I don't have the gift of writing fiction, or if I do, it hasn't exactly manifested itself yet. This may be a good thing since the kind of novel I'd be tempted to attempt would be so multi layered and symbolic that it would get on everyone's nerves.
As far as a recipe of literary influences would go into the mix, ingredients would be a cup of Melville, some Kafka and Faulkner, a pinch of Borges, and a quart of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It seems like the genre of magical realism that Garcia Marquez perfected would be the appropriate genre for writing about West Virginia.
Garcia Marquez was also the master of the opening line. Consider this one from his masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude:
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember the distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
That's a hard one to top. I guess I'll stick to blogging and the occasional op-ed.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: I apologize to email subscribers. A draft post accidentally got sent out before its time. The blogger program has the irritating habit of going off half-cocked sometimes.
LIGHTS GOING OUT. Krugman's latest argues that skewed priorities are damaging the country.
A HARD WALK. Here's an interesting article about how the WV Council of Churches deals with mining issues in the heart of coal country.
AWAKENINGS over various kinds are among the themes of the Rev. Jim Lewis' latest edition of Notes from Under the Fig Tree.
GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED