RIP John Hughes

Well, everyone on Twitter and Facebook is talking about the death of John Hughes. It all seems like a very long time to me now, all that Breakfast Club stuff – though, from the vantage point of several years on that film did help me make a bit more sense of the tangled remains of high school – and the Pretty in Pink thing – though for some period it was onw of my favourite movies, because it seemed to understand something… You’ve heard it all before, because Facebook and Twitter are full of people saying the same things. Molly Ringwald! How she reminded me of myself. Ducky! How did they know? And, come to that, I now have so many conversations about bad scripts, and what a miracle it is if anything hafway decent even makes it to the final film, & the soul-destroying life of a scriptwriter, that it is refreshing to see so many people mourning the death of one.

When Mlle B got old enough, maybe 10 or 11, I showed her Pretty in Pink , too. She liked it. And that was that.

So, because it was all so very long ago, and so very far away (ha! as Louis MacNeice reminds us, a foolish thing to think), I wasn’t going to write about John Hughes. “Only 59,” as everyone is saying. And all that.

But then I read this long blog post, a woman’s account of being Hughes’ pen pal for two years when she was a teenage fan. It is, simply, is one of the most wonderful things I have ever read on the internet. Or about teaching someone to write, or just about the kindness we owe to kids. And the kid is pretty impressive herself.

He wrote: “I can’t tell you how much I like your comments about my movies. Nor can I tell you how helpful they are to me for future projects. I listen. Not to Hollywood. I listen to you. I make these movies for you. Really. No lie. There’s a difference I think you understand.”

He wrote: “As for your English teacher… Do you like the way you write? Please yourself. I’m rather fond of writing. I actually regard it as fun. Do it frequently and see if you can’t find the fun in it that I do.”

He shared her news with the cast. Justifying his decisions in meetings, he’d say: “I’m doing this for Alison.”

John Hughes is now up there in my book with Kenneth Koch.

Thanks to Broken Bottle Boy. Read his blog.

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