“As I write this, my wife is in the final stage of her pregnancy. Twice this week we’ve been sure our third child was arriving, and spent a night at the hospital before the contractions faded away and we sloped off home to wait some more. Our baby is a diva and a drama queen. Or maybe, like an actress contemplating her opening night, she’s just a little bit frightened of stepping on to the stage. Whichever she is, even if I know she’s made out of green tea and tangerines and biscuits, I’m looking forward to meeting her. These sleepless nights my wife and I have spent together in battered delivery rooms, on blue linoleum floors, under strip lights, quietly talking, have reminded us what a mystery this thing is. Out of atoms scrounged from the cosmos a human life has been formed. Put your hand on the right place and you can feel her heels drumming. Any time now she will be born and we will love her, maybe only for an hour or maybe for many years, until she or we must return our atoms into space. This is what it is. This quietly waiting in hope. For a life. For the time being. For seven pounds of stardust, borrowed from the dark.”—
“It’s messing people up, this social pressure to “find your passion” and “know what it is you want to do”. It’s perfectly fine to just live your moments fully, and marvel as many small and large passions, many small and large purposes enter and leave your life. For many people there is no realization, no bliss to follow, no discovery of your life’s purpose. This isn’t sad, it’s just the way things are. Stop trying to find the forest and just enjoy the trees.”—
Very, very, very true. Even into my 40s it messed with my head. Then someone turned me onto the idea that one should think about callings rather than purpose/passion/knowing what you want to do. You may be called to write this year. You may be called to walk the Appalachian Trail next year. You may be called to volunteer at the Humane Society the year after that. And maybe all at the same time. It sure takes a hell of a lot of pressure off, and then you can just focus on loving what you love.
According to “Joss Whedon: The Biography,” in stores August 1, Hiddleston, who plays antihero Loki in the film, wrote Whedon a heartfelt email after reading Whedon’s draft for the first time.
We’ve published Hiddleston’s letter in full along with Whedon’s response with permission from Chicago Review Press below.
I am so excited I can hardly speak.
The first time I read it I grabbed at it like Charlie Bucket snatching for a golden ticket somewhere behind the chocolate in the wrapper of a Wonka Bar. I didn’t know where to start. Like a classic actor I jumped in looking for LOKI on every page, jumping back and forth, reading words in no particular order, utterances imprinting themselves like flash-cuts of newspaper headlines in my mind: “real menace”; “field of obeisance”; “discontented, nothing is enough”; “his smile is nothing but a glimpse of his skull“; “Puny god” …
… Thank you for writing me my Hans Gruber. But a Hans Gruber with super-magic powers. As played by James Mason … It’s high operatic villainy alongside detached throwaway tongue-in-cheek; plus the “real menace” and his closely guarded suitcase of pain. It’s grand and epic and majestic and poetic and lyrical and wicked and rich and badass and might possibly be the most gloriously fun part I’ve ever stared down the barrel of playing. It is just so juicy.
I love how throughout you continue to put Loki on some kind of pedestal of regal magnificence and then consistently tear him down. He gets battered, punched, blasted, side-swiped, roared at, sent tumbling on his back, and every time he gets back up smiling, wickedly, never for a second losing his eloquence, style, wit, self-aggrandisement or grandeur, and you never send him up or deny him his real intelligence…. That he loves to make an entrance; that he has a taste for the grand gesture, the big speech, the spectacle. I might be biased, but I do feel as though you have written me the coolest part.
… But really I’m just sending you a transatlantic shout-out and fist-bump, things that traditionally British actors probably don’t do. It’s epic.
Whedon wrote back with a simplistic response:
Tom, this is one of those emails you keep forever. Thanks so much. It’s more articulate (and possibly longer) than the script. I couldn’t be more pleased at your reaction, but I’ll also tell you I’m still working on it … Thank you again. I’m so glad you’re pleased. Absurd fun to ensue.
Psychiatry obsesses on what’s wrong with people and gives short shrift to what’s right. The manual of this profession is a 991-page textbook called the *DSM-V.* It identifies scores of pathological states but no healthy ones.
My readers have helped me compile material for a proposed antidote,…
To pave the way for your next liberation, you may have to impose some creative limitation on yourself. Check to see if there’s some trivial extravagance or unproductive excess or wishy-washy wish in your rhythm that is obstructing an interesting form of freedom.
Declare amnesty for the part of you that you don’t love very well. Forgive that poor sucker. Hold its hand and take it out to dinner and a movie. Tactfully offer it a chance to make amends for the dumb things it has done.
And then do a dramatic reading of this proclamation by the playwright…
“Being published is not a necessary validation or a path everyone wants to take with their work. Writing—and finishing—a novel is a great thing in itself, whether or not the book is published, or becomes widely-read or not.”—Garth Nix, on the best ways to create. (via lettersandlight)
“Whenever you’re going through a bad day just remember, your track record for getting through bad days, so far, is 100%; and that’s pretty damn good.”—My amazing friend (via pain-is-temporary-keep-fighting)
“People are rivers, always ready to move from one state of being into another. It is not fair, to treat people as if they are finished beings. Everyone is always becoming and unbecoming.”—Kathleen Winter, Annabel (via happyasatree)
“It is okay to want your own happiness. It’s okay to care about yourself the most. You are not obligated to sit there and smile and swallow every bit of shit everyone heaps on you. You are more than furniture, you’re more than window dressing, you’re not their shiny toy. You’re human, and you have the right to say “That was shitty of you”. You have a right to protest your own mistreatment and set boundaries for respectful interactions. The rest of the world doesn’t realize you have this right, and they will act offended and appalled when you exercise it, but it is yours.”—Unknown (via ohteenscanrelate)
“Claiming there is no other life in the universe is like scooping up some water, looking at the cup and claiming there are no whales in the ocean.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson in response to “Aliens can’t exist because we haven’t found them yet” (via we-are-star-stuff)
“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. Repent just means to change direction — and NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their forefinger at you. Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon.”—Anne Lamott, here. (via hellyeahscarleteen)