Monday, March 2, 2015

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #315 -- Nostalgia Filter

How much does a sense of nostalgia influence (or inspire, 
and is there a difference) your current body of work?

I'll admit that I'm a nostalgia-filtered person. I can't help it. And it's getting even stronger the older I get. I get nostalgic about my MeMe's house. I get nostalgic about the easy-reader, illustrated classic paperbacks I grew up reading. I get nostalgic about my Childcraft Encyclopedia set (plus the first few years of annuals) I devoured during my childhood. I get nostalgic about things like my Aunt Sarah's salt and pepper shakers that she gave Lisa and me as a wedding present.

And yes, I also get nostalgic about the things that influenced me as a writer.

In short. I'm a sap. Plain and simple.

But if I'm doing my job right as a writer, I'm trying to keep that nostalgia to mere inspiration and not actually influence on my work. A case in point: Reading C.S. Lewis made me want to be a writer. But my first stories were so influenced by Lewis that they are clearly not my stories. They're me trying to be him.

The same could go for all this pulp work I'm doing currently but for me having to constantly reset my nostalgia filter while I create. It would be way too easy to just write these characters the way I envision them in my memories, but that's not fair to my readers, nor is it fair to the characters and concepts. Things grow. Things change. Things mature.

So, yes, I want to write stories that feel like something familiar, but not merely something familiar. I want my stories to go beyond that and say something new, something memorable, something intrinsic to the reader.