While in college, I embarked upon the quintessential rite of passage “road trip.” It was a fun couple of months driving and camping across our vast and beautiful country. Once we reached the West Coast, we stayed in Hollywood for an entire week with some friends, who were trying to breakthrough in the acting world. And as I soon found out, everyone there was trying to “make it” in some form or fashion. It really was the land where dreams come true. The girl we were staying with was the production assistant for the great Quentin Tarantino. While there, I never got to meet him, but I did get to meet his mother. My friend was asked to deliver flowers to his mother’s house for her birthday. This was a task upgrade from picking up dog poop in the park before call earlier in the day. I was lucky enough to tag along, for the visiting the mother, not the shoveling of the poop. It was exciting just to peek inside this foreign and protected world, and I quickly realized, this Southern girl certainly had a lot to learn about the likes of Hollywood.
In Tarantino’s most recent Golden Globe acceptance speech, he thanked his team of script readers as a part of his writing process. He also added, “Not that I listen to you.” Which I love most about him, he is not afraid to write with disregard to “what people will think.”
There will always be a struggle to write honestly and still protect the people and experiences that inform the writing process. I once read a writing professor’s answer to this question… “YOU WISH it were a problem. If this is ever a problem for you, it means you’re getting published. And in that case, you write what you need to write, and then you go to the people involved and tell them that this is going to be published, and if they have a problem you deal with it then. But you MAY NOT write in fear or you will most certainly never see publication.”
I often find myself holding back, due to the fear of what will people think of me or better yet, the fear of offending someone. So much so, I have considered a Pen Name. That way, I can safely hide my real self from the perception of myself. But at the end of the day, I can only be me. I cannot be afraid.
I often wonder what Mr. Tarantino’s perfectly normal mother thinks of her wildly eccentric less than “normal” son. I wonder if she wishes she had raised him differently. I wonder if all the violence makes her cringe. I wonder if his incessant use of the N-word offends her…I wonder.
Sadly, I’m finding, there are very few people left in this world who actually care to think or take time to wonder anymore.