Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Influential Writers

I read a lot, so there are many writers whose works have influenced me but I have selected several for the here and now, who are closest to what I am working on right now. I do think this is quite an unusual and eclectic group for someone who is writing Book of Mormon fiction.

Right out the door, the number one spot would have to go to, two gun Robert E. Howard. More than anyone else, I would say his influence has shaped the action and yet colorful descriptive realm in which I wished to write. I am a cumpulsive Howardian attempting to get my hands on everything he ever wrote. Favorite titles: 'Beyond the Black River' 'The Phoenix on the Sword' and 'Hour of the Dragon' These are all Conan tales by the man who came up with heroic fantasy back in the 30's and 20's. Though he wrote action yarns all across the spectrum of genres. Other favorites include 'Kings of the Night' 'The Gods of Bal-Sagoth' and 'The Fires of Ashurbanipal'.

J. R. R. Tolkien has influenced generations of writers but I'm not sure how many he may have influenced that are not directly doing fantasy. As a kid I wondered why no one was writing Book of Mormon fiction like Tolkien wrote the weaving together of Norse, Welsh, Celtic, and Finnish myth. Not that I am calling the BoM myth by any means, on the contrary I am of the opinion that it did indeed happen in largely what we now call the United States but my problem was no one was doing a big enough sweeping epic like Tolkien did. This is my vision, that I would like to think carries the same depth and far reaching movements. Yes, I disdain the Limited Geography Theories down to my very soul, but that is another post. Favorite titles: Like I need to tell you.

For pure weight of wonderful imagery and strong important themes, Cormac McCarthy is great. By blending both the great imagery and theme, I am moved beyond whatever his stories are dealing with which to to me defines great literature. Favorie titles: 'The Road' and 'Blood Meridian.

Contributing to my LDS related research and new ways of looking at things I love both Hugh Nibley and Cleon Skousen. I am stunned at how one of them is still upheld within the community and how much the other is bashed, I don't get it. Either one has done more than any twelve men you can shake a stick at; their combined research dwarfs that of any two dozen other researchers. Favorites titles of Nibley include: all four of his 'Teachings of the Book of Mormon' (invaluble material) and though all of his titles are great, I especially have gleaned from 'Lehi in the Desert' and 'Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri' for Cleon Skousen there is 'The First Two Thousand Years' and all in that series and his 'Treasures from the Book of Mormon' series.

H.P. Lovecraft is an odd one to include here and yet, he has given that curious flavor of both metaphorical rhetoric and unearthly horror to that which I hope to accomplish. A contemporary and friend of REH he was also published primarily in the pulps during his lifetime. Favorite titles: 'Dagon' 'The Mound' and 'The Call of Cthulhu'.

Ernest Hemingway fits in here as someone who though I didn't care for the stories half as much as I love how he writes and that brings to my mind on how I want to convey the stories I do which are dramatically different from his and yet still retain that human emotion and power. Favorite titles: 'A Moveable Feast' 'The Sun Also Rises' and 'Under the Ridge' had me laughing out loud and its not a comedy. Least favorite as in I hated it in High School: 'The Old Man and the Sea'. I hated it because of how much my English teacher tried to read all kinds of allegories into it. Years upon years later I found a quote by Hemingway where he said that was all "Bullsh*T", that it was just a story with no hidden meanings beyond. I wish so bad I had that back when I was a sophmore and wouldn't have to be tested on yet another thing that wasn't true.

I grew up on comics, practically learning to read on comics. They may have fueled my need in reading for things to be happening for the story to constantly be moving on. My alltime favorite comic book writer is Larry Hama. At one time or another I have been an avid follower of what he is working on from junior high to the present. Favorite titles: (He has worked on all my favorite titles) 'Wolverine', 'G.I. Joe', 'Conan', and 'Batman'.

I suppose that enough for now, part two later.

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