The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, February 01, 2013

A letter today

Just got this today. Notes like this NEVER get old (name redacted to protect privacy, but yes, his name is Barnes!)
XXXX X. Barnes

Mr. Barnes,

As I am sitting here in my new digs in Beverly Hills, I took a moment to reflect back on the journey that has gotten me here.

When I was just a kid (about 11), I was dealing with a very rough childhood and life was not that great. I was a social outcast, abused, and had a very profound speech impediment (stutter).

So one day I was walking past a library in Washington DC and decided to go in to get away from the drug dealers that typical harassed me on my way home from school. I began looking thru the paperbacks on the shelves. I wasn't very interested in reading and my family didn't really encourage it. But I came across your book Street Lethal and saw that it was about a black man. And then I got a little happy because it was written by someone who had my same last name.

I sat down and began reading. I lost track of time as I BECAME Aubry Knight. I sat there so long reading that the librarian had to kick me out at closing time. She was nice enough to let me take the book home even though I didn't have a library card.

That day I became the definition of a voracious reader. I got a library card and would take home 15 - 20 books a week. All different topics, different genres, hundreds of authors. I read constantly to escape the hell that was my life. My grades went from failing to straight A's, due to my expanding vocabulary and the fire that was lit in my mind.

I also began training in the martial arts and improving myself physically. I became more confident which began to help me control my stuttering.

Anyway... Fast forward to the present and I now live in LA and have begun a journey in the entertainment industry for the last 3 years. I am in post production on my second feature film which I wrote and directed.

I wanted to take a moment to thank you, my brother. Your work changed the life of another potential statistic. My love of the written word has changed me and the ability to read and to write has opened up new worlds which a little scrawny kid from DC could never had imagined if it had not been for your books.

To this day I the Aubry Knight series is still my favorite.

Thank you for doing what you do. You changed my life!

One Love,

XXXXX X. Barnes


Steve back now.  Whew.   I had to wipe away a tear.   Listen, people, NEVER underestimate the power of your dreams.  Never give up on them.  And understand that every action you take ripples out into the universe endlessly.   

submitted for your approval,


Anonymous said...


Some guy said...

I know that this wasn't your point at all, but by sheer coincidence I've been rereading (not for the first time) Streetlethal the last few days. I've got to say, what jumped out at me this time was how well it was written. It's always been my impression that it was one of your earlier (or maybe your earliest)book, but it just doesn't read like an early novel. The technique is smooth and professional. Sure, your later works maybe carry more emotional freight and depth of ideas but this story really reads and moves like something written by an author with a dozen novesl under his belt.
Anyway, yeah, completely off topic, (which was touching, by the way). Shutting up now...

Terry H said...

While I can't say that they impacted me as much as they did XXXX Barnes, I've always loved the Aubrey Knight books. Thoughtful science fiction plus all-out thriller; what's not to like?

Kundalini Equation is another long-time favorite. I was happy to read in your blog some time back that a 'semi-sequel' was in the works. How's that coming? Can we expect to see it any time soon?

Steven Barnes said...

"Streetlethal" was my third novel, and first solo.

"Twelve Days" is the sequel to "The Kundalini Equation." It looks as if Marco Palmieri at Tor Books will be the editor/publisher. I've been circling that project for almost ten years, and it's time.