Two things I didn't know when I was writing THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK:
1) It was going to be made into a major motion picture directed by one of my storytelling heroes and starring many famous actors.
(Maybe this is a good thing. I sometimes miss the naive pre-published days. And I would have angsted endlessly if I knew that Hollywood types were going to read my manu.)
2) When your novel is adapted for screen it generates a lot of opportunities for other people.
It's fun to receive letters from aspiring actors who've earned roles in the film. It's thrilling to read long joyful e-mails from the proud mothers of young aspiring actors and dancers who were cast. Three of my friends landed bit parts as extras. Anupam Kher, who has worked in "425 films in the last 27yrs," e-mailed saying THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK movie helped him fulfill his lifelong dream: meeting and working with his all-time favorite actor, Robert De Niro.
When I was writing the book, I never imagined I was helping a famous Indian actor get closer to accomplishing one of his life goals, nor did I understand that I was helping to provide opportunities for others--generating jobs, income, taxes even. I didn't think I was helping anyone. I thought I was only trying to tell a story. The idea that my work might provide opportunities for others seemed unthinkable when I was an unpublished writer working in my in-laws' basement. My novel generating positive things for strangers--that thought would have seemed absolutely absurd back then, and yet there must have been some part of me--perhaps buried deep down inside--that knew, if I wrote the words, good things would happen. Why else would I have sat in that basement writing all those years?
For another example, check out this blog entry (in which I am quoted) by fellow writer Beth Kephart.
Whatever comes of TSLP movie this fall (and if you believe my horoscope, things should get very interesting this November), it all began with an unknown writer deciding to put words to paper--an action that no one was paying much attention to at the time. Maybe all great things begin this way?
What are you working on now? What types of opportunities will it provide for others five years from now? Can you use altruistic impulses to fuel your writing? These are questions I pose to myself and I invite you to pose away too.
As I head into 2012, the year that the TSLP movie will be released, I'm reminding myself to move forward with a sense of wonder and possibility--and the knowledge that my creative efforts do create a wake that is often unseen at the time of writing, but can grow as my words travel further and further away from me. This is true for all writers. We have to believe this or we would never bother to write. Maybe we should believe a bit more zealously.
Happy 2012, Readers! Happy 2012, Writers! I hope you will also move forward into the new year with a sense of wonder and possibility--trusting that your creative efforts will create a positive wake. May it be so for all of us. May art flourish and opportunities abound.
PS - via @JaneFriedman's Twitter account: