I Want To Make You Feel Something
Even more than I want to be a bestseller.
I’m watching The Postman tonight.
I’m sure I’ve seen it a couple of dozen times at least. The first time I watched it was the Saturday after its release and I was alone — completely alone — in the theater.
I remember how I felt. On the edge of my seat. Breathless. Coming out the theater and being frustrated that there wasn’t anyone for me to talk to about it.
I already loved the book going in and I loved the movie. I still do. In fact, it’s my favorite movie.
That’s right. My favorite movie is one that nearly everyone else hates.
And that’s okay. I love it anyway. It’s the kind of story that makes me want to be a better writer.
There are a handful of stories — movies, books, songs — that do that to me.
Sometimes it’s just a little thing. Like the inhale at the very beginning of Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah every time it comes around on my favorite playlist. Or the way that sometimes, when I really need to feel like someone understands me, I pick up Little Women so I can hang out with Jo March for a while.
Every time I hear Echo and the Bunnymen sing Bring on the Dancing Horses, I remember exactly what it felt like to be fourteen. The longing for things I was old enough to feel, but not experienced enough to name. It takes me right back to that magic place when independence was brand new.
That’s what I want, when I write a book. That’s what I think about.
I mean, every one wants to be a bestseller.
If I told you that I didn’t, I doubt that you’d believe me.
But even more, I want to create something that makes someone else feel the way I do when I watch The Postman or read Little Women or listen to Echo and the Bunnymen.
Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She is an out-of-place Nevadan living in Northwestern PA with her husband, three superstar kids, two dementia patients, a good friend, Alfred the cat, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nation and The Astonishing Maybe. She is the original Ninja Writer.