Watching the SAG awards last night, I was shocked to see the list of deceased personalities/stars I was unaware we’d lost. I knew about Andy Griffith (sob!), but Chad Everett? Oh my stars. Those blue eyes. Those dimples. As a young teen, I was drooling. How could he be dead? It’s like I lost my youth when I heard he’d passed on.
I was thinking about the Maggie Smiths, the Vanessa Redgraves, the shining stars of theater and film who almost guarantee I’ll see anything they’re in because they’re who they are. What happens when they’re gone? As I watched Jennifer Lawrence accept her best actress award, I wondered if she, and other actors of her generation, will have the chops to be the greats of the future. And what was Nicole Kidman, with her botoxed face, thinking as she watched Lawrence climb the stairs to the stage? Actresses over forty aren’t exactly the hot ticket in filmland. Such a shame. Maggie Smith is proving in Downton Abby that age just makes you better as an actor.
The same can be said for writers. We get better (well, I hope I am) as we age. We don’t have as many distractions (rug rats, diapers, picky eaters, etc.) and our experience alone makes us better observers of life. Watching and translating that into fiction is key. We have less to lose by being honest, and an honest writer is a good writer on the way to being great.
Good-bye Chad Everett. You created a lovely illusion of gentle sexiness for a naïve girl. I will remember you fondly. Now I have to think how I’m going to use you in a story. That’s what writers do.