In the time that I’ve self-identified primarily as a writer, I haven’t really delved into the realm of fiction. This more or less reflects my reading habits; I’m satisfied to cozy up with a copy of The Atlantic or plow through a fat political science book. Besides, fiction is my wife’s thing. And we all have to have our “things,” now, don’t we?
There are, of course, exceptions. Growing up, I read a lot of classics, primarily because I was an only child, and that was what was on my parents’ and grandparents’ bookshelves. Being a somewhat morbid youth, I also gravitated toward authors of so-called “weird fiction,” including Lovecraft, Poe and Algernon Blackwood. Occasionally, I’d sprinkle some sci-fi into my diet, again mostly legacy writers such as Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, Issac Asimov, Frank Herbert and Ray Bradbury.
Oh, and fuckloads of Stephen King. I grew up in Maine, after all.
Like many other bohemians-in-training, I discovered the Beats in high school. But by the time I’d moved to Burlington and torn through my last book by William S. Burroughs, my days of reading fiction were essentially over.
I blame Aldous Huxley and Hermann Hesse, really. They cleared my path into philosophy and metaphysics, which in turn led to my reading the Collected Works of Carl Jung (too bad I couldn’t get a degree for independent study). I’ll leave my magickal investigations for another space-time.
Just recently, I began reading some fiction again, having turned on to French nihilist/futurist (an oxymoron, I know, but he is a Gaul) Michel Houellebecq.
Lately, I’ve been re-reading Philip K. Dick. His prose is a little clunky, but his vision melts my monkey mind.
Why do I bring this up? Because I am in the middle of drafting a comic-style manuscript. This is all perfectly new to me. Yesterday I coughed up an 900-word outline, and now I’m figuring out how best to plot the thing. It’s got a strong sci-fi slant— not my favorite genre, but I had an idea kicking around, and you gotta start somewhere. If this effort fails, I’ll seek solace in the nocturnal embrace of my first love, horror.
good great artists?