The Dialogue of a Literary Artist with His Art:
Creative Writing as Psychotherapy in Olu Obafemi’s Running Dreams
Keywords:artistic commitment, artistic dialogue, creative writing, psychotherapy
The world of Olu Obafemi’s artistry is indisputably definable within the frameworks of social functionality and commitment which fundamentally underlie artistic creativity in Africa. Specifically, his artistic commitment has been situated within the conceptual frameworks of vision and revolution; that is, the vision for a better nation believed to be attainable through measures to revolutionize the unwholesome socio-political and economic development in Nigeria. Against this backdrop, this study contextualizes the craft of Obafemi’s play, Running Dreams, as a psychological manifestation of the playwright’s frustration with the system that has reflected no significant improvement in spite of his decades of artistic commitment to the yearnings and aspirations of the populace. The writing process is, therefore, construed as a psychotherapeutic process through which the playwright is able to purge himself of the psychological disturbances from which he presumably suffers. It adopts psychotherapy in psychoanalysis, using the specific conceptual frameworks of substitute gratification and transference. The study concludes that the nationalist consciousness and “unconsciousness” (psychological) of Olu Obafemi is immense, with Running Dreams not only assuming the macrocosm of his unconscious (dreams) wish fulfillment for the nation but also the overall summation of his passionate commitment to having a new nation which evidently cuts across his entire creative output and scholarly works.
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