There's a meme going around Facebook called "Book Snob." It asks you to list the Top 15 Authors (poets included) who influenced you and will always be with you. Well, I thought about it, and if I'm honest with myself, there's not 15 authors that have influenced me into becoming the person I am today. I'm not a big reader, folks... So, let's get a little more creative with the word "authors." So, for this, I will define "authors" as someone who has written something, as opposed to just a book or poem.
1. Bill Watterson - (Calvin & Hobbes): There is no doubt that Bill Watterson's iconic comic strip had a big impact on me. Heck, in a lot of ways, I will walk around with my imaginary friend. And, I'm not ashamed to admit that. I gotta have someone who really gets me, right?
2. John - (The Gospel According to John): John wrote the book of the Gospel that I most identify with, that I read the most often and this book is responsible for bringing me to Christ.
3. Donald Miller - (Blue Like Jazz & others): Mr. Miller writes about Christianity and approaches the subject with non-religious thoughts. He writes about the kind of Christian I try to or at least want to be.
4. Stephen Page - (songwriter; formally of Barenaked Ladies): I always preferred the Stephen songs to the Ed songs. His songwriting seems to me therapy for himself and his manic depression. He is a genius songwriter, certainly flawed (that seems to be how it works, eh?) that has definitely influenced my own songwriting and lyrics.
5. Ryan Adams - (songwriter): A brilliantly talented songwriter whose music makes me think there is no need for me to write songs because he already wrote them and 1000x better. He is another flawed musical genius that has helped me to realize how to write eloquently and honestly about my emotions.
6. Liz Phair - (songwriter): If you know me, I guess it's no surprise to see Liz on this list, after all I all but worship her. It is the intimacy of her songs that have influenced my life and my songwriting. If only I could speak/write with half the intimacy & honesty as she does in her music.
7. Lord Byron - (poet; "She Walks in Beauty"): Honestly, "She Walks in Beauty" is the only poem by Lord Byron I can remember. It's just so descriptive in how he tells of the beauty of the woman he loves. In a lot of ways, I think this poem influenced my thinking about relationships and how intimate they should/can be.
8. Harry Anderson - (Con-artist; Night Court Actor): I pretty much watched his stand-up/magic routine "Hello Sucker," special near endlessly when I was a kid (if you can match quotes with me from this special, I will love you forever). He taught me I should always have a twinkle in my eye and a smile on my face. He also taught me that if a man walks up with an unopened deck of cards and bets me that the Queen of Hearts will jump out of that deck and squirt cider in my ear that I should not take that bet because as soon as I do, I will end up with an earful of cider.
9. Congressman John Linder & Neil Boortz - (The FairTax Book): This book opened my eyes to taxes. This country needs the FairTax if we are to remain a SuperPower and we need it now to get the economy back on track.
10. Douglas Adams & Terry Pratchitt - (Various Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels): Love the humor and satire these two authors write. I include them both as one because I've only read the Hitchhiker's Guide series twice and it's been several years since I sat down with a Discworld novel.
11. Sylvia Plath - (poet): I'm learning more about the woman and the feelings behind her poems and journal. While she suffered from major depression and ultimately killed herself, I think she write beautifully and quite intimately. She was really in touch with her emotions and I strive to be like that... without the suicide...
12. Molly Bang - (author, "The Grey Lady and Strawberry Snatcher"): Her book had no words. It was all illustrations. Beautiful pictures telling the story. I remember "reading" this book countless times as a child. And probably owe a major chunk of my imagination to this book that taught me the power of pictures to tell the story. I would "read" it and the "words" and "dialogue" in the story would be slightly different every time.
13. Dr. Seuss - If I have to explain this... well, the point, you miss.
14. Stephen Soundheim - (Composer): His musicals are wonderfully written. But, this is more for two of his shows: Children of Eden and Into The Woods. These two shows hold a special place in my heart because of what they taught me about being a parent.
15. My dad: I don't think he wrote anything, but I would not be who I am today without my father. He is still teaching me to this day and is one of the biggest influences in my life. He is the person I most try to be like.