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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Who's Influenced Your Life?

Do you ever think about the people who have influenced your life even though you've never met? Our family and friends impact us in obvious ways. But what about others: our ancestors, the authors of the books we read, the postman, the truck drivers who deliver the food we buy to the store?

Today I was thinking about the authors of the books I love. These are authors who write books that you read twice. They make you think; they entertain you, they enrich your life. While I was thinking about it, I made a list of some of my favorite writers (linked on the right). But I failed to add one special author -- Myles Connolly who wrote one of my favorite books of all time -- Mr. Blue.

Mr. Blue came to life in 1928 and was not an immediate sensation as Connolly writes in the introduction to a later edition. Somehow, he never died and has been in constant print ever since. I first heard of Mr. Blue in high school -- from Sr. Joanna. She read Mr. Blue's scenario for a movie about the end of the world. It captivated me although it took me another ten years to recall his name and go searching for his book. I just ordered ten copies to share with my book club and others. Mr. Blue is a philosopher with the heart of a child. The Lord could have had Mr. Blue in mind when he said "Unless you become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven."

Do yourself a favor in 2012 and meet Mr. Blue. If you know him already, invite him back for a visit. He's an unobtrusive guest. His story takes up fewer than 115 pages. But he's a friend I can never quite forget and am always glad to meet again.


S. Petersen said...

I just ordered a 1954 (repr.2005) ed'n with an intro by a Jesuit named Breslin. I hope that's not a bad omen. The 1928 edition was also available.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

You can always skip the intro. I was reminded of Mr. Blue when I read an article in the Chesterton Review that had contributors select the most Chestertonian book not written by Chesterton. Two mentioned Mr. Blue. No wonder I love him -- he is Chestertonian!

Ray Schneider said...

Naming someone who influenced my life would require mentioning a number of people. I'll just list a few:
- C. S. Lewis who is extraordinarily Chestertonian because Chesterton influenced his own conversion. Favorite: "The Abolition of Man" and it's fictional illustration "That Hideous Strength."
- Chesterton: anything, but I teach about his book "Orthodoxy"
- Richard Feynman -"The Pleasure of Finding Things Out" -- there are some remarks that Catholics won't like since Feynman is an agnostic at best.
- Robert Heinlein "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" and any of his juveniles which I grew up reading and loving. I'm a scientist today more because of Heinlein than any other single factor. In fact I'm also a writer because of Heinlein who had five rules of writing. You can google for them, they're brief, I'll just list the first two: