Be as careful of the books you read, as of the company you keep; for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as by the latter. - Paxton Hood
I have no idea who this Paxton Hood person is, but his words make a lot of sense.
Leaving the 'company you keep' aside, the books you read can have a profound effect on your brain. And since you really only have one brain, you really should take care about what you shove in there.
When I was a teen, I didn't really understand this. I read anything, watched anything and listened to anything. As a result I have a lot of crap stuffed into the corners of my mind. For instance, I read this fantasy series - I don't recall the titles or the author - which in retrospect was so totally vile it jaded my perspective on romantic relationships for quite a while. (Anyone got a some Ajax? I need to scrub my psyche.)
So, in my writing, I am working very hard to make sure I'm not putting any vile ideas into the minds of the impressionable. This doesn't mean my books are all hearts and flowers. Bad things happen to people. It's a fact of life. But I don't make bad things happen to good people without a really good reason, and I make sure there's justice. And always--ALWAYS--there's a cause. If someone dies, there's a reason for it. (Another example of bad things going into good brains is "The Bridge to Terabithia" - a YA book where one of the main characters dies for no good reason. The damn thing had my daughter on an hour long crying jag. I read it, and the whole thing was pointless, unless it was meant to brainwash kids into believing life is utterly futile.)
Take care what you read. For that matter take care what you watch or you'll end up with Sybil burned into your memory for all eternity (Or Hellraisers, or Leaving Las Vegas... ::Insert negative movie of your choice::). And above all, take care what you write.
You never know who's going to read it.
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