Five artists: Matt Cairns

      Five artists who have helped shape the course of my life   C.S.Lewis (deceased), author of children’s dreams As a kid, I couldn’t get enough of the Narnia Chronicles. I owned the entire series, reading each book more than once. Monsters, magic, mythical creatures, with real human kids in amongst it. Real human kids! (You have no idea how many wardrobes I climbed into, and how gutted I was when the back wall was, well, a back wall.) And then there was Aslan, the talking Lion. How cool was he? Everyone had their favorites. Mine was The Voyage of the Dawntreader. I can’t quite remember why (old age does that), but I think it...

Five that influenced me: Trey R Barker

Mom’s bookshelves were a wonderland of universes. Harlan Ellison’s Again, Dangerous Visions (the title of which scared me to death when I was exceedingly young), Fahrenheit 451, The Stand, Down To A Sunless Sea. Simak and Clarke, Hemingway and Steinbeck; Bruce Catton’s Civil War trilogy: Mr. Lincoln’s Army, Glory Road, and A Stillness at Appomattox. Our house was the biggest library on the block and she made sure I had a public library card when I was in elementary school. She looked at every book selection I made from both the public and school libraries, read most of them, and even read the first book I ever checked out on my own with...

Five Things That Changed My World: Paul Charles

THE TOP FIVE THAT CHANGED MY WORLD. PLEASE PLEASE ME - The Beatles Yes there may very well have been better singles that followed from the Fabs but the impact that this infectious classic single made on me at the time can never be denied and nor would I try. ASTRAL WEEKS - Van Morrison Might still just be the perfect example of an album, long-player, CD, call it what you will, that has ever been released. Astral Weeks is also one of the best collections of (connecting) short stories ever published. TWO LORRIES – Seamus Heaney From his excellent The Spirit Level and to my eyes and ears a beautiful filmic short story of small town rural...

Kurt Busiek: 5 Books That Changed My Life

5 Books That Changed my Life 1. THE SCARECROW OF OZ by L. Frank Baum. I’m not sure why this one was the one to hit me, in particular — we had a beat-up copy of THE LAND OF OZ at home, and that’s the one I read over and over and over again — but THE SCARECROW OF OZ, which opened with Cap’n Bill and Trot getting swept from their boat by a storm and finding their way to Oz, was the book that first inspired me to write a novel of my own, when I was about seven. The novel was about a guinea pig on a toy boat that got derivatively swept away to Oz, and I got about a page and a half into it (including illustration!)...

5 Forgotten Writers Whose Works Inspired Me When I...

  5 Forgotten Writers Whose Works Inspired Me When I Was Much Younger   When I say certain writers are forgotten, that doesn’t mean they’re unknown. It just means that hardly anyone reads them these days. Some of them were famous in their time. Some were considered quite literary, but they never made it into college classrooms, or if they did, they were soon removed. Some of the things they wrote might not even be any good, but that didn’t matter to me at the time I was reading them, and it doesn’t matter to me now. Why? When I was growing up, nobody ever told me that there were good books and bad books and mediocre books. There were...

5 Things Writers Get Wrong About Cars & Drivi...

  5 Things Writers Get Wrong About Cars and Driving     When, as a pre-teen, I began reading books written for adults, one of the first things I noticed was that every author was a damn botanist.   Each descriptive passage, it seemed, lavished attention on Black-Eyed Susan, Pink Corydalis, Golden Jerusalem, Lamb’s Foot, Osage … you get the idea. These names meant nothing to me, and that’s still the case: I know roses, tulips, and nothing else about flora. Wait, I also know both types of trees: pine trees and not-pine trees.   I’m not proud of this ignorance; I’m merely confessing it, and hazarding a guess that I’m...