Hey Guys! So today I am introducing you to the awesome D.A. Adams, author of The Brotherhood of Dwarves. He has written a wonderful post for you all about his greatest influence. Hope you enjoy it, and we’d love to hear YOUR greatest influence too!
My Greatest Influence by D.A. Adams
In terms of influence, Harry Crews had the greatest impact on my career. I got to meet him at the University of Memphis when I was 19 or 20. At that stage of my development, I honestly had no idea what I was doing other than wanting to write, and because I had grown up in a rural environment in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, I often felt like a misfit in the university setting. Though many of my classmates were more intelligent than I, few of them had the life experiences I did, and there weren’t many people in the English Department with whom I could relate. At that age, my confidence was fairly fragile, and that feeling of not fitting in created huge amounts of self-doubt, causing me to question my worthiness to pursue writing as a career.
Then, Harry Crews came to town. He was in his late 50’s then but was still an imposing presence with his Mohawk and gritty drawl. He had grown up a sharecropper and served in Korea as a Marine. He had spent a lifetime around bikers, weightlifters, circus freaks, and various other misfits. He was also a pretty successful novelist with a cult following and international acclaim. I got to eat breakfast with him, and we spent nearly an hour talking about everything except writing. He reminded me of my grandfather, not in a sentimental, nostalgic way, but rather in that both men were tough as iron, raised in hard times, tested in infantry combat, and real in a way few people will ever know, myself included.
After that experience, I no longer felt as much self-doubt about my opportunities to become a writer. There was living proof that someone who didn’t grow up in a cul-de-sac and attend private schools could make it in this industry, and ever since that morning, I’ve believed that I, too, could find success as a novelist. That one hour at breakfast did as much to shape me into the writer I am today as all the years of education combined because I learned that being a writer is much more than having knowledge or being intelligent. It’s about dedication, discipline, hard work, and a good imagination.
I went on to read most of his books. My favorites are The Gypsy’s Curse, The Knockout Artist, Body, A Feast of Snakes, and All We Need of Hell. There’s a realism and a grit to his work that moves me deeply; few other writers have spoken to me on such a personal level. I recognize that there are more talented, more refined writers in this world, and my connection to his work is as much about our similar socioeconomic backgrounds and that hour long conversation at breakfast, but there will always be a place in my heart for him and his work because of the influence. On March 28, 2012, Harry Crews passed away at 76, and even though he probably never remembered me after that day we met, I mourn for him like I’ve lost a family member. Rest in peace, Harry. You were one hell of a unique individual.
So there we have it! What a lovely post! If you’d like to know more about D.A. Adams, you can find his bio and books, here!
And, if this inspired you enough to pick up his book, watch out on Amazon and on my twitter tomorrow and wednesday as his book; The Brotherhood of Dwarves will be available for FREE.
What about you guys though? What is YOUR greatest influence?