Models, thoughts

In no particular order, at the moment, to emulate when I write my own stuff, non-exclusive list:

Literary idols (English):

  • Hilary Mantel — awareness / integration of past vs. present
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald — evocative detail, willingness to be in pain, risk stereotype, irony
  • Willa Cather — spare language, view of landscape
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie — unflinching delivery
  • Rachel Cusk — melancholy, philosophical detachment
  • Edith Wharton — power of observation, sense of narrative inevitability, elegant language

Literary idols (not writing in English):

  • Walter Kempowski — spare emotion
  • Isabel Allende — narrative sweep


  • Mozart (composer) — aching simplicity
  • Moonlight (film) — pacing
  • Ruby in Paradise (film) — not rushed
  • Erik Satie (composer) — aimlessness
  • Ravel (composer) — lush harmony
  • Henk Helmantel (painter) — light
  • Domenico Ghirlandaio (painter) — knowingness of the faces
  • Velazquez (painter) — connection in the eyes


  • Wolf Hall
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Purple Hibiscus
  • Death Comes for the Archbishop
  • Outline
  • Ethan Frome

Tempting, but be aware of:

  • Thomas Mann — sentences out of control
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald — didactic symbolism
  • David Foster Wallace — observation out of control, wit for the sake of wit
  • Jonathan Franzen — need to say something “important”, too much message
  • Poulenc — too much need for conventional resolution
  • Breughel — lost in the grotesque
  • Karl Ove Knausgaard — ego out of control

Foods to emulate:

  • Overripe tomatoes
  • saltiest cottage cheese
  • asparagus
  • jasmine rice
  • tom kha gai
  • apple-lemon-ginger juice
  • Wiener schnitzel
  • Flanders red ale
  • Meyer lemon
  • capers
  • baba ghanouj
  • all the foods I haven’t eaten yet

~ by Servetus on March 7, 2017.

6 Responses to “Models, thoughts”

  1. What fun! Thanks for sharing these. I agree with you on all of these (a few of those authors I have not read, though). As you know our taste is VERY similar! I would have to add Johann Sebastian Bach to the composer list, and I have an inexplicable attraction to Rembrandt’s works. I cannot even say why I love his paintings, I just do.


    • I don’t disagree about Bach and yet I don’t “feel” him in the same way. Did you see that an archivist discovered a daguerrotype of Constance Weber Mozart this week?

      I thought about Vermeer.


  2. With “In the Mood for Love” – Shigeru Umebayashi , I send you good violin vibes. The repetition facilitates the envoutement, the letting go and imagination, inspiration to find your own path. Meanwhile you can smell
    Essential oil of hemlock’s diffusion (Tsuga canadensis). A slow waltz to dream to perform with…


  3. …all the foods I haven’t eaten yet!! Love.


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