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Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.
When they played, it wasn’t music. It was the sound of chaos. I knew it was the sound of chaos because you could hear pigs being slaughtered. Women were weeping and men were gnashing their teeth, and there were sounds so horrible that I cannot repeat them to you, or you would flee from this room in horror!
A sob racks my body again, and he wraps his arms around me so tightly I find it difficult to breathe, but it doesn’t matter. My dignified weeping gives way to full-on ugliness, my mouth open and my face contorted and sounds like a dying animal coming from my throat. If this continues I will break apart, and maybe that would be better, maybe it would be better to shatter and bear nothing.
The past is so often unknowable not because it is befogged now but because it was befogged then, too, back when it was still the present. If we had been there listening, we still might not have been able to determine exactly what Stanton said. All we know for sure is that everyone was weeping, and the room was full.
I get very close to people when I’m shooting them. We would go and shoot a scene with Lucy, and I would spend the whole time telling her about Rob. Then I would go shoot a scene with Rob and tell him all about Lucy. Eventually they wanted to know each other. These are two people who would never have overlapped in any other way or context. We brought to the garden at Rob’s office and just sat and watched what unfolded. I remember weeping behind the camera, because I was so moved by the way they connected.
Acting is bad acting if the actor himself gets emotional in the act of making the audience cry. The object is to make the audience cry, but not cry yourself. The emotion has to be inside the actor, not outside. If you stand there weeping and wailing, all your emotions will go down your shirt and nothing will go out to your audience. Audience control is really about the actor
I went to bed and woke in the middle of the night thinking I heard someone cry, thinking I myself was weeping, and I felt my face and it was dry. Then I looked at the window and thought: Why, yes, it’s just the rain, the rain, always the rain, and turned over, sadder still, and fumbled about for my dripping sleep and tried to slip it back on.
The highlight of my career was my first sale, to F&SF, in 1989. Nothing yet has topped that moment. I was weeping in joy and relief. Publishing one story was all that I ever wanted, or expected. Everything since then – award nominations, getting into best-of anthologies, meeting my idols at conventions, drinking with my idols at conventions – has been wonderful, but it’s all gravy.