When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?
A judge/nurse/ballerina. A judge because my mom was one. A nurse because I had a cool white nurse’s cap and navy nurse cape (very WW2 British, now that I think about it.) A ballerina because I loved ballet class. I thought I could swing it — a true hyphenate. What I want to be when I grow up now is an Alvin Ailey Dancer. There is nothing closer to god.
Do you feel you have met your own expectations?
I do! I grew up being told “it is impossible to make a living as an actor” by my well-meaning (terrified) lawyer parents. So the fact that I make a living doing what a love is a miracle that I never take for granted. But on a deeper level, I am proud of my journey as a human. I am committed to remaining supple and open to new things, to addressing my shortcomings, to making amends. These practices don’t come naturally — they take work (for me) and patience. I am also proud of the large network of wonderful friends who keep me on the path. I am open to the mystery of life, and more comfortable admitting how little I know.
How do you spend Sunday?
I am an old-fashioned, church-going girl. I grew up going to a sweet, progressive Congregational Church in my hometown in Connecticut. The feeling of getting ready, putting on clothes that were not every day. Sunday at 10 am, then donuts afterwards. My mother would make a midday meal and then she would sleep on the couch, the Sunday New York Times on her relaxed tummy. It was the only time I saw my whirling-dervish of a working mom relax. I now go to All Saints Church in Pasadena, CA. I still love marking the day different than others, a true Sabbath. A time to reflect, gather, celebrate, lament. I was a Comparative Religion major in college and ended up studying Tibetan Buddhism, but I am also of Jewish heritage. I like all kinds of worship — I am interspritiual by nature. Anytime I get to leave the top world and pause time to worship, I am happy. Sundays are the time I do that.
What is the first thing you do on a work day?
Because I am a free-lance artist/parent every day is different. So usually the first thing I have to do is discern what my work is that day! Sometimes it is showing up on a set, sometimes it is writing a script, sometimes it is calling Social Security to confirm benefits for my daughter’s disability. I try to have a flow of the day so I don’t get lost in the weeds or get distracted by one thing or another. The first thing I do on a work day is prayer and meditation (okay the FIRST thing is drink coffee!) Not for terribly long, but the upshot is to give my work of the day to a higher power, whatever that work happens to be.
Who would play you in the movie version of your life?
Juliette Binoche and Jean Smart.
Five things to do less often?
1) Social media 2) Criticizing people that I don’t know the first thing about. 3) Doubting my children. 4) Comparing myself to others 5) Fudge.
How Can You Tell When Someone Is Lying?
I can’t. Not very well. I want to believe that people are good, and ethical, and truth-telling. I still can’t believe that someone would lie to my face.
If you had intro music what song would it be?
“32 Flavors” by Ani DiFranco.
Amy Brenneman is an Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actor , producer and activist, She is currently working with Jeff Bridges on Season Two of "The Old Man" ( Hulu). However, I cannot finish this byline without recommending" Tell Me Your Secrets" ( Amazon 2021), one of the best series in the last decade.
You already know her and I am thrilled to have her here in my slow genius feature.
The Slow Genius Movement at Domi