Literary influences

First and foremost I’m influenced by the Beats, primarily Kerouac. His raw and sometimes nonsensical ramblings about the holistic beauty of things speak to me, and there are times I catch myself trying to emulate the essence of his spontaneous prose. Often when I sit down to write, the words hit the page and I end the night with a few pages of text that need more grammatical editing and formatting than content editing. I attribute this to Kerouac’s influence. “Something that you feel will find its own form.”

As a side note to that, I don’t think that Kerouac was a very good writer. He wrote a lot and opened a lot of doors, but his command of the text wasn’t particularly spectacular. His voice and style are what draw me in, not his supposed talent. Also he didn’t usually have a “standard” story structure, which I both love and hate.

This isn’t to say I only read the Beats. I’ve probably read more Faulkner than anything else, and I’d say that Haruki Murakami and Maxine Hong-Kingston are just a notch below Kerouac for me. Sherman Alexie, Gerald Vizenor, Cervantes, Charles Frazier, Joseph Conrad, Mark Twain – I’m not sure that there’s actually a better novel than The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn out there. I didn’t much like the Hemingway I’ve read, but I do appreciate the denseness of his language. The poetry of Wallace Stevens also profoundly affected me in my early college years, and I continue to branch-out and read stuff like fantasy novels, folk tales, non-fiction, etc.


I could probably go on and on about literary influences, but I’m gonna end it here.


About benjamininn

About myself are papers, lots of tea, computer monitors, a stapler, pens, an ancient phone, more tea, some paperclips, and a lot of air.
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