They say we are all standing on the shoulders of the giants that came before us. When we create we do not conjure from thin air. We steal, borrow, rip and twist. We shift, change, and inject our own personality into an element of art. Nothing is purely original. My list of influences is wide and varied and doesn’t just include authors but also movies, music, history, politics and human behavior.
When it comes to authors who have influenced me Hunter S. Thompson tends to stand out. We share the same hometown and a similar cynical outlook on life and society. His pure immersion into his stories creates a unique voice which I consider necessary reading material for anyone who lives in, or even visits, Louisville, Kentucky. Cormac McCarthy and Ernest Hemingway both have a huge influence over my prose. Hemingway’s ability to do so much with so little and McCarthy’s way of making sentences into bars of music puts me in awe every time I read their work.
Growing up in the 90’s and early 2000’s a huge part of my childhood was movies. So my writing tends to sometimes take on a cinematic feel reminiscent of a George Lucas or Steven Spielberg movie. Some of my early writings especially but even my more recent works reference themes and imagery from Star Wars. Music too, like Pink Floyd and Pearl Jam, not only help me focus on the act of writing but inspire my content with thematic elements as well.
But to inspire me something doesn’t have to be art. I’m hugely inspired by history, from WWII and Napoleonic Wars to the Ancient Egyptians and Ancient Rome. Politics, both locally and globally, make me think about human interactions and behaviors. Even things like abandoned buildings and military surplus spark the fire in me to write or think or create something in some way. In that way I try to use everything around me to influence and form my writing, from building characters to building worlds. They say writers are supposed to write what we know so I want to know as much as possible.
Hunter S Thompson – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved
Cormac McCarthy – Blood Meridian and The Road
Ernest Hemingway – For Whom the Bell Tolls and pretty much any of his short stories but my favorite is Big Two-Hearted River