I am a flea...a tapeworm...a leech...that greenish bacteria flourishing in your intestines.
I absorb nutrition from bigger mortals. I am dependent on them for growth. I have a difficult time detaching myself from my hosts, for fear I might shrink away to nothing.
I am a parasitic writer.
It's not like I set out to be a parasite. It just sort of happened that way. I attached myself to Michael Ondaatje for awhile, and the hunger to write silvery, lyrical prose became too overwhelming to resist. Once I had drained him of inspiration, I moved on to Anne Tyler, and suddenly the words became less important than feasting on the rich, authentic characters presented to me. Nearly sated, I dipped into a lean, tender fable of Alessandro Baricco, and dropped all my adjectives and adverbs, like they were fussy, extra calories.
Sadly, I somehow picked them up along the way.
Hey, blame Ian McEwan. Prick.
As you might suppose, I feel a certain amount of guilt for fastening myself to others for so long. And I have a very flea-like desire to rationalize my sorry existence. So here goes...
I'm fat and satisfied. I'm working on different projects that reflect a variety of inspirations. I love all of my disparate influences. And I haven't killed a host yet.
Don't get me wrong. I don't really want to ape other writers' styles or characters. But neither do I have a problem with an author's work serving as an alarm clock that rattles awake new insights and new ideas within me. Those insights and ideas were always there, if slumbering. It's just that sometimes I need a really loud alarm clock to get my butt moving.
But then...watch me jump.