Sunday, August 19, 2012

Joanna Lumley on "Our Greatest Gift"

I'm currently reading actress and activist Joanna Lumley's autobiography No Room for Secrets. The title refers to the rather unique structure of the book. I'll let Joanna herself explain:

I may have been in your life for many years, as a vaguely remembered name, or as a shadow on a flickering television screen in the background; or this may be the first time we've met. In any case I've been in your home – but through an appalling oversight I have never invited you into my house until now. You can't really know someone until you've seen where and how they live. My house is my home, where all my life is assembled; all thoughts and memories from my earliest days up to this very moment are here, and this book will be a tour of . . . well, to be frank, me.

No room is spared in this fascinating tour of Joanna's house and life – hall, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, spare room, attic. It's an unusual way to write an autobiography . . . but it works!

I'm reading No Room for Secrets because I'm enthralled by the BBC television series Sensitive Skin which stars Lumley. Made respectively in 2006 and 2008, the two seasons of Sensitive Skin comprise one of the best TV shows you could possibly find. I highly recommend it, and will no doubt write more about it in a future post.

For now, I simply want to share an excerpt from Joanna Lumley's No Room for Secrets which particularly resonates with me. Perhaps it will resonate with you too.

We all need reminding often of how tiny our footprints are before the next wave comes crashing in to obliterate them. Footprints in the sands of time. We are like icebergs, only a small part of us showing and about nine-tenths underwater, made up of hidden thoughts and a completely separate life. I believe that's why we love stories and films and above all music. Even though we can, with the top part of an iceberg, the one-tenth sticking out of the water, discuss them with other people, how we interpret them is surely completely singular. Our imagination, our greatest gift, is utterly different from that of every other soul that has ever lived. Remarkable! Miraculous, even: a daily miracle.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
In the Garden of Spirituality – Karen Armstrong
The Potential of Art and the Limits of Rigid Orthodoxy to Connect Us to the Sacred
Prayer of the Week – May 30, 2010
Our Limitations, Not God's
Prophets of a Future Not Our Own
An Action Plan for the Future of the Church Disguised as a Novel
Pan's Labyrinch: Critiquing the Cult of Unquestioning Obedience
Mary Bednarowski on the Power of Our Stories

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