Several decades ago, the Australian movie My Brilliant Career debuted. I had just had my third child, was working full-time, and was taking graduate classes in counseling. I barely had time to think, but when the opportunity arose to go see this film I did, and it has lingered in my heart ever since.
The movie entranced me. It challenged me to think in ways I never had. In the story, the lead character chooses a career over a traditional marriage. She wanted to write. At the time, I had no interest or time to write, but this fictional young woman’s choice inspired me, even unsettled me. Maybe, someday, I would think, maybe someday.
The movie is based on Miles Franklin’s book by the same title. I’ve not read the book, but I’m haunted by one of Franklin’s statements. She said, “someone to tell it to is one of the fundamental needs of human beings.”
A fundamental need? Like water or food or shelter?
Her statement seems a bit overblown and yet don’t we all hunger for understanding? For a friend who listens and meets us half-way? And if we are writers, for a reader who travels with us through the story?
Today, I finished reading Beem Weeks’ Strange HWY. This collection of short stories is simply extraordinary. It is writing at its best. Accompanying him through the pages, I recalled a poem I had written, for again I felt respect – honor – for the storyteller. I think you will as well.