15 authors

by Andrea Elizabeth

Macrina of A Vow of Conversation has cordially tagged me in this 15 Authors meme.

Fifteen authors (poets included) who’ve influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag at least fifteen friends, including me, because I’m interested in seeing what authors my friends choose.”

I enjoyed reading hers so I’ll contribute mine.

Rudyard Kipling – I hope I’m not being too repetitive in relating how as a 4 or 5 year old child I would repetitiously listen to a record of Sterling Holloway (Winnie the Pooh’s voice) reading “The Elephant’s Child”. This story probably explains my “‘satiable curtiosity” and the lickings I’ve taken for it.

C.S. Lewis – My fourth grade teacher’s reading of the Chronicles of Narnia after lunch will remain one of my favorite memories. Is the enchanted world beyond that far away?

Jane Austen – At around 12 years old I graduated from my beloved horse stories to more intricate expressions of human emotion with Pride and Prejudice.

Daphne du Maurier – Her expressions are a little more modern. Rebecca is the most famous, but I also enjoyed her more retro My Cousin Rachel. Hey those are my two daughters’ names, but I had the Bible Saints in mind.

Major Ian Thomas – I believe I read If I Perish, I Perish about Queen Esther, but that’s not the main reason I mention him here. Though I’d asked Jesus in my heart at around 4 years of age, it was when I was 15 at Major Thomas’ Torchbearer’s His Hill Ranch Camp that I would say I had a conversion experience. It was there I learned that Christ wants to walk with us 24/7 rather than just after we die.

The Bible – With this awakening I became very hungry for the Scriptures. For the next few years I read the Bible through a couple of times and memorized a few chapters. My favorites were 1 Cor. 13, Hebrews 1, Philippians 2, and Romans 12.

Unfortunately I waned a few years after that.

Colleen McCullough – I very much identified with Meggie the The Thorn Birds. She personifies the confusing dialectical choice between God or human romantic love. I read this in high school and then saw the miniseries while a young nurse after I met my Ralph. I ended up marrying Luke too.

Alexandra Ripley – Scarlett came out while I was separated for the first time from my now ex-husband. I wanted to see if she could get Rhett back. If I hadn’t been successful, I wouldn’t have had Rachel.

unworthyseraphim – I didn’t read for a long time after that. When I was remarried to George and probably because of being devastated by having a still-born child, Isaac, I wanted more from Church. I saw the Passion movie and was so moved I started to explore Catholicism on a Christian on-line forum that I’d recently found through a writer’s group’s advice. They were starting Catholic/Protestant discussions and I started asking questions. “unworthyseraphim”, the only Orthodox poster, answered them better with his wonderful, peaceful, informative style and grace. He drove over from Mississippi to be George’s sponsor at our Chrismation.

Clark Carlton – His The Faith was the first Orthodox book I read on the recommendation of a parishoner when we visited our first Orthodox Church. I haven’t read it since I’ve heard that some think he’s too polemical, but I was so shocked that I’d never heard of the Orthodox Church and so loved the positive things he said about it that I probably thought the polemics criticizing why it took 40 years for Christian me in a Christian country to be connected with Christ’s body and blood were justified.

The biography of St. Seraphim of Sarov (maybe Zander’s version?) made my spirit rejoice when I found someone else who wanted to hide under leaves when people came to visit.

St. Maximus the Confessor – I have to give Perry and Photios the credit for my finding this genius Saint. Through the discussions and Photios’ paper, “Synergy in Christ” (I have a category with that name where there may be a link to it) I found some pretty substantial meat that’s sourced a lot of content on this blog.

Dr. David Bradshaw – Aristotle East and West helpfully focuses on the tradition of the Orthodox understanding of the essence and energy distinction that Energetic Procession discusses in a forum format.

Fyodore Dostoevsky and Charles Dickens – Because I have two spots left, I’ll close with them. I’ve recently read Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, and David Copperfield to better understand how Christ’s energies work in this fallen world of fallen human relationships.

I’ll extend the invitation to anyone to post their influential 15 authors instead of listing specific people.