People often ask artists who has influenced their work — musicians, painters, sculptors, filmmakers, writers. It’s a tough question to escape. I’ve asked it, but not too often, because I’ve found that many good artists don’t seem keen on bringing that kind of consciousness to their work.
I write intuitively, too. I try to edit consciously. And editing often seems to be slightly under the influence of whomever I’m reading at the time.
(Except Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, and Joan Didion. They are always there.)
This year, Paige has left behind collections from University of Iowa students. Home of Iowa Writers Workshop, there comes from Iowa always something fresh, and often ever-so-slightly unworkable in those pages. I enjoy them. And my friend, RunnerSusan, has loaned me a dozen of her favorite works of fiction that have taken me down unexpected paths.
I took a break from reading the authors scheduled for this weekend’s Mayborn conference to pour over essays for a writer’s workshop. My essay, Carrion (see the pages on the left), has been accepted to the workshop, so I am reading the work of others who will be sequestered with me and our workshop leader. More new voices and ideas.
Like a book club, only on steroids, it’s the eighth Mayborn writer’s conference this weekend. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I threw the manuscript for “See Sam Run” into the workshop to see what would happen. There won’t be anything on that scale for me this weekend, but it will be for someone, and there is all that other talk of writing and reading and writing that is so inspiring to us all. I can’t wait to see what this weekend will bring.