The Story of Grace Hannoy

Grace Hannoy is the writer of When We Grow Up. This movie revolves around a multiracial family composed by Holly, the mother, Brian, the father, and their 3 kids: Louise is the youngest and the only biological kid of their marriage, she is going through a phase in which she is questioning the career path that apparently was chosen for her, she is afraid of her parents reaction to her decision of dropping medical school; Maris, the adopted middle child of Asian origin, has taken the decision of being a single mother through artificial insemination; and Elijah, he african-american eldest sibling is in the process of adopting a child along with his wife Irena. Irena and Elijah have the option of choosing the race of their future kid, which brings mixed emotions in both of them considering that they are also adopted kids in a multiracial family. The death of their dog brings the kids back to their parents home  in order to help with the funeral and be of support to their mother who is very impacted by the loss.

Let's imagine that Grace's intuition decided to talk to her in two different ways. It first appeared as a feeling, as the need to somehow advocate for underrepresented groups of people. The second shape represents the characters themselves, fictional characters waiting to be discovered and  who wanted their story to be told and shared.


Characters just kept popping up and speaking to me

We hear voices, have dreams, visions, etc. Inspiration comes from all sort of sources and we can give it as many names as we want. Some people don't concern thinking whether the source is real or imagined. They focus their attention on deciding WHAT TO DO with it. Do you deny it? do you stop yourself from thinking about this? Do you go out there and tell everyone what's happening to you? Well, Grace decided to give these "voices" a name, to learn more about them and to make them the characters of her movie.

There was something about these characters that was really calling to me, really pulling me in this direction and I was like "They won't stop talking to me"... Something in this mystical writer's land... And I did not want to be like "shhhh sit down, I don't want to hear from you anymore" it was just like "oh wow that is so interesting, I want to learn more about this, tell me more... I got to this multiracial family and I could not stop thinking about them... It sounds kind of crazy when you talk to a writer about it, "like communing with fictional people" but as I got to know these characters, I had questions about them so  I reached out to friends and people that I knew. Let's say, the black son in the story, I don't know, there is no possible way that I will ever have that experience so I asked people "does this seem true? is this true for you? is this experience something that makes sense, is there something that I can say or something that you can tell me to for it to make it more digestible or understandable?"


And I do really think about writing as half mystical, half practical application of things. It does feel like I am communicating with something bigger than myself even if the story is silly and weird

This reminds me of the movie Stranger Than Fiction, in this movie, the main character, Harold, hears the voice of a woman who seems to be narrating all of his daily activities as if he was the character of a novel. Very disturbed by the situation, he visits a psychiatrist who diagnoses him with schizophrenia and advises him to take medication; he does not agree with the diagnose nor the medication so he asks her for another advise. The psychiatrist refers him to a Literature Professor. With the help of the professor, Harold finds out that this voice belongs to a real narrator who is the author of tragic novels in which the main character always dies. Harold's life becomes a search for the type of story he wants to write and eventually it turns into a mission to find the author who's narrating his life. Harold's life acquires meaning and purpose because he did not give up trying to find out what to do with his "imagined voices".


So when there is something unusual about us, something that may seem a "problem" or "weird" for the big majority of people, think that if you change your perspective you may end up writing a movie just like Grace did, finding a life purpose just like Harold in Stranger Than Fiction, or using Dyslexia to your advantage in your path of inventor and comedian just Professor did. 

Finding opportunity in what seems to be an "issue" leads us to the practice: From Deficit to Strength

An important clarification note: Grace never reported hearing real voices that nobody else could hear. It was her perspective on how fictional characters can "talk to you" and how she went about it what we want to point out here.

Alexandra Gómez 11.30.2018