Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Poetikat challenged me to compile a list of 25 of my literary heroes, those authors who made me realize the magic and power of literature and words, and who inspired me to write. Here is my list:

Youthful impressions: Beverly Cleary, EB White, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Mary Norton, and Mildred Wirt Benson (Carolyn Keene) awakened my mind's eye and developed my imaginative muscle.

The Conjurers: Madeleine L'Engle, Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and CS Lewis introduced me to speculative fiction, alternative worlds, and mythopoeia.

The Bard: William Shakespeare taught me how delicious words can taste.

The Dame: Margaret Mitchell began my love affair with historical fiction.

The Songwriter: Carly Simon's confessional songwriting taught me that music is what feelings sound like.

The Poets: Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson and TS Eliot made me aware of something immense running through me, and forever rearranged the furniture of my heart.

The Naturalist: Henry David Thoreau helped develop my capacity for wonder, self-reliance and simplicity, and continues to send me out to chase the wind.

The Storytellers: Whether exploring the hidden motivations and psychology of human nature, creating unforgettable and rich locations through traditions and folklore, exploring themes of aspiration and lost innocence, or weaving threads of fate, hope and social observation into a literary tapestry, my most influential storytellers have been Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), Mary Shelley, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I, in turn, offer this challenge to Colonel Brandon at Nature's Diary, Bee at Desk of Bee Drunken, and Carol at The Writer's Porch. Who have been your author influences?


TheWritersPorch said...

Well are going to have to give me a day or two to think about this one! I'm going to a book festival the first week of May in Flat Rock,NC which is Carl Sanburg's home town. I plan to tour his home and view those ten thousand books he collected! The room at the B&B I'm staying in is the Carl Sanburg Room.


Sherri said...

That was a great challenge, Peggy, and I loved your responses.

So, since you did so well on that one, I am tagging you for another. This one is a lot of fun. See my blog entry for today to see how to play "Picture Tag"...

Peggy said...

Carol, we'll need a full report upon your return! :-)

Sherry, ooooh, I'll be right over!

Poetikat said...

Very nicely done and I love your synopses too - succinct but effective. I really like the way you categorized them all.
I love Fitzgerald too! You see the problem is, 25 is just too restrictive. I need about 100!

I really should read Blixen. The film, "Out of Africa" is one of my all-time favourites for so many reasons.


Peggy said...

Kat! My husband asked me last night, "How are you going to come up with 25 authors?" I said, "Come up with 25? No, I have to narrow it down to 25! How am I going to do that?!" This was a good exercise, though, to remind me of why certain authors are and aren't on the list. Thanks for the challenge!

Poetikat said...

Men see it differently, although you should check out Robert Frost's Banjo. John's list will floor you!


Anonymous said...

Wonderful list ... last week, on my own blog, I listed the books that had the most profound impact on my life. Many of the writers you've listed here authored those influential books!
I love the way you composed the various categories. And of course, Thoreau is everyone's favorite naturalist.

Peggy said...

Cindy, I had such fun poking around your blog/website. I noticed a lot of overlap in our lists. Thanks for popping in here!

Joanne said...

I liked that you included a songwriter in your list of literary heroes, Carly Simon. Wonderful choice. It's not too often that we see musicians included on literary lists.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

What a marvelous roster of writers!! I once heard someone say, "show me who you read, and I'll tell you who you are". Your list proves you to be a most interesting person indeed. Thank you for sharing!!

Karen said...

Wonderful list, Peggy! I like the way you categorized them and explained their influences.

Thanks for visiting me.

Bee said...

Peggy, I completely missed this! I'm so sorry. (I think that I had left for Texas? not sure)

Anyway, I was just checking in because I haven't heard from you in ages. I hope you are well.

I will definitely get to this list someday soon. It is a great meme.