Still, Al, Rob & Sergei #mfrwauthor

Once again, here’s the Marketing for Romance Writers yearlong blog hop. For  week 42, the writing prompt is:

A Person Who Inspires Me

This topic would’ve been simpler when I was young and more easily inspired, rather than old and cynical. Thinking back, though, it’s easy enough to remember some of my idols.

Albert Einstein

Thanks to my parents, I always knew that my grey matter was my ticket out of the sometimes dodgy neighborhoods we lived. Who better for such a kid to admire than the greatest brain of the twentieth century?

Robert Heinlein

I discovered Heinlein’s YA science fiction by second or third grade, and guess what? I now write science fiction (and romance). Podkayne of Mars  (shown at left) was a favorite. When I reread it recently, the first half is still wonderful . . . until Heinlein’s outdated social attitudes spoil things.

Sergei Prokofiev

I was into music long before I ever dreamed of being a writer. Although my first discovery in the world of serious music was Beethoven (wow, he had Flemish ancestors just like me!), I soon feel under the spell of the twentieth century’s most popular composer. Sergei’s still my favorite.

Ray Still

I started playing the oboe in high school. Mr Still was the principal oboist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the most admired oboist of his day. Before going to an oboe lesson, I would listen to the CSO’s recording of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, which opens with his unmatched performance of the oboe solo.

Years later, I was privileged to take a master class (i.e., a lesson with an audience) with Mr Still when he came to Victoria. I was so intimidated at first that I froze and couldn’t play. Oh, the humiliation!

What about you?

Who has inspired you? Be sure to check out the other writers taking part in this blog hop.



  1. How wonderful that you got to study with your hero! Great post, Ed!

    1. It was certainly memorable. After the first minute or so, the lesson went okay.

  2. I remember an impromptu piano lesson from our church organist; I was in awe by the fact he took time out to show me how to improve the number I was practicing, even though I wasn’t one of his ‘favorites’, or even his student:)

    We may have clashed on a personal level, but during that fifteen minutes, we bonded over music. I don’t even think he’d known I played until then.

    1. Music was the language you shared, not English.

  3. Oh Ed, how exciting you got to take the lesson. How sad you froze up. But being in the presence of someone you admire can do that to a person.

    1. It was embarrassing, though it hardly scarred me for life. I would’ve preferred to wow him with my playing, of course.

  4. Cathy Brockman · · Reply

    Great you got to meet your idol sorry you froze I would have too though.

    1. Studies on orchestral musicians have found that stress levels are among the highest for any profession — and first chair players (the ones who handle solos) aren’t necessarily the best player but the player who handles the stress best. I sure failed the stress test on that day!

  5. What a privilege to take a Master Class and to play for Mr. Still. I bet you weren’t the first one who froze in the beginning. You have some fantastic people as your inspiration.

    1. That master class is a cherished memory, freeze and all.

  6. “…until Heinlein’s outdated social attitudes spoil things.” Exactly, Ed. Exactly. It doesn’t belong in fiction! Thanks for sharing another witty and interesting post!

    1. It sounds as though you know about Heinlein’s attitudes toward women’s roles!

  7. Sherry Lewis · · Reply

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you probably were’t the first or the last to freeze up in front of Mr. Still. What an amazing opportunity

    1. You may be right, but I’m the first in my family to freeze up in from of him!

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