Meet the Storyteller: White Sofa Interview with Benjamin Alire Saenz in Munich
I was immensely (jumping-out-of-my-skin-type-of) excited when I learned that Benjamin Alire Saenz of Last Night I Sang to the Monster and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe fame was coming to the White Ravens Festival in Munich during my six-week stay there for an International Research Fellowship. When the esteemed academic, Jamie Campbell Naidoo, LGBT literature expert, emailed to say that he could not make it for the festival and would not be able to do the White Sofa Interview with Benjamin, I was invited to take his place. Naturally, I was over the moon with excitement.
Needless to say, it was a blissful 20 minute or so of beautiful conversation about monsters, pain, love being a riot in the heart, and that liminal space between violence and tenderness.
I won’t be sharing the entire transcript of our interview here because I am hoping to publish it somewhere (fingers crossed). The video is also not yet available in the official White Ravens Festival website (but I heard that it is forthcoming). So here are a few snippets from that meeting of the minds in Munich.
“in reading a book, we build community, and we discover that we are not alone, that we truly do belong to each other”
“…I’ve learned that it is important to forgive, most importantly to forgive yourself, because that happens very slowly in life. And to embrace the universe, you have to embrace yourself, your own mind, your own heart, your own body.”
During the interview, I felt that I carried within me the multiplicity of voices who wanted to speak to him and thank him for his words. And so, it was indeed a huge privilege to have spent time with him at the Festival and to pick his mind about things that matter to him, and dare I say, the universe as well.