HJ Sagan TreeSometimes I think it’s interesting to chart your life by your interests/obsessions. I suppose for a lot of men my age it starts with dinosaurs or indian tribes or trains, or maybe all three, then branches out into differences depending upon where we grew up, what toys we had, who we played with, etc.

The other day I started thinking about who introduced me to which things that have had a huge and lasting impact upon me, which is perhaps a healthier way to think about all of it.

For instance, my mom introduced me to The Beatles and fantasy fiction, and my father introduced me to sports and gentlemanly behavior. The sports never stuck until I found karate about twelve years ago, but I’ve tried to be gentlemanly. Both had a love of music and reading, and had a wonderfully empathic way to look at the world. Boy, did I love talking story theory with my father. They made sure to introduce me to the playing of musical instruments as well. 

star trek crewMy friend Mike not only gave me my first phone call (at age 4 or 5), in that phone call he made sure I turned on the TV to watch that great show he’d discovered, Star Trek. The original Star Trek is a cornerstone not just in the way I approach story and character, but in the way I think of proper conduct, of trying to do the right thing, all the time. I could probably write an entire post on that subject alone.

My friend Sean showed me role-playing games via Dungeons & Dragons, AND introduced me to Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber. My friend Jon introduced me to tank board games (via Panzer Leader) and Elric (and other Michael Moorcock books). The tank board game seed was planted after just one or two games, and only recently sprouted, because I wanted to recapture the fun I’d had with him. I’ve been a role-playing gamer off and on ever since Sean showed me how to play.

brackett4I could go on and on, of course — about how my sister Allison introduced me to Leigh Brackett, and how my friend Loren gave me a Robert E. Howard book that made me “get” how good he really was, and so on. I won’t bore you with the details of all these names that would mean nothing to you, but I’m going to compile my list, and I’ll try to look at it from time to time.

The long and the short of it is that I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for the input of a whole lot of people. I think it’s a good idea to stop and remember that now and then and try to be a little grateful.

If any of you have standout moments you’d like to share, I’d love to read them.