It would be impossible for Stephen King to erase Maine from his writing as it would have been for Faulkner to pretend he wasn’t from the South. The best we can do as writers is to go out into the world so that we aren’t too insular and gather to us all that we see, then translate it using the essence inborn.
When travelling this past year, a second level awareness of my own inner Mainer was there in the back of mind. I was an interloper, just a tourist, I didn’t belong in the places I found myself, but there I was anyway.
I could never be a voice of Quebec, not could I give true character to what it means to be a Kiwi. No, my blood was grown in granite, dusted with salt spray from the Atlantic. I can’t be anything except who I was born to be.
That doesn’t mean that I can’t stretch the boundaries of birth. It doesn’t mean I can’t be better, taking from experience and adding it to what I am, and thus improving my own character by becoming aware of what it means to be Other and temporarily seeing, imperfectly, through the eyes of someone else.
I believe we can evolve our character. It takes a willingness to first recognize who we are, where we come from and an openness to allow for change to occur. Through travel we can achieve more rapid evolution of self.
I think I’ve grown in the year gone, that some of what I’ve experienced has made me consider who I am and what I believe. More, I hope that the why of who I am and the origins are more defined.
I can’t see the world without seeing it as a Mainer because that is who I am, but I can’t understand what a Mainer is until I see the world because perspective makes us greater than we would be otherwise.
Or so I believe.