James Lipton on Bravo TV’s Inside the Actors Studio asks each actor the following questions at the end of the show. i blogged my responses to these questions in 2008, and in 2012. now it’s 2018 and some of the answers have evolved; how would your answers have changed in six years or a decade?
What is your favorite word?
2008: my favorite word is “yes.” the word that goes with it is “no.” they belong together.
2012: my favorite word is “see.” as in, learning to see myself, see my choices and life with more clarity, see other people and what they want and are bringing. see how Spirit works.
2018: my favorite word is “here.” i’m here. this is here. that’s all there is. that’s all i can ever be in any moment: here.
What is your least favorite word?
2008: my least favorite word is “need.” as in, “i need this from you.”
2012: my least favorite word is “need.” as in, “you need to.” said by another person or by the voices in my head which come from fear and old expectations.
2018: my least favorite word is “can’t.” if the answer is no, then, okay, it’s no. but it’s not that i can’t.
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
2008: courage. c s lewis says that every virtue, when it’s at its deepest place, is courage. love is courage. integrity is courage. compassion is courage.
2012: courage. the courage to dive deep, the courage to be silent, the courage to be foolish, the courage just to put words or paint or notes on paper. the courage to be humble. the courage to go for it. the courage to be vulnerable and honest.
2018: compassion. it connects. it allows. it weaves. it opens.
What turns you off?
2008: arrogance – which is just about fear.
2012: meanness. don’t be mean. about that. you’re hurting the world. stop it.
2018: narcissism and selfishness. i’ve had all the narcissistic bullshit i’m going to put up with.
What is your favorite curse word?
2008: “shit.” it’s a great all-purpose word. i don’t even stop myself from saying it. except on sunday mornings at journey, and that’s a struggle.
2012: “shit,” still, for sure; as Severus Snape says, asked by Dumbledore whether he still loves Lily Potter, “always.” that’s how i feel about the word “shit.”
2018: “shit.” see above
What sound or noise do you love?
2008: quiet – especially in nature. which isn’t quiet, but it’s not human sounds. i like the quiet when my family or a child are sleeping.
2012: water outside – lawn sprinklers, rivers, creeks, rain, birds and animals around a lake.
2018: those are still great. i get to volunteer at a place that uses horseback-riding to help folks with various kinds of disabilities, and it is magic; so – let’s add horses’ breathing
What sound or noise do you hate?
2008: i used to hate crying – which was just about my own fear of opening up and feeling anything unpleasant. now i believe in crying, my own and other people’s, even though it’s not always comfortable for me. now, the sound or noise i hate is the tape in my head that tells me “you can’t do this.”
2012: midi files playing a hymn when all i want to do is look at the lyrics. that, or someone being rude, especially to a “weaker” person.
2018: Christian muzak … i’m talking to you, Hobby Lobby – as well as most “contemporary” worship
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
2012: muppeteer or disney animator
2018: i am already a writer but i’m going to share my writing with more people.
What profession would you not like to do?
2008: corporate lawyer, or anything having to do with screwing over the little person.
2012: garbage collector. i just don’t like how trash smells. ………. either that or pastor at a church where i would be expected to wear specific clothing and use church jargon.
2018: anything that’s built on fucking over other people, or belittling them, or belittling myself.
And finally, if Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
2008: a. god exists.
b. i don’t believe that there are pearly gates – they’re a metaphor. but it’s a nice image. the metaphor i like better is “the arms that love extends.”
c. what i want god to say is, “yes.” i actually believe that god will say “yes” to me … and to every being that has been in this earthly experience. and that doesn’t have anything to do with “who goes to heaven.” i don’t give a shit. it’s not about that for me.
2012: i have no idea what happens after we are no longer in this body. i think there is a dimension of some sort of existence in which the illusions of our consciousness’ separateness from spirit/ creator/ god/ love are eradicated and as paul says we “see face to face.” at that point, nothing will need to be “said.”
2018: i have no idea what happens. there are no gates. i know it’s a metaphor. but i’m starting to think the whole question is counter-productive. the kingdom of heaven is here, now. all around. breathe. dare. weep. dance. draw. shout. snuggle. create. strive. comfort. confront. rest.