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Day 04 – Your favorite book ever

Oh my god, are you kidding? How does anybody answer that? I have a whole page dedicated to some of my favorite books. Some.

There’s no way I could pick just one book that stands out above all others; hell, I can’t even pick one I can say is my favorite this month. Which tells me a) I probably read too much (if such a thing is possible), and b) agonizing over this any longer will get me nowhere.

And yet, I gotta give some answer.

So, I’m going to modify this one a little. This was my favorite book as a child, and, looking through every longer-than-10-pages story I’ve written since I was, say, 12 — this is the one that’s had the most direct influence on my writing.

There are usually a few books you can pinpoint that you read young that really shaped the way you think of stories, and probably of yourself as well. I read Barbara Helen Berger’s GWINNA when I was about 6 or 7, I think. It was hardly the first (or the last) fairy tale style story I read, but it haunted me, even at that relatively oblivious age. There are no battles, no real enemies, and the traditional hero’s quest is kind of turned on it’s headΒ  into a self-reflective journey with a few challenges on the way — and that very structure is part of what makes the book so great, I think.

Well. That and the amazing imagery. Gwinna is a girl who grew up believing she was deformed, because she doesn’t know she has wings. One day she discovers them, and leaves to learn her true origins, how to fly, and basically what to do with herself, not to put too fine a point on it.

Like I said, no traditional hero’s quest here. It’s a remarkable book, but there’s no big moral at the end. And yet, all those themes of being different down to the bone, of alienation, of finding out that the difference is what makes you special and having a purpose you have to discover — well, somehow this is the story that really planted them in my messy-haired young head, and now I can see them (in similar prose, and with occasionally similar imagery, yay for psychology) in every MC I write.

So, yeah. There you go. Maybe not my favorite of favorites, as I must insist I don’t have just one of those, but definitely one of the strongest influences on my writing.