Archives for 14 August 2012

Michael Chabon on influence and fan fiction

And yet there is a degree to which, just as all criticism is in essence Sherlockian, all literature, highbrow or low, from the Aeneid onward, is fan fiction. That is why Harold Bloom’s notion of the anxiety of influence has always rung hollow to me. Through parody and pastiche, allusion and homage, retelling and reimagining the stories that were told before us and that we have come of age loving — amateurs — we proceed, seeking out the blank places in the map that our favorite writers, in their greatness and negligence, have left for us, hoping to pass on to our own readers — should we be lucky enough to find any — some of the pleasure that we ourselves have taken in the stuff we love: to get in the game. All novels are sequels; influence is bliss.

—Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends

This is exactly what made me want to become a writer, and why I persevered; I have never seen it so eloquently or accurately described.