Best Intentions

a friend's flaming gift of a centerpiece

After an insanely busy week that crash landed in illness, the post I’d been weaving in my head never actually made it to the page. As my mother is always faithful to remind me, “life is what happens when you had other plans”.

Nevertheless, I thought I’d just pop in and say Hello! and a few other randomly unconnected things…

I’m sure many of you have seen the note that’s been traveling around Facebook, wherein friends are invited to share fifteen authors that have inspired, challenged and shaped their thinking. The only rule is that you are supposed to rattle them off: no thoughtful pondering and agonizing. (One might consider the limitation to fifteen a rule. I haven’t decided yet whether or not I’m going to honor that distinction. Probably not.) I’ve been tagged so many times, I thought I may as well share them here. (Another rule broken, you might say. I’m a rebel.) So here goes:

Sheldon Vanauken
Charles Williams
George Eliot
T.S. Eliot
Madeleine L’Engle
Charlotte Bronte
Gerard Manley Hopkins
William Wordsworth
Lucy Maud Montgomery
Elizabeth Goudge
Thomas Howard
C.S. Lewis
J.R.R. Tolkien
Christina Rossetti
Gene Stratton-Porter
George MacDonald
Louisa May Alcott
Rumer Godden
Elizabeth Gaskell
Jane Austen
Charles Dickens
Elisabeth Elliot
Edith Schaeffer
Brenda Ueland
Dorothy Sayers

not quite the first fire of the season, but very nearly

In other news, here are two dearests that I have been meaning to tell you about for some time:

The first is my lovely and talented sister, Liz. She is a representational artist living in New York, creating beauty with and without her paintbrush every day of her life, and she has inspired me as an artist more than anyone else on the face of this earth. She’s been updating her site (“Beetle’s Day”) with works from a recent stint in Europe: Sarajevo, Paris and Madrid. Don’t miss the beautiful Notre Dame at Night, one of my favorites. Val-de-Grace and Window in Madrid are especially breathtaking, as well. But they all are! And here’s the amazing part: all of the pieces listed on her site are available for sale!

Next, my darling friend and writing partner, Laura. Friends, I cannot tell you how much I love and admire this girl. She is all indomitable pluck and unfailing womanly charm and social wit, and she’s an incredibly gifted writer, to boot. And besides all these, Laura has a mind and heart awake to the operations of Grace that transfigure daily life into a spiritual pilgrimage. I invite you to enjoy her candid journey as a writer at Mere Enthusiasm.

And just to round off this haphazard post, I had a piece published on The Rabbit Room this week, an honor in every sense of the word. You can find it here if you’re interested. 🙂

(Oh! And good heavens–how could I forget Kenneth Grahame and Tennyson!!)

So who are your “15”? I’d love to hear, if you care to share below! 🙂

my idea of an absolutely perfect autumn afternoon

edited to add: Evelyn Waugh. Ahem. 😉

20 Responses to “Best Intentions”

  1. Rebekah Dickinson says:

    Hello dear,

    Hope you are feeling much better.

    Here is the 15- rather rough and ready but here we go.

    CS Lewis
    JI Packer
    Louisa May Alcott
    Jane Austen
    Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
    LM Montgomery
    Anne Bronte
    M.M. Kaye
    Margaret Forster
    Helen Forrester
    A.J. Cronin
    Ahdar Soueif
    Miriam Adeney
    JRR Tolkien
    John Piper

    Really hope you feel better soon- love Rebekah PS must speak soon on the phone.

  2. yarnbelle says:

    15? Without thinking about it? Eep. Ok, just for you, and in no particular order, here goes 🙂

    Louisa May Alcott
    Jane Austen
    William Wordsworth
    JC Ryle
    Oswald Chambers
    Jhumpa Lahiri
    Christina Rossetti
    A A Milne
    Elisabeth Elliot
    Lucy Maud Montgomery
    John Muir
    Anne Fadiman
    CS Lewis
    Joyce Lankester Brisley
    John Clare

    I’m sure I’ll think of others later, I am so terrible at lists like this!

    Glad to hear you are well, Lanier. And beautiful centrepiece.

  3. Joanna Rogers says:

    My 15:

    H.L. Mencken
    Evelyn Waugh
    William Faulkner
    Marcel Proust
    Lord Macaulay (Thomas Babington Macaulay)
    Arthur Conan Doyle
    William Shakespeare
    T.S. Eliot
    John Wesley
    Peter DeVries
    Charles Dickens
    Roger Scruton
    Peter Hitchens
    C.S. Lewis
    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    I just realized that there are no women on this list. Hmmm…

  4. Sharon says:

    This was not as easy an assignment as it appeared.
    Favorites in no special order:
    Elizabeth Goudge
    Dorothy Evelyn Smith
    Gladys Hasty Carroll
    Rosamunde Pilcher
    Madeleine L’Engle
    Ellis Peters
    Rumer Godden
    Daphne du Maurier
    Frances Parkinson Keyes
    Henry Beston
    Janice Holt Giles
    Beth Powning
    Agnes Sligh Turnbull
    Edwin Way Teale
    A.A. Milne

  5. hopeinbrazil says:

    Goodness! My list is almost identical to yours except for the two authors I am not familiar with (Howard and Ueland). In there place I had Trollope and Bunyan.

  6. EFI says:

    dorothy whipple
    jane austen
    charlotte bronte
    anne bronte
    edith schaeffer
    sarah ban breathnagh
    d e stevenson
    luisa alcott
    lucy maud montgomery
    p.g wodehouse
    eva ibbotson
    konstantinos kavafis
    george seferis
    odysseas elytis
    elizabeth gaskell

  7. Marie (from France) says:

    Dear Lanier,

    Wonderful idea! Here is my top 15: (I don’t know who are the french authors you read in the USA, although I saw Proust was mentioned, so I add some comments on them!)

    Jane Austen
    Alexandre Dumas (historical novels as long as a good book should be: The Three musketeers…)
    Elizabeth Gaskell (thanks to you)
    Lucy Maud Montgomery
    Jeanne Bourin (historical novels again, often about the Middle-Ages)
    C. S. Lewis
    Gilbert Cesbron (a Catholic author in the middle of the twentieth century, a free mind, the hero of my youth)
    Louisa May Alcott
    Henry James
    Philippe Delerm (the writer of the quest of happiness in the little things in our lives)
    Rainer Maria Rilke
    Théophile Gautier (poet and novelist, a wizard of words)
    Jean Anouilh (a fantastic playwright)
    Marcel Pagnol (so funny that my sister once had to stop reading him in the train because she was laughing to loud)
    Daphné du Maurier

    Glad you’re back but take good care of you.


  8. Posy says:


    Here are my 15:

    Louisa May Alcott
    P G Wodehouse
    Elizabeth Goudge
    Edward Gorey
    Mary Webb
    Kenneth Grahame
    George and Weedon Grossmith
    Jerome K Jerome
    Jane Austen
    E F Benson
    Anthony Trollope
    Rosamunde Pilcher
    Rumer Godden
    Mary Renault
    Daphne Du Maurier

    Any Richmal Crompton went on and off as I kept thinking of more and more favourites so she didn’t quite make it in the end. And Yeats . . . and Wordsworth . . . and A A Milne . . . oh dear . . . .

  9. I would say something about someone not following the rule of 15 but I am too busy writing down names of authors. 🙂

    Reading through Girl of the Limberlost right now…

  10. Becka says:

    Fifteen favorites:

    J.R.R. Tolkien
    C. S. Lewis
    Madeleine L’Engle
    George MacDonald
    Katharine Paterson
    Lois Lowry
    Kenneth Grahame
    E. B. White
    Louisa May Alcott
    Lucy Maud Montgomery
    Susan Cooper
    Eugenia Price
    Jan Karon
    Frances Hodgson Burnett
    Catherine Marshall

  11. Kimberly says:

    r alcorn
    lm alcott
    fh burnett
    lm montgomery
    t dekker
    c dickens
    w cather
    j bunyan
    li wilder
    j karon
    eb white
    f rivers
    cs lewis
    t tudor

  12. Sheena says:

    Okay, here goes: Eleanor Spence, Georgette Heyer, Mary Renault, CS Lewis, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Hilaire Belloc, GK Chesterton, Joanna Spry, Elinor M Brent-Dyer, LM Montgomery, Ruth Park, R F Delderfield, Enid Blyton, Elizabeth Goudge.
    Hope you are feeling better, and having lots of perfect autumn days!

  13. Martina says:

    I love all the photos, especially the last one. So much peace and beauty!
    Have many wonderful reading hours! Martina

  14. Elisabeth says:

    Jane Austen
    Cynthia Harnett
    Elsie J. Oxenham
    Louisa May Alcott
    L.M. Montgomery
    C.H. Spurgeon
    Francis H. Burnett
    Robert Elmer
    Eric Ludy
    Leslie Ludy
    P.G. Wodehouse
    Lois Walfrid Johnson
    Joanna Spyri
    Janette Oke and …
    … Davis Bunn (Together)

    And that’s 15 – if I was allowed 20 I’d add Arthur Ransom, Mary Kassian, Elizabeth George, John Pollock and Laura Ingalls Wilder. All in random order. How fun this is … thank you for sharing!

  15. Lara says:

    It was necessary to remove the poets from my list–I had 24 all together!
    Here’s mine:

    C.S. Lewis
    Jane Austen
    Madeleine L’Engle
    Louisa May Alcott
    Lucy Maud Montgomery
    Jan Karon
    Elizabeth Goudge
    J.R.R. Tolkien
    Frances Hodgson Burnett
    Elizabeth Gaskell
    Dorothy Sayers
    Laura Ingalls Wilder
    Agatha Christie
    G.K. Chesterton
    Anne Morrow Lindbergh
    Rosamunde Pilcher

    I love reading the other lists and seeing the commonalities–but also some ideas for new-to-me writers! What a wonderful community you’ve created!


  16. Lara says:

    Poet list:

    William Carlos Williams
    Y.B Yeats
    Emily Dickinson
    Mary Oliver
    Elizabeth Bishop
    Robert Frost
    Jane Kenyon
    William Stafford
    William Wordsworth
    John Keats
    Gerard Manley Hopkins
    T.S. Eliot
    Alfred, Lord Tennyson
    John Greenleaf Whittier
    Billy Collins
    David Whyte

  17. Rebekah Dickinson says:

    I love the fact so many have mentioned Rosamunde Pilcher- I was afraid to be too honest- such sweet relaxation!

  18. Lara says:

    She’s a bit of comfort to me, when I’m feeling out of sorts. Have you seen this website? I love “You Know You’ve Read Too Much Pilcher When….” as you scroll down. Enjoy!

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