What I Love

Yup, this is what I love

Are there lessons lurking in what we love? What we really love to read, to watch, to listen to? George Saunders thinks so.

In his excellent newsletter/community/gift to the world, Story Club, he recently wrote a post on influences. Not the influences that make us sound literary and educated and subtle, but our real influences. He says: “When you were between the ages of 5 and 10, what did you read/view/experience that made you crazy with delight?”

He invited everyone following his newsletter to note what we loved as a child, a teenager, as we became adults, in five-year increments. OK George, I’m in! Here goes:

Between 5 – 10 I loved Little Women, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Little Princess, Johnny Tremain, Josie and the Pussycats, Robin Hood (the Erroll Flynn and Olivia de Havilland version) Gilligan’s Island and The Flintstones (obv).

Between 10 – 15 I moved on to The Princess Bride (the book), Star WarsStarksy and Hutch. Between 15 – 20 War and PeaceCatch-22, the Eagles, Local HeroMy Brilliant Career, Ghostbusters, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Hill Street Blues took up a ton of space in my head.

In my twenties I discovered the great Donald Barthelme, saw A Room with a ViewLa Femme Nikita and Dangerous Liaisons, listened to the Ella Fitzgerald Verve catalogue, Buddy Guy, Guns N’ Roses and obsessively read Winter’s Tale.

In my thirties I loved The God of Small ThingsAtonementEt TuBabeLike Water for Chocolate, Gladiator, Monsoon Wedding and Alias. I also got my start on country music. Thank you Vince Gill, Patty Loveless and Faith Hill for opening up a whole world to me. And the Fast & Furious franchise was born! Yay! Love them all. Favorites of my 40s include Goon, Burlesque, The Lives of Others, Veronica Mars.

In my fifties, especially during the pandemic, I’ve loved Crash Landing on You (best K-Drama ever) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which got me through the spring of 2020), magnificent singers like Lizz Wright and a gazillion books.

Compiling and reviewing this list (I’ve only given you highlights) was indeed both hilarious and illuminating. I DO like classic hero’s journey stories delivered without irony. I DO like a bit of absurdism, but on the page much more than on the screen. Not so much on the romance, but almost every one of these stories is also about love.

This exercise delivered a delicious scatterplot of data that helps me see my way forward in my own writing. Even though I often don’t know what to do, thanks to George Saunders and his exercise, I know what universe I’m in.

I hope that thinking about what you’ve loved and why will show you some great things about your own mind and heart too!

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About Lisa

Lisa Poulson is a voice in favor of the complex beauty of female power, the descendant of fiercely resilient Mormon pioneers and a woman who survived the death of her fiancé four months before their wedding. Lisa lives in San Francisco, where she spends her time absorbing and creating as much beauty as possible.

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Lisa Poulson is the legal copyright holder of this blog. Contents may not be used, reprinted, or published without written consent.

About Lisa

Lisa Poulson is a voice in favor of the complex beauty of female power, the descendant of fiercely resilient Mormon pioneers and a woman who survived the death of her fiancé four months before their wedding. Lisa lives in San Francisco, where she spends her time absorbing and creating as much beauty as possible.

Join the conversation on Instagram!

Reminder

You are reading of your own will and choice. How you read, act on or don’t act on what you read here is up to you.

Reassurance

While lisapoulson.com does use cookies, which helps us understand how you engage with our site and where you’re from, we do NOT save your personal information - like e-mail, name or address. And, if you join our mailing list or comment on a post, we will not share (or sell) your contact information. We are not responsible for commenters or other third parties here.

Clarity

Lisa Poulson is the legal copyright holder of this blog. Contents may not be used, reprinted, or published without written consent.