Since I wrote the last entry about how important Catcher In The Rye was to me, I got to thinking about all the other things that were thrown at me in my youth that made me who I am today. I thought about all the things I read, heard and saw, that I probably didn’t even realize were shaping my young, fragile mind.
You all remember when Mark Twain made Huck Finn say that he was fine with going to hell? Damn! That’s powerful stuff. What the heck does a young kid reading that book think about such an event in another young persons, albeit fictional, life? Did that literary moment affect the way I viewed religions? The way I accepted or rejected social norms? The way I felt about loyalty and honesty? Maybe. Who knows. I sometimes think it may have.
And what about Bob freakin’ Dylan. I started listening to his songs around the age of 14. And I of course thought (and still think) that he is awesome. But how much did listening to The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll and Masters Of War affect the way I view the government and the legal system? Even though those songs were obviously written about a different beast, did that register in my subconscious? I suppose it might have.
Did you ever see One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest? I realize it’s a book too, but the movie made the original impression on me. Seeing how strong of spirit and will ol’ Mac was had to have had a strong push on me to reject the powers that were trying to suppress me and who I really am. To not be so quick to accept the “way it is”. It probably taught me all about being a leader as well. But did it?
Influences are all around of course. When you’re young there is no one smarter than your best friends. And your parents try to get a few important things in here and there as well. But all that art out there. All those creations. All those words and sights and sounds. They’re powerful things.