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How Did Your LDS Mission Influence Your Writing?

Q: You were a missionary in Seoul. Has this cross-cultural experience influenced your writing?

Yeah, it has, quite a bit.  One of the things you notice is that once you go live in a different culture, it opens your eyes to the different ways people can think, and how varied it is.  Learning a new language and being immersed in it really opens your eyes to how language can affect thought and thought process.  Beyond that, growing up as a white male American, I never had to be the outsider.  Living in a culture where suddenly you are, even though I was a privileged minority, not an underprivileged minority – I don’t know if there is a place you can go in the world where a white male American is an underprivileged minority – but just being a minority changes things.  I think my writing grew much stronger.  I would suggest to every American, particularly, that this is an experience that would be very good for them.  We Americans do tend to be a little bit turned inward.  In Europe you have to experience dual cultures and things like that.  In the States it’s pretty easy to forget the rest of the world.  That’s a criticism that is levelled against the States quite reasonably.  Going into another culture, serving the people there and forgetting yourself for a while, is just a wonderful experience.  Absolutely wonderful.

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