Like many teenagers in the early 1980’s, I fell in loved with Molly Ringwald in “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club”. Six years ago she appeared in “Sweet Charity” at the San Jose Center of Performing Arts, giving an excellent performance of a dance hall girl with an endless string of boyfriends. Although still working as an actress, she has a new career as a literary novelist with the recent release of her first novel, “When It Happens to You.”
Ringwald explains in an interview for The New York Times that acting and writing went hand in hand when growing up as a child. Her literary pedigree is impressive.
Q. Who are some of the writers you most admire or feel inspired or influenced by?
A. The writers that inspired me the most as a young person are the same writers that resonate with me today. I discovered Raymond Carver as a teenager, and although I don’t think you would necessarily be able to see his influence in my writing, he has always moved me and deeply inspired me as a writer — the same with Joan Didion, Philip Roth, Lorrie Moore, Toni Morrison, Leo Tolstoy, Gustave Flaubert and Georges Perec. In the past decade, I’ve come to admire Carol Shields, Doris Lessing, Jonathan Franzen, Robin Black, Lauren Groff and most recently Jami Attenberg, whose [upcoming] “The Middlesteins” is a marvel. I have always believed that the only way to be a good writer is to be a great reader.
I’m looking forward to reading her novel. I just hope it doesn’t put me to sleep, as so many literary novels tend to do. Beautiful language about ordinary life can sometimes be very boring, which is why I don’t write literary short stories. I keep the language plain and simple, but add a speculative element to spice up the ordinary life that I often find twisted and absurd.
21 August 2012 Update — An opinion piece in The New York Times by Ringwald, “Acting Like A Writer,” explains how acting and writing are closely related to each other. I find that interesting. I consider writing and web comics are closely related to each other in terms of production (read my review of “A Drifting Life” by Yoshihiro Tatsumi).