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May 19, 2013 / bpeveril

     I heard Sarah Polley on the

     I heard Sarah Polley on the radio today. Terry Gross was interviewing her about her new film, The Stories we Tell. It’s a “self-documentary” (para-documentary? auto-documentary? I think I like that one better) which I didn’t know was really a thing. Maybe it wasn’t before. I can’t think of any other examples, but I’m comfortable with someone doing something new, especially her. It sounds good, and I’ll be sure to see it when I can but, as much as anything, it made me think about myself, my life, and my own creative endeavours. For that to fully make sense to someone who doesn’t live in the convoluted labyrinth in my head they might need a little context. Need it or don’t, I’m giving it to you.
     I feel an affinity with Sarah Polley. It’s not the creepy kind; I don’t presume to know her, I’ve got no interest in stalking her, or even any drive to meet her, talk to her, whatever. If we did meet somehow, I doubt that I’d have anything to say. On the few occasions where I’ve met celebrities I haven’t. As a Canadian living in the US, though, I feel some affinity for anyone I hear who sounds like me, whether it’s an overheard conversation at the beach, or Neil Young talking about his new album on the radio. Familiar accents tickle some faint scar I had forgotten about and make me feel a little homesick, even though my accent’s gotten muddy and indistinct. It goes deeper than that, though. She was on a show when I was, we were, kids. It was a period about kids being kids and growing up in the early 1900s. It was almost painfully family friendly, but we only had three channels and it was on Sunday night, a time we never had anything else planned and were always too tired to do anything but watch. That said, it wasn’t terrible, and it had Sarah Polley. She was around my age and a perfectly convincing actress at ten or eleven. She quickly became a fixture of the back ground of my childhood. She didn’t stay there, though, and as we got older she would fade in and out, not always in the public eye, but always doing something I wanted to hear about when she was. I felt like we were in the same universe, even if we didn’t know each other. She wasn’t a face on the box, or a few lines in the paper, she actually seemed, more like anyone I’d ever encountered before, like a real person, someone who I could meet, or even just pass by on the street; more concrete than just another actress playing a hollow character on a show.
     This was a deeply personal project for her, the kind of project that I hate, and throw back into the idea box every time it comes up. That’s not to say that I don’t like it when other creators do something personal. It’s completely the opposite. Some other time I’ll talk about a photographer I like whose body of work is largely self portraits. I shy away from doing them myself, though. I like creating fiction, and I’m not afraid to put a lot of myself into it, but I’m always reluctant to take the mask off. Hearing Sarah talk about it, though, made me think. Maybe I can let it down now and then.

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