It's not youse, it's me
Before the movie deal, before “The” was dropped from the title, and long before Jennifer Lawrence took her now-famous fall on the steps on the way to meet Oscar, I came across the first published novel by a local writer.
My dad discovered the interview in a local paper. It was mid-simmer, 2009, and the piece featured author Matthew Quick. He was a La Salle grad with Philly roots and an upbringing across the bridge in New Jersey. After several years of teaching, he took a break to complete an MFA program, sequester himself in his in-laws’ basement and write, write, write.
“You should check out this book,” my dad said.
Quick’s tale tackled mental illness and redemption. And Hank Baskett and The Philadelphia Eagles. (Any Philly sports fan knows these are interwoven themes.)
The book was “The Silver Linings Playbook.” I ordered it on Amazon.
I was a fresh college grad who took a writing class for five weeks in New York City. Late Monday afternoons meant driving next door to Jersey and the Hamilton Station, taking the train into New York Penn Station, and then taking the subway to author Sue Shapiro‘s home in Greenwich Village.
On the way to New York, I’d stare out the window until the sky grew too dark to see anything. Then I’d pull out the book and read about Pat Peoples.
Of course, the book would later be adapted into an Academy Award-winning film. In the years since reading it, I began following Quick on Twitter, and most recently, Facebook. He announced he was doing a reading in Philadelphia in February. I made the hasty hour-before-the-event decision to drive down to the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Synchronicity was a main focus of Q’s talk. (It’s available here, and I highly recommend you give it a listen.) Think, “meaningful coincidence.” He cited examples from his own life and journey to authordom.
During the Q&A, I mustered up the courage to ask a question. I was curious to know about this post on Facebook just a couple of days earlier:
I could infer plenty from this. But why not ask the source while I had him right in front of me? I asked him if he could elaborate (which he did, right after the “51:10” mark).
Quick’s advisor at Goddard, where he completed his MFA, was an expert in Tarot. She gave a talk about The Fool card, and dismissed the notion that it’s a bad card to get.
“The fool is willing to make the journey,” he recalled. “… the fool has no concept of getting hurt. They take the risk.”
Essentially, had Quick known then what he knows now – well, he might not have been on that stage giving that speech. Goodbye, Silver Linings. No statue for you, JLaw.
After the Q&A wrapped, I got in line for a book signing. If you’re unfamiliar with the process, a worker usually goes down the line and writes your name down on a Post-It for you to include in the book. The author can then easily spot and write-out your name when it’s your turn.
Well, wouldnjaknow, the woman in front of me, was also named Kathleen. Synchronicity!
I, of course, dazzled Matthew Quick with this tidbit when it was my turn in line. If you haven’t picked up on this, I am amazing at saying things to famous people.
The book event was a great time, and I look forward to supporting more of Q’s work in the future. In the meantime, some important tidbits:
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