While watching Diane Keaton accept Woody Allen’s award at the Golden Globes a few weeks ago, it occurred to me that I had never seen a single Woody Allen movie. I knew who he was, with the thick glasses and the marriage to his sorta step-daughter, but as the clips of all his most famous works played, none seemed familiar. I checked his filmography and, sure enough, I had never seen a single one.
A little while after this, as the whole media furor began to build, I mentioned the fact to my boyfriend. He is more of a movie buff than I am, and he has seen a couple, so he recommended Midnight in Paris as one I might enjoy. Turns out my boyfriend must know me pretty well!
Maybe it’s the writer in me, but how can you not just gasp when you realize that is the Zelda Fitzgerald? Watching Gill discover his literary idols in all their glory and vanity and humanity was amazing. Gertrude Stein as a beta reader?? Where do I sign up?!
It made me think a lot about my writing. Hemingway on having another writer beta your work: “If it’s bad, I’ll hate it. If it’s good, then I’ll be envious and hate it even more. You don’t want the opinion of another writer.” Do I think that’s 100% true? No. But it is something to keep in mind. We should want the opinion of readers, not other writers. At least, that is why I write. Not to impress other writers or to hobnob around in Paris bars trying to steal lovers from Pablo Picasso, but to make people feel when they read my work. To be astounded and grieved and amused and every possible thing in between. I want people to hate my Inezs and to shake their heads at my Gills and to laugh at my Dalis.
Anyway. The movie in itself was nothing all that special, but for me as a writer, it was nothing short of magical.
[Also, I’ve been learning French for the past year, and I am dying to go to Paris! Maybe it can rejuvenate my writing. (Said every writer ever, it seems like!)]