Not necessarily the greatest movie of all time, but I’ve learned from it. The following is excerpted from a letter to my cousin. There’s so much more I want to say, but this is what I’ve written:
“I often think I must be crazy to attempt writing books for young people. So much work! Takes so much time. So many other writers. I’m so old and out of touch. But I keep trying anyway.
“My friend and I have been going to the library to write about four times a week for the past couple of weeks. She will be gone Friday through next week, so I’ll try my writing at home and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll go back to the library on my own. There’s not much to distract me at the library (except the noise; our public library is incredibly noisy, but I wear headphones and listen to music), so I work better there. No, actually, I work better at home if I can get myself sitting down for any length of time. But that’s hard to do. So I work more at the library.
“I often think of a scene in one of my favorite movies (I have many, many favorites; so while I don’t love every aspect of this movie, there is much good and touching about it): Hope Floats, starring Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick, Jr. In one part of the movie he shows her the house he designed and is building and she says something like, “Why are you painting houses when you can do amazing work like this?” His response is something I like a lot. He says (not a direct quote), “I know what you’re talking about: the American Dream, where you take something you love and twist it until you don’t recognize it anymore just to get money.” That’s how I feel about my art and my writing in a way. I don’t want to sell my art, and don’t care if my books get published, yet I wish other people liked them and I’d like to do some good for others with them, if I could. But I don’t want to take my life and twist it till I’m fatigued and miserable, ignore my house till I don’t recognize it, neglect my husband and puppies . . . Everything about life is hard in some ways and easy in others. I’m not sure there is a balance anymore. Maybe there is. Maybe. But maybe not if you feel the need to stay involved, even if it’s only in small ways.”