I am a bit like Sarah Connor, the character from the movie The Terminator. She used the time, raising her son, to learn everything she could about guns, about self-defense, about emergency preparedness. I mean, I look nothing like her, but I believe myself to be a life-long learner, and it sure makes things easier to have a mentor. So then, the question is: What expert would I want to teach me something?
The first mentor I would want is Leonardo Da Vinci. More than anything else, I would love to observe him, to try to figure out how his mind works. If he could narrate himself to me, show me how he thinks, what he does to cultivate his curiosity, his imagination, that would be gravy. Yes, he would make a fine first mentor — and, truth be told, if I could have only one mentor, Da Vinci would be it. However, this is my blog, and I can have more, so onward.
Another mentor I would choose would be Albert Einstein. I would love to learn physics from him, from the ground up, everything about the universe as he sees and understands it. I have vacillated between Einstein and Stephen Hawking, but in the end decided to go with a fellow Jew for no other reason. But then, again, I remembered that this is my list, and added Professor Hawking and his giant brain.
Another mentor I would pick would be a writer, someone with whom I could form a writing group, someone who would talk to me about the craft and their process. Here, I run into a giant problem. I could no more pick just one person than I could point to one book and say, “My favorite.” When it comes to writing, I think I would love to learn about discipline from Joyce Carol Oates and Stephen King — both of these writers are terrifically prolific. But the master of the craft, and one of my all-time favorites, a demi-god I grew up with, would be Mark Twain. I would sit at his knee, and just listen to him, I would love to hear his ideas about characters, plot, dialogue, anything and everything about writing, and if he would throw some things in about life, well, I wouldn’t plug my ears.
I would love to work out with The Rock, study photography with Ansel Adams, cook chicken with Julia Child, learn to play the violin from Itzhak Perlman, discuss kindness and love (and how they can co-exist while driving) with the Dalai Lama. I would enjoy picking up information on military strategy with both General Douglas MacArthur and Sun Tzu.
There are so many things that are interesting to me, so many things I want to learn. How about you? What are some subjects that interest you and that make you want to find a mentor in them? Write them in a list, show them to me, please.