Seymour Britchky, for his tart, bright, and straight voice showcased in his restaurant reviews from the 1980s.
Richard Critchfield, for his nonfiction narratives, his roving, vagabond soul and his respect for humanity.
Dominick Dunne, for his reporter’s eye and novelist’s sensibility, and for how easily he moved between the gritty and the glitterati.
Joan Didion, for her rigor and dead-on accuracy, and for her lack of sentimentality. Her memoir on the loss of her husband, for example, was the coldest and most clinical look at grief that I’d imagine possible.
My friend S, the most beautiful woman in the world as I think of her, for her precision with language, her storytelling arts, and her grace. Hers is an elegance so profound that she has been known—true story, I swear—to turn a blind’s man head upon her entrance at a restaurant.
Alice Waters, MFK Fisher, and Julia Child for being at the forefront of what was possible in the food revolution they birthed, and for mixing memoir with method in their work, a life and career available for inspection, nothing held back.
In thinking through this blog, I tried to meld what I admired from these writers into something fresh and distinctly mine. A little from this one, a little from that one, and I filled notebooks before my concept began to take shape. But it all began with a study of my betters. I could triple this list, but you get the idea.
So, who or what influences you?
Comments welcome and edited to include first names only, and website, if provided; never your email. Photo credits: reflection (left) and freedom (right) by evilkosmoz .