If you could meet anyone …

Posted by on September 16, 2010 at 10:19 pm.

During a recent dinner conversation with my uncle Richard, he made this profound statement:

“If I could meet anyone, it would be Taylor Swift.”

(Okay, I don’t remember the exact quote, but you can still understand the meaning.)

He liked that she plays music, writes her own material and produces her own shows, or something like that. I still kind of think he was joking, but the conversation soon shifted. I started thinking about who I would meet, and no single person is still living. Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler (gimmie picks) were two of my top five, but J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Robert Jordan (my three favorite authors) rounded out my selection. All of ’em dead.

But looking at those last three, I realized something: I love reading about remarkable adventures and the people living them.

C.S. Lewis wrote Mere Christianity, the Four Loves, the Great Divorce and several other books about being a perfect person. The books gave me headaches, but for some reason I loved reading them.

Tolkien obviously wrote the greatest fantasy series of all time: the Lord of the Rings (and the Silmarillion, the Hobbit, the list goes on..)

And I’ve been reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series for about four years now. In a nutshell, the Wheel of Time is a fantasy series starring three ordinary men who end up becoming immensely important in saving all of mankind. It also features sword fights, magic, pirates and all kinds of fun, weird things.

He started writing the series in the early ’90s, then, as he was writing the twelfth book, Mr. Jordan passed away. Brandon Sanderson poured through Jordan’s notes and picked up the series where he left off, and the next book is scheduled to come out in early November.

I finally have a couple months to breathe and reconsider my reading option, because I’m starting to think my book choices are changing my daily outlook. Perhaps these crazy adventures are raising my expectations of myself and those around me. I’m kind of a workaholic, but that’s always been the case — and I don’t really mind it, because I like working for some reason. But I hold high expectations for those around me too. You can ask my mom, best friend or anyone I’ve dated. When failure isn’t an option for Rand al’Thor or Samwise Gamgee, then how can it be an option for Ryan Martin?

Well, I started reading a new book this week: Drew Perry’s “This is Just Exactly Like You” — a fantastic story about a normal guy doing normal things and dealing with normal bullshit in a pretty normal life. And it’s not even a memoir! It’s so refreshing to read something non-adventurous for once, and the book is incredible — that is, until the middle point, at least… I’ll let you know if anything changes.

So, as of this post, I’ve deleted Mr. Lincoln from the top five and replaced him with Drew Perry. Actually, no, I’m replacing him with Jack from the book, because it is Jack who I envy. Maybe I can learn a lesson or two from him.


  • Ben says:

    Have you read House of Leaves?
    And–along the lines of the Wheel of Time series (although I haven’t read it)–Stephen King’s Dark Tower series?

  • Patty Martin says:

    As always I enjoyed reading your blog. They usually make me think. I can’t think of anyone I would like to meet at the moment. Except maybe Mr. Right! lol Seriously though I’m sure there are a few entertainers I would enjoy meeting (Donny Osmond-who was my pre-teen crush) but if I had to choose one person I would prefer it to be someone who would make me a better person by meeting them.

  • Katie Carl says:

    6:50 on a Friday morning, and I’m bending my head around this topic. I’d love to pick the brain of a truly creative person, especially a musician, but I can’t imagine we would have the shared vocabulary to really communicate what I’d want to know. Like all readers, there’s a constant mantra through my brain of “whoa, what would THAT be like?” but I don’t know how a person could share some experiences. Especially true phenoms like Dylan or Ghandi or Tolstoy or Aretha–how could they articulate those experiences to a non-genius? With youtube and talk shows, I’ve seen interviews with some of my heroes, and they are often disappointing. On the other hand, my least favorite Teri Gross Fresh Air question is “what was that like?” and she gets some pretty dazzling answers, so maybe it works. Love the blog–write on.

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