Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Influence

Those of you who follow this blog know that I'm a fan of the late author, Robert B. Parker. He had a PhD in English, but didn't really show it off--except for an occasional literary allusion, which he usually explains. The book I'm re-reading right now is titled Sudden Mischief, and has in the front matter a quotation from The Fairie Queene. It fits with the title, but almost seems out of place, and may represent one of the few times I can see evidence of his academic background. It certainly doesn't jibe with the story.

 It's also interesting to see to whom he dedicates his books. In virtually every case, he makes his dedication to his wife, with an occasional dedication to both her and his two sons. But anyone who follows his career knows that their relationship was a stormy one, and once or twice I saw him dedicate a book to another woman. I realize that I probably could ferret out the circumstances behind all this, but I choose to simply make a mental note of it and see if I can tell by his writing what he's going through and how it affects his mindset. Surprisingly enough, it's often possible.

In the present circumstances, with all the extraneous factors at play, I have found it hard to concentrate enough to write. I've had several stops and starts, which I have managed to get past. But I also find that I'm affected by the book I'm currently reading. Whether it's the late Donald Westlake, the late Ross Thomas, the late Robert Parker--and, parenthetically, I wonder why I keep coming back to long-dead writers--but anyway, they have an effect on me and I think it shows in my writing.

It makes me wonder how the circumstances around us affect our everyday lives. What do you think?

4 comments:

Priscilla Bettis said...

Today's circumstances have affected my view on history, the study of history I mean. In school I thought it was boring, useless even. Now I think differently.

Richard Mabry said...

As George Santayana said, we can learn from it or repeat it. Not sure which we'll do. (Don't miss my blog post next Tuesday--I'm still formulating what I want to say).

Patricia Bradley said...

Oh, Richard...you're going to have to stop reading those late authors! :-) I'm older than you are and I refuse to give in to age. lol. Of course it helps that I have adhd and have an abundance of energy. But yes, circumstances certainly do affect my writing. I've read about authors who sat with loved ones about to pass over and could write in the hospital room, but any type of emotional hurt keeps me from writing. Covid stopped me for over a month. I'm now working on a website to keep from creating. You'll have to check it out when I finish.

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, I'm about 5K words deep into my next novel, which I started writing about 3 months ago--this Covid thing has really bogged down my writing. Then, as you know, authors are supposed to steer clear of controversial things on their social media pages, which makes it difficult even to write that. But unless I change my mind, that's going to change next week. Stay tuned.