“Inspiration is hard work.”
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Field of Dreams release. Since I’ve mentioned the movie and the screenwriter/director Phil Alden Robinson a time or two before I thought I’d write about it from a perspective that may be fresh for you.
The original story was a short story called Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa. It written by W.P. Kinsella who was 45 when it was published in 1980 . Kinsella was born in Canada and homeschooled. (“I’m one of these people who woke up at age five knowing how to read and write.”) He later graduated from the University of Victoria Writing Department and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Kinsella said in one interview, “Iowa gave me two years of freedom to write, and I was beginning Shoeless Joe when I received my MFA.”
Kinsella also taught at Iowa from 1976-1978. Kinsella didn’t start attending college until he was 35 years old. Before turning to college & a career writing he worked a ”variety of jobs such as claims investigator, government clerk, and restaurant owner” according to an article by Alan Twigg.
After Shoeless Joe was written and published as a novel, its success allowed Kinsella to write full time. The novel was turned into The Field of Dreams movie and released on April 21, 1989. It was nominated for three Oscars including best picture and best adapted screenplay.
In 1997 Kinsella was hit by a car while walking and I’ve read that ended his writing career.