The Influences Project

What zine/book/writer/publisher has most influenced your own writing/publishing efforts?

Josh Saitz, publisher of Negative Capability: Each issue is influenced by something new. My first was influenced mostly by XYY (a long-defunct zine by John Kelly), Answer Me! and the writing of Bob Black. My second was influenced by Will Self, Neil Gaiman, Bill Hicks (a comedian) and a lot of musicians. My third issue was influenced by Bill Hicks again, as well as a lot of music I was listening to at the time. The new issue is influenced by Eminem and New York City, my home, as well as everything I’ve read and seen in the last few years. I read a lot and enjoy a lot but I am really my own influence. I am evolving as a writer and part of that evolution means adopting other methods and approaches to make something new every time. [11/22/04]

What are some of the writing/publishing careers that have inspired you, and why?

Paul Ash, monologist and publisher of Sniffy Linings: Hum. It would be dishonest not to mention Burroughs first. Though I hesitate because it took me three years to beat the tag of being a Burroughs impressionist. Some not getting the line between influence and emulation. But this was mostly given to me by people who maybe read Can of Air [early grit chapbook] and never saw me perform.

The work of Spalding Gray has definitely been a source. Not only because he does monologues, which have been a definite influence even in my deciding to try that first one sans paper. But also because he’s a very conversational writer and he also tends to make Time jumps throughout his texts.

Other than some others including, Allen Ginsberg, Laurie Anderson, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, Ted L. Nancy, some of my influences are local people involved with the group of writers I hang out with such as Mykle Hansen, Kevin Sampsell, Carlton Mellick and Mark Russell. They each have very defined styles which I respect quite a bit. [12/24/02]

What book/writer/publisher has most influenced your own writing/publishing efforts?

Lauren Cerand, Cupcake Reading Series Co-Founder: I am continually influenced by the incredible artistic uproar of the last hundred years: Black Mountain College, The Evergreen Review, and The Beats (Gary Snyder, Kenneth Rexroth and Jack Kerouac, in particular, as well as their equally talented and lesser-known female peers — Women of the Beat Generation is one of my most favorite books) spring immediately to mind. In terms of publishers, Softskull and Akashic Books really seem to have struck a balance between supporting often risky creative endeavors and maintaining a reasonable bottom line. There are so many books that inspire me, but I often return to The Collected Writings of Robert Motherwell and The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, by Whistler, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. DV, (Diana Vreeland’s autobiography, edited by George Plimpton), definitely made me grateful for my own fabulously independent streak, even if it has made me feel like a bit of an outsider now and then. She’s an eternal inspiration, and so is Fleur Cowles, the brilliant mind behind the short-lived Flair magazine. And, of course, I also adore that other short-lived magazine, The Smart Set. [11/15/04]

What book/writer/publisher has most influenced your own writing/publishing efforts?

Writer David Barringer: When I was young, Donald Barthelme infected my approach to writing, but I’ve learned to filter out the crippling aspects of his style from the more beneficial aspects of his approach in general to writing and collage and creative fearlessness. In my writing lately about my family, I have E.B. White in the back of my mind, his careful pace and close observation and readiness to allow himself to be amused or bemused by the facts of daily life… I realized just now that these were two New Yorker writers, and so I’m horrified enough to include other writers now. The old guys: Rabelais, Cervantes, Voltaire, Petronius, Diderot. Then Nietzsche, who deserves a sentence fragment to himself. Gogol, Kafka, Chekhov. Then Thomas Berger, Joseph Heller, Flann O’Brien. Want some contemporary folks? David Markson, Tibor Fischer, Amy Hempel, Denis Johnson, Mark Richard… [12/03/03]

What book/writer/publisher has most influenced your own writing/publishing efforts?

Adam Voith, author of Stand Up: Ernie Baxter, You’re Dead and Publisher of TNI Books: Book: Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy Not that Auster’s writing is anything like my own, but that book just had a very profound effect on me, and I fell in love with the idea of novels with that book.

Publisher: McSweeney’s. How, as an independent publisher, can you say anything but McSweeney’s? Their a fantastic model of how things can be done independently, without all the bullshit. They’ve built a very loyal audience, and continued to focus on the most important aspect of publishing (the books!). [6/30/03]

What book/writer/publisher has most influenced your own writing/publishing efforts?

Todd Dills, Editor of the The 2nd Hand: The question is a strange one, as it seems threefold to me. What Book, What Writer, and What publisher, yes?

Anyway: I think immediately of Ellison’s Invisible Man with its rhetoric of the ‘principle’ of American freedom and equality, a thing I was–when I first read it in high school and increasingly on subsequent readings–aware had been eroded to the point of not existing. I think that what the independent press is doing is taking the principle of American freedom and exercising it at face value, which is how it should be exercised. The success of Mr. Jim Munroe and many long conversations with him have likewise been quite inspiring re: putting my own work out there to effect. [6/9/03]