I found an interesting story on The Huffington Post the other day about famous writers and the other authors who influence them. I’m providing a link to it right here.
Not that I’m a famous writer or anything, but this got me thinking about who has influenced me. I don’t think I write like anybody else—whatever that means—but I have been inspired to write by reading books by other writers and if there is one book that changed by life, that has inspired me, it would have to be “Wildlife” by Richard Ford.
This was years ago—don’t ask me the year. I was at Waldenbooks in Western Hills just looking around and came across this book in a bargain bin. I was attracted by the cover. A picture of it is over to the left of this post. I opened up the book, read a few lines and liked them and then looked at the price. What the hell? I bought it.
The book stayed on my shelf for a few months. One evening, looking for something to read, I picked it up. “Wildlife” is a short novel—177 pages—and my intent was to read 20 or so pages before going to bed.
I ended up reading the whole thing. I couldn’t put the book down. Since then, I’ve read every book written by Mr. Ford, have interviewed him a few times and have even been to his house in East Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
When it comes to writing, maybe I don’t know the difference between being influenced or inspired. What I do know is that picking up that copy of “Wildlife” and judging a book by its cover opened the door for me to actually get to know Mr. Ford a little bit and to improve my own work. I mostly don’t think one should purchase a book for the way it looks from the outside, but in this case, I’m glad I did.
(Image from davidabramsbooks.blogspot.com)