After being asked the question by Anne Jackson, and reading her response to her own question, I must say the person who has had huge influence on my life is Mr. K. In middle school, I was not driven to be much of a student. Applying myself was as foreign as it is cliche. This meant testing into high school placed me in remedial English courses.*
The school system in Indiana, at that time, never allowed for retesting. This meant my eventual turn toward scholarship would never serve to help me move into more advanced English and writing classes.
My Junior year, I was assigned to Mr. K's remedial English class where I would be eternally stuck in the remedial rut of English courses. I enjoyed writing. I had already developed that habit when I received my mom's old word processor in middle school to write stories and various other things nobody would ever read.
After a few short weeks of class, Mr. K would pull me aside and speak these words out of his mouth that wreaked of cigarettes and...whiskey??
"You're a damn good writer, PC. I don't know why you're in this class, but you are capable of a lot more."
Mr. K backed up that statement with treatment throughout the semester, and my confidence grew from that moment on to write...and never stop.
Without Mr. K, I would have always believed I was meant to be remedial.
Who has had the most influence on your life?
* I was also placed into remedial math classes, but that may have never changed.