Originally published in the January 2011 “Meaning of Life” issue (Robert Todd Williamson)
Q & A with Mary Louise Parker (Esquire)
I’d rather have to put my teeth in a jar at the end of the day than Twitter.
Running from something and running to something are the same thing.
I don’t get tired of hearing that somebody liked my work. I’m not for everyone. If I were a beer, I definitely would not be a Budweiser.
Avocado is the perfect food. It’s so substantial. So rich. There’s something sensual about an avocado. You peel it and then you have to scoop out the rest and kind of lick it. Avocado makes everything better. A burger. A sandwich. It’s support. It just backs everything up.
“I’m sorry, but …” — no. A qualified apology is not an apology. I can forgive most anything. But I won’t forgive anything if it’s defended. That’s just weakness.
If being honest is the goal, I can unzip to a pretty deep level. But what you get today is not necessarily what you’ll get tomorrow.
Being naked has a certain element of drama.
I’m not jealous. I would expect a man I’m with to look at a beautiful woman. If he doesn’t, he’s trying to hide something.
You meet a woman who’s clumsy and doesn’t read, and because of that it won’t work. But then you meet a woman who’s clumsy and won’t read, but she’s just right for you. The two can have the same failures, but some ineffable alchemy allows you to forgive the right one anything.
My parents taught me how to be a parent. But I’ll never live up to it.
I like to pretend that I’m a tough guy. It’s kind of an admission of defeat if I have to ask for help — or even kindness. But if it doesn’t come, at some point I snap and demand it.
“I read your journal.” I can respect that. Good for you. Everybody would read your journal. But how many people would tell you that they did?
Your journal has probably been read, I’ve got news for you.
I might have to get in the hot tub. Can you still talk to me in the hot tub? Would that be weird?
I never feel more useful than when I’m making my kids a bowl of soup.
My daughter made an amazing jump in the pool the other day. I said, “You’re so brave.” She said, “No, I was scared.” I said, “That’s why you’re brave. If you weren’t scared, you wouldn’t be brave at all. You’d just be dumb.”
I like to restructure the rules to make them fit my own needs.
I’m not gonna go off if there are no M&Ms in my trailer.
At a certain point you know the last chapter, and you don’t want to have to write it.
There’s always going to be somebody smarter, prettier, nicer. It’s better to appreciate it instead of being threatened by it or defending yourself against it.
Mediocrity is underrated.
My kids have taught me that I’m not as good a person as I like to think I am, and that I’m not as bad a person as I sometimes think I am.
People who show up and don’t know their lines or come in without an idea just can’t be taken seriously.
We have Monet Day in the house. We buy a bunch of flowers from the deli, float them in the bathtub, and then paint them. We’ve also done Dalí Day. We put on mustaches and burn paper clocks. I haven’t figured out how to do Van Gogh Day.
It’s nice to have the luxury of not being overburdened with a self-image.
There’s bliss in watching Antiques Roadshow and then having some chicken salad. That can be thrilling.
It takes much more skill to write something thoughtful than to just be mean.
Why do actors end up with other actors? Where else are they gonna meet other people? Somebody who works at Macy’s might go out with somebody else who works at Macy’s, right?
No regrets. But there have been things that are worth regretting.
My son once asked me, “What happens when we die?” I said, “Nobody really knows. Some people think that the spirit” — and he stopped me. “What’s a spirit?” “Well, it’s a part of you that doesn’t change and people think that some part of it lives on.” He said, “Here’s what I think. I think we go into the ocean, we wash up on a desert island, and Georgia O’Keeffe finds our bones and then she paints them.” And I said, “I’m going with your version.”