Today, I am saddened by the news of Paul Walker’s tragic death. I’ll be the first to say I never knew him, he wasn’t in my top five favorite actors, and I begrudgingly went to see the Fast and Furious movies with my obsessed friends. But the news was difficult to read nonetheless because already I see how inundated all of the channels and websites have become with the story. I keep thinking, “His poor family must be suffering.”
Paul Walker’s death hits a little close to home, too. I had written a very similar scene in the sequel for Spiral involving Jack and his friend. I feel terrible and torn now, and I do not know if I should include the scene. My husband said, “Art imitates life,” but I don’t necessarily agree in this instance. I will have to think long and hard about using that scene because no one wants to repeat such an awful tragedy for the sake of art.
When I wrote Spiral, and now as I write Twist, the other side of a celebrity’s story is my goal. They’re people, you know, just like us. They have families and friends and, in his case, children. I want my readers to find empathy for the famous and their families because what we call “news” are stories about their lives. How painful and difficult it must be to have to live through tragedy in the public eye.
Imagine you’re Paul Walker’s 15 year old daughter, and you have to not only face the fact that your father has died in a terrible way, but you won’t be able to escape the images or the talk of it for days, maybe even weeks. Online, at the grocery store, in class, there will be whispers, pictures, gossip – constant reminders when all she will want to do is make it go away. Then there will be the careless, insensitive people who dare to say, “That’s what you get for living your life like your films.” For shame, people.
My heart goes out to Paul Walker’s family and friends at this time. My prayers are with them as they try to navigate through this tragedy and move on without him. I hope the media can give them the space and time to grieve they deserve.