Thursday, December 18, 2008

My top 5 biggest inspirations

A lot of times, people ask me what my inspirations for this blog are. I thought I'd answer that question once and for all with a "top 5" list, because, like John Cusack in High Fidelity, this is the only way I really know how to convey a list of random shit to the public. Keep in mind that this is not my "favorite writers" list. This is not my "favorite people" list. This is a list of five writers who have shaped the way I look at the "craft" of putting words on paper (or in this case, a computer screen).

#5: A.J. Jacobs, writer and "editor at large" for Esquire magazineIn April of 2007, I started reading Esquire. And in May of 2007, I became a subscriber. Not only because of the awesome layout and great grooming and fashion tips it gives, but because of the writing that is contained within. One of these writers is self-described "editor at large" A.J. Jacobs.
You see, Jacobs does what no other writer for the magazine does. Jacobs puts himself in situations that seem reminiscent of Morgan Spurlock's in Super Size Me and 30 Days. Whether it be brutal honesty, acting like a hot woman online, or other such things, Jacobs constantly proves that he will go to any lengths for his readers. This is easily his most admirable quality, besides the very distinct style of writing he happens to have. I'm also convinced he's batshit crazy and has the most understanding wife on the planet.A few months ago, I interviewed A.J. about his newest book, A Year of Living Biblically. Read it here.

#4: Douglas Adams, science fiction and comedy book authorFar and away, my favorite writer of all time, Douglas wrote 12 books before he passed away in 2001 from a heart attack. His distinct writing style and bizarre brand of humor have inspired many writers, including myself. I don't often write fiction. But when I do, he is definitely my biggest inspiration. In fact, many of the short stories that I have written were based on ideas I got while I was reading one of his books.
I'm not going to sit here and toot his horn anymore, because that's what I always do.

#3: Augusten Burroughs, memoir writerI'm not going to lie, I haven't read all of Augusten's books. But the five I have read have changed the way I look at storytelling. He's written several books, all of them memoirs, and all of them (that I've read) are absolutely fantastic. From alcoholism, to advertising, to his absolutely screwed up childhood, there is something for everyone in Burrough's back catalogue.
Every single time I write a story about my childhood, he is the first person I think of. His manner of storytelling is something to be envious of. He is the entire reason that I want to write a memoir someday, chronicling my life. Hopefully mine are as good.

#2: Matt Caracappa, blogger from X-Entertainment (located here)
(no photo, because none are good/big enough)
As far as the actual content of my writing goes, Matt here is probably my biggest inspiration. Founder and head writer of X-Entertainment (one of the biggest and oldest blogs on the web), he will basically write about anything. Yep, anything. If he sees it in a store, he buys it, reviews it, and posts it. From his sought-after seasonal posts (especially Halloween and Christmas), to his extended posts on past years' Macy's Day Parades, he is definitely one of my favorites, and is who inspired me to do what I do daily.
Before I get a barrage of comments or emails accusing me of this, yes, Matt's blog's name was the inspiration for my own. Think of it as a sort of homage to a personal hero of mine.

#1: Chuck Klosterman, essayist, writer for Esquire magazineI was flipping through January's issue of Esquire the other day, when I came across a quote from famed essayist Chuck Klosterman. It goes:

"Some days it's incredibly easy to write four thousand words in an afternoon. Other days, it's impossible to write two sentences. There is no consistency with the difficulty of the process."
This basically sums up my feelings towards everything based around writing for people's entertainment, and the difficulty surrounding it. His book IV is what I dream of writing someday. Three parts: stories about him, interviews with famous people, and a fictional short story, all in one. This is what I want to release someday. No singular style of writing can contain him, and I'd hope no singular style of writing could contain me either. Klosterman is the reason I want to become a journalist someday, plain and simple.

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