Intellectual and spiritual ancestors

On this first snowy day of the year in Colorado Springs, I managed to get to church for the first time in nearly two months.  The year’s theme is Wisdom, and today’s topic was the wisdom of your intellectual ancestors.  Rev. Lawrence used Isaac Asimov as one of his most influential intellectual ancestors and told us why. He encouraged all of us to think about our own.   I’m passing that along to you.

And thinking aloud about my own, thinking of the influences on my world view, but also those who have influenced me as a writer.  Obviously, Ray Bradbury.  Shakespeare.  James Daphne Du Maurier, Victoria Holt, Anya Seton, all those who collected fairy tales and legends and folk songs, which form such a thick web of my ideas about living and books.  In college, I fell in love with James Baldwin and studied everything he wrote. 

But also the bible, which my grandmother read with such dedication. And Edgar Cayce, who told his amazing story in a dozen paperback books on her shelves.   I very much believe that the world we see is only a tiny tip of what really IS, and that’s reflected in all of the writings and thinkings of the above "ancestors."

I’m sure more will bubble up over the week.  Certainly, I’ve more recently been inspired and coached along by the writings and teachings and ideas of Julia Cameron.  Also,  Vita Sackville West, and Annie Lammott (quite disparate people, those two.  Amusing to imagine them sitting down together, Annie with her wild hair, Vita with her cigarettes and crisp blouses–but who knows, maybe they would have found much to talk about). 

Who are some of yours?

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3 thoughts on “Intellectual and spiritual ancestors

  1. Amy Carlson

    I would have to say that one of my biggest intellectual advisors when I was younger was Ayn Rand. I was so impressed with how she created characters that embodied a philosophy. I may have difficulty agreeing with parts of those philosophies now that I’m older but I still admire her incredible writing abilities.

    Another intellectual ancestor is my grandfather. He had an 8th grade education but experienced more in his life than any 10 other people. I can only dream of being as wise.

    Thanks for the thoughts…

  2. Interesting topic, Barbara.

    One influence that I didn’t realize until several years ago was A. A. Milne, the author of Winnie the Pooh. I heard the theme song one evening on TV, and memories of watching Pooh when I was a child kind of crashed down on me… I realized how much it had meant to me as a kid, and that there’s a philosophy in his stories that don’t exist in most… There’s usually no antagonist in Pooh stories, just situations.

    I have others, too… Michael Graves, Frank Lloyd Wright, Paul, my father.

  3. I remember being quite taken by Ayn Rand at one youthful point, too, Amy. I see more now, as you do.

    Curt, I never thought about that–the lack of antagonist in Pooh stories! So true.

    I’m thinking more about this, and will have to consider which musicians are most influential, because music definitely shaped my thinking.

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