The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

The Talents and History of Steve Sibra


September 25, 2019

Steve Sibra is a very respected and talented writer. He was born in Havre and raised on 7 miles southeast of Big Sandy. His father Dana Sibra was the brother of William (Ray Sibra's father). Dana had two sisters, one of whom married Budd Beaudette. His mother was a Geyer and related to the other Geyers in Big Sandy. He lived in Big Sandy mainly from his birth; graduated from Big Sandy High School in 1974.

Steve still has classmates who live in the Big Sandy area including Nancy Gullickson, Jon Tester, and Gay Halter Pearson. Steve worked on his father and uncle's farms as a kid, as well as some others here and there, but was never very interested in agricultural businesses. After high school, he enrolled at the University of Montana in Missoula, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 1980. He was accepted into law school in Washington State and attended for one year, but it wasn't for him, and he dropped out – "one of the smartest things I ever did". He worked as an editor for a legal publisher in Seattle for about three years. In 1983 his childhood "lifelong, really" interest in comic books led him to open a comic book store in Seattle.

Steve was one of the earliest comic shops owners in the Pacific Northwest and one of the first "comic book entrepreneurs" in that part of the country. He worked in the retail end of comic books for 35 years, primarily buying and selling vintage comics, which it turned out he had a feel for and was quite successful.

His interest in writing was a part of his life throughout all of this. He started creating things with words at an early age, making his own set of encyclopedias when he was in second grade "they were pretty slim volumes".

He wrote stories for the amusement of his friends through junior high and high school. He was on the school newspaper staff his Junior and Senior years and was student editor of the Big Sandy Rouser as a senior. Mr. Sibra was also co-editor of the school's literary magazine, Sidelights '74. In college, he took some creative writing classes and continued to practice his craft with short stories. He began writing poetry after he got out of college.

"My first literary publication occurred in 1989 when some of my poetry was published in a literary journal out of the Portland, OR area." In the 1990s he had numerous poems published by literary magazines in the United States and Canada. He also wrote for several trade publications in the comic book industry during the 1980s and 1990s from the late 1990s through around 2009. He concentrated on his business interests, and his writing was put on the back burner.

"In 2010, I was in a coffee shop, and someone said something to me about a blueberry muffin. It triggered something in my stalled-out creativity. I went home and wrote a short story about a man who had a horse named "Blueberry Muffin." From that point about ten years ago, I returned to writing in earnest and have never looked back." In the past five years, his short fiction and poetry have appeared in about 25 or 30 literary journals from the USA, Canada, the UK, Indonesia, and elsewhere. "I have learned that I absolutely love to read my work aloud to an audience.

"Often, when a person begins writing, naturally they write about themselves. Some folks never stop writing about themselves. To me, this is the difference between writing and writing literature (or at least attempting to). I am interested in writing from a literary

standpoint. Literature, even if it is written in the first person, is writing which intends to tell the reader (or listener) something about themselves or about who we all are as human beings. A good piece of literary writing should inspire thought growth, understanding in the reader. Not everyone agrees about this."

"I want to create something from nothing. Take something that I have put together in my mind, and give it life, bring it into the world. It is my hope that a poem, or even just an image from a poem, will make somebody think about something in a way that is new to them, different from the way they saw it in their own minds before they read or heard my words. It is my goal to expand thought. To me this brings about a cohesion of communication, it creates a commonality that fuses people's thoughts and understanding, making the world a better place.

I am no genius, I don't know any more than anybody else about life, perhaps I know less, and this is my way of trying to figure it out. I just hope when somebody reads or hears my words, they listen closely enough to make them stop and think. They don't have to do it for me. Communication is something we all need to get a grip on. Otherwise as a society, as a people, we break down. We fall apart. We all need to be able to walk in each other's shoes, in a sense."

He chose writing because he always had an active imagination...things just created themselves in his mind. When he was little he had imaginary friends and scenarios. Writing was an easy way to play out the whims, always creating something, normally with words. It was an escape.

Steve Sibra, always had a knack for writing, and unlike many others he followed his dreams, leading him to great place in life. It is my hope we can all learn from his experience, chasing after our own dreams.


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