The Short but Wondrous Talk by Junot Diaz

“Holy moments are when we come together to learn and sharing that time is the most important and least rewarded sacrament.”

And that is how Junot Diaz began his talk yesterday at Lighthouse Writers in Denver.  He went on to talk to the audience for a little over the 1 1/2 hours promised (due to a parking glitch, there was a 20 min break which he made up for) and every moment was as powerful as his work, intense as his gaze and mystical and spiritual as his Dominican background.

“Exile can be a healthy solution for artists/writers.  Art is a deeply intellectual activity and art can be disrupted by criticism.  But don’t you stay dumb so your art will thrive.   The more informationo you have the better – don’t turn down information.”  For the writer, this means read, read, read.  “And be in the game FULL.  Don’t put on the uniform and sit on the bench and think you are in the game.  The mark of a great artist is regulating FEAR.  Recognize it and keep going.  Stop judging. Deceiving fear is no sin.  Fear comes from a place of non-healing.  We have to mourn our losses to heal ourselves and the desire to tell a story is often a big part of healing.  ALWAYS be healing.”

Mostly, he spoke about love – the love of literature, the love of writing, the love of life.  “It’s love that is going to hold you to the page.  Love is the fuel.  Experiences often motivate us but love keeps us committed.”  And I don’t think he’s just talking about literature here, do you?

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