We are all pieces of other people, things, experiences. Less like a puzzle, but more like a delicious recipe -- a dish that gets more and more rich as you drop additional ingredients in. In cooking, it's very hard to separate out the ingredients once you put them in, and I have found the same to be true in thinking about how I got to be the person I am today. It's hard to think about where I got my love of storytelling, my appreciation of brutal honesty and achievement, my commitment to family. But when I sit down to consider all of my influences, it is very clear to me that there are pieces of me that look very much like people who have been so meaningful to me and my life. I am going to write about these people -- not only to recognize the great things that they have given to me, but also because I think it's an important exercise. Very rarely do we feel that we have the power to impact others. Well, we definitely do, and sometimes, even unknowingly, we do. I want those who have impacted me to know it. Also, we don't emphasize the true beauty of people nearly enough (too often we hone in on the ugliness -- just turn on the 10 o'clock news).