The OF Blog: Who made who?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Who made who?

Who made who, who made you?
Who made who, ain't nobody told you?
Who made who, who made you?
If you made them and they made you
Who picked up the bill, who? And who made who?

- AC/DC, "Who Made Who?"
I was thinking just now about the Sapkowski interview that I translated today and about a comment he made about influences. Here is the relevant quote:

I am the result of my readings of Alexandre Dumas, Henryk Sienkiewicz [Polish Nobel Prize in Literature winner, author of Quo Vadis?], Raymond Chandler, Roger Zelazny, Jack Vance, Jules Verne, Arturo Pérez-Reverte…They have created me as a writer.

That is what is passing now with me: there are many people that “use” me as a writer and in which I influenced.

There are so many influences in someone's life. Parents, other family members, friends, colleagues, loved ones, passing strangers, etc. In some ways, it would be hard to pick out exactly who "made me" in terms of influencing my social, religious, and political attitudes. But when it comes to literary influences, chances are higher that there is a select few that have had a profound influence on someone, both as a reader and, if that reader were to decide to start writing, as a writer. Although I have no burning need to be a fiction writer, there is something in Sapkowski's statement that holds true for me as well. When I read, perhaps I read in a way that best suits a reading of Jorge Luis Borges, Gene Wolfe, or Umberto Eco. Or perhaps I end up constructing thoughts in a way that reflects those of Gabriel García Márquez or F. Scott FitzGerald. Sometimes, I like to "model" my sentences, to see if I can in English match the eloquence of a Cicero, or I desire to find the le mot juste that a Gustave Flaubert would seek.

These and many more are influences on me, on what I read and what I look for when I read. What authors, if any, have had an influence on you as a reader and/or as a writer?


Jonathan M said...

As Karl Lagerfeld once said "I am a complete improvisation" :-)

Larry said...

That's another way of looking at it, I suppose. I'm just so used to breaking ideas/trends apart that it's fascinating to consider issues of causation.

Dark Wolf said...

AC/DC rocks :)

I'am influenced in many ways by Alexandre Dumas, Jules Verne, F.M. Dostoevsky, Stephen King, Dean Koontz and J.R.R. Tolkien. And lately I would add with certanty Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

Elena said...

what a hard question, considering the age at which i started reading adult fantasy (9) and how long I've been wrting (since about 13). There are too many authors I've read to be sure who had a direct influence on the way I write, or the style of books I now like to read. However, I can throw out a "role model" of sorts in terms of prose, though not the TYPE of story. But Sharon Shinn is one of the few writers whose writing style flows completely unobstructed for me. Across her 12+ novels I think I've found 2 typos and maybe 5 sentences I want written differently. Considering that I subconsiously edit pretty much everything I read for mistakes and for "red flag" sentences that I just don't like, those are amazing numbers. It is a big part of why I consider her my favorite writer. It's not stylistic writing, it's just solid and consistent and lets me forget that I'm reading at all.

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