the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area

mostly the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area, but also the home of the Counting Actors Project

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

books - biography & autobiography edition!

Roger Ebert's Life Itself - Ebert's memoirs are incredibly articulate and elegant, not only about the good times, but also the more recent and difficult ones.  If you haven't been following his story, after several surgeries related to cancer in his salivary glands, Roger Ebert was left with a disfigured face, and is unable to eat or speak.  Since 2006, Ebert has turned to writing and web-based communication for communication with the rest of the world.
My favorite bit of the memoir comes from when he was a young sports reporter in Urbana, Illinois.  A colleague who had a few more years experience than him watched him struggling to write a story, and said:

"One, don't wait for inspiration, just start the damned thing.  Two, once you begin, keep on until the end.  How do you know how the story should begin until you find out where it's going?"

Ebert goes on to say:

"These rules saved me half a career's worth of time and gained me a reputation as the fastest writer in town.  I'm not faster.  I just spend less time not writing."

Wendy and the Lost Boys: The Uncommon Life of Wendy Wasserstein by Julie Salamon felt a little bit sensationalistic at times - one of the major themes is that Wendy was a very secretive person, and that many of her secrets are in the book.  Really exciting to learn a few things though: Peter from Heidi Chronicles is partially based on her friendship w/Christopher Durang!  Wendy's nanny was in a little late night show about spelling bees that she'd made w/her friends, and Wendy saw it and then introduced her friends James Lapine and William Finn to the nanny and that became 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
I'm also trying to imagine what it would've been like to be at Yale Drama School at the same time as Wendy, Christopher Durang, Sigourney Weaver and Meryl Streep. 
The ending of Wendy's life, and therefore also the last few chapters of this book, were a pretty tough slog.
I did come away though thinking that I'd love to see a revival of Uncommon Women and Others, Wendy's breakthrough play about college students at Mt. Holyoke in the late sixties grappling with mixed messages about feminism.

One other side thing: my website is finally on the other side of its major overhaul.  Take a look, won't you, and let me know what you think.

1 comment:

  1. Biography books aver very useful for any of us.
    We can learn from others experiences and also their mistakes.
    Yury Mintskovsky became a successful businessman also by learning from biography books of great businessmen.
    not all of us can do this but it worth a shot, because if he did it I'm sure some of us can too.