Tag Archive: influences

How Ursula K. Le Guin helped inspire me to see people in a different way

As I write this, the news is breaking that Ursula Le Guin, one of the 20th Century’s great novelists, has passed away at 88. She was a giant, known for her work in science fiction yet crafting works that transcended the genre. Whenever I’ve thought of the authors who have inspired me, awed me, impressed me, humbled me, shaped my tastes, molded my views, and made me see the power of the genre, she was always on the short list. It wasn’t the awards that made Le Guin great, though she got gobs of them. It wasn’t even that her stories were entertaining, though they were. It’s that she reinterpreted the world, showing us both how it truly is (even when we didn’t acknowledge it)…
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These Are the 5 Authors Who Made Me Want to Write

Writing begins with reading. There is a vague rule of thumb that good writers read. A lot. Granted, reading a lot doesn’t mean you’ll be able to write. It’s a start, though. And without question, the thirst with which I drank in books as a daydreaming kid, and later as an in-way-over-my-head young man, had a huge huge huge (three huges) impact on my later, and very ridiculous, decision to devote my life to writing. It led me to journalism and books and other stuff, and these days, it has me working as a freelance writer. Which is amazing and stupid and can barely buy me coffee in the morning, but it’s so worth it (and SHAMELESS you should totally write me at ericsanjuan@gmail.com and…
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Last thoughts on Bradbury’s passing

I have already posted about Ray Bradbury’s passing, but he had such a big impact on me as a reader and writer that I feel like I want to revisit his career’s influence one more time. He was just that important to what I aspired — and still aspire — to be. As my friend and collaborator Zaki Hasan said in his post on the subject, “the impact he had on my life, as a reader, a filmgoer, and a writer is hard to encapsulate.”   I discovered Bradbury pretty early, and he stuck¬†with me all my life. I’d read most of his work several times, and even 30 years after I first read it, some¬†of it just kills me every time. Dandelion Wine makes…
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Goodbye, Ray Bradbury

I’m not much for mourning celebrity deaths. I generally don’t care that you were in a few movies or TV shows, or that you wrote some catchy song I haven’t heard in six years. Such passings are sad, but they have little impact on my life. But Ray Bradbury, who passed away this morning at the age of 91, was more than a mere celebrity author to me. He was a tremendous influence on me both growing up as well as in later years when I began to pursue writing more seriously; a man whose work informed me, inspired me, and solidified my long clung-to dream of being a writer. Bradbury was a special kind of wordsmith. Unlike most modern authors, he rarely dabbled in…
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J.R.R. Tolkien is the reason why I write

I’ve no interest in writing epic fantasy, have gotten past the days when I wanted to construct a complex mythology, and hell, haven’t even rolled a 20-sided die in many years. Yet I would not be writing today in any capacity were it not for the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. Middle-Earth first entered my consciousness in the sixth grade or so. The Hobbit was assigned reading. Unlike most students, I didn’t consider assigned reading a form of torture. (Well, except when the books sucked — which they often did.) I liked reading, and the books we had to read were often excellent. The Outsiders, Lord of the Flies, The Pigman, 1984, and many other books I still cherish today were introduced to me through school…
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