Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
A strange thought occurred to me yesterday. Who, I asked myself, is the first writer to make an impression on me as a writer?
As they say on the television machine, The answer may surprise you.
First of all, let me say that I was a fairly late bloomer where reading is concerned. I did the requisite book reports & such. I did my time with Mark Twain excerpts and books geared toward kids (one of my favorites was Wind In The Willows), but I really wasn’t drawn to reading till this guy came into my consciousness. I was thirteen, believe it or not.
Until then, no persona was really linked in my mind with the concept of “writer.” I hadn’t heard of Kurt Vonnegut yet. Joseph Heller. Kesey. They ones who would become my models later on. Norman Mailer was off the map. Flannery O’Connor? Nope. Not yet.
So it wasn’t until November 1970 that a person identified as a writer got inside me and got things churning. Make that December 1970, when Life Magazine described the events surrounding the ritual suicide of Yukio Mishima.
Honest to God, when I read that story and pored over the unreal photographs of this completely foreign figure trying to get a coup started at a military installation, something clicked in my head. It wasn’t: “Writers are awesome; I want to be a writer.” Maybe it was more like, “I thought writers sat at desks and typed. But look at this guy. Is he a soldier or an actor? What does he want? Why did he do this? I can’t stop thinking about him.” (And, of course, being thirteen, I was morbidly fascinated with the whole idea of seppuku.)
I know this doesn’t make sense, but something about Yukio Mishima introduced to me, at least through some kind of obscure metaphor, the idea that I wanted to write. Writing has power. Writing has drama. Writing is risky and shocking.
You wouldn’t know it to read my stuff, but this is the guy who lit my fuse. Yukio Mishima.
Who did it to you?