Boa constrictors from the inside.



Today I got an email with a question about my novel, Waiting for Spring:

Anne of Green Gables obviously had a big impact on Tess, and your use of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence hints at Jason’s struggle to connect with his father (or his father’s memory), but some parts of Waiting for Spring remind me of The Little Prince. Is this the case? And if so was it conscious?

–Lisa, Maine

I read The Little Prince for the first time when I was nine, the second time when I was nineteen, and I’ve read it several times since then. It’s probably obvious that I love the book, but any influence on Waiting For Spring was unconscious…except for this passage from Chapter 3:

And anyone unlucky enough to ask me that fatal question [“what do you do for a living”] without preceding it with at least two others–for example, what books have you read lately or who’s your favorite ballplayer–was answered with:

‘I’m a lumberjack.’

Because any person with a greater interest in what it is I do to earn enough money to afford rent and music and beer and food and jeans–rather than in the fact that I think Bill Lee is the coolest guy ever to climb onto the pitchers mound–deserves to think I spend my days in the woods cutting down trees.

It’s an homage to this, from The Little Prince, chapter 4:

When you tell [grown ups] that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you, “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?” Instead, they demand, “How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.

I can also say that Tess is a prime example of what happens when a person of artistic temperment grows up surrounded by people who see hats instead of boa constrictors from the outside.

A little aside (and a confession) regarding Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence. Originally, I used it as a hats-off to a buddy of mine (who is a frequent visitor of this blog.) He’s been trying to get me to read it for a few years now. So when I needed a cool, quirky book for a minor character to read that would show some hidden depth, that’s the first one that came to mind. It was only later, after perusing ZAMM myself, I caught the father-son angle and decided it would be a good way to show Jason’s internal struggle; thus I had Tess mention that it was one of his favorites.

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About R.J. Keller

R. J. Keller is the author of Waiting For Spring. An avid independent movie enthusiast, she was Managing Editor of The Movie Fanatic website and created episodes of the writer-centric YouTube series, Inside The Writers' Studio, with author Kristen Tsetsi. She co-hosted Book Chatter with Stacey Cochran from 2011-2014. She lives in Central Maine with her family, where she enjoys gardening, collecting geeky memorabilia, and watching other people cook. View all posts by R.J. Keller

2 responses to “Boa constrictors from the inside.

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