Stealing from My Notebook: This Week’s Influences

Stealing from My Notebook: This Week's Influences

Yes, a picture of my actual notebook. I do feel like I’m stealing from myself by showing it.

OK, notebook. I’m supposed to be here with you. I know I’m supposed to be here with you. We don’t have to continue with this push-pull, love-hate relationship. We can work together. We can meet halfway and think about 101 words or 500 words or just sheets and sheets of outlined notes.

The ideas will come, but you and I know the book or post or some other self-directed assignment won’t write itself. I have to write it.

Faulkner: Don’t be a writer. Be writing. Which is an eloquent way of saying put up or shut up. (I never claimed to be Faulkner. And I’m not on Pinterest, but it’s hard to resist a Faulkner board.)

What else has influenced me this week?

  • Stress dreams after heavy workloads: Picture me elbow-deep in the insanity of a cooking competition, going against a famous TV chef who had the nerve to dirty my knife and station with bacon and too many shallots. It somehow became my job to separate the red onions from the shallots. My silly, tired brain.
  • Warm weather and a longing for watermelon, peaches, pineapple: I am salivating.
  • The Wire: Yes, I’m late to that particular party, but now, I’m sad I have no more episodes to watch—what a show.
  • Little Known Facts and Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry by Christine Sneed: I finished the novel (the former) and started immediately on the short stories (the latter). I love Sneed’s work as a reader because every word sings, but I also swoon as a writer, because she teaches me, subtly, about craft. From the title story in Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry:

Perhaps this was why she couldn’t write a good script. She lacked the necessary libido, the mercenary appetite to consume whatever beautiful things she encountered. Or else be consumed by them.

What shapes you? What embeds itself in your brain and oozes into your narrative?


A note for Twitter friends and writers: I’m putting together an informal Twitter chat on Sunday, May 25, at 12 p.m. (CT). The hashtag is #ChatWrite. Should be a blast. Come on in and talk shop with us!


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