#006 - Mara Wilson, author and former child star, on how to write about your life
Click here to listen to Episode 6 of The Substack Podcast
Mara Wilson became an actor as a young child, despite her parents cautioning against it (while many child actors are there because of their parents). She became a star, taking the lead roles in Matilda and Miracle on 34th St, and a supporting role alongside Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire. Then, after her mother passed away and she entered adolescence after, Mara decided she was finished with acting. She set out to pursue a new career as a storyteller.
Today, Mara writes for various national publications and her own Substack newsletter, Shan’t We Tell the Vicar?, which features personal essays, anecdotes about being kind-of famous, and titles for imaginary BBC shows. In 2016, Penguin published her first book, Where Am I Now?, a series of personal essays about growing up in Hollywood and then leaving the film industry.
Our conversation for this episode of the podcast touched on all sorts of topics that should be interesting to any writer or creative person trying to figure out how to express themselves and be vulnerable in public. To really relate to people, Mara says, you have to be personal. “The more specific I got,” Mara said, “the more general it became for everybody.”
We also talked about how to give and receive feedback, how to deal with tough audiences that don’t understand what you do, and why it’s so important before publishing to always ask yourself why anyone would give a shit.