Every author has their inspiration, someone or something they learn from and emulate until they learn their own style. C.S. Lewis was inspired by George Macdonald, Tolkien from Norse Literature particularly “Beowulf,” and Lot from Carver, the author of the short story “Cathedral” we read towards the beginning of the semester, the first and so far only time I have ever run into Mr. Raymond Carver.
Lott describes Carver’s writings as focusing on the common man, taking the author out of the picture and let the people have their words. I can see that. I remember how fully immersed the story was in the main character’s point of view, how we learned everything about his surroundings through the lens he used to observe the world. Other’s actions were translated through that lens, only things he considered worth describing were ever described and only in his own language. Carver successfully got us under the skin of his main character, helping us understand the actions and emotions he was experiencing.
Lott seems the type who would understand “Cathedral.” I, unfortunately, was not ready to fully appreciate the work, only looking at the basic plot instead of his character or the deeper actions going on, the subtext. When I read a story, the subtext only becomes clear to me if I enjoy the characters and if the plot makes sense, if at all. I’m still developing that skill, though it sounds like Lott would be very skillful in that area.
That skill might have also been developed simply because Carver was his inspiration. Inspirations lead and the inspired’s work is going to reflect the strengths and weaknesses of who inspired them. Lott’s was Carver, making him more aware of subtext and full immersion into a character.