clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Forbidden Reading

A skeleton door guarding access to books in Skokloster Castle as photographed by Jens Mohr and generously made available to the public domain subject to attribution in cooperation with Wikipedia. This image is on wikicommons.

The castle is in Sweden.

Lovely image.

When I am writing well, there are items I cannot read without their language undue influencing my work.

Catch 22. 1984. The Sun Also Rises. Anything by Churchill.Notes from the Underground, all Tolstoy.

These are among my cherished readings. Because of where I might have been when I read them or the state of my life when I turned to them for comfort, they've become old friends with too much power over my thoughts and prose.

The Nick Adams Stories are safe for me. I cannot however read The Sun without finding Hemingway all over my words. I should say, a poor imitation of Hemingway all over my words.

So, there is a great deal of non-fiction reading going on when I am writing.

This winter, I've read nine volumes on trout alone. Nine.

I can tell you all about the history of fly fishing for trout. I can cite famous fly tiers, their contributions, theories of trout behavior, tactics and technique for waters and conditions.

I suspect I'll still be a poor fisherman. I'll be much more attentive to practicing stealth in my approach to the river, though. I learned that much.

I also find myself reading poetry from huge books used in college survey classes. Sometimes I read only Thomas Hardy.

So, forbidden books.

What are yours and do you even have any?  Am I alone in that I absorb the shadow of someone else's voicing in fiction?

I'd like to know.

I'd like to know what you do about it if it does happen to you.

No comments: