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“You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is…to write, not to think.” After watching the movie Finding Forrester, I made myself type in reaction to William Forresters advice to writers in the quote above. I watched the movie because of a class assignment. However, after living the lives of these characters for two hours and 16 minutes, I found the movie to be inspiring, emotional, informative, and heartwarming. The movie is about a 16-year-old colored boy from the Bronx, named Jamal. He is an exceptionally talented young adult, with major strengths lying in basketball, intelligence, and writing. In a series of events, Jamal’s exceptional skills have been discovered by a prestigious school, and William Forester (a world-famous writer). The movie portrays the deep, emotional connection that Jamal and Forrester create. Their raw, undeniable bond grew with their shared passion for the written word. Each teaches the other valuable life necessities that help them overcome their current “rut” in life.
I couldn’t help but notice that the movie shared many similarities between the material we have learned in class, and important points that King made in his book, On Writing. Making yourself write is a reoccurring point in everything we have read, and learned about in class. A good writer will write about anything just to write. Even Jamal displays this passionate desire when he undertakes Forresters task of writing 5,000 words about, “why he should stay the fuck out of his home.” Furthermore, this is also seen when Jamal was instructed to type one of Forresters old pieces of writing. Forrester had Jamal do this because it was more productive to rewrite his work, then to wait for inspiration to spark. The act of writing stimulated Jamal’s brain. This allowed him to transition into his own piece of work, once he had an idea of what to write. I suppose my natural bent, writing only when it’s an assignment for class, won’t help me improve as a writer!
I found it fascinating that a man from Scotland, and a poor kid from the Bronx could find more than just friendship all because of the written word. I had never viewed writing as anything powerful, or significant. It has always been something that I learned in school, and a helpful ability to have in my everyday life. However, Finding Forrester emphasizes that even a single novel can impact an entire universe. In the movie, Forresters novel had been talked about for many years, and was still a best seller, despite how old it was. This goes to show the power that someone can have with just a single book. On top of that, Jamal’s piece of writing, read by Forrester at the writing contest, effected a whole room of diverse people. From young to old, black to white, poor to rich, and female to male, those small words Jamal wrote had the power to affect each one of them. Furthermore, two people who shouldn’t have anything in common (Forrester and Jamal), are brought together because of the powerful bond of words on a paper.
Finding Forrester also helped me to understand that a writer doesn’t write for praise or recognition. They write because they want to be heard, and they need to express themselves through their writing. Forrester hated the idea of reading in front of people. He believed that writers wrote, and others read, “Writers write things to give readers something to read.” Furthermore, when you are the writer, you dictate what it is that you want to say. It is not up to others to dictate your writing, or to declare what it is you are trying to say. A writer’s ideas, opinions, and hidden meanings are their own mystery. The importance of writing is how the writing affects a person personally. Think of it like a song, not everyone is going to have the same experience, or thoughts, when they hear the same song. Everyone’s brain is wired differently, and everyone experiences situations differently. Therefore, reactions, opinions, and ideas will vary depending on who you are.
In conclusion, if you are an aspiring writer, a sucker for inspiring movies, or a bored college student, I highly recommend watching Finding Forrester. It is the only movie I have watched that portrays the power that the written word can have in an individual’s life, a relationship, and the world.
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