I open Leaf Storm, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and my heart kind of flutters.
I am starving.
After decades of denying myself the power of story, I am reading more and more these days. The stories are waking up something essential. But this essential thing has been asleep for a very long time--maybe since the day I was born—so its sound is faint, easier to feel than hear. I vow not to read anything that can’t spark the “I have to read that” sensation within. There are too many books, and not enough time. Leaf Storm has been sitting on my coffee table, forever. Patient.
When I write, what I read influences me tremendously. I am aware of this, so I try to be careful about what I read when I am writing. It will inevitably seep through, the good and the bad.But as I said, I am starving, so I open Leaf Storm and read:
Suddenly, as if a whirlwind had set down roots in the center of town, the banana company arrived, pursued by the leaf storm. A whirling leaf storm had been stirred up, formed out of the human and material dregs of other towns …In the midst of that blizzard, the tempest of unknown faces ... we were the outsiders, the newcomers … we knew that the leaf storm was sure to come someday, but we did not count on its drive. So when we felt the avalanche arrive, the only thing we could do was set a plate with a knife and fork behind the door and sit patiently waiting for the newcomers to get to know us …