An Amazing Opportunity

Last night, I was able to attend a live Q&A session with one of the most prestigious and well-known names in Hollywood: Oliver Stone.

I found out about it last minute and basically clambered over myself to free up my schedule so I could attend. I skipped a kickball game, missed half of a live lecture, and shoved a powerbar down my throat to offset the skipped dinner.

And it was totally worth it.

The. Oliver. Stone. I'm still in shock

The. Oliver. Stone. I’m still in shock.

During the first portion of the event, Mr. Stone spoke of the films he had worked on in the past and his emotional connection with them. I had no idea that he had experienced so much in his youth that had shaped his life. He served and was wounded in war, he had traveled to Central America, and he had witnessed some of the lowest conditions of living and humanity in the world.

No wonder his works are so poignant.

Following his brief lecture, they opened the floor to a Q&A session among the student body at Rollins College and members of the faculty. Stone’s humility, tenacity, and sense of humor were incredible; he actually chastised a student after posing their question for not enunciating.

“Be proud of your words, speak up!”

I absolutely loved it. As a fellow student and aspiring novelist/screenwriter, I took these words to heart.

One of the things I have struggled with for years is insecurity. Insecurity about my looks. Insecurity about my knowledge. Insecurity about my words.

Hearing Stone say this, in a paternal but “tough love” sort of way, really made me sit back in my chair and think about why I’m doing this.

I write because I am in love with the written word.

I write because it’s the only way I truly know how I feel about the human condition.

I write because I want to feel.

And I want my readers to feel what I feel, love what I love, and be emotionally connected to me, if only through ink on paper. While I realize that making someone love the same things as me is probably an unachievable goal,  if my words can get them to understand, to recognize and interpret my feelings – that’s close enough to make me happy. If my words can somehow convey truth – my truth, your truth, the world’s truth – than I am successful.

Well, if I want the world to hear me and to read my work – I need to be PROUD of my words. I need to speak up, speak out, and make myself known.

Thank you, Oliver Stone, for reminding me of this.

The event was an amazing opportunity and it couldn’t have been better timing for me. I’m ready to get my voice heard.

I’m ready to be a writer.

Optimistic for personal growth and development in the future,

~ Victoria Elizabeth


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