Hey, you remind me of, you know,…

mom and grandma
mom and grandma

Mom used to look at this picture and wonder if anyone could see a resemblance between her and her mother. She never could.

I try to see which writers have most influenced my writing, but I can’t see any resemblance though I know it is there.

Which writers have influenced you? How do you know?

7 thoughts on “Hey, you remind me of, you know,…

  1. [Some of the connections triggering those “possibly related posts” things at the foot of your entries are very obscure. Today’s winner: Did Jamie Lynn Spears Have Lipo While Pregnant?]

    I don’t see resemblances in my writing to other authors’ themes and such, although I’m sure the resemblances are there. But I see their DNA in the style(s) in which I write, lots of times. And I don’t generally mind seeing glimpses of the rhythm of, say, Dave Barry or Woody Allen when I’m writing something “funny”; but I really HATE seeing an exact phrase of which I’m proud later show up in one of somebody else’s works, because I’m pretty sure that means I’d already read (and forgotten) it when I sat down to write my own.

  2. I don’t see any resemblences…but I think if I did I’d be so aware of them I’d try to stop myself for writing like them and that would totally screw up my concentration on the story…for me ignorance is bliss. 🙂

  3. From the fourth grade onward, when I first met him, it was Twain all the way, even to the point of hanging out in places where he lived and worked, then being a contributor to the very newspaper where he got his start. As though his prose were a tenth-grade science frog, I dissected his work, threw out adverbs and excuses, listened, listened, listened. How do I know? Ah, glad you asked. About two months ago, Hal Holbrook came to town doing a Mark Twain Tonight reenactment of the canon. As he moved through his performance, Holbrook/Twain’s words wafting through the theater like puffs of smoke from Twain’s cigar, I mouthed the words. They had become memory.

  4. Starting with her early publications, it was Margaret Atwood, especially the way she ended sentences, paragraphs and chapters. But re-reading her later in life, I found her style predictable and boring. I am more influenced by Kafka and Poe, the way they are willing to go out on a limb with absurdity and also their brevity. I am influenced by Nabokov’s descriptions. And maybe Lorrie Moore’s and Ron Carlson’s sense of sad humor and brevity. I would say that I find reading collections of science fiction stories a way to loosen up my thinking. Charles Baxter and T.C. Boyle for short story plot and characterization. Oh, and Lydia Davis for brilliant prose-poem brevity. I could keep going on so I’ll stop now. Great question.

  5. That’s a really good question, and I have no idea. Of course, my favorite writer is Louise Erdrich, but I don’t think I write like her….I don’t write nearly as well either!

  6. JES, I once heard a song writer talk about how easy it is to write a song thinking you were writing something new, only to play it back later and realize it was something you’d heard ten years ago by somebody else. I’ve worried about those lines you mention too. What do you mean it isn’t original?

    Natasha, I agree. In this case, I’m in bliss.

    Shelly, I’ve never studied one writer that closely. Maybe I should?

    Squirrel, I’m impressed you have so many to call on. I know which writers I like, but I’m baffled about who influences my work. I suppose I’d like someone to tell me. Ha.

    shelli, I haven’t read enough Erdich to comment on that, but you don’t need to write like her. Write like you! (Sounds like something I tell my kiddo–hope you don’t mind.)

  7. Pingback: Condemned. « writing in the water

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