Have you ever discovered someone you knew would be your best friend if you ever were to meet? Or perhaps I would embarass myself by simply being in awe. This woman with these wide, bright eyes, and frizzy hair, and an unfiltered mind. This woman who was Canadian (so of course she’s brilliant), grew up half in school, half in the woods. Learning about plants, and bugs, and developing a love of the real world. Not burdened by the world we all grow into.
This film starts off with an audio overlay of her reading the beginning of The Handmaids Tale. And all through the film, moments of her reading. Her voice is slow and somber, as though it is a burden to read her own words. Or rather, she knew that people were listening, there was no need to rush, or to yell, or to get excited. Every word she read would be heard to the fullest.
And her words are amazing. She writes about big ideas. Her books and her poetry are her canvas to say what the world needs to hear. And yet it is always so perfectly written.
Early in her life, she and other girls were made to watch an old film. A film about a woman who must choose between her career as a dancer, or the man she married. In the end, she kills herself. The message to the girls being, don’t choose a career. And she vowed to never believe in that.
I admit to not having read or seen The Handmaids Tale. Margaret’s agent recalls a moment during writing it, that Margaret tells her how difficult it is, because she felt very frightened. But like Malcolm X told Sam Cooke, the people are listening to you, use your voice to make change, Margaret Atwood is also using her voice to make change. And like Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come became the theme song for the Civil Rights Movement, The Handmaids Tale became a symbol for activists today.
And I could only dream to be as brilliant.
“I never thought I’d be a popular writer,” she said, “I only wanted to be a good one.”