Thursday, June 4, 2009

Matt Quick has a Strong Message

A couple of weeks ago, NHS was fortunate to have author, Matthew Quick, visit Drew Giorgi's AP Literature class. Giorgi had assigned the students to reading The Silver Linings Playbook and thus arranged for Quick's visit.
At the time, I had not started the book but was intrigued by the story-line and interested to hear more about it. The novel revolves around a young man who is released from a neural health facility and his coming to terms with his life as he regains his memory while living with his parents in New Jersey. My students tell me they really enjoyed the book for its wittiness, truthfulness and for the fact that Pat Peoples, the main character, is a very like-able guy.
What I found from the author is that he, himself, is indeed a very like-able guy. He's down-to-earth, funny, approachable, and has a life history that is interesting and endearing.
Growing up, Matt Quick was one of those kids who just didn't fit into school. He didn't like classes and it basically reflected in his grades. He had a strong passion for writing, but that passion was squashed by his father who felt that writing would not bring him success. So, Matt ended up going to college and eventually became an English teacher.
Fast forward about seven or eight years later when Matt suddenly takes inventory of his life and wonders how he ended up in the state he was - working in a profession which brought him little reward and in a near state of depression. Thanks to a wonderfully supportive wife who recognized Matt's unhappiness, he ended up quiting his job, moving in with his in-laws, and writing with passion in his in-law's basement. A couple of years later, and many rejections later, The Silver Linings Playbook was published in 2008 and he has a young adult novel, Sorta Like a Rock Star, forthcoming in 2010.
The lesson of his own story hit a chord in mine. As Matt spoke about his father's disapproval, I thought of my own son and his love of the arts and his struggle with academics. It is so, so important that I'm supportive of his creative passion. I guess, in fact, I always knew that. But hearing Matt talk about his own struggles and then his eventual success as a writer, the message hit home. Follow your heart and happiness will follow. What defines success more than that?

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