Matthew Quick Interview: Finding the Silver Linings- Part 3
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
MQ: Yes, I would love to do that, but my agents keep telling me I’m a brand now; you are a novelist. There’s a screenplay for “Like a Rock Star” and there’s some interest in “Boy 21”. I think all the stuff I write is rather cinematic. We are kind of waiting to see how SLP is received before making some decisions going forward. I have an adult book that I can’t currently discuss at the moment, which would be a great film and follow up to Silver Linings, in both book and film formats. We are excited about that, but it’s hard not to say anything else.
“Leonard Peacock” would be a brilliant film. “Perks of Being a Wallflower”, which was great, I love that book; I almost didn’t want to see the film. I would love to meet Stephen [Chbosky]; I’m unabashedly a fan. I saw “Perks” and thought “Leonard Peacock” would be in the same ballpark. I would answer his call any day; I’m a huge fan of his.
PFF: Do you have a favorite "silver lining" moment?
MQ: There are definitely a lot of them… One really beautiful moment was that of my Uncle Pete is a Vietnam Vet. He is a stock options trader, a very intense man. I mean that in the best of ways, he knows who he is; he doesn't take anything off anyone. He’s the kind of guy who makes money, but wears camouflage all the time. He’s a brilliant man, but lives on his own terms. He’s not someone I thought who would encourage me to write, but when I told him my plans the first time, he said to me, “Risk & Reward”. He played the stock market, “You want to do something great; you need to take a risk.” He’s one of the very few people at the time who understood what I had to do.
I remember when I wrote “Sorta Like a Rock Star”, there is a character name Private Jackson and he is aVietnamveteran – he’s not my Uncle Pete, but all the stories, I learned from him. My uncle counsels vets and is very serious aboutVietnam. Shortly before the book’s publication, I told him about this character. He looked at me quite seriously, and said “You better not mess that up. If you made this character look bad, you’re in bug trouble”. He was very serious.
Uncle Pete went out and bought the book on the first day of its release, and to put this in perspective, the cover is white, had rainbow letters with a teenager girl. This is not the type of book my uncle would generally read. He mainly reads book on history and war. He was the first in my family to read the book and he called me up to tell me – I got it right, this book is beautiful. He is such an unlikely reader for that type of book. It really struck me hard because I realized the power of stories, to transcend all the differences. He related to that story because it was about people that were wounded, connecting in a very intense moment. That was a beautiful silver lining for me. To connect with my Vietnam Veteran uncle through art was something I never expected to happen.
PFF: Is there any advice you can give to aspiring artists that can help them find their silver lining on their artistic journey?
MQ: I felt so lonely when I went through this process of writing. Without exaggeration, dangerously lonely. Really, sometimes I was so depressed, I just wanted this so much, I felt like it was something I could do. There were so many times I felt it wasn’t going to happen. So when I talk about this stuff, one of the things that strikes me, and I try to be as honest as I can, how many people say that, “I’m in this situation, and it resonates so strongly with me.”? Not even artists; just people that come up to me and say, “I’m a CEO of a company, and I started when I was your age”, our stories are the same. Or “I started a law firm when I was 29; everyone said I was crazy, but I followed my vision.” You end up seeing; this is the journey of the hero. It is exactly what people go through. I honestly think we don’t talk about it enough, and we don’t encourage people to leave the herd. In our society, especially in our schools, we tell kids, “Be the same. Make sure you get the right score on the SAT. Make sure you go to the right college.”, instead of saying “Find the authentic You. Find what you can put into the world.” I love the fact [the book & film] inspires people to make art and keep going. If I had quit 5 days before I sent my query letter to my agent, and this book was rejected by a lot of agents in New York, we wouldn’t be talking now. David O. Russell wouldn’t have made the film. I have a novelist friend, Ron, he told me, “People are quitting everyday.” What he meant by that, is that part of making it is not giving up. We need more people that help those people who are trying not to give up; that shine the light on some of the positive things. People are leaving the "Silver Linings" movie or reading the book, and saying “Wow, I feel uplifted after this.” We need more of that.
“Silver Linings Playbook” opens in theaters nationwide November 21, 2012. For more information about on the novel “Silver Linings Playbook” or any of Matthew Quick’s other novels visit http://matthewquickwriter.com