Friday, September 26, 2008

Inspirations #1: The Art of Words

So Stuart's non-specific meme about inspirations...

When I were a lad, knee-high to a grasshopper, my dear old Dad used to read to me each evening before I went to sleep. I'm not entirely sure but I think he only ever read me "The Lord of the Rings", but that took long enough.

He also possessed copies of the Astounding Science Fiction magazine, from the early 1950s, and he had Asimovs, Heinleins and Clarkes. Pulp paperbacks in profusion.

I gobbled them all up, then I discovered that the publisher Gollancz put their Science Fiction imprint on yellow covers which made them easy to spot in the library, I ate my way through their entire collection. I discovered Andre Norton, and her psionics stories.

There was no stopping me. Any SF and Fantasy, I would just read it all, and I read fast. I lived in this alternate universe and, to some extent, shunned a world that was grey and lacking in any adventure. (Although I did have a few adventures.)

At school one day I sat down in the Maths class next to a window and there was a book on the sill next to me: "Cider with Rosie" by Laurie Lee. I knew the TV adaptation had had naughty bits in it so, hopeful of something naughty in print, I opened it and began to read.

Reader, it changed my life.

It wasn't what he wrote about, it was the words. The poetry of prose. The magic of individual meaning. I won't claim that it drove me to be a writer; it was a couple of years before I started to write poetry and my first novel. But he caught me from the first sentence, almost the first word. And it was autobiography, no action, no heroes, just life.

It was "Cider with Rosie" that taught me how beautiful words can be, and since that time I've have striven to make my imagery as beautiful as his; though I know I fall far short of that ideal.

Other inspirations:
  1. Art of Words (This one)
  2. It's a tragedy
  3. Haiku
  4. Art of Words addendum
  5. Perspiration

What's on the turntable? "Tales of the Future" by Vangelis from "Bladerunner soundtrack"

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