As I try to compile a list of artist who have inspired me, Tennyson pops into my head–not only as a part of the list, but his line from “Ulysses”: I am a part of all that I have met. How true, but to give you more of an idea of who I am, I will compile a short and odd one nonetheless.
Tolkien is there of course, bot for helping me discover a love of reading (and fantasy in particular) at the relatively late age of twenty two, and also for really showing the world how to create a world of your own. Dumas is there as well, it was he who interested me in historical fiction as a genre and taught me the valuable lesson, that for every happy ending there are many, many more tragic ones, and that “There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of the one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, [my friend] that we may appreciate the enjoyment of life.”
Stephen King: although I have never much cared for his writing, he is one of my favorite story tellers of all times. J. Michael Staczynski, George Lucas, and Gene Roddenberry, also for their excellence in storytelling, as well as showing my how powerful a device it can be to use other worlds to teach us more about both our own world and the inner world of self.
Probably the biggest inspiration to my writing so far, and also the latest entry to the list (I found it only four short years ago) is the world of Zalanthas (www.armageddon.org) and its wonderful community of players and staff. They have taught me, in addition to many, many valueable lessons, how absolutely valuable each and every character in a story is, no matter how little ‘screen time’ they have; you can never know too much about a character, no matter how little you plan on telling the reader. Thank you for letting me add to the story of Zalanthas in my own little ways (all sixty-plus of them).
This is, like I said in the begining, only a very short list. We really are both a part and a sum of all we have met.
Thank you for reading,
J. Lewis Williams