Each day this week I’m going to post a quote from a book on writing and then a few questions. If you have any thoughts regarding the quote or the questions, leave them in the comments. On Saturday I’ll highlight some of my favorite responses made throughout the week.
“Hemingway studied, as models, the novels of Knut Hamsun and Ivan Turgenev…Ralph Ellison studied Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. Thoreau loved Homer; Eudora Welty loved Chekhov. Faulkner described his debt to Sherwood Anderson and Joyce; E.M. Forster, his debt to Jane Austen and Proust. By contrast, if you ask a twenty-one-year-old poet whose poetry he likes, he might say, unblushing, ‘Nobody’s.’ In his youth, he has not yet discovered that poets like poetry, and novelists like novels; he himself likes only the role…” (Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life)
What do you think about imitation? A helpful tool for aspiring artists? A poor excuse for plagiarism? Which writers or artists or musicians do you like to learn from?