Epiphany at the Book Fair

Steven Barnes
3 min readNov 22, 2022

Just back from the book fair, where we were promoting THE KEEPER (Washington Post “Top Ten of 2022” list!). When in Miami I put my ego aside: this is Tananarive’s territory, and I knew I’d be “Mr. Due.” It’s all good. Got that when someone recognized me at the hotel: “Are you Tananarive Due’s husband?” She recognized me from an Instagram video or a Tweet.

But prepared for her to be praised and me mildly appreciated, (yes, she had the long autograph line) something else happened. Three different people came forward and said I’d changed their lives. One because of my writing (there are certain fantasy writers rolling over in their graves to be unfavorably compared to yours truly) and two who credited my life coaching.

A gentleman who said he’d lost ONE HUNDRED POUNDS following my advice on Intermittent Fasting and movement. The Morning Ritual. And the Blessing Dance.

His wife was there, and she’s been doing it with him and they were GLOWING at each other. Just…wow. T and I had people coming up to us saying they wanted what we have. Wanted Soulmates. And were ready.

When I was working at the Moonview clinic in Santa Monica, there was a plaque on the wall to remind us of the seriousness of our mission: real, deep, whole body-mind healing. The plaque said something to the effect that “to be allowed entry into the human soul is the ultimate honor.” To remind us that this was sacred work. That people were TRUSTING US. Even if I was “only” selling get-fit products, or instructions on how to make a toy, people would be trusting us to offer honest value, something that would help them move away from pain toward joy.

But what if you are offering a path to actual change? THAT level of trust is extraordinary, and if we aren’t 100% sure we would offer it to our own younger selves…

Offer it to our grandmothers (“the granny test”)

That it passes the Three Gates to the very best of our ability (“is it true? Is it kind? Is it useful?”)

That has minimum risk and maximum potential benefits…

We cannot offer it. But as nice as it was for the fan to say improbable things about my ability as a fiction writer, it was A HUNDRED TIMES as important when that student, someone who heard me, trusted me, and actually APPLIED WHAT I SAID tells me that the work drastically improved his health and his marriage.



Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes is a NY Times bestselling author, ecstatic husband and father, and holder of black belts in three martial arts. www.lifewritingpodcast.com.