This list doesn't really feature my favourite people. My favourite people are people I know. These are just my favourite of the people I haven't met. They are people I admire, and feel as though I have an affinity with, according to what they have chosen to share of themselves with strangers like me. They all share certain qualities. They are gentle. Kind of weirdly intense. Humble, with high self-esteem. Talented. Hard-working. Thoughtful. And heartfelt.
Since this list could go on forever, I limited it to people who are still living (because there is still a chance we could cross paths and become best of friends).
My love for Cate was cemented during a Shakespeare play (The War of the Roses) she performed in Perth. I sat in the front row and she looked me right in the eye, I swear it.
Cate is a brilliant actress. Her best performance, I think, is Notes on a Scandal, where she plays a seemingly perfect wife and mother whose life unravels in a drastic fashion. She's also fantastic as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator, and Brad Pitt's wife in Babel.
Acting prowess aside, I admire Cate for her grace, and her desire to do good.
Sometimes, when I am reading one of Haruki's novels or short stories, I come across a phrase or paragraph so beautiful and true that it takes my breath away.
I have always loved his writing but I knew for certain that he was my kind of person when I read his speech accepting the Jerusalem literary prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society. Pro-Palestinian groups attempted to dissuade him from attending the ceremony, arguing that doing so would demonstrate his support for Israel's role in the Gaza conflict. Murakami considered their argument, but ultimately decided to accept his prize in person, using the opportunity to make a statement about peace and humanity. A condensed version of his speech is posted below; you can read the entire piece at Hareetz.
I chose to speak to you rather than to say nothing.
Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg.
Think of it this way. Each of us is, more or less, an egg. Each of us is a unique, irreplaceable soul enclosed in a fragile shell.
I have only one reason to write novels, and that is to bring the dignity of the individual soul to the surface and shine a light upon it. ... I fully believe it is the novelist's job to keep trying to clarify the uniqueness of each individual soul by writing stories - stories of life and death, stories of love, stories that make people cry and quake with fear and shake with laughter. This is why we go on, day after day, concocting fictions with utter seriousness.
I have only one thing I hope to convey to you today. We are all human beings, individuals transcending nationality and race and religion, fragile eggs faced with a solid wall called The System. To all appearances, we have no hope of winning. The wall is too high, too strong - and too cold. If we have any hope of victory at all, it will have to come from our believing in the utter uniqueness and irreplaceability of our own and others' souls and from the warmth we gain by joining souls together.
I grew up watching The Sound of Music. I knew every line to every song and nearly every piece of dialogue as well. (Although it did take me 15 years to realise that it was FRANZ THE BUTLER all along!)
Julie's grace and wholeheartedness is epitomised in this Barbara Walters interview, where she discusses losing her voice.
Barbara Walters: Julie, if you can't sing anymore, how will it change your life?
Julie Andrews: God, you’ll have to ask me that again another time. Right now as I said, I simply cannot contemplate it. I don’t want to say that I never can. So ask me again in a couple of years, okay?
Barbara Walters: And then if it’s still no?
Andrews: Oh, I think it will change something inside of me forever.
No, not just because he is smoldering-ly handsome. There is just something about him, apart from the chiselled jaw and those abs. It's his presence, simultaneously calm and intense, that shines through the screen and captures my heart. I first fell in love with him when I watched Remember the Titans. He only had a bit-part but he was still my favourite character, for a reason I couldn't explain. Of course, The Notebook followed some years later, and the rest is history. I have to say that my favourite, favourite of Ryan's roles is Blue Valentine. He plays a character completely different to himself; an uneducated redneck with a violent streak. But he plays it with such heart, with such tenderness, that you can't help but feel the depths of his pain.
Once piece of feedback that shined through my survey was "less Sarah Wilson!" And here she is again. I think that sometimes you come across someone or something - a person, a singer-songwriter, a band, an author, a television show, a film, a director - who speaks directly to your heart. For me, that's Sarah. She and I are in different places in life, we feel differently about a lot of things and we belong to different generations. But I think she's wonderful, and I can relate to her essence, through her writing. She is honest, irreverent and soulful, evangelical in an endearing way.
I wouldn't be writing if it weren't for Sarah. And for that I will always be grateful.