Because I Knew You – Guest Post by Terry Persun

I’m very pleased to introduce you today to my friend and fellow author Terry Persun. Terry and I met through our publisher, and I was instantly amazed by his kindness and thoughtfulness as we talked about writing and the emotional struggles that get tangled up in it. You might remember him as one of my interviewers during my Google + video interview.

Terry’s newly released book Revision 7: DNA is for sale here on the Kindle for a limited time .99 cent discount, so check it out.

Terry has a heart for a good story, and he was able to find a connection with someone across time and pages of written word, developing and understanding with another human he’d never met in flesh and blood. Have you had an experience like his?

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BECAUSE I KNEW YOU…

…through your writing.

By Terry Persun

There is something mystical that happens when you write, whether a poem, a short story, or a novel, it doesn’t matter. A part of you ends up inside the work. No one might notice overtly. But you’re in there and that innermost piece talks to your readers. And Robert Penn Warren (April 24, 1905 to September 15, 1989) spoke to me when I was young, and then for years as I grew up.

Robert was the only person to win both the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel (1947 for “All the King’s Men (1946)) and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry twice (“Promises” (1958) and “Now and Then (1979)). But it’s not that fact that affected me – not at first. There was something in the writing, the turn of a phrase, the repetition, the images, metaphors and similes. It was the writing – and the man, the personality inside the writing – that moved me. I knew that man to be like me. The sensibilities, the awareness of his surroundings, the love of words, but also the love for his characters and their situations, and the settings in which they played out their lives.

I knew that I had to love my characters as much as he did or they wouldn’t come alive on the page. (I knew I did feel that way, and that’s what connected us.) I smelled the air my characters breathed, saw what they saw, and felt what they felt – his characters and mine, mixed, somehow living in the same scenes, the same lives unrolling onto the page. Even Robert Penn Warren’s poetry reminded me of myself, and how I viewed the world, how I approached poetry when I began to write.

Image of U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Penn Warren

Image of U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Penn Warren (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, I read many of his novels: “Band of Angels,” “Wilderness,” “World Enough and Time,” “A Place to Come To,” and many of his poetry collections: “Incarnations,” “Audubon: A Vision,” “Being Here” and others.

And I wrote my own novels, some historical, some mainstream fiction, and, unlike Warren, I even wrote science fiction. And I wrote my own poems, and short stories. There was always a moment, though, while considering my next novel or my next collection of poems, where I remembered him and how he wrote, how his writing touched me so deeply that I felt like I knew him better than anyone else could. His writing inspired me to do my best work, and still does inspire me. I have to feel the work emotionally or it doesn’t work for me. He taught me that through his writing.

Even if I never win a major award as he did – three times just for the Pulitzer – I will write with the same commitment and conviction, the same care, the same love of the words and characters. His accomplishments remind me that I have the same abilities, and his work keeps me tapping away at the keyboard day after day. If Robert Penn Warren were still alive, I’d shake his hand, look into his eyes, and tell him how much his writing has meant to me, and how it inspires me still to this day. I would tell him that we are the same, inside, somehow. That we share a heart.

Yes, then, the person I knew who changed my life, I never met in person, even though I cried when I heard that he’d died. But when someone writes with a part of themselves inside their work, you have met them, and possibly on a more personal, more intimate level than you’ve met anyone, even those you live with. I knew the man through his work, his labor of love, and what better way is there to truly know someone?

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Terry Persun writes in many genres, including historical fiction, mainstream, literary, and science fiction/fantasy. His latest novel, “Cathedral of Dreams” is a ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalist in the science fiction category. His novel “Sweet Song” just won a Silver IPPY Award, too. Terry’s website is: www.TerryPersun.com or you can find him on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Terry-L-Persun/e/B004NV8Q4Y/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.

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