Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Paring Down

In November, Ryan and I attended a special screening of The Silence of the Lambs at UCLA. After the movie, Anthony Hopkins did a Q&A with the audience. He wasn't what I expected. He wasn't the intellectual Brit, nor the grumpy Brit. He was equal parts hippy, artist and craftsman. One of the recurring themes in his answers about acting, his life and his painting was to reduce, do less and practice the discipline of holding back. He said that as a young actor he always went big with his voice, his gestures and his reactions to his peers. But age and experience taught him that paring down his approach to character and story allowed him to efficiently dip into the vast unconsciousness that fuels all of us arty folk.

And then he gave us a demonstration. Just like that he became Dr. Hannibal Lector - his voice changed, the light in his eyes glowed and he stared out at all of us like we were an all-you-can-eat buffet. When one woman squealed - trust me, I had my back pressed against the seat - he seemed to take a breath and then transform back into Anthony Hopkins. He made his point that by portraying Hannibal simply, he could access him just like that.

Since then, I've been paring down in my own creative life. I'm writing books with no expectations other than to enjoy the process and discovery of writing. Rather than chat endlessly about my life on this blog, I prefer to talk about my peers and learn from them. Next month, I'm moderating a panel of my fellow authors at the Los Alamitos-Rossmoor Public Library and will give them the stage.

It makes sense right now for me not to be seen nor heard. But I want those of you who have supported my books and are looking forward to future books to know that I value your support. I hope that when The Ballad of Aracely Calderon is ready to step out into the world, we will come together again though that book. In the meantime, please enjoy the authors and artists I will spotlight here on the blog.

Much love and blessings to you in 2009!



Anonymous said...

What a great story! I bet that transformation into HL was a real moment.

And such great advice. Thanks for sharing. I am currently trying to pare down my CLUTTER.

May we all be leaner in all aspects of life in 2009.

DeAnna Cameron said...

Great post, Mary. Less really can be more, can't it?
P.S. I hope it won't be too long till your next novel. I'm really looking forward to it :-)

Unknown said...

wow, strong post, but so strong and endearing...love you, mary. you are such a talented woman, excited for all the new things you have to offer!!! you are such an inspiration!