With each passing year I get older and part of that process means many of the people I grew up admiring and looking to for inspiration has passed. They’ve all left an indelible mark on me and continue to push and prod me in making my own mark on the world before my own time comes to pass.
So, it was with a sad heart when I found out that Robin Williams passed away today. As to the manner of his passing I won’t dwell on it, but instead on how he has made an impact on my life and on the world. He might have just been a comedian and an actor known to have entertained several generations of people, but he would always be John Keating to me, first and foremost.
I was already a fan of Williams from watching his hit show Mork & Mindy. I’ve even been a fan of his films, but I truly began to admire the man after his performance as English teach John Keating in 1989’s Dead Poets Society. He was able to take his rapid-fire gift for gab but meld it with such a poignant and emotional performance as a teacher in a tradition-bound prep school who really cared about the kids in his charge.
I would say that his performance and this film was instrumental in opening up the world of literature and the joys of the written word to my teenage self. This film and his work in it showed me that literature shouldn’t be something to be endured, but instead something that should nurture and inspire me.
To say that Robin Williams has been an inspiration to me would be an understatement.
Rest in peace, my captain and you’ve certainly left your verse on this world.