When two of my close girlfriends recommended the novel, The Meryl Streep Movie Club, to me this summer, I knew I had to read it! After contacting Mia March, I knew you would all find Mia charming and fascinating, too. Please help me welcome the wonderful Mia March to my Summer Reading blog feature.
Mia, its so good to have you here with us. I’m going to now hand the blog over to you!
How Meryl Streep, Nora Ephron, and an idea changed my life
Since my novel, The Meryl Streep Movie Club, was published a couple of months ago, I’ve shared the story behind its inspiration: how six years ago, while I was going through a divorce, I rented five Meryl Streep movies and my life ended up changing. Seriously. I’d spent a sad-sack weekend on my living room couch with tissues, popcorn, a few pints of Ben & Jerry’s, and had a Meryl marathon. I watched the breathtaking Out of Africa, the hilarious, poignant Defending Your Life, the beautiful Kramer Vs. Kramer, the sharp, touching Postcards from the Edge; and Heartburn, a favorite I hadn’t seen in a while. Brilliantly written by Nora Ephron and famously based on her second marriage and divorce, Heartburn made me laugh for the first time in months. Just when I needed to hear it, there was Meryl Streep’s character saying: “And the dream breaks into a million tiny little pieces. The dream dies. Which gives you a choice. You can stick with it, which is unbearable, or you can just go off and dream another dream.”
Dream another dream. Between those words and Carly Simon singing about coming around again, I got off the couch. Put the Ben & Jerry’s down. And went straight to my desk.
I wrote the words Chapter One and began the opening chapter of a novel about a fractured family of women, each going through a life crisis, who reunite at their family matriarch’s inn in Maine and find themselves unexpectedly bonding through “Movie Night” in the parlor—via the surprising and heartfelt discussions raised as they watch Meryl Streep movies together. I wrote and wrote and wrote, reminded of another time, years earlier, when I watched The Bridges of Madison County with my mother and grandmother during a rocky Thanksgiving when no one was getting along, and the discussion afterward, of Meryl Streep’s character’s choice, choices, sparked a conversation that changed our relationship that night. As we each talked about how we felt about the movie, about the lonely Iowa-by-way-of-Italy farmwife’s affair, we opened up, revealed bits of ourselves that led to questions and answers. The night ended in hugs and “I love you’s” instead of what it had been headed toward.
What power movies—jut like books—have! To get us to feel, to think, to care, to experience—and to want to talk about it all afterward. The novel I wrote is a tribute to that, to what movies mean, to how they bring people together, to the magnificent Meryl Streep, who’s been my favorite actress since I was sixteen and saw Sophie’s Choice in the theater, and to Nora Ephron, who also changed my life that sad-sack weekend that started out with tissues and ended with typing.
Silkwood, Heartburn, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and Julie & Julia are just a few of the great movies Nora Ephron gave us. She also wrote some terrific essay collections in addition to her novel, Heartburn, including I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts On Being a Woman. When I heard that she passed away this past June, I sat down and cried. One of my idols, gone too soon. I didn’t know Nora, but I loved her through her work and for inspiring me, not just in that moment, but many moments before and since. Inspiration is so magical! You’re watching a movie and wham. Something lights inside you. I love that.
Has a movie ever worked its magic on you? Changed your perspective? Inspired you? Let me know—or just share a favorite movie of yours—and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of The Meryl Streep Movie Club.
Thanks for sharing your blog with me today, Jane!
Mia March lives on the coast of Maine, the setting of The Meryl Streep Movie Club, published this past June by Simon & Schuster. The novel is slated to be published in over 18 countries. Kirkus Reviews kindly describes The Meryl Streep Movie Club as “a heartwarming, spirit-lifting read just in time for beach season.” Mia’s next novel, Finding Colin Firth, will be published by Simon & Schuster in the summer of 2013.
Thanks, Mia, for visiting with us today! I loved learning more about you and the inspiration behind the novel. I so appreciate your time.
Readers and friends, for a chance to win a copy of Mia’s novel, along with a fun beach tote of goodies, including a Ty Gurney Surf School water bottle, and Starbucks card, leave a comment in response to Mia’s question–Has a movie ever worked its magic on you? Changed your perspective? Inspired you?–and if you are new to my blog, please put your comment in the comment section below for the chance to win. Contest runs through Friday night and the winner will be announced on Saturday.
Happy summer, everyone, and happy reading!!