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Old 10-07-2007, 10:02 PM   #16
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Sean, wow. I read your post and made my own post in here......but did not make it to your blog, sorry. Anyway, imagine my surprise/delight when a fellow interlander, who appears on your list, alerted me to the fact that I somehow snuck my way onto the list as well. So, thanks for including me, it means a lot to me that someone I hold in such high regard feels like I've contributed something......somehow, some way.......to their life. Rest assured, it's mutual.

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Old 10-07-2007, 11:57 PM   #17
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Thanks all for your kind words.

I did want to clarify to anyone who didn't make "the list" that doesn't mean you are not "included." All the regular posters here at FYM as well as those whose Journals I read and comment on (and who read and comment on mine) are included in that tribute.
The list of names, (as well as the selection of avatars) was something I thought would grab the attention of readers, and when I put it together I just wrote down whichever posters came to mind. Several times as I was working on the blog and revising, I would remember, "Oh, yeah. . .so and so" and I would add their name to the list. Obviously there some of you who I missed and even as I came on to Interference today there were a couple of forehead-slapping moments, where I was reminded of another poster I didn't mention. The last thing I would want is for anyone here to feel snubbed or purposely excluded from "The List"

At the same time, please be assured that this in no way diminishes the "specialness" of anyone who DID find their name on the list.

It's really interesting to read about the people who have influenced you all. I too, have found that most of the people that have had an impact on me are people that I know--family and friends and so on. I began this series, actually this summer, with a master list of 65 names. I listed all the names in a blog in June and then started writing profiles every few weeks based on the categories "Family", "Friends", "Spiritual Guides", "Catalysts" (people who did something small that changed the direction of my life), "Teachers and Mentors", "From A Distance" (people I don't know in the traditional sense of the word--you all were part of that category), and now I have one more category to cover "Inspirations 2007" (my heroes for this year specifically). Writing these "Most Influential" profiles has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.

I'm glad it's meant something to you and I look forward to hearing more about the people who have shaped who you are today.

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Old 10-08-2007, 02:44 AM   #18
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Hmmm, five spiritual role models, one artistic inspiration, and "a cybertribe of ordinary human beings who've made an anonymous and extraordinary difference." Pretty elevated company! I guess we do collectively add up to...something around here--probably best not to try too hard to label what that might be though, lol.

I had to laugh at your confession that there was a time when you would've dismissed communing with a bunch of "cyberfriends" as "hokey" (and that your 'better half' did too--unfortunately, mine still does ). I wrote a journal entry awhile back myself on coming to terms with that change in outlook through Interference.
Originally posted by U2democrat
Sean. Thanks for thinking of us.

...This community has opened my eyes to things I never thought I'd see...as well as bonded friendships with wonderful people I would otherwise not know existed.
Actually, I don't know that I could summarize it any better than that.

In general, I seldom find that people I don't know have all that much of an impact on my life (though really, I 'know' several people around here better than I 'know' any of the below). But in the spirit of the thread, I think I can come up with a few quasi-'famous' people:

Abraham Joshua Heschel -- is somewhat of an inherited influence; the photo in that link was on our living room wall growing up, my parents participated in that same march, and Heschel, along with several of its other famous participants, was someone they held in great esteem as a role model of what a committed moral and spiritual life should look like. As a child, I was really only aware of him as a 'Jewish activist,' and was surprised to discover much later that he also happened to have been one of the most important theologians of the 20th century. His books Man Is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism, and Torah min HaShamayim all 'made a difference' big-time in my life and spiritual outlook.

Lou Reed -- I think occupies a place in my life somewhat similar to what Neil Young does in BonosSaint's. Granted, much of the 'difference' he's made is bound up in the usual irrational nostalgia for the exhilaration of teenagerdom (years which--as with most of us, I suspect--I in truth wouldn't repeat for anything)...tramping all over Brooklyn with my best friend quoting snippets from New York to each other, attempting in vain to imitate that inimitable wry baritone drawl. As with most so-called 'dinosaurs,' his output has varied too much in style (and, yeah, quality) over four decades to be easily characterized. But a near-constant characteristic of it, and one that always draws me back, is his insistence on finding humanity in all its messiness--the bleakness, wonderment, pettiness, tenderness, disillusionment and stubborn hope--in the most unlikely and unexpected people and places.

Chaim Potok -- if known to anyone else here at all, would most likely be known for his 1967 novel The Chosen, still a staple on many high school reading lists and, like most of his novels, a kind of spiritual-intellectual Bildungsroman. Most of his works revolve to some degree or another around the theme of reconciling the gift of an Orthodox Jewish upbringing with the gift of secular modernity, so that's all very familiar to me and part of why they mean so much. (Although the first book of his I read--I Am the Clay, good but not one of his best--draws on his own experiences serving as a chaplain in the Korean War, and is the story of a Korean peasant couple and a war orphan they take in.) While in college, I managed to acquire a first edition of The Chosen and got this crazy idea in my head that it would be really cool to somehow get him to sign it. That led to a phone call to his publisher, which to my astonishment led to me finding myself on the phone with Potok himself, which to my even greater astonishment led to me being cheerfully invited to "just drop by" his house, as if I were a family friend. I spent an hour or so talking with him and his wife, after which he signed my copy with a simple little benediction. I cherish that souvenir and will always hold onto it.

Thanks for the warm thoughts Sean, and I'm looking forward to seeing others' lists also.
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Old 10-08-2007, 04:48 AM   #19
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:25 AM   #20
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Bill Hicks - a man who opened my eyes to the world. he's exposed the hypocrisy and brutality of government and religeon. he's given me a more mature liberal attitude towards sex and drugs. his ideas about treating everyone equally regardless of faith or colour and about using the billions of dollar we spend on pointless wars and space exploration to be spent on feeding and clothing the poor and impoverished of the world still resonate with me. such a shame he passed away 13 years ago at such a young age. i hope he'll still be relevent in 100 years time. and he made me laugh too, as that was his job after all
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:28 AM   #21
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Sean, thank you so much for including me in your beautiful words about everyone from Interference and/or FYM. I can honestly say I always look forward to your posts because they're so intelligent and compassionate. I'm still putting my list together, but I just wanted to say thanks while I'm waiting. You rock!
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Old 10-08-2007, 08:50 AM   #22
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I think everyone someone meets can make some sort of difference, for good or for bad. Sometimes even just a few minutes can make you think, wonder, be infuriated, be sad, be happy, think about yourself and who you are and what you like/don't like in a person and in yourself. That's my short answer
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:53 AM   #23
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Sean … very beautiful. Thank you for your words and thoughtfulness, and know that it is mutual.

Anyway … I’ll give it a shot (this was hard to do).

The Famous:

Shakespeare – no one, but no one, not today and not then, has a better grasp on human nature than the Bard

Bono – yes, all that humanitarianism is inspiring, but the real lesson from U2, imho, is that “talent” in the traditional sense need not be a barrier to self-expression on a grand scale, and that hard work, blind faith, and sheer pig-headed determination can conquer the world and then some

Janet Evans – I remember being 10 years old and watching her races from the ’88 Olympics over and over and over and watching all 5’3” of her get up and thrash the steroided East Germans, and I think she was important not just as a lesson in hard work, determination, and near obliviousness to the odds, but because she was a female athlete that I looked up to in a near worshipful manner, not something that many boys ever do

The Not-So Famous:

Mr. P – 2nd grade teacher, first male teacher, and first teacher to really “get” me as a student, he was subsequently arrested for cocaine possession and went to jail and rehab and it’s a sad story, but I remember 2nd grad vividly, and I remember having to work hard to earn his respect, which was quite a lesson for a 7 year old

Jim and George – swim coaches, loved them and loved the team, they made swimming fun again when it had stopped being fun when I was only 11 years old, and I don’t regret a minute I spent in practice

Grandmother (father’s side) – for letting me cook with her and for being the grandparent who did would really sit and listen to you and you could sense the delight she felt whenever one of her grandchildren would walk into the room

Grandfather (father’s side) – for being fun and funny and provoking me to think politics and teaching me how to fish and go for long walks and to read and see and taste and sense the ocean, and both my father’s parents make me wish that my mother’s parents hadn’t died when I was so young

Professor F – you’re evil, you really are, but you also ripped open a world of possibility by making literature matter—politically, socially, sexually—in the space of a single course my sophomore year, and I haven’t been the same since

Professor W – for being a great professor, firstly, and for showing me just how comfortable one could be in gay skin even in rural Massachusetts

T – you might not know it, but you are my soul mate, you get me in a way that no one else does

Memphis – for making me realize that the love that they sing about in stupid pop songs actually does exist

Parents – for being shining examples of just how important it is to do the right thing, as opposed to the easy thing

P – for being my best friend, and also for calling me out when I need it and for both putting up with my shit when it matters, but also for not putting up with my shit when it matters as well

As for Interference, I can’t say it any better than Sean:

[q] You can't possibly hold on to your presumptions and assumptions in a world this wide. And indeed, the people of Interference have had a profound influence on my thinking, on my perspectives, on my life. In discussions that are generally thoughtful and intelligent these people have challenged and strengthened my faith, both revised and reinforced my beliefs, widened and sharpened my views. They've influenced me to question more and assume less. I'd like to hope I'm doing the same for them. [/q]
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:41 AM   #24
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I'm bored so mine will have pics...

U2/Bono - I just love the music, there's something for every mood. I also appreciate songs that have some significance beyond the typical sex/love/drugs/being cheated on/etc, songs like Mothers of the Disappeared, etc. Music aside, I love the band b/c they remain on top without constantly pushing themselves in everyone's faces (American bands these days really get on my nerves) and ranting and raving about stupid immature crap.

My Grandma - my grandma is my hero and basically my favorite person, bar none. She has shown me that you don't have to be rich and have a cushy job or even a college degree to be happy and successful. Grandma never went to college b/c she worked in a furniture factory that converted to making planes during WWII. She is so proud of making those plane wings and having been able to contribute something to the effort. My grandma is a little more strict than I am, as far as religion, but she has always been active in the church and I know she's made a difference because even now that she is home-bound, she gets cards, flowers, and visitors every day. Also, I know she is in constant pain and never shows it. She has had hips, knees, and all finger joints replaced. She has a metal rod in her spine limiting the range of motion in her neck and forcing her to permanently wear a neck brace. She has problems with her skin brought on my her medications and she has had huge open sores on her legs for over two years. Grandma raised six kids (7th died at birth) to become well-rounded adults with families of their own. No one is rich, no one has much in the way of financial security, no one has lots of letters behind their name, but everyone is happy and (for the most part) healthy and I think the main reason we can stick together so well is b/c of grandma.

Friedrich Schleiermacher (long dead theologian, likely the most boring entry in this entire thread) - I read his essay on the purpose of petitionary prayer and it changed my life. No piece of theology has ever had as great an effect on me as far as religion and spirituality.

[no piccie]
"Doc" Wilson - an AMAZING professor, AMAZING anthropologist, AMAZING theologian, AMAZING person. Doc Wilson is probably the coolest person I've ever met.

Agnes Nyamayarwo (the HIV+ nurse that used to travel with Bono) - I had the pleasure of meeting her in person in 2002 and listening to her tell her story in person on a few occasions. I guess to me she represents the voice of people like her who have been scorned, threatened, and shunned for something totally out of their own control. As if being told you will die is not enough......but yet she has the strength to speak out and devote her life to serving others.

Beethoven - OK so he's not my all-time favorite classical composer, but he wrote this when he was deaf!!! IMO, that's as close to a miracle as it gets. I listen to that piece almost every day and it never ceases to amaze me.

Nadia Comaneci - Yeah so since gymnastics was/is/will likely continue to be one of the most important parts of my life, I'll have to give a shout out. Out of everyone on this list, Nadia ranks damn near the top, save for my dear grandma. If you know a few things about Nadia, you'd probably understand that my admiration actually has little to do with gymnastics (although she still IS the greatest gymnast in the history of the sport, no one before or since has pushed the envelop so far as Nadia was doing in 1975 and 1980). Talk about someone that had more lows than highs (again, not to do with the sport or competition). I've never been so affected by someone I've never met...

Steve Irwin - I loved him b/c he was everything that I am not - outgoing, hopelessly devoted, charismatic....and unfortunately I never realized how significant he was, at least to me personally, until he died.

Wow, this is more sappiness than I can handle!
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:54 AM   #25
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I will just list no long summaries.

1. My grandfather - showed me the world is beautiful.
2. My husband - many a times has showed me what unconditional love is.
3. My kids - they made me be a person I thought I could never be.
4. Bono - no need to explain here.
5. Princess Diana - how to hold your head up and be graceful when you feel like your at the end of your rope.
6. Other moms I've met and became friends with...they have showed me that no matter what happens during the day you always land on feet at the end of it.
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Old 10-08-2007, 04:08 PM   #26
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I can't really think of a comprehensive list right now, but what immediately comes to mind is both my grandmothers, for being different but amazing examples of what women make of life.

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