bronspix said: love yr blog, the pics & journ entries - what r yr biggest influences: writers, music, poets and art wise? Would have asked on yr blog but it didn’t seem to work. Have a great day:) rgds Bronwyn
Thanks for following, and thanks for asking! And I wouldn’t mind reading yours, either.
Like everyone, I like to believe that the list is wide and all-encompassing, but probably revolves around a few core influences. In writing, my favorite books are Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, and The Easter Parade by Richard Yates. These are grim, serious books, but they’re also very funny. F. Scott Fitzgerald is up there, too, and Raymond Carver. I’ve been fortunate enough to study with some of my idols, such as Denis Johnson, Tobias Wolff, and Lorrie Moore, and they’re influences to a certain extent. I’m an American Indian (Ojibwe), and the traditional stories have provided me with character archetypes and a certain irreverent understanding of human interaction that I’m usually using in my writing.
I’ve played guitar and drums for most of my life now, and occasionally I sit in at a blues jam in downtown San Francisco. Blues is the basis of my playing. My style is indebted to Lightnin’ Hopkins, BB King, Freddie King, Chuck Berry, Louis Myers, Big Bill Broonzy, Magic Sam, Jimmie Vaughn—this list goes much further. I tend to go through quarterly Rolling Stones phases, when I’ll listen to nothing but the Stones. I also love The Current (Minnesota Public Radio), which is more indie pop, I suppose you’d consider it. I never wrote very many songs—I was too embarrassed by the banality of my lyrics, although I still like some of the music I’ve written. There’s a barrier between music and writing, in that I don’t listen to music when I write, and I haven’t been able to write good songs. I feel like reconciling these two huge parts of my life has been a failure on my part.
Artists…For photographers, I always liked Henri Cartier-Bresson and Enrique Mentinides (also known as “Mexico’s Weegee”). I love Gustave Caillebotte paintings—this one’s my desktop:
I’m a big fan of photographer Jeff Wall, who mocked up Ellison’s Invisible Man’s basement (with all the lightbulbs) for a light box photo. His cityscapes and street shots are also really interesting.
Already this list is longer than I’d like it to be. I’d like to point to just a couple and leave it at that, but you know how it is once you begin talking.
OMG my hair was so floppy back in ‘08. Me on the right playing guitar and singing. The song is Magic Sam’s “All Your Love,” and the occasion was the regular Monday night jam at Ithaca’s The Nines. I did a search on Youtube for Blue Monday in Ithaca and was surprised to see me. I still have that guitar, and my hair is getting long these days, so I’m regressing?