Who are your influencers? / by Heather Taylor

Today I had to fill out an artist’s profile and on it I had to list my influencers. I understood they meant writers and probably poets but my list looked something like this at the time:

Dave Eggers/ McSweeneys, Haruki Murakami, Raymond Carver, Wendy Cope, Bernardine Evaristo, Gerald Manley Hopkins, Wilfred Owen, Shel Silverstein, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rothko, Nora Ephron, Danny Boyle, Blake Snyder, Radiohead, Weakerthans, Postal Service, Ben Folds, Corb Lund, Johnny Cash

They are my influencers but really a lot of my influencers aren’t people that someone can go “oh yeah. They influence me too.” Some of my influencers aren’t even people. So if I could have really put who my main influencers are I’d say (in no particular order):

My Mom: She told us to do whatever made us happy. It didn’t matter if we were rich as long as we were happy (but not too poor as when you have to scrabble for money, you’re usually not very happy). I think I also get my habit of taking in strays from her – if you don’t have somewhere to go on a holiday or a night out and you’re in Edmonton, my mom will make you feel at home. She also introduced me to indoor picnics, which are one of my favorite kind.

My Dad: He is one of the most generous people I know. If you are a sales clerk (or anyone who helps him really), he’ll make sure to tell your manager there and then that you did a good job if you did. It’s the thing most of us forget to do but he never does so I like to try to take that leaf out of his book.

Sarah (my sister): I can’t describe all the ways she influences me. But we talk almost everyday. I have the phone bills to prove it.

Becky (my sister): Strong. Thoughtful. Rational. Hilarious. And knows more about politics in a logical, straight forward way then anyone I know. She also can bark like a dog in the most uncanny way.

Jonathan (my brother): He often reminds me that there’s another way to look at life then the way I do. He’s also hilarious. But in a different, goofy, teenage boy type way. I think we’re clones.

Leah: Though I don’t see her very often, she does remind me that sometimes straight talking is the only way to talk.

My auntie Cathy: There was something about her that made you think you could reach the stars. I’m still reaching and thank her for it everyday.

Alberta, Canada: As much as I think I try to get away from it, my home follows me. My writing, my dreams, my soul all have a touch of Alberta in it (whether I like it or not)

London: The buzz of the city. It’s age. It’s crowdedness. It’s green. It’s art, it’s music, the Thames. The people who’re in it (from pretentious to kind, from my friends to the people who I might never meet). It’s hard to sum up London in a couple of words, what it means to me. But basically moving here changed my life.

I know there are lots more things that influence me and they shift and change on a regular basis but those people and things above are a constant for me. Family and home.