Is there a film or a book that has stayed with you? Sure, there are some images from Stephen King and the like that I’ll never get out of my head (no matter how much I love horror), but for me, it’s the novel Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. Yes, it’s dated, it came out in the late 1800’s, and no, I wasn’t around for the first publication, but it’s still a fantastic read today, and relevant. People are still monsters and animal cruelty and apathy still run rampant. To those of you who are unfamiliar with the piece, I’ll sum it up for you.
The story of Black Beauty is told from the first person (first animal?) as an autobiographical memoir told by the titular horse who is, as the title would indicate, named Black Beauty. Starting off with his early days as a colt growing up on an English farm alongside his mother, all the way to his later days and his eventual happy retirement to the country. Throughout the course of the story he encounters trials and tribulations along with many tales of abject cruelty and suffering as well as true kindness. If you haven’t read it, I highly suggest you give it a shot.
This book – and the story of Ramses from Lad of Sunnybrook, opened my eyes to the depths some humans were willing to sink, but there were also examples of compassion. In fact, these stories inspired me to become an animal advocate.
Maybe you’ve watched a movie or read a book that impacted what career choice you made, or as in my case, what types of organizations you join. I’d be curious to hear your stories in regard to what books, movies, tv shows or other forms of like media, inspired you to do certain things, or join certain groups, or even work in specific fields.
Have you ever thought what forms of inspiration may have served people throughout the course of history? What prompted Norwegian Expressionist artist Edvard Munch to paint the popular painting most commonly referred to as, ‘The Scream’? It was painted in 1893, and depicts a man holding onto his face like Macaulay Culkin from Home Alone.
Obviously, he wasn’t inspired by a movie. In this case it wasn’t a book either, but as my google search tells me, he wrote in his diary,
“One evening I was walking along a path; the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream.”
I know. Cool, right!?
It’s just interesting to think about what inspires people. Maybe reading Lord of the Rings inspired you to write your own story, or maybe you became an expert in mythology thanks to Neil Gaiman or a history buff courtesy of Lin Manuel Miranda.
If I asked you to tell me about a movie, book, show, comic, play, or any other form of media that impacted you in some way, what comes to mind first?
The book thief
The Book Thief is an incredibly poignant and moving story.
Love that book!
Learning to read at about age 3, by sitting on my Grandpa’s lap as we paged together through “I Went for a Walk in the Forest”. By the time we had read it over and over, I had it memorized and Grandpa then pointed to random words asking me what they were until I could read them wherever they appeared. I am a nonstop reader to this day, live words and their meanings, and fluency of language that I strive to present in my own writing.
I learned to read very early and about all we had was the World Book Encyclopedia set along with the Childcraft Children’s Encyclopedia. That’s what I remember first and the most – I read the Childcraft volumes cover to cover before I was in first grade, then browsed my way through the World Book, although I didn’t read EVERYTHING in there. The volumes of Childcraft had different themes for different ages, one with poetry, one with fables & tall tales, one with scientists and explorers, etc. When my mom wasn’t able to live at home any more and I went back East to help pack up the house and deal with all of the stuff, I found them all in the basement and made sure they ended up back at my house.