Emma Thompson: The older you get, the more effort you have to make with your clothes
18th June 2010
Words of wisdom: Emma Thompson
FIVE THINGS I KNOW...
1. The older you get, the more effort you have to make with your clothes.
When I was younger, I'd go everywhere in jeans and a T-shirt, but now I'm older I think it's time to glam up when I go out in public. In the old days, when Noel Coward and Gertie Lawrence did plays, they would get dressed up afterwards just to leave the theatre. That's very generous - it's giving the public a performance on top of a performance.
2. I like acting, but I can also live without it.
Making movies is such a huge commitment of time and then, afterwards, you have to go out and bang the drum for publicity. And I'm going to avoid doing theatre until my daughter is older because theatre hours are just impossible. You don't see your children and you're always exhausted and grumpy. Writing is quiet, and no one asks me to put anything on my face or my body. If I didn't have writing I would probably have to perform somehow, but these days I write much more than I act.
3. Life is made up of moments.
There's a wonderful poem by Borges, which he wrote when he was an old man, called Instantes, in which he says, 'If I were able to live my life anew I'd...' and then he goes into this long list, swim more rivers, go on more carousels, eat more ice-cream and so on. I always read it out when I go to speak to young people, because I think it's so important. Don't be too eager to achieve the next thing. Remember to enjoy this moment.
4. Books are incredibly therapeutic.
I've always been a voracious reader. When I was a young girl, I would get so absorbed in books that people used to come up to me and literally shout in my ear and I'd be so far gone inside the book that I wouldn't even hear them. I can't quite read like that any more - because it's just not possible when you're a mum - but generally speaking, I always have a few books on the go at any time.
5. You just have to get on with life and do it.
Turkish author Orhan Pamuk once said about writing that 'Inspiration is the act of drawing the chair up to the writing table', and I think that's very true. There's no point complaining or fussing and fudging about anything or thinking, 'Oh, Lord, how am I going to do this?'
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