THE GIRLS IN THE PICTURE, by Melanie Benjamin, is a novel based on Frances Marion and Mary Pickford in the early 1900s.
Frances is a director, journalist, author, and one of the most renowned American female screenwriters. And Mary Pickford, a Canadian-American film actress and producer whose career spanned five decades.
After reading this book, it encouraged me to keep writing and make my dreams of getting published a success.
How hard it must have been in the early 1900s to become successful, especially in a time when most women were meant to stay home and be wives and mothers. But don't get me wrong, I was very blessed to be a stay-at-home mom, which was one of the most rewarding and fun times of my life! And I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
Now, as my children are growing up and leaving the nest, I feel drawn to finally act on my dream, the nagging I had in my soul since I was a child to become a writer of children's stories. Growing up on a farm on the outskirts of a small town in Iowa, I had plenty of time to daydream and make up tales.
This book brought me back to my love of black and white films during my middle school and high school years. In my junior year of high school, I convinced the prom committee that prom should be in the theme of old Hollywood. As a result, I was able to use my collection of old movie posters to help decorate. I even decorated my basement in one of my homes in old Hollywood glamor. I painted golden Hollywood stars with actors' names on the basement floor. So, needless to say, I am a movie buff! And don't even get me started on my admiration of Disney, Pixar, and Marvel films!
Okay, now let's get out of my self-reflecting rabbit hole and back to The Girls in the Picture.
This book sparked my curiosity to research Mary Pickford, Frances Marion, and many other Hollywood icons of the golden era. As a result, I spent hours watching many of Mary Pickford's silent films on YouTube. It is definitely a lost art! However, I felt most drawn to Frances Marion; I share her love of storytelling and agree with how she would much rather write the stories than be front stage and center.
When Frances went off to Germany during the war, I feel I may have been compelled to do the same, wanting to help in the cause. Perhaps it is because my grandfather was in the Navy in World War II. It is fascinating how our ancestors can sculpt our views and thoughts, which I believe is another tool that God uses to mold us into who we are to become along our journey in life.
This book showed me that two are better than one, one creative and talented mind is excellent, but when you add another, the better the outcome! Award worthy! This shows me that I do not need to do it alone; it is great to collaborate and work with someone to bounce off ideas with.
I started my book, The Adventures of Leaf Boy alone, but once I had my daughter join me and put in her thoughts and ideas as well, Leaf Boy became an even better story than I could have ever dreamed!
I just attended a critique group a while back, which has helped me immensely. Never be afraid to put yourself out there and ask for help or for constructive criticism.
This book also showed me that when we do things we love and even if we become uber-successful, award-winning even, we will still have times of fear and anxiety as Mary and Frances did. But don't be afraid of fear. Still, be willing to grab hold of your dreams! This life is short but a whisper of time. So grab it by the reins tightly and give it all you got! What do you have to lose?
On an end note, crazy enough, while reading this book, I had an opportunity to visit Hearst Castle while tagging along with my husband on one of his business trips.
Walking through the castle and grounds that so many old Hollywood celebrities walked was nostalgic, and I have to admit, it made me a bit misty-eyed.
Below is a picture of me at Hearst Castle...