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CC: Does having a book published feel like a
risk on par with risks you’ve taken in acting?
SF: This feels bigger, because it’s personal. In
a ;lm, depending on the role, you do your work
and you can be very raw and vulnerable, but
there’s also a whole lot of other people responsible for it. [With] this there’s nobody to hide
behind. It’s nobody but me.
CC: You’ve kept journals all of your life. Why
has that been important to you?
SF: I think it’s important to write, no matter
what. Keeping journals of your thoughts or
your frustrations, or just ;inging yourself on
a page, even if it makes no sense and no one
will ever see it, it’s so important for your own
health. It helps you sort yourself out.
It’s like putting all the pieces of yourself
out on a piece of paper, because we’re all in
pieces, even if you had the most perfect of
childhoods. It allows you to hear all of the
di;erent sides of yourself. When you embrace
that, you go, “Oh, I don’t feel so scared anymore. It’s just fear. It’s going to be ;ne.”
CC: Early in the book you wonder whether
your grandmother “spent her life seeking the
forgiveness” for things she and her daughters
never discussed. You have three grown sons.
Does the silence stop with you?
SF: I think it is a conversation with myself that
I needed to have, because I was writing it for
seven years. It became an obsession. Not knowing where it would take me, not knowing really
what I was looking for and certainly with no
clear idea that I was going to publish this. I
think it allowed me to be as raw as some of it
is because I never had an idea of it being on
a bookshelf anywhere.
I would talk to [my youngest son, Sam,]
about the book constantly. My older two sons,
Eli and Peter, read it for the ;rst time maybe
three months ago. What I saw was interesting:
;rst of all how frightened I was to have them
read it and how lovingly they all received it. I
think they allowed it to open a new dialogue
I do realize that it isn’t just women who
get handed down history. In a lot of ways, this
inability to speak out, inability to talk about
things, to recognize that something in you is
damaged and hurting … is just as prevalent in
little boys and men as it is in women.
CC: They say to be a good writer you need to
read good writers. I wondered if reading good
scripts throughout your career served you well
in the writing process.
SF: Screenwriting is such a di;erent animal,
even though I have been lucky enough to read
some exquisite screenplays that would just
take your breath away.
I remember one of the ;rst books I read
was Gone with the Wind. It was so powerful to
me, because it was a female character who was
angry. It was my late adolescence and I could
not own how deeply angry I was. I could see
a woman who used this anger so beautifully.
Since then, books and words are hugely
important to me.
CC: In the epilogue you write that you asked
your mother to haunt you. Has she visited you?
SF: No, but oddly I realize maybe it isn’t
haunting, it’s that she never really left. I
became aware of it the other day. My middle
son, Eli, [and his wife] decided to move to
Vancouver, British Columbia. I found myself
feeling like Baa was with me. I found myself
saying, “We’ll go up there with him,” because
that’s what she would say: “Oh, take me with
you.” I just feel like she’s with me di;erently
than I felt when I started this seven years ago,
when I felt a real absence of her.
“ [Writing is] like putting all
the pieces of yourself on a piece
of paper. It allows you to
hear all of the di;erent sides
of yourself.”—Sally Field