It’s true, I’ve been meaning to watch Silver Linings Playbook for the longest time – but my track record for keeping up with movies AND with reading all the books I want to read is not very good. So when Christa (More Than Just Magic) mentioned that she was reading The Good Luck of Right Now, the author of which also wrote Silver Linings Playbook, I decided to join her at Indigo Bay/Bloor last week to hear Katie J (CTV’s Canada AM producer & bookworm) interview author Matthew Quick.
I have attended my fair share of author events, as my many recaps on the blog will attest to, but never have I been so truly & completely inspired until now. Often, author events will have the author speak about their inspiration, their writing process and then plug their book before a few questions from the audience. However, this Wednesday evening’s interview was just packed full of wisdom in all his personal anecdotes.
When asked to describe his latest novel, Matthew says it is about “cat telepathy, alien abduction, love…” And why Richard Gere? (Whose letter plays a part integral to the story) Matthew received a letter from Gere many years ago. It was a Free Tibet form letter but was enamoured that it was from a famous person. It got him thinking about what makes us excited about celebrities. Why do we care about important stuff because Gere tells us to and not someone else?
Quick shared stories where he’s received letters that fans have written to him, telling stories that they would never share with people they actually knew and how tragic it is that people are willing to tell their inner most feelings to someone they don’t know but not to the people who are close. When asked whether the success of the Silver Linings Playbook movie influenced his writing of The Good Luck of Right Now, Quick told the captive audience that this new book was actually finished before SLP hit theatres, so it really didn’t hinder his writing. That being said, all the Oscar blitz made him crave going back to the page and write, doing what he’s most comfortable doing. All 5 books of his published books, plus the next one entitled Love May Fail, has been optioned for film.
The one biggest takeaway I had from the whole evening was Quick’s mantra of “be true to yourself”. Whatever you write, make sure it’s the authentic you. Don’t set out to write a best-seller that’s going to become a movie. If it’s in you to write, you will write it and put it out there one day. Put your true self into it. When he is done writing a book, he asks his wife if it’s “the real me”. Not if it’s good or if it’s better than the last one. His quitting 10 years of teaching wasn’t “brave”, it was a last ditch effort to do what he needed to do: write.
Storytelling is not about right or wrong but more true vs always true. It transcends right or wrong, factual vs not.
He hadn’t necessarily set out to write a bunch of novels on mental health but he used writing fiction on these topics to free himself, and others, to be able to talk about it. A book is like a barometer for where a person is at a given time. In one moment at a party someone thought Silver Linings Playbook was hilarious where another had cried throughout the whole thing.
And amongst all of that wisdom and knowledge that he imparted on all of us, one of his final comments was perhaps most poignant and relevant. Be nice to others. Don’t deal with other authors who make it harder for you to be an author. It’s such a simple concept and yet not everyone finds it easy to do. I love, and truly believe, that you need to surround yourself with positivity if for no other reason than too much negativity will just drag you down.
You are not what you read, you are what you write. You are not what you destroy, you are what you create.
What a phenomenal evening with Matthew Quick. Huge thanks to the talented author, Katie from CTV, the team at Harper Collins Canada and Indigo!