“Becoming A Warrior”

“Becoming A Warrior”

Photo credit: Courtesy of Catherine Hand

“I was sitting on the floor in a kitchen building a castle with cans while my mother was cooking and I was so proud of myself for building this beautiful castle with old cans. That is my oldest memory of my childhood,” author Catherine Hand told Hollywood on the Potomac.  “The second oldest memory is learning how to ride a bicycle without training wheels and running home so excited to report that I could finally fly.” That creativity, tenacity and pride in accomplishments served her well later in life.

According to Catherine, she was a shy child, going to 14 schools in 14 years when her Dad was working for President Lyndon Johnson. “I was at that age where I started kindergarten. We were living in DC and when  [Congress] was out of session, we were in Texas. So I would go to school in DC and Texas. I was always the new kid and I was shy, so shy.”

At Dad Lloyd Hand’s swearing in ceremony as Chief of Protocol to President Johnson

Apparently she was not shy enough to not become disruptive in class which led to her lifetime dream of bringing “A Wrinkle in Time” to the big screen.

She tells it this way: When she was a young school girl she got in trouble for talking too much and sent to the library. There she was reluctantly introduced to books, among them “A Wrinkle in Time.” “The librarian came over to me and said, ‘What do you like to read?’ And I said, ‘I don’t like to read.’ You know, I was what they would call in those days a tomboy and I would love to play outside playing kickball, climbing trees, anything. And she said, ‘Oh, well I think this book A Wrinkle In Time is about a girl just like you and I think you’ll really love it.’ And it was a Newberry Award winner. And I asked her what a Newberry award was. And the crazy, crazy thing is that I just kind of randomly opened a page and saw the word October and my birthday is in October. And so I said, ‘Okay, I’ll try it.’ And that night I did and I just fell in love with it. I mean I’m not alone. There were many people in my generation when they read it at 10, 11 years old that just fell in love with that story. It’s really one of those stories that I think will last for a hundred years because it’s so universal—trying to fit into a world that you don’t understand and trying find your place in it. I wanted to be a movie producer and finding material that that feels relevant to the times is really important. I thought there was something about ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ that was evergreen and you could find a compelling argument for it no matter when it was made.”

Decades later, in 2018, Hand was one of two producers of Walt Disney Studios’ adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic novel “A Wrinkle in Time.”

It was always lurking in the back of her mind  to write a book about her long obsessive idea to producing her movie, so she took to pen and paper and wrote about her experiences  – “Becoming A Warrior: My journey to Bring A Wrinkle in Time to the Big Screen.”

About the book: A memoir of a shy, 10-year-old girl with a dream who perseveres for 50 years to bring Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved children’s classic “A Wrinkle in Time” to the screen. Working in the worlds of politics and entertainment, author Catherine Hand learned lessons that gave her the courage and strength to navigate through personal tragedies and professional hurdles.

“I  wrote my book because a lot of people were always asking me why I did this [the dream] for 50 years? I just got to a place where I thought, wow, if there is something in my story that could ever inspire or help somebody else, it’s worth publishing. It was really hard but it got done.’’

Her mother, famous jewelry designer Ann Hand, and her dad Lloyd hosted a book party for their daughter at Cafe Milano with a hundred friends and family.

Photo credit: Janet Donovan

“I think also there’s another theme that runs through it about not fitting in as a child and that is very much a part that resonates in the world right now. And it’s very difficult to think for yourself and understand that we have free will even today. You know, I think when we talk about how difficult things are, I just want to shout from the rooftops ‘You have free will, you can, you can make a choice, you can break out of this kind of weird place we find ourselves in.’ And I think Madeline was really writing about that in 1962. It certainly resonated in the early eighties and I think it definitely did in 2016 when we made the movie. So, you know, there are a lot of universal themes in that story.”

Maybe we should send a copy to Congress.

“I think you’d be surprised by how many people in Congress have read it.”