Trying something new can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially in a public forum. As a first time blogger, I am a bit of a debutante, a newcomer here at Positively Ellinwood Street. My fledgling effort is my introduction to this community. And while I am hardly ever caught without something to say about something, I don't quite feel qualified to expound at large. I am a nervous teenager teetering around a dance floor in her first pair of heels, hoping to avoid humiliation at all cost, and maybe even have a bit of fun -- a total deb.
I am also a life-long bibliophile. I love exploring new books, new music and movies, too. But now, as I tremble a bit at the idea of sending this humble little blog-post out into the world, I imagine what it must be like to see your own debut novel, album, or film put out there for public consumption. Thrilling, undoubtedly, but how terrifying it must be, as well. If the work is well received-- fabulous, but if it flops--talk about tripping on your laces! What courage that first step must take.
Novice works are most often rough attempts that, later, lead to more refined products. Sometimes, however, an artist's first effort is worth serious attention. One such effort is Kathryn Stockett's The Help. Writing about the struggles and striving of three very different women in Jackson, Mississippi during the civil-rights era, Stockett gives her characters voices that ring true. That truth infuses the novel with color and depth, so that these richly believable characters inhabit an accurately-drawn, nearly photographic, setting. We, the readers, care about and share in their experiences. Had I not known this was a debut novel, I never would have guessed it.
Below, I've listed several debut works of note. I hope each of you finds something there to enjoy, to appreciate among these artists' courageous first steps.
5 debut novels to look for:
The Cradle by Patrick Somerville
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker
The Piano Teacher by Janice Y. K. Lee
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by C. Alan Bradley
Debut films by 5 great directors:
The Maltese Falcon 1941 - John Huston
Night of the Living Dead 1968 - George A. Romero
This is Spinal Tap 1982 - Rob Reiner
Say Anything 1989 - Cameron Crowe
Reservoir Dogs 1992 - Quentin Tarantino