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Regarding Writers…

writers-inspiration

There is something acutely personal in talking about your favourite writer.

For me at least, I often hesitate to name my favourite writer because I feel like it reveals a part of me I’m not sure I want to share. I somehow feel that by saying his name out loud, my soul is been sliced open by a knife with an edge so sharp I can hardly feel it. I can be peeled back in layers so fine they are practically transparent, and somehow their name, like an incantation, allows whoever hears it to leaf through my innermost thoughts as if they are flicking through a book.

I don’t know why this is. It’s only a name, after all. The writing doesn’t reflect my life experiences, or expose any dark secrets I might harbour. All I know is that anytime I say his name, I feel like I’m divulging some confidential information that cuts right to my core. In some ways, I feel that – ludicrously – just knowing the name tells you everything you need to know about my likes and dislikes, hopes and fears.

I can still remember the sentence that cemented my obsession with his writing. I remember reading through a book and reaching a metaphor that made me double back and start the sentence over. It bounced around in my head, and that night as I lay in bed I said it out loud. Softly. Just to myself. Just to hear what the syllables sounded like in the darkness.

I fell in love.

I don’t always agree with the subject of his writing, but I always enjoy reading it. I love the way he constructs a sentence like nobody else. I get an actual, physical thrill out of some of his descriptions, where the words seem to crawl up the back of my neck and tickle my mind. I see through his eyes, and even if I don’t agree, I understand.

Any time I start to read something of his, I can feel a low hum inside me as my creativity stirs. When his words make me laugh or cry, feel anger or dismay, I can feel it stretching, as if after a long nap, and it nudges me gently, saying, ‘Look what words can do. Look. Look how they can make you feel. Look how you go from tearful eyes to unwitting giggle in a single paragraph. Don’t you want to sit down and write? Don’t you want to try?

If I fear I’m losing myself, or losing my way, or losing my words, I read a few pages from his book and I remember why I love writing. It makes me feel, even when I’m not feeling much of anything else. Tripping my fingers across the keys lifts my mood. Usually by writing about certain thoughts or experiences, I get a clearer, more honest look at how I feel about them. Sometimes I even surprise myself with the words that appear on the screen.

Of course, this can and sometimes does stop me from writing about certain topics.

I avoid the painful, the awkward, and the inconvenient. I skirt around them as if even the merest mention might prove agonising. I hate confrontation of any kind, and I know that writing about certain things will mean confronting myself, in a way. I will spill out – and spell out – thoughts that were previously only a nebulous, amorphous fog. When they stay in my head I don’t have to examine them too closely. I am aware of them, but they exist as old, dusty books in the attic of my mind. ‘I’ll get to them in time,’ I tell myself, and carefully sidestep the ladder that leads up to where I’d rather not go.

And sometimes, when my mind is all fog and I can’t see my way out, I know I should write.

And sometimes, when this happens, I reach for his book.

Guided by his vivid, powerful imagery and a healthy sense of humour, I reignite my sputtering love of words. I feel it again, the tingle of carefully, precisely placed consonants and vowels stacked against each other. Like building blocks, they allow my imagination to get to work building landscapes and concepts I might otherwise struggle to see.

Later, I sit down, and I write.

 

29 thoughts on “Regarding Writers…

  1. The is very beautiful and thought provoking (as always). Your fear is very understandable. Do also feel like if you share the name the author he would no longer yours or that you have to share him/her now?

    P.s it I think just as how this author as inspired you, you have inspired people too. I know without a doubt you’ve inspired me to write as vividly and as whimsically as you do.

    1. Yes I definitely think that’s a part of it. You know when you’re a young teenager and you don’t want to tell anybody about your crush because you’re afraid then you’ll somehow jinx everything and he’ll get with your best friend and people will laugh at you for even daring to like them and the whole thing will end in melodramatic teenage-hormone tears?

      It’s a bit like that.

      And thank you for saying that. I’ve been stuck in bit of a mental rut the past two weeks so that is really nice to read. Thank you!

  2. I – I – don’t know what to say. Thank you so much! I had no idea you felt that way, but I’m incredibly flattered now that I know. And might I say, I think you show promise as a possibly adequate wordsmith yourself someday. That is, if you continue taking inspiration from your betters like this.

    🙂

    1. Hahahaha but of course! Naturally. I didn’t want to draw attention to your brilliance. I know how you like to hide your light under a bushel.

      Honestly, one day you’re going to have to shed that modesty like a second skin and just accept that the world deserves to bear witness to your great talent.

  3. Heart Melts… this post is beautiful. I understand your fear, I also think that thing you have with your favourite writer is intimate, other peoples opinions on him can make they way you feel about him change.

    ‘I avoid the painful, the awkward, and the inconvenient. I skirt around them as if even the merest mention might prove agonising. I hate confrontation of any kind, and I know that writing about certain things will mean confronting myself, in a way. I will spill out – and spell out – thoughts that were previously only a nebulous, amorphous fog. When they stay in my head I don’t have to examine them too closely. I am aware of them, but they exist as old, dusty books in the attic of my mind. ‘I’ll get to them in time,’ I tell myself, and carefully sidestep the ladder that leads up to where I’d rather not go.’ ….You read my mind?..

    1. Thanks. Yeah, I think that’s a part of it for sure. And look at us skillfully dodging the real issues! Like true adults. sigh

  4. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing. You surely have a special bond that shows itself in your own special gift of … I was going to say writing but what you just did is more than writing. It is truly and certainly a gift.

    1. Thank you so much! This is such a lovely comment to receive when I’ve been feeling less than inspired. Thanks.

    1. While I suppose this is really more of an observation than a compliment, I’m going to take it as one! Thanks!

  5. Loved this! There are two writers who make me feel like that: Chuck Palahniuk and Neil Gaiman. Both totally different but both so visceral with their language that you can’t help but have some kind of emotional reaction. Keep reading and keep writing. You rock

  6. Beautiful pen,Quinn! I have fallen in love with your writing! Whether or not you are inspired by a writer, you are yourself an inspired writer. Keep your pen rolling; You are likely to reach great heights as a writer. Anita.

  7. That was so beautiful… I am sure if he could read that he would fall in love with you too, your favourite writer.

  8. I’m so intrigued! Not just to know who he is so I know your favourite writer, but I wanna read his stuff and get all the feels!
    Mine is Sylvia Plath, though The Bell Jar is not my favourite book.

      1. To be fair, it’s a simple problem to fix. Try Mort, Guards! Guards! or Wyrd Sisters – his very early work. Very, very good – Wyrd Sisters was the first one I ever read, it’s basically Macbeth told from the point of view of the Witches, who are actually three lovely misunderstood ladies. Well, possibly not lovely, but close enough.

        Once you’ve read them, set aside about two months of your life as you franticly read the rest 🙂

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