Building Bridges

‘Every story lacks something that the next one has; but then the next story is missing something from the one before. Maybe the story I’m looking for doesn’t exist.’ 
- from “The Wall Jumper” by Peter Schneider (Germany)

I would like to share an idea with you that came to me while reading “The Wall Jumper” for my Creative Reading Group. I was thinking about all the walls we build in our world, both physical ones like the Berlin Wall and the non-physical ones we build in our minds that cut us off from people who are different from us, whether it is culturally, religiously, politically, etc. It got me thinking about world literature and how stories from around the world are like bridges that connect us with people who are different from us. In Schneider’s book, the difference is an ideological one, and each community sees the other one from its own perspective. When they insist on looking at each other from their own point of view, they can never truly understand one another. It is only when they are prepared to look at each other from the other one’s standpoint that they can start to see them as they truly are: human beings.

I believe that there is only ONE STORY and that it is the story of being human in all its diversity and uniqueness. And I believe that we get a glimpse of this in the stories we write and tell each other. When we read books which introduce us to other cultural, religious and political beliefs than our own, we open our minds and begin building bridges between our communities. Our point of view begins to change. When we all start taking steps towards each other, we start creating connections of great value for the whole world.

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