THE WRITING THAT INSPIRED ME TO WRITE
I hate writing so never am I like "inspired" or like"ooh I'm gonna write today!" Usually I read something, am deeply affected by it, store that away in my little heart, and hopefully that style or effect bleeds into anything and everything I do. I hope if you know me or my work, this list will make you say "oh yeah, that makes sense."
- •A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS, by Dave Eggers.This is an obvious choice. I return to this book often. HWSG, to me, is one of the greatest American literary works of my time. The title is alarmingly accurate and terribly true. It is the brilliant and bold voice of a hilarious and lonely struggle. There are few people in the world whose words mean more to me than Dave's. I carry this story with me always.
- •UNACCUSTOMED EARTH, by Jhumpa Lahiri.The worlds Jhumpa creates within just a few pages are incredibly immersive. Reading her work is a true experience. I always feel as if I am gently swept up and subtly placed right into these worlds, right into these rooms where these people live and be. The last sentence of Unaccustomed Earth gave me my most visceral reaction to a written work-- straight ugly sobbing. No work has moved me more.
- •ONE MORE THING, by BJ Novak.I've always been vocal about my adoration for BJ so this shouldn't be a shocker, but One More Thing took me completely by surprise. It was charming and clever, which was to be expected if you've ever followed BJ's work in the past, but it was so layered with feeling and nuance with masterful and incredibly surprising turns. A warm, hilarious, and sweet collection.
- •A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, by Lemony Snicket.There is a pattern here-- I am greatly attracted to hilarious stories of struggle. I think my first introduction into the world of heartache and humor had to have been this series. The duality of those two worlds crept so deeply under my skin. I'll never shake it. It's something I aim for in all my work. I loved that the happy ending was so prolonged and so fiercely fought for. I learned the worthwhile lesson that life is terrible, but if you are smart, talented, and work hard, you will survive.
- •THE COLLECTED STORIES OF LYDIA DAVIS, by Lydia Davis.Clearly, I'm partial to short fiction. Lydia Davis is a wonderful master of straddling the world of heartache and humor. She is just unabashedly real. On days I feel alone I will flip quickly to any story in this collection. Her voice is like a kindred spirit.