“I learned that no one was going to write the films I wanted to do except for me,” he said. “No one was going to have the vision to tell the stories that I wanted to tell except for me.”
This is a quote from a Hollywood Reporter article about the sad death of filmmaker John Singleton, of Boyz N the Hood fame. As I was reading the article, that quote struck me like Thor. It’s exactly the way I feel about my book “Black Preacher in a White Town.” I mean, exactly.
The book takes a completely unique angle on its topic, and is different from any novel I’ve seen. I’m quite sure I’ll be asked why, as a white man, I’ve made a black man my protagonist. And the answer is the quote that opens this blog. No one was going to do this kind of novel, in this way, except me. I had a vision from the beginning, and this was the way I felt I could most effectively tell this story. It’s as simple as that.
I’ve felt, since I wrote the first words in Scrivener (my word-processing software for writing my books), that this highly unusual approach was the right one, if I was going to do this properly. It meant a ton of extra work, including more hours doing researching than I care to remember. But that’s what I felt like I had to do. The tale wouldn’t have come together any other way.
Singleton was a trailblazer in the film industry; but I don’t think that was his intention. He just wanted to tell his stories, his way. Isn’t that, after all, how every trailblazer gets their start? You have a vision, and you have to stay true to that vision. You have to fight for it. Singleton did that, and he will be missed.
RIP, John Singleton. I get it. I get you. You were, and are, and will continue to be, an inspiration to others who have to chart a new course, and follow the untrodden path. Keep holding the torch high so the rest of us can follow.