I was supposed to write this blog post for my Creative Writing seminar a week ago, but then life got in the way and it never happened. I did, on the other hand, think pretty deeply about the answer to the question we used as a prompt - Who are your literary parents? - and as I like to say, better late than never!
Honestly though, I initially had no clue about how to answer the question at hand. While I've been an avid reader and writer my entire life, there isn't anyone in particular that's inspired me to the point where I'd single them out as a "literary parent." Well, I suppose, with the exception of Walt Disney and the writers behind some of our favorite animated films. And if we're citing Walt as a literary parent in regards to fairy tales, we really should be citing the writers of the original stories, and that's where things get deep.
One could say that I don't know precisely who my literary parents are because it's unlikely anyone knows who they are. If the root of my literary background stems from fairy tales, my literary parents are sort of like those long-lost relatives someone might try and search out on the TV show Who Do You Think You Are? In the fairy tale tradition, many of the stories we know and love are simply transcriptions from oral fairy tales that were passed down through the centuries. Unfortunately, no one apparently found it important to write the names of the storytellers down, or dig up information as to where the tales came from before that, so much of the knowledge has been lost or destroyed. Aka, a tough break for those of us trying to figure out where our literary parents are.
Of course, some of them are definitive. There are some fairy tales, many fairy tales actually, created by the author that's listed on the front cover, such as Hans Christian Anderson or modern day fairy tale writer Emma Donoghue. Plus, my writing style has certainly been impacted by the show Once Upon A Time, so you could also say that the creators, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, along with their army of writers, have earned a spot on my list of literary parents as well, but the point still stands. No on in particular jumps out as the literary parent, and here's an additional thought as to why that may be:
Somewhere out there, there's a quote that talks about how we're influenced by every person we meet, even if it's only a small influence or, perhaps, no apparent influence at all. I'm not entirely sure it would be fair to say that if you'd never interacted or "randomly stood next to each other and didn't even notice each other that one time" that you entire life would change, but fate does seem to work in mysterious ways. Regardless, if you apply this theory to literature, you could say that every author I've ever read is one of my literary parents, because they've all impacted me in some way. Some may have made a major impact, like the authors of fairy tales, and some may play only a minor role, like the authors of the books I read but don't remember reading in middle school, but the important part is that they all, in one way or another, have influenced my writing.
So who are my literary parents? I'd say everyone, and while that may seem a bit messed up biologically, this isn't a science class, so who cares?
Have a magical day!