In the old days, we use to get chain letters. They have since evolved into memes and Facebook status updates that you cut and paste while tagging your friends.
Once and a while, one of these will prove interesting enough to read, but over the weekend I actually got tagged in one that I wanted to participate in.
The message reads like this:
Here’s how it works: The Rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who’ve influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag at least 15 friends, including me, because I’m interested in seeing what authors my friends choose. (To do this, copy this intro, paste the intro into the ‘body’ and start your list.)
I grabbed a piece of paper and started writing down mine. It was interesting to see who quickly comes to mind and how after posting it, I’ve thought of some more.
Here are the fifteen literary influences that I listed and why I chose them.
If you ask me who my favorite author is, Tolkien is always the first that comes to mind. The Lord of the Rings opened my eyes and mind to the entire fantasy world that could be found in books.
My father introduced me to him. The way he could spend page after page describing one little things gave me appreciation for details in writing. Plus, I love spy and action movies and his books were candy for a little kid who loved this kind of stuff.
I’m a New Hampshire kid who has always looked for the road less traveled. What more needs to be said?
I am happiest on stage, and The Bard has always held a special place in my heart.
No one rhymes with meaning like Dr. Seuss. The first play I ever did was The Lorax, and Oh the Places You’ll Go is the best guide ever written on how someone should live their lives. He IS a genius in my mind.
From the first moment I stepped through the wardrobe, I was hooked. As I got older and realized all the symbology in his writing, I grew to appreciate it even more.
The outdoors has always been special to me. He captured it unlike anyone else has and some day I will get up to Alaska and the Yukon to see this magical land beyond just the pages.
What little boy who ran around the woods with his imagination didn’t love Huck & Tom? Plus, when you grow into a man you begin to appreciate his wit and humor.
Reading The Canterbury Tales in High School opened up a new way of storytelling to me. I kind of hated reading it at the time, but the way he told a story and laced it with borderline inappropriateness always made me smile.
Whenever I was having a rough time in college, I would jump in my car and head down the road to unwind my thoughts at Walden Pond. His dreams of simplicity still stick with me.
I know most people wouldn’t consider him a writer, but I’ve read all of his scripts and his style has had a huge impact on me. Even when it isn’t one of his movies, you can spot his writing almost immediately. I love it.
I think I’ve read more of his books than any other author. The worlds he created I walked through in more than one quiet moment in my mind. Plus, he gave me my daughter’s middle name so he has to be on this list.
The first books that showed me it was ok to write an over the top silly story.
Hunter S. Thompson
My world got turned upside down the first time I read something of his. Gonzo was still just a Muppet to me, but every time I read something he wrote it reminds me how much better the written word can be.
I had a hard time coming up with the last one and he came to mind. He writes about topics I want to read about and always fills me with a sense of adventure.
I’m VERY curious to hear who your 15 would be?