Inspiration Friday

The Adventures of Penny Plastic has a great post about her idols, people “[w]ho have shaped [her] life, if only in a small way.” I loved the post and the idea so much that I’ve stolen it for today’s Inspiration Friday. I encourage you to take a look at her list as well; it’s fabulous and goes into greater depth than I’m willing to try for on a Friday night.

Judith Guest

Ordinary People is the reason why I’ve always wanted to become a writer. It is one of very few books that I can read over and over again. Sometimes, I’ll pull it off the shelf, flip to a random page and just read until I hit a chapter break. It’s a remarkable story about identity and family crisis. About isolation and companionship. For anyone who has ever struggled in the quest to find his/her role in a family and in life, it is a must read. It will break your heart and then slowly help to piece it back together again. (Bonus: She went to the University of Michigan!)

Alice Paul

I must admit that my adoration for Alice Paul is largely influenced by Hillary Swank’s portrayal of the suffragist in the HBO movie Iron Jawed Angels.  All the same, her efforts were instrumental to the passage of the 19th Amendment. Along with close friend Lucy Burns, Paul created the National Women’s Party, an organization that used parades, demonstrations and picketing to bring increased awareness and publicity to the American suffrage movement. Her extreme dedication to this cause (as evidenced by her willingness to start a hunger strike that eventually led to painful forced feedings while she was in prison) is awe-inspiring. I can only hope that someday I will have half the courage and strength of character that Alice Paul demonstrated throughout her lifetime.

Abraham Maslow

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy. What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization.

Though the theory of self-actualization was first offered by German psychologist Kurt Goldstein, it was Maslow’s interpretation of this ultimate need that has more strongly resonated with my own life. He saw self-actualization as an ultimate desire, a wish to become fully what one is meant to be. To achieve what one is fully capable of achieving. Maslow regarded the need for self-actualization as a motivational tool, a means to push oneself toward something greater, something more complete. I think that this is very much how I live. I keep pushing forward and striving for something different, something beyond what I’m doing now. I keep moving toward some greater accomplishment and in doing so, I learn new things, acquire new skills and my life becomes increasingly enriched.

Christina Ricci

The first time I saw the movie Now and Then, I immediately identified with Ricci’s character Roberta. After that, I basically fell in love with everything Christina Ricci has ever done. She’s intelligent and proactive and so authentically beautiful that my admiration at times spills over into jealousy. I love her and have always wished that she and I would become best friends.

Sandra Cisneros

Because this poem has always stuck with me and sometimes I catch myself repeating the last three lines.

I Am So Depressed I Feel Like Jumping in the River Behind My House but Won’t Because I’m Thirty-Eight and Not Eighteen

Bring me a drink.

I need to think a little.

Paper. Pen.

And I could use the stink

of a good cigar–even

though the sun’s out.

The grackles in the trees.

The grackles in my heart.

Broken feathers and stiff wings.

I could jump.

But I don’t.

You could kill me.

But you won’t.

The grackles

calling to each other.

The long hours.

The long hours.

The long hours.


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