Now, a lot of the books in this resource page are not books on how to write or books advising young authors on the craft. Instead, they are simply books that have inspired my writing process and helped me to grow as a writer in some significant way.
The World and Other Places Jeanette Winterson’s command of the English language is just beautiful. Her words sing off the page to me, and I find her short stories to be absolute gems.
White Oleander Janet Fitch has a way of making even scars sound beautiful, pain sound haunting. This book has inspired me when my muse goes silent and my pen attempts to run dry.
The Night Circus This debut novel by Erin Morgenstern is absolutely decadent. Every bit and morsel of this book is beautifully written. I close my eyes and even though it’s been a while since I’ve reread it, I can still picture so many scenes because of the beautiful details she infused within every page.
Norwegian Wood Haruki Murakami weaves a tale that is at first seems just so ordinary, but before you know it, he’s cast a spell on you, and you’re reading sentences like, “Hundreds of fireflies drifted over the pool of water held back by the sluice gate, their hot glow reflected in the water like a shower of sparks.” That entire passage left me breathless, but the whole story is understated and beautiful. Its simplicity and something of the style reminds me of a serene, less angsty favorite of mine, The Catcher in the Rye.
These books are just a few of those that have inspired my writing. There are many others.
As far as poets who have inspired my poetry, it’s hard to say who’s inspired me the most, but I would definitely say the Beat authors and confessional, free verse poets inspired me.
When I was a sophomore in college, Anne Sexton was one of the poets my Poetry professor introduced us to. I was auditing a Poetry class because I found it so interesting. It was an upper-level course, but my instructor didn’t mind me sitting in on it, and I feel like discovering confessional poetry that was written in free verse really opened me up to the idea of poetry.
For some reason, when I was fifteen or so, I had a teacher who lit my fire for Beat authors (Jack Kerouac mainly), but I got into the Beat poets–not so much Ginsberg, but some of the women are underrated and brilliant. I found the poem “Our Past” by Anne Waldman particularly inspiring.
I’d be remiss if I talked about poetry and didn’t mention Shane Koyczan. His poetry has inspired mine to reach new levels. I never realized the power of the spoken word until I started watching Shane’s videos. His poetry is amazingly powerful. There are poems of his that make me cry every time I watch them.
There are poets who inspire me, no matter how silent the muse has been, and in fact, they inspired a favorite poem I wrote, “Spitting Matchsticks”, and that is the brilliant people behind Button Poetry. I actually submitted a chapbook to them, and they were my second rejection letter, but because of the quality of their poets and poems are so great, I was just honored to have my chapbook read by the group that produces such amazing spoken word poetry.
I can’t really say which artists have inspired me in my writing, but there are some who have been beautiful sources of inspiration.
One artist I need to mention first and foremost is Kelly Rae Roberts. Not only is her mixed media art gorgeous and inspiring, she is a beautiful woman. I follow her on Facebook, and I cannot get enough of her uplifting, positive, hope-filled messages. Every once and a while, I will send her a comment on a photo she took, and believe it or not, this beautiful woman will respond. I do collage art, and a lot of my collage art is in the same color palette Kelly Rae Roberts, but the hope-filled messages inspired me during a very dark time in my life.
I don’t know if it would be typically understood as art, but a site I have followed for over ten years right here on WordPress is PostSecret. Frank Warren’s mission to help people in their hour of darkness is inspiring, and so many of the secrets help me to feel not so alone, but they are also just beautiful, creative, funny, dark, sexy, and twisted. It helps me see that everyone around us has their own stories, their own secrets, and it is my personal silver thread that ties me to humanity. Warren just offers hope to so many, and it is an absolutely beautiful community to be a part of.
(Be sure to check back here as I update this list with more authors, poets, and artists I find inspiring!)