We are all born blank slates with nothing but potential before us. The things we are exposed to set us along our paths. The things we see and read and experience influence us. This week, find out what authors and books influenced Anjie Harrte.
They saw me through life
The authors, who inspired me, saw me through life; from those days of learning words and forming sentences, to battling adolescence, to finding my identity and my genre, they all saw me through life.
I was first introduced to Enid Blyton’s work when I was about five or six years old. I had gotten some old books that my mother’s boss was throwing out, since their children were now adults. I soon got lost in the little worlds of pixies and mushroom houses. I cannot place my finger on the name of any of the books I read under this author. But I can see some of the pages from her work as clear as if it was yesterday. She inspired me to dream and imagine worlds beneath my own. I soon went in search of people living under my floor, under leaves in my yard, in holes in the mud; when I didn’t find them, I made up stories about them. Blyton’s stories set me on the path of imagination, on the path of dreaming while wide awake.
When I was fifteen years old I read these lines: Now is the winter of our discontent, Made glorious summer by this son of York; the first lines to the soliloquy from Richard the third, the first line I would ever read that was written by the great Shakespeare. I studied this play and fell in love with Shakespeare’s work. From the dramatic irony, to his wit, to his great command of words; I wanted to be like him. I wanted to pen words that fit just right together, that created such vivid images within the minds of readers; that touched the very souls of individuals, that would be studied in educational institutions for years to come, that would outlive me. I went on two years later to study Richard the second and to meet another great king from another era; to become lost again in Shakespeare’s world. With time came the sonnets and oh how they wooed me. Could I ever write lines like, “As cruel cause that did the spirit soon haste, From th’unhappy bones, by great sighs stirred,” could I make words flow the way Shakespeare did? It didn’t matter, I was lost in him. At seventeen I was in love, I was in a literature class with my heart thumping against my chest, my palms sweaty and my voice in my throat; I was charged with writing replies to Shakespeare’s sonnets and oh how I enjoyed it. It is a shame that today I cannot find any of those very sonnets I wrote, letting him know how his words touch me, how I imagined him whispering against my neck, comparing me to a summer’s rose.
When I wasn’t obsessing about Shakespeare I was admiring the strong female characters in Jane Austen. The women bent on speaking their mind in a time when women didn’t have the freedom to speak much. I was never obsessed with Austen, I was just impressed.
I later got acquainted with John Milton and enjoyed his satirical writing. I was wrapped into every scene of his epic poem ‘Paradise Lost’ and found the subtle way in which he presented a taboo subject, laudable.
Of course on the side I was reading a lot of Nora Roberts and Danielle Steel. A teenage girl from a tropical Caribbean country lost in the descriptions of burly Caucasian men. I would move on from these novels to find that in real life I was attracted to the opposite of these descriptions. However I would find that my writing style resonates a lot with that of Nora and Danielle. Always a little romance tinged with a little mystery, or a killer/murder, or something tragic that creates my climax. No matter how I try to stray or write something different, I find my genre is the same as the works of Nora and Danielle; contemporary women’s fiction.
Enid Blyton was the first author I ever read, or could remember reading and is the first author to create the wide eyed dreams for this writer. But Shakespeare melted my heart and inspired me to love it and to express my love in it. John Milton prodded me to not be ashamed of what I write. Nora Roberts and Danielle Steel showed me that there is no such thing as mediocre writing. To write is what I am, not what I do.
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Anjie Harrte: Romance with some Caribbean flavour
Anjie Harrte is a twenty nine year old mother of one who resides in sunny Guyana, South America. Sometime between running a small business, having a full time job and being a mother and partner, she finds time to pursue her passion for creating stories. Anjie dreams up stories of contemporary fiction splashed with some romance, a little dose of murder or an ounce of suspense, and sometimes when no one is looking she dashes in a little twist. When she isn’t doing any of that, she is decorating a cake, knitting a chair back or sewing her latest design. Anjie even finds time to lurk around and stalk people and pages on facebook and you too can stalk her if you like at Anjie’s Facebook Page, or you can follow her on twitter @anjieharrte or keep updated with her writing at Author Anjie Harrte, or check out one of her stories online for free at The Storytime Trysts Blog.