Frances Ha is one of my favorite movies. It’s a quiet, nothing happens story about a 27-year-old girl who wants to make it as a dancer in New York, but really isn’t trying that hard for most of the movie. I return to this movie all the time, especially when I’m feeling lost.
There’s one particular scene that I think about all the time. Frances goes to this dinner party with some couples in their 30s and 40s. She’s underdressed in her oversized aviator jacket and backpack among the well-heeled and the well-scrubbed. She talks to the guy sitting next to her:
I related to this for many years. It was during the time where I didn’t write. I wrote at my job, but I’d stopped writing creatively outside of work. So I stopped telling people I was a Writer, which is what I wanted to tell them. Instead, I just told them my professional job title.
I don’t know if it’s different now, but back then at least, if you told someone you were a writer, they’d immediately ask you if you were working on a book or ask you when you were going to writing a book. And when I was writing a lot, I was blogging on my Tumblr consistently and publishing a personal essay at least once a month.
I didn’t know how to answer the book question because I didn’t really want to write a book back then. I mean, I liked the thought of it, but I knew I didn’t have any ideas for a book at the time.
But when I finally did start writing essays again, just for fun, with no intention to even publish them on my blog, it was exciting. And the essays just kept coming and building on each other until…I had a manuscript.
As I went through the process of hiring and working with editors and now working with artists and professionals to help me publish it, it feels like how it felt to watch Frances take her dancing career into her own hands at the end of the movie, choreographing and producing her own show. It wasn’t like this huge hit or anything, but she was doing it. I guess what I’m trying to say is it feels good to be doing the thing I say I do.