Theft & Influence

My friend Gillian wrote a poem out of stolen lines from my pieces and posted it over on her blog. There is nobody I’d rather have remix my work. Also, if she hadn’t nudged me in the first place, I probably wouldn’t be writing these in the first place. I still might find a way to mine her poems for at least a prompt idea.

On that same blog post, she also posted a map of her poetry influences which is pretty neat, and furthers my reading list. As it stands, over half the poetry I’ve read in recent years have been direct recommendations from her, and most of the rest have been follow ups to those original recs. It made me think of my own influences.

Aimee Bender and Charles Yu are two big ones for me. Bender’s stories are a bit more fantastical, while Yu is science fiction based, but both are less concerned with the how than the emotional effect of these circumstances. But probably the single biggest influence on these particular stories is Steven Millhauser. He has a couple of different stories where he documents events as a vague “We.” Here’s one of the best examples. (Another big one for this style is Jeffrey Eugenides’ “The Virgin Suicides.” It’s a shame he just wrote that one novel.)

Josh Ritter has written some of my favorite short stories which just happen to be songs. In particular “The Curse,” “The Temptation of Adam,” and “Another New World.”

And two comics that have permanent space in my brain. “Did You See Me?” by Sophia Foster Dimino about two people who inhabit the same dreams, and start communicating with each other over social media, and “What is Left” by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (One 3 stories in about a spaceship that is powered by a girl’s memories.

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