Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Raven Man

If I had to pick an author who exerted at least a modicum of influence on me as a youth, it would be Edgar Allan Poe.  I read his short stories and poems with wide-eyed wonder.  They captured my imagination like nothing else I read, the more prolific Nathaniel Hawthorne perhaps trailing in a distant second place.  True enough, his style is rather archaic by today's standard—elongated sentences dripping with exquisite verbiage—but I loved it and still do.  What I’m writing here is rather impressionistic, as I didn’t reread Poe lately or dig into any research.  I suppose his character C. Auguste Dupin and the detective stories planted a seed of interest in murder mysteries and true crime docudramas.  His poem “Annabel Lee” moved me even as a youth.  Of course his gothic horror stories of revenge, fear, hate, and the grotesque come most readily to mind when I (and just about everyone else) think of Poe.  Two other monumental figures were born in 1809: Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin.  No doubt they’ve shaped the world I now inhabit, an America without slavery and a scientific view that is slowly but surely supplanting earlier concepts of our species’ origins.  Still, the tragic mustachioed figure who mysteriously died in the streets of Baltimore is like a soul brother.  I share his romantic sensibility and melancholy disposition.  I’ve come to find over the years that his writing style and the content of his work have influenced me more than I had realized.