The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, November 10, 2006

More thoughts on Antigua

I just got back from the Carribean Literary Festival on Antigua, a tiny island north of Trinidad.  It was utterly inspiring to see the faces of the inhabitants: the black descendants of slaves, the white descendants of the masters and Colonials sitting side by side, discussing and reflecting upon the way that myth connects all of humanity.

Why is it that we write?  All I can do is speak from my own perspective, and that would be that writing connects our inner and outer worlds.  It allows us to take the most private dreams and extend them to others.  To the degree that those private dreams touch something alive and real within a viewer, the experience of identification begins, which opens the door to suspension of disbelieve, a surrender of objections, a falling into the blissful trance of story. And if the storyteller has done her job correctly, the reader or viewer leaves the book with a deeper sense of connection to mankind, or a deeper sense of self. Or a lighter emotional load, or a fresh sense of excitement about the potential of living life with fearless integrity.  Or a new perspective on the foibles of mankind, gained by watching farce.  Or a sober reflection on the paths that lead us to self-destruction.

I love teaching writing, and will fly to the ends of the Earth to share that knowledge I’ve fought and searched for 30 years to gather. No, it hasn’t transformed me into Steven King—although I’ve won awards, been on the NY Times Bestseller list, and allowed me to raise a family for decades on my income from writing alone.  If my goal had been to be King, I’d feel a failure.  But my goal was always to write at the edge of my ability, and to constantly improve.  To reach out to strangers and make them friends.  To communicate the essence of my life to the world. To build bridges, and heal wounds. And that I have done.

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