Speaking of The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote,
it grows like a seed in the dark out of the leaf-mould of the mind: out of all that has been seen or thought or read, that has long been forgotten, descending into the deeps.
I think of this remark whenever people ask writers about their “influences.” Writers aren’t always aware of their most important influences. Their answer will always be incomplete because they can only speak to their conscious influences–to the writers that they are trying to be influenced by, that they hopeto be influenced by. As Tolkien says, everything you observe, think, or read goes onto the compost heap that decomposes into a humus that ultimately nourishes new life.Read More