“…they put their fingerprint on your imagination, in your heart.”

September 25, 2010 @ 6:57 pm | Filed under: Books

Bruce Springsteen on songwriting:

“I said there’s other guys who play guitar well, there’s other guys who front really well, there’s other rocking bands out there. But the writing and the imagining of a world, that’s a particular thing, you know. That’s a single fingerprint. All the film-makers we love, all the writers we love, all the songwriters we love, they put their fingerprint on your imagination, in your heart. And on your soul. That was something that I felt touched by, and I thought, well, I wanted to do that.”

Makes me think of whose fingerprints are on my imagination. Lewis, Tolkien, Baum, to be sure. L.M. Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Maud Hart Lovelace. Madeleine L’Engle. Anne McCaffrey. Fred Chappell. Shakespeare, in ways I am probably not even aware of. Homer. The spinners of the old tales collected by Grimm and Lang. Noel Streatfeild. Thomas Hardy made some deep impressions during that one phase in college, but time has worn them fairly smooth. Austen. Most recently, Byatt, whose dark Children’s Book I cannot seem to shake off. Oh, Stephen King, no denying it: especially The Stand. Flannery O’Connor, but more Mystery and Manners than her stories. John Fowles, The Ebony Tower: that pair of weasels, the terrible ribbon of red. The Secret Garden. (Now I’m darting back and forth in time.)

Hmm, my mind always runs first to books. Filmmakers and songwriters would require more effort of thought. But, yeah, Springsteen, absolutely. Roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair / Well the night’s busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere…


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Comments

9 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. Oh good gravy, I forgot Roald Dahl! Forget *fingerprints*—he takes your imagination and squeezes it like play-dough into the shapes of Vermicious Knids and Everlasting Gobstoppers.

  2. I can so relate to this. And to think, many of the fingerprints were caused by accident. I picked up an Anne McCaffrey book because I liked the dragon on the cover. Over the following years, she shaped my heart. Grimm, Andersen, Shakespeare, Austen, Montgomery, Pratchett, McKillip. Who I am is because of what they wrote.

    And music too … so much so.

    It makes me very conscious as a homeschooling mother of what my own child reads.

  3. Some authors that imprinted on me: Ingalls Wilder, L’Engle, Streatfeild and Lovelace overlap with yours, but I had others: the Brontes, Zilpha Snyder (went through an intense phase of her stuff), Dickens, Harper Lee, Betty Smith, Aiken, E.B. White, Willa Cather. I never read Lewis, Tolkien, Montgomery or Austen until I got older. I reread the Mary O’Hara My Friend Flicka series, every year for years!

  4. Yes, The Children’s Book lingers…I read it about a year ago and it is still sitting in the back of my head, waiting to be re-read I think. It is so dense, so layered and enigmatic. It is a feast. I have been thinking about it a lot this week, comparing it to another ‘big’ book, Franzen’s ‘Freedom’ and to ‘Wolf Hall’, which I loved but does not call and echo the way TCB does.
    Don’t suppose you’d care to post more thoughts on it ? Pretty please ?

  5. Have you read Penelope Fitzgerald?

  6. And what a delight it has been to see YOUR fingerprints all over my daughter’s imagination, and permanently etched in her heart.

  7. Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    How’s that for fingerprints? I read Jabberwocky to my daughter last night for the first, second, and third time, using the creepiest, darkest voice I could muster. This one little gem speaks to me on a level Alice never has. Scares the pants off even me!

  8. I think E.A. Poe put a fingerprint on my imagination, if not my heart. And Oscar Wilde made his mark on my appreciation for language and wordplay. (Plus many of the ones you mentioned, like L’Engle, Lewis, Shakespeare, Grimm, and Dahl)

  9. oh and Kipling. Gotta mention Kipling. Just so stories and Rewards and Fairies and Puck of Pook’s Hill – esepcially these two last, as they are set in Sussex, my home county.
    and Milly Molly Mandy.. and Tove Janson.. and ohmygosh Lucy Boston’s Greene Knowe’s series… and Wilder for me too of course, and Montgomery and Coolidge and Allcot and Shirley Hughes…