Joyce Carol Oates on a writer’s influences …
“There are two primary influences in a writer’s life: those influences that come so early in childhood, they seem to soak into the marrow of our bones and to condition our interpretation of the universe thereafter; and those that come a little later, when we are old enough to exercise some control of our environment and our response to it, and have begun to be aware not only of the emotional power but the strategies of art.”
Joyce Carol Oates in The Faith of a Writer: Life, Craft, Art (HarperPerennial, $11.95, paperback), a collection of essays that includes “First Loves: From ‘Jabberwocky’ to ‘After Apple Picking,’” which deals with two poems that had an early impact on her.
Comment by Janice Harayda:
Writers who are asked about their literary influences tend to mention the books that inspired them in adulthood. Oates gets closer to the truth in this quote. The books that have influenced many writers the most are the first books they read, because these books help to shape your view of the world while later ones may affect only such things as your literary style.
(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.