Recently, the latest issue of Bayou arrived in the mail with my essay “Holiday” in it.
I’ve long considered the George Cukor movie Holiday among my favorites. It stars Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, with supporting turns by such great actors as Lew Ayres and Edward Everett Horton. The essay details why the movie captured my attention when I was younger and the way the meaning of the movie has changed for me over time.
Often writing inspiration is mysterious. Writers see people, objects, places, and want to write stories about them. Sometimes writers don’t even know where ideas come from (for example, my story "The Dentist’s Parrot"). But sometimes inspiration is more mundane. In the case of “Holiday,” I was assigning essays to my students and one prompt suggested writing about a favorite movie. My students don’t seem to be as into movies as I was at their age—they spend more time on the internet and playing video games and less time watching TV than I did. When I offered this movie prompt to them, I got blank stares. However, I thought of Holiday, and how I had discovered it on a local TV station that showed it over and over during one summer vacation week. I wanted to write using that prompt, even if my students didn’t.
Ann Hillesland writes fiction and essays. Her work has appeared in many literary journals, including Fourth Genre, Bayou, The Laurel Review, and Sou’wester.
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