Old Moon

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What's in the background

I got to thinking about the stories I grew up with, and why they were the ones we had read to us. (I have no siblings, but a younger cousin and I were with our grandmother almost daily until we went to school.) In our case, we were lucky to be with a woman whose erudition was amazing, considering that she was a small child during the Civil War, and must have had precious little formal education in Tennessee. But the mere fact that she was from Tennessee (as were our fathers) made an indelible impression.
I wonder whether, growing up in Manhattan as we did, we would ever have known B'rer Rabbit and B'rer Fox if it hadn't been for Grandmother. Similarly, would we have had Kenneth Graham from whom to learn mythology long before someone in a classroom put those stories before us in a context that might have robbed them of their drama?
It would be interesting to find out from other writers what unintended influences may (or may not) show up in their work.

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