The writers that inspire me have a spare prose and poetry style and express a love a nature. When I was doing a search on Verlyn Klinkenborg this morning I found out that people make fun of his writing and say it isn't about anything. He writes for the New York Times and is a professor, which comforts me. I think people are missing the point of what he is trying to say.
Another favorite writer that I discovered only a few years ago is Wendell Berry. He describes rural life in the 30s and 40s, a life I never experienced but can appreciate, because that was my grandparents life. Even though by the time I knew my grandma she was a city dwelling widow, remnants of that rural life were still evident in her home, her dress, and her cooking. It is a treasure to read Hannah Coulter and Jayber Crow to envision a life that doesn't exist anymore. Wendell Berry is criticized because he left the farm to be a scholar. Critics think that makes his point moot, but if he wasn't a scholar, he wouldn't be able to make his point. Ironic.
Through yearly readings of Charlotte's Web with my third graders, I am in awe of E. B. White's writing. I found a copy of his Essays in a used book store and treasure it. He also can bring back a time and place that no longer exists with so much vividness, I feel that I am there living it.
These 3 authors have a way of making me slow down, look at nature, appreciate the seasons, and remember what a blessing this physical world is. It is all too easy to be caught up in schedules, internet, and the artificial world of television and forget all about the natural world around us and the peace it can give.
I tend to gravitate to older writers, for various reasons: less vulgarity, classic story lines, a feeling that, just perhaps, I was born in the wrong time. I love the vast information available to me on the internet. It has opened up a world of learning to me that was inaccessible before, but it also has taken me away from my beloved books.
I stumbled across the mystery writer Josephine Tey awhile back, and The Franchise Affair is a book I return to again, and again. It is dated, as are some of her other books, it is a simple story with a complex underlying plot. There is something about the story that appeals to me, and of course it has a romantic ending.
In college I discovered I, Keturah by Ruth Wolff, which could be considered corny by some standards. Keturah's life goes through different phases in the book, and a line that a mentor tells her has stayed with me all my life: the cream always rises to the top. I am still waiting for it to rise, more or less but that is a topic for another day!