Fifteen Authors

THE FACEBOOK meme this week.

I’ve done different versions of these. Fifteen albums, books, songs etc….

This one wasn’t any easier. I dislike boiling things down and thinking about words like “influenced” because they mean different things at different times in my life — my journalist head, my fiction writer head, my poet head and the all-important, dreamer head and heart. There are books and authors I may never return to or might have a completely different read on now (which is why I fear revisiting some books) but were either instructive or inspirational or impacted me in some crucial way because of the very timing.

One of my L.A. Times colleagues sent this around and so, I did it and passed it on to some old friends and new ones. People I’ve encountered from different times in my life. This is what came to me within the 15-minute window. I’m waiting to see other’s results. It could be revealing — a map of where they’ve been and where they want to go.

The Rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who’ve influenced you and who will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. You’re supposed to tag at least fifteen friends, including me.

This was difficult. Very. And I don’t think I got everyone — in fact I know I didn’t . . . This list, for me, probably most represents authors who moved me early.

F. Scott Fitzgerald
J.D. Salinger
T.S. Eliot
James Baldwin
Truman Capote
Kurt Vonnegut
Toni Morrison
Gina Berriault
Leonard Michaels
Jack Kerouac
Paul Bowles
Joan Didion
John Edgar Wideman
Paul Auster
Tobias Wolff

Can’t forget Jamaica Kincaid either. Or Amy Bloom.

Oh, and Harriet over there to the right? i’d call that seeds —
something about those notebooks she carried . . .

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