Along with reading, writing has always been my “thing”. I know they don’t always to go together like mac and cheese, but for me, I suppose spending summer holidays yearning for every book in my local bookshop was the catalyst for the writing part. I wanted to create magical tales like J. K. Rowling, or to be so widely read amongst a target audience as Jacqueline Wilson was back when I was in that target audience bracket. Those books still stand proudly on my bookcase now, the ones that inspired me to not only read more, but to write for myself.
Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful stands next to a leather bound edition of one of my favourites, The Great Gatsby. It’s a book that I read for A Level, but I fell so in love with F Scott Fitzgerald’s descriptions of Gatsby’s magical parties that I’ve vowed to never see the film adaptation. I’m famous for my stance on that amongst my friends. I love Leonardo DiCaprio, really, I think I cheered as much as his own mother did when he won that Oscar and I adore him as Jack Dawson, but he’s not the Gatsby I had imagined in my head from reading Fitzgerald’s words for the first time.
Next to that is a novel that I can almost safely proclaim to be my literary soulmate, if there is such a thing. The one book that I only recommend to the people I think will appreciate it for what it is. Jose Saramago’s Blindness. Sentences that run the length of pages, perhaps it is he who inspired my love for a comma. Eight years on, I still think about that ending sometimes. If that isn’t the sign of a successful novel, then I don’t know what is.
Then there’s One Day by David Nicholls, The Help, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud … and why does it feel like every book I’ve ever loved has been turned into a film? I really hate that. Albert Camus, Henry James, Yann Martel, Elizabeth Gilbert, and so on. Let us not forget those kind of books we’re told we must read before we die, on those lists that the BBC publish every now and again: J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Kafka’s The Trial, and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Those are just a few. Every writer who I’ve ever read has inspired me to write in some way – no matter what their platform; blog, novel, or article. For a select few it’s a “I could do better than that” kind of inspiration, but for the most part, it’s a “wow, this is the kind of writer I want to be”.