Second, author Justin Cronin: “My inventing time is all done under the influence of aerobic exercise. Basically, I do all my thinking while I run.”
There you have it. From Gene Autry to aerobics, what influences us in our creative endeavors can come from the most unlikely of sources. It’s interesting that if you ask an artist in any particular genre to pick their influences, say writing, they often pick other writers. Same for musicians, same for graffiti artists. But if you broaden the scope of that question, you’ll find that an artist’s influence can be wide ranging.
And boy howdy, it should be.
I can name half a dozen writers that influence me (i.e. That I try and rip off – or “homage” the hell out of), but that is only a fraction of what gets my creative gonads pumped. Music, movies, street signs, overheard conversations – there is so much out there to be influenced by. Some people would say too much. We call them artless misanthropic shitbirds. We move about Earth with the freedom to limit the influx of information, so no hooey about being bombarded. Suck. It. Up.
We’re lucky, in this day and age, to have so many influences that help us create. Just as we have the variety, we also have the choice to not partake of that variety. For me, I’m an influence whore. I suck in the influences of the world the way Monica Lewinsky – okay, lets’ move along – everything and everyone in creation was influenced by other things.
Checkout what the artist, Banksy has to say about influence: “As soon as I cut my first stencil I could feel the power there. I also like the political edge. All graffiti is low-level dissent, but stencils have an extra history. They’ve been used to start revolutions and to stop wars.”
What influenced Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz? DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS, YO!
And the point of this diatribe is?
Open yourself up. Let everything in and let it play around with your conscious and subconscious brain. Look for influences, seek them out for no other reason than you want to learn something new. I recently learned that it took Joséphine de Beauharnais (Napolean’s first wife) three freakin’ hours to get dressed! I didn’t know that. Can I use that? Probably. Somehow. Who the fuck knows? Houseflies hum in the key of F! Didn’t know that five seconds ago, did you? How will that influence your next sci-fi book?
As for the well-executed fart? One word: Amadeus. Google “Fart Amadeus.” The way in which Amadeus, who had a flatulence fetish, let’s one rip after playing an amazing composition says a lot about character development and insecurity. Farting as a means of self-deprecation is a huge influence to me.
Let’s wrap it up with one of my major influences, uncle Walt Whitman. I have a quote from one of his poems, “Song of the open road” tattooed on me: “To know the universe itself, as a road.” Who’s hardcore? Me. That’s who. So what influenced uncle Walt? A blade of grass, the Civil War, sex, Brooklyn, politics – baby, he went all over the map. And that’s just one of the reasons why I love him, though if you were to read any of my books, you’d be hard pressed to find the Whitman influence anywhere.
But it’s there, beneath all the F-bombs.
All rights, grammatical and logic errors, ®LarryCo, 2015