In the 6th grade my teacher asked us to choose a book from her classroom library for a book report assignment. I ran my hand across rows and rows (ok, maybe just one row) of paperback spines, searching for that one special book. A book that would transport me to another world, another body, another time.
Let’s be real. I was looking for something thin, that I could read in one bus ride home. And, I found it. The book that did, in fact, change my life.
It was called The Outsiders.
Pony boy, Two-bit, Soda Pop, Dallas, and a chick named Cherry – rich kids and poor kids that rumble for social standing and injustice – SCORE!
I read it cover to cover, then read it again and again and again. I’m not even exaggerating. I even remember all the words to the Jack Frost, oops, I mean Robert Frost poem Pony Boy recites when he watches the sunrise with Johnny. It’s the only Robert Frost poem I know, cause I don’t even know who Robert Frost is. I know of Jack Frost, he likes to nibble noses.
S.E. Hinton was my literary hero. I read everything he wrote. (I know he is a she, but I only found this out like ten years ago) Rumble Fish, Tex, That was Then This is Now – all of which turned into movies. Which totally blew my mind. A book that becomes a movie! A-mazing.
So, I set out to write a screenplay. I figured, cut out the middle man (aka book) and go right to the glory. In a 5 subject mead notebook, I wrote on the first page “Tough Love” It was a love story about a really tough girl named, Joey that falls in love with an even tougher guy. I wrote it like a play, because I had no flippin idea what I was doing. Only now in retrospect, do I see the genius, the drive, the beauty in it all.
I was inspired.
I totally forgot about my first love, the book that popped my literary cherry and the author that wrote it. It’s time I gave props where props are due.
S.E. Hinton, I raise my cup of now cold coffee to you.
And thank you to the genius that cast Matt Dillon in all of your movies.
On a new note. S.E.Hinton’s book Hawks Harbor is also an excellent read. Ahead of her time (as usual) this is very much like her earlier work as far as great character and voice, with a great twist on the “bad guy”.