Saturday, February 28, 2009

Scavella tagged me for this meme. The idea is to list twenty-five authors who have influenced you.

I know you're supposed to tag twenty-five people, but I'm going to be even more generous than that. If you're on my list of blogs I read (and even if you're not), consider yourself tagged. Just drop the link here so I can read yours too!

1.Ray Bradbury--the first time I read a book and wished I could write like that it was one of his books. Ray's stories excited the language center of my brain.

2. Robert Frost--the first poet I ever "got". There are harder, less accessible, edgier poets out there and I appreciate their work for what it is, but Frost is timeless.

3. Douglas Adams--For gifting my husband and I with twenty plus years of material for inside jokes.

4. John Steinbeck--I read "Of Mice and Men" when I was a teenager. It was my first experience with mercy killing (in literature) and the love that drove the character to act.

5. Christopher Moore--Lamb--Uproarously funny, only occasionally irreverent, and often thought provoking. He also spun one of the finest opening lines ever, "The first time I saw the man who would save the world he was sitting near the central well in Nazareth with a lizard hanging out of his mouth."

6. E.E. Cummings---For helping me to understand words as tools.

7. William Faulkner--For "Intruder in the Dust". His stream of consciousness writing is enviable--and impossible to mimic.

8. William Everson---Father Antonius. A fine, fine poet.

9. John Grisham--For Painted House in particular.

10. Stephen King---For The Stand, The Shining, and Duma Key. For showing the rest of us how to scare the crap out of readers and keep them coming back.

11. Farley Mowat--Never Cry Wolf and The Dog Who Wouldn't Be. I read them both when I was in high school. Never Cry Wolf probably made a million readers wish they too could be researchers and go live with the wolves. I did the next best thing--I moved the wolves in with me (okay they're dogs, but it's close).

12. James Thurber---Sweet, absent-minded, kind humor that makes us all feel better about ourselves.

13. Dorianne Laux---Do I really have to explain this one? Anyone who can works like "How it will happen when" deserves to be on some one's list of bests.

14. Monks of New Skete---A dog training manual? In a list of influential writers? You betcha. These guys forever altered how I viewed my relationship with my dogs, and, correspondingly all my relationships. So much of their wisdom applies to all of life--of giving other creatures the opportunity to finish the end of their sentences before forming our own, of how much more meaningful the relationship with another can be if you will allow them the time to show you who they are before you begin to impose your will on them.

15. Juliette Marillier--Juliette took a fine old fable about a young woman whose brothers were turned to swans, and her silent painful determination to save them, and then told the rest of the story.

16. Terry Pratchett---For leaving his readers exhausted with laughter and their heads full of terrific memorable lines and not so small thoughts like how we all have policemen inside our heads that keep us from storming our local police stations (because there are more of us than there are of them) and taking over.

17. A.W. Tozer--When I was searching for a way to path that would lead me closer to God and a deeper understanding of worship, a friend loaned me his copy of this book and for the first time I understood what "The Great I Am" actually meant.

18. Marge Piercy--This poet makes women feel good about being women, about growing older, and spins it all on lines like:
"You are built to pull a cart,
to lift a heavy load and bear it,
to haul up the long slope, and so
am I, peasant bodies, earthy, solid
shapely dark glazed clay pots that can
stand on the fire . . ."
(From the poem: Cats like Angels)

19. Jane Kirkpatrick--Years and years ago when the boys were small and I had just begun writing again, I found Jane's book "Love to Water my Soul" and was blown away by the depth of the story and her ability to capture history on the page. I sent the only fan letter I've ever written anyone and the woman had the decency to write back. Further more, though I did not mention my own writing to her (did not even hint at it--only raved about her story), she spotted it anyway and encouraged me to write my own stories. I will never forget her kindness.

20. Richard Adams---Watership Down is the story he's famous for, but Plague Dogs was every bit as good.

21. Alice Walker--I read the Color Purple when I was in college. Wow. Just Wow.

22. Mary Stewart---The Ivy Tree was my favorite (masterful sleight of hand)

23. Carrie Brown--Rose's Garden, hands down, one of the most beautiful books I've ever read.

24. J.R. Tolkien---Nuff said.

25. C. S. Lewis---The Screwtape Letters and the Great Divorce both allegories of the human capacity to condemn themselves to hell, with little or no help.


Nicolette Bethel said...

Hey, Mary, sorry for just arriving to see this. Some cool books here, woman!


Nicolette Bethel said...

Hey, Mary, congrats! Some cool books here. Sorry for arriving so late -- it's been that kind of a month.