If you comment on this entry, I'll give you a letter so you can come up with ten words starting with that letter, plus explanations of what each word means to you.
1. Sam Neill - some actors take awhile to grow on you, some are love at first sight. Sam Neill was love at first sight, 1990, "The Hunt for Red October." (I actually have Clancy movies to thank for both Sam Neill and Sean Bean, though I hated, and still hate, "Patriot Games" the movie with an intense passion. Sean Bean was the only good thing about it.) I remember a friend back then asking how the heck I noticed anybody else in "Red October" with Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery around, but what can I say? Attraction's a funny, individualistic thing. Sam Neill was the one I gravitated too from the first scene, not the others. Voice, looks, he had everything for me... He was my first adult celebrity love, and he still ranks in my top five actors. He also has the distinction of inspiring more novels to date than anyone else.
2. Star Wars - probably the single most influential thing that ever happened to me. There's pre-1977, there's post-1977 and they ain't remotely the same thing. First movie I saw over 20 times in the theater. (I was about to say the Star Wars films are also the only movies I've driven hundreds of miles just to see, but as I recently drove 200+ miles just to see a Dana Andrews film, I have to amend that statement now....) I still remember watching the previews for it on tv before we saw it, my family all staring and laughing and wondering what the heck that big roaring furball was. I still remember going to the Avco Cinema in Westwood and seeing it for the first time, coming out afterwards and my family jabbering and grinning. I remember my mom taking my sister and I to JC Penny's to buy t-shirts and fighting the quadrillion other moms and kids doing the same thing. Driving all over LA to meet Darth Vader and get his autograph. Telling him I had a sore throat one time and could he fix it and him putting his gloved hand around my neck and leaning down towards me. Blasters and action figures and light sabers and comics and cutting the "Star Wars Christmas Greetings" ad out of the newspaper and going to hear John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl just to hear the Star Wars music. And when they re-released it in 1997, crying in the theater when the danged movie began and the music and logo soared, just cuz it still meant that much to me, and crying when it ended for the same reason.
3. Serge - character in my current novel. A "the-end-justifies-the-means" type of guy, but oh, those means! Absolutely loathed by a couple of beta readers, but I still love him. In an odd way, he's the character I relate most closely to in the book, which is a scary thought.
4. Saunders, Sgt. - one of the lead Combat! characters. I've talked enough about this show elsewhere on LJ, but I'm still in awe of it, and most of that is due to the character of Saunders and how he's portrayed by Vic Morrow.
5. Sherrill Milnes - my favorite opera singer/baritone. Handsome man, amazing smooth voice, best Scarpia ever. Best Iago ever. I got to meet him on my birthday once, in San Francisco, and get his autograph on a great picture from Tosca. He was there to sing Don Carlo with Placido Domingo, but we couldn't get tickets. Too bad, wouldn't that have been great to see? Still, it was an awesome birthday present.
6. Submarines - mechanical love of my life as long as I can remember. There's nothing manmade quite as beautiful to me as a submarine. From watching "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" to collecting a shelf of every non-fiction and fiction book I could find, particularly on the WWII boats. Cmdr. Beach was my hero... I think I've read his fiction trilogy a dozen times. "Cold is the Sea" still makes me bawl at the end. I've toured every submarine open to the public that was near me. If I could buy my own and disappear under the ocean, like Capt. Nemo, I'd be gone in an instant.
7. Santorini - last novel by Alistair MacLean, my favorite author despite the sharp decline of quality of his last books. I would not be a writer if it weren't for him and his novels. This last book sits on my shelf, still unread. Stupid, but it's just one of those quirky things -- as long as I don't read it, I always have one book of his left to look forward to. Means that much to me.
8. Spaghetti - favorite meal when the sauce is homemade, following the family recipe, simmered for hours. The house never smells quite so good as on those days cooking sauce. Still have never found Italian sausage as good as Roma Deli used to make, in LA.
9. Swamp Water - movie made in 1941. Dang, but I love this movie. Can't even really pinpoint why, as it doesn't have a spectacular plot, or spectacular dialog (though it does have some great lines), or a spectacular score. Most of the joy is just watching this many quality actors interact. I never thought I'd like Walter Huston so much. Walter Brennan is always fantastic, goes without saying, but Walter Huston totally surprised me. And Dana Andrews... young, handsome, hair unslicked and curly, talking with a Southern accent, and geez, is there an emotion he doesn't get to do in this movie? It just satisfies.
10. Stories/storytelling - what I do, what I love, what I live.