I spent last week almost entirely at the City Centre theatre for the Edmonton International Film Festival, taking in 18 features and 35 shorts in 9 days. Content overload, but it was as worth it as the turkey overload that capped off the Thanksgiving weekend.
Of my favourites: Plimpton. A documentary about a writer, his life’s work and experiences. He was considered a “participatory journalist” and was quite the socialite, hob-nobby with everyone including President Kennedy (he’s one of the guys that tackled Kennedy’s assassin!). Despite being neither of those things, I related to his story on many levels.
The first was his insatiable curiosity—a desire to try everything. This is why I became a writer. It’s a free pass to explore anything and everything. Plimpton was faced with a few raised eyebrows for this. If you’re doing something different every time you run into someone, you can fall into the category of not being taken seriously or professionally—of being okay at a lot of things, but an expert at nothing. I feel this in my life all the time.
The second relatable quality was that this guy was the first editor and chief of The Paris Review and edited it for 40 years, mostly out of his apartment. From 2004-2010 I was involved with Edmonton’s own (now folded) literary journal. Other Voices was a huge part of my life and was where I learned about writing, editing, and publishing. While working for the lit rag, I always felt that I was doing it completely wrong! That reading and editing submissions from my couch was the least professional way to be an editor. Turns out the right way is whatever way gets the journal published, and that’s held true for even the most prestigious of journals.
I left the film feeling validated. That I’m not taking wrong turns on my own career path.
And also, there are a lot of interesting things to do in one life and there is no reason not to.
If you’re interested in writer movies, this is one to not miss.