2016. Ben and I had just returned from another sailing trip in Greece.
My manuscript called to me from the desk drawer. ‘Hey, remember me? I’m about falling in love on a sailing trip in Greece. You could, um, you know, give me a new lick of paint or something?’
I ignored it.
I’d had an agent the year before. He’d loved the book, but he couldn’t get any takers. I was done with it. I was done with the whole ‘being an author’ lark. I was giving up on my dream.
Then we saw La La Land.
La La Land, which will forever be known as ‘the film that changed my life’.
You see, towards the end of the film [spoiler alert, but really, you should have seen it by now—it’s incredible], Emma Stone’s character, Mia, is at the point where she wants to give up on acting. And Ryan Gosling’s character, Sebastian, convinces her to go to this one particular audition.
She does, and it is a beautiful audition. La La Land is a musical, so she sings it—a song called ‘The Fools Who Dream’. In a perfect Oscar-winning moment, she lays it all out there, her heart bare and raw.
[MAJOR SPOILER] She gets the part and she becomes a huge star.
The rest of the film devolves into a flash forward and then completely the wrong ending, but that scene!!!!
After the film, we caught the tram home and I couldn’t speak and I couldn’t stop the tears streaming down my face. When we got home, I told Ben I wanted to be alone, and sitting at my desk, I had a serious talk with myself.
No one was going to knock on my door and ask if I had a completed manuscript lying about. No one was going to ever read it if I didn’t do something—if I didn’t at least try.
This was my dream. I was a fool who dreamed, and if I didn’t give this everything I had, it would never happen and I would always be heartbroken that my dream hadn’t come true.
So, I had to try—again.
And I did. I re-wrote the book and self-published and queried it and wrote more books and queried those. I kept going. I gave it everything I had—all because of that one scene in that one film. Yes, eventually I may have had a nudge from somewhere else, but I will always remember La La Land as the film that changed my life.