The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Writers and the highest service

Locke's parable of the Prince and the Cobbler (they awaken with bodies switched) ends with them being the same men, but not the same persons. Note that this is really an attempt to create language for metalinguistic constructs. But at any rate, the concept is that, as with the parable of the Ship of Theseus (which was repaired until nothing remained of the original planks and ropes) the "identity" is not the physical reality, but rather a matrix of experiences and concepts. We are verbs, rather than nouns. To that degree, I ask the storytellers to consider how important they are. How story binds us in a non-temporal web of meaning, defines cultures as well as individuals. One of the reasons for my deep respect for Jewish culture is the degree that they have kept their "story" about themselves despite massive damage and horror. The stories of a culture...or the stories we tell ourselves...are as important as our bones and muscles. Never, ever, let anyone accuse you of being a "mere" storyteller. Dig deep. Tell your truth. Your profession is a noble as any long as you understand that your purpose is to serve all mankind, as well as to express your essence, your truth. There is no higher service than truth.

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