I happened to catch an article (wish I had kept the link) that suggested a book doesn’t sell as well if it won an award. My theory is that when people see a book won a prestigious award, they assume it’s boring (or overrated, like some classics). Most people don’t like highbrow stuff. They don’t want to think, they want to be entertained. At least one out of every ten books I read is for pleasure, though I am challenging myself to read at least one nonfiction book a month (which I am 99% sure will be about writing, though the last nonfiction book I read was a biography of Marilyn Monroe, which read like creative nonfiction). As you can see, I am not an egghead, nor will I ever pretend to be, but I am educated and do believe in lifelong learning, whether it be taking a class (I am hoping English composition will be one of the first classes I have to take when I go back to school) or teaching ourselves something new (I am getting ready to make my first batch of handmade soap).
Though an award would be an honor, I’d prefer to have the sales (unless the award came with a big payout). I’m like Mr. Wonderful (Kevin O’Leary) from “Shark Tank” in that way, though only in that way. I will forever care about the quality of the writing that will be published under my name, whether I write for Harlequin Romance or a scholarly journal.
I’ve been on a “Little Women” kick lately. I tried watching the 1933 version, but I just can’t stand Katharine Hepburn, so after about fifteen minutes, I had to pass on it. I’ve always liked the 1949 version, even though I’ve never been a fan of June Allyson, who plays Jo, and then I watched the 1994 version with Winona Ryder, who made a less annoying Jo. Her spouting “Christopher Columbus” all the time in the earlier versions was annoying, and seemed put-on to make her more of a tomboy (though I realize this was probably how she was portrayed in the book which I read a VERY long time ago). Though the cinematography was far more realistic in ’94 version, I still prefer the ’49 movie. The ’94 version just didn’t have the charm its predecessor did.
I like “Little Women” because the protagonist is a writer, but I relate to her because she is a female writer. However, one of my favorite films of all time is “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”. I fell in love with it as a little girl; Francie Nolan was just like me. She had what her teacher called imagination. My third grade teacher, Ms. Cahoon, was the first person outside my family who recognized my talent, and will be one of the first people who will receive a copy of my book. Every morning, we had to write in our journals, and I would always write about my summers up in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, when I stayed with my grandparents. My aunt, uncle and cousins lived right next door to them.
I wrote about what I knew and loved. I still do that today. Oh, I’ve fancied myself writing some nonfiction piece about a subject I know nothing about (writing creative nonfiction is a great way to learn something new through research), but personal essays are one of my favorite mediums to write in because it is a story no one else can write.
That teacher scene with Francie after class still brings a tear to my eye.
Now though I am not a fan of Stephen King’s books (or even most of his movies), I did enjoy his novel, “On Writing”, and I like his personal story of how he got where he is today. It is very inspirational. I’ve noticed he likes to make authors his main characters, as in “Secret Window”, “Misery”, and “The Shining”. (I liked those.)
Cuba Gooding Jr. played a struggling writer in “A Murder of Crows”. I don’t think it was a hit, but it drew me in like a Lisa Jackson novel.
While I’m on the subject of movies, there is one that I believe everyone must see for the experience, if nothing else, and that is “Perfect Sense” with Eva Green and Ewan MacGregor. It’s like poetry on celluloid. I will say nothing more.