I get really into stuff, and sometimes I think the people in my life tire of my unsolicited, overly enthusiastic, proselytizing emails. And then I remember, that's why I have a blog.
Chuck Close, painter.
The guy went paralyzed half way through his career, which forced him to come up with new ways to physically paint, resulting in (I think) his best work. Unbelievable. I saw a documentary about him on PBS when I was in college and have loved him ever since. His studio is only a couple blocks away from my office, and one day I walked by him sitting outside. I walked around the corner and spent about 5 minutes facing a brickwall trying to convince myself to go back and talk to him. When I finally worked up the courage he had gone back inside. I'll get him next time.
Mindy Kaling, writer.
She kills me. It's like she has a portal to my brain and knows my innermost thoughts.
I think a lot of women my age feel the same way, but I still feel special.
John Cage, composer, artist, all around amazing guy.
He is so much more than the guy who composed a piece of silent music. He was a contemporary of Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, and that whole crew of crazy forward thinking guys. Joyful Zen is what I take away from him.
Pablo Picasso, painter.
You know who he is. I am not cool for loving him. I wrote an essay about my early obsession with him -- maybe one day i'll share it on the blog in serial form. I wrote it to submit to This American Life until one of their old producers told me it wasn't universal enough. I freely admit that ever since that experience my love of TAL has dimmed. But I think it just happened to coincide with my love for it burning too brightly: it could not be sustained. Now I tend to find their unassuming, casual narration style somewhat rote and grating. But who am I kidding, I still listen.
Marc Maron, comic & podcaster.
The only way I survive my commute is by listening to podcasts which pre-maternity leave had been limited to shows that air on NPR; the only way I survived the last 3 weeks of my pregnancy was by discovering Kevin Pollack's Chat Show on iTunes. Because I could not listen to Terry Gross or the Planet Money team talk about economic doom while my whole life was all about bringing a human being into the world. So I took hour long walks around my neighborhood once or twice a day and amused myself by listening to Kevin's long form interviews with actors. It was fluffy and funny. Only a week or two ago did I finally download some of Marc Maron's WTF podcasts -- long form interviews with comics, writers, and actors. It was kind of like graduating from high school (KPCS) and going to college where everyone smokes cigarettes and talks philosophy. But it's still funny. In fact it's about ten times funnier, so I've turned into the girl who walks around Port Authority grinning inexplicably. And I like that. Marc Maron, I think I love you.
E.E. Cummings, poet.
Yeah, everybody loves his cute punctuation, his love poems, blah blah blah, but until you read "i: six non-lectures" you have no idea what a mindblowingly compelling thinker he was. There is so much more to him than writing in all lowercase. The book may have taken me about a decade to read and understand cover to cover, but it is the most special book I own, and it was passed down from my mother. And it goes without saying that "if there are any heavens my mother will(all by herself)have one."
Pema Chodron, Buddhist monk.
I was first introduced to her work through Stephanie, my amazing old yoga teacher in Brooklyn. One time she read a passage from her book in class and I started crying. That yoga really can really sneak up on you sometimes. I always turn to her books "When Things Fall Apart" and "Start Where You Are" when things fall apart, which they inevitably do every couple years. You don't have to be a meditating Buddhist to take away some real pearls of wisdom.
Uncle Jim, my mom's brother.
My love and respect for him has been chronicled on this blog before. He is half of the dynamic duo we are always going to Maine to see. Let's be honest: we love the state of Maine, but we really love our relatives who live there. Otherwise all those evergreens could start to look the same.