Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Influential People

I'm pretending to be more thoughtful, grounded and in tune with my life. I've been recording and watching people who have done presentations on BYU TV and doing things to try to fill my spiritual cup as being in the primary doesn't always do it.* Then I saw this prompt and decided to participate. Please note, these are in the order as they appear in my head - not necessarily in order of importance.
1. Mary Ellen Edmunds
I remember hearing about her when I was young. Her niece, Noelle, was one of m dad's favorite students (yes, teachers have favorites) and my dad had her tape Love is a Verb. Being an English nerd since about 1st grade, I liked the idea that she was taking a word and explaining how it was a certain part of speech instead of another. But after listening to her tape, I was in awe of her sense of humor, of her ability to laugh about things - even when they didn't go her way, and how she had a perpetually cheery disposition. I tend to be a skeptic and over analyze things to the point that they aren't funny anymore. While I consider myself hilarious, others have always thought me to be too serious - something I'm trying to fix. Apparently dry humor and sarcasm isn't appreciated by all people. Who knew.

2. C. S. Lewis
I love Jack's writings. I have re-read Mere Christianity several times (although not since I entered blog land. Need to do that and get a book review back up). I was moved by Surprised by Joy. I really feel that my true healing after my first miscarriage came from reading A Grief Observed. I find him to express his emotions in a way I'm just not capable, to have a wit that I miss in our current society and loved that he didn't avoid talking about any topic just because someone thought he should. I wish we had more people like him.

3. Dallin H. Oaks
I adore his no nonsense way of talking about things. I'm sure part of it is from being a lawyer and judge, that he just says things as they are. I appreciate the integrity of people like him who aren't worried about being politically correct, can say things flat out and aren't offensive - he has a great deal of tact. Additionally, I was very impressed with the way he dealt with his wife passing and the issue of getting remarried. He exudes class.

4. David Lee
He was my Intro to Poetry professor and taught me about John Milton. I don't know that I really thought I was smart until I took his class. I developed a love for language, for words, unlike any I had before. He taught with a passion that was unparalleled, would tear up in front of class at the beauty of language, and get completely fired up over issues about which he had a definite opinion. I first thought I could get education beyond a Bachelor's because of him.

5. Sergei Rachmaninoff
This man could compose emotion into music in such a manner that even after I have heard his works several times, I still feel the emotion. His third Piano Concerto (2nd too), Elegy, Preludes for the piano, and Vocalise move me. There are amazing deep tones that only a Russian seems to really know how to use, and the tragedy that was in his life is portrayed through those notes in such a powerful way. He, Saint-Saens, Beethoven and Shostakovich are my favorites. (Cheating there....I know).

6. Laurie Halse Anderson
I have this dream to be a person who can manipulate language in the way she does. I haven't read a story by her that didn't move me, stay with me for days and leave me in awe at her talent. She can capture a voice with her characters that feels so real that I feel like I know them. She is not afraid to share her opinions, is very grounded in her life and just is herself (as far as I can tell from the writings on her blogs). Impressive.

7. Parents
One of the greatest compliments I can receive from someone is that they think I'm like my parents. They are two of the most driven and hard working people I know. I have the my work ethic because of them. They are firm in their faith, determined to improve and the example for my life.

8. Jeffrey R. Holland
He's got a temper, is passionate, well educated and calls it as he sees it. His love of literature and incorporation of it into his talks was what first drew me to him, his eloquence and passion about topics made him climb the list of people I adore to hear. His talk "How Do I Love Thee" is one I listen to each year - moves me to tears. I would like to think I love that much.

9. Carolyn Keene
I LOVED Nancy Drew. I read them all, re-read many and adored them all. There are few things that made me more upset than when I saw the spin they were putting on movie they just released. These books fed my desire to read, were cute, logical and perfect for a reading crazy girl. Someday I want to get a collection of all of her original books in hard bound for my house.

10. Enoch Seegmiller
Last the best? Maybe. Many of you may know that this guy and I have known each other since elementary, but what is funny is that so many of my really great memories involve him - even when we weren't dating. But he really started to change my life during the dating process. He helped me see myself in a way I hadn't before - to appreciate and even celebrate the craziness that is me, to quit trying to be everyone else and just be me. Sure, I married him and think he is the best thing in my life, period, but beyond that, I will never be able to thank him enough for person he has helped me become.

*An exception this was when our Sunbeams sang the first two lines of How Firm a Foundation - cried each time they practiced and in the performance. Moving.


Chocolate on my Cranium said...

Great list. I just finished reading Chains which was recommended to me by my oldest daughter. She wants more of Laurie Halse Anderson's books for Christmas.

JRoberts said...

I too love C.S Lewis. Every book.

Great list

Harmony said...

Loved your list. But you cheated--MEE's instructions said not to include family members (although I agree they are wonderful people). Looking forward to seeing you this weekend. Hope everybody's feeling better.