November 8, 2014
Have you ever been caught reading hot-trendy novels by hot young writers, one after another, that you feel obligated to read but are not enjoying? It’s like being hijacked by a continuum of responsible reading activities that you wish would end but don’t? Worse, you begin to doubt your own taste, your erudition about literature, or simply judge yourself to be trapped in a bygone time period, writing novels that appeal only to you.
Recently one morning about 5 o’clock I woke up, clunked my way into the kitchen, arranged my cup of coffee, and, not yet fully awake, staggered over to the TV, clicked, and on came the French movie “Chocolat.” Please, you’ve seen it. (It is based on a novel by Joanne Harris.)
Juliette Binoche with her 6-year-old daughter drift into a repressed French village in Burgundy and she opens a chocolate shop during the beginning of the Lenten season. Her chocolate is a metaphor for pleasure. The people who taste it quickly begin to change from being fearful and not doing what is best for them. After eating the delicious chocolate, they bravely give up their fears and inhibitions, indulge their desires, and begin to enjoy life.
“Chocolate” was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It was also nominated for four Golden Globes.
The film brought me home to the lyrically narrated literature/film that I love.
Moral: Remember, Evelyn, to respect your own drummer. And continue to write the kind of novels that fulfill your artistic pleasure.