these three parts have exposed me to are quite encouraging. For a person as young as I am, it’s not a piece of cake to deny myself pleasure. However, I would say it has been taxing, yet an adventure.

It’s not always that a graduate in pastoral theology becomes a creative writer. How did this happen?

I have so much passion for words. I believe that everyone has a bundle of potentials in them, and that we have the ability, as humans, to become more than one thing once our passion drives us hard. So, I grew in passion and it pushed me to start. I started right in my study days in school. Each time I go to the library for any assignment or theological project, I make extra time for creating content that I hoped would heal someone, and it began by simple posts on social media. So basically, passion got me here.

Elisha Bala performing

 

How does being a theologian influence your art in general?

It affects my art greatly. It helps me see that we are in a broken world full of chaos and also how everyone needs healing. It influences my pattern of thought about who my audience are. I believe that words can heal, yet it can also kill. If we can speak and spill our ink, then I only seek two things, to either write or sing whatever I hear or see. Perhaps, it may heal.

I also cannot hide the fact that there are challenges. There are topics I may desire to treat or write on, but because I am a theologian, I have to be mindful of my content. Not that it limits me, but I’ll say it guides me to only write on specific themes. That is why I chose the path of healing. It’s a direction I will face as long as I write.

Your 2020 story/poem, ‘The Rise and Fall of Juliana Mensah’, was published in an online platform, Punchline Poetry Society. Is it poetry or a short story told in poetry form? Also, what was the trigger for you?

‘The Rise and Fall of Juliana Mensah’ is a fictional story with a poetic undertone. At a point in time, I had many female friends who were feminists. But I felt few of them missed the point because being a woman is not a weakness and there is no reason to ‘kill yourself to prove it.’ That was how I came up with the idea of writing a story that Africans can relate to since they are my primary audience. The target is to strike a balance, that a woman can do great things, but some journeys are not worth embarking on.

You are also a song writer and the brain behind ‘At the Edge’, a combination of music and poetry themed around depression and suicide. How did this come to you and what will you say was the initial inspiration? Was there a singular incident that influenced the birthing of the work?

I would say that ‘At the Edge’ was birthed out of an experience. I saw how some people went into depression as though some wind of ‘worry’ blew their once brave spirits. I watched how certain talented poets committed suicide and left only sad suicide notes. I was grieved by that and wished I could help. I knew life had pushed them and they are now at the edge. That’s where the inspiration came from. After I wrote the song and the poem, I needed a feminine voice for the song, so I decided to invite and feature my friend Agnes Jezreal.

You create content for celebrities and companies, including Nene Olajide, a Nigerian Christian gospel singer. What is the experience like?

It has been a wonderful experience for me. I have always derived pleasure from working with certain people, especially those who are either influential or publicly celebrated. They have a way of making work easy and the relationship is priceless. The lessons we learn as we work together is something worth having for a lifetime. Creating content for me is fun, and doing that for celebrities is more fun.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently working on my eBook. I call it ‘Proxy: Yesterday’s Tomorrow’. It is a compilation of some of my short stories and poems. I plan to release it before the year runs out. For now, that is the major project I have on ground, and once it is out, it will be in popular bookstores online.

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