I re-watched Sideways last night, a novel-based 2004 flick starring Paul Giamatti that won the oscar for best adapted screenplay that year–and if you’ve seen it, it’s easy to see why. I wanted to watch it again, because it’s set in California wine country, and given my new location and recent forays into wine-tasting, I thought it would hit home in a new way. The movie is great, and if the photo above doesn’t make you want to watch it, I don’t know what will. But while I did remember all that sloshiness, I didn’t remember that Giamatti’s character is a struggling writer trying to sell his third novel to a NY publisher and anxiously awaiting a call from his agent.
I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say that the movie gives a good depiction of why writing is tough (and is spot-on with the type of boilerplate editor responses and encouraging talks from agents that are par for the publishing course). It’s one of the few movies I can think of that actually shows writing as a struggle, as something you have to work at, at something you will constantly doubt. I did a post recently on why writing is fun, and I am not taking any of that back, but the process of getting your work in the world is a hard one. And one that has been glamorized by Hollywood and oversimplified by stories of the J.K. Rowlings and Stephanie Meyers who’ve struck gold. For almost everyone, it is a constant up-and-down journey, and believe me, the doubts and fears don’t end even when you get that elusive book deal. It’s refreshing to see an accurate portrayal.
All that said, watching the movie has only made me grateful that The After Girls is on its way.