Like most children, one of my favorite stories (and films) growing up was the tale of "Mathilda" and how important she was in empowering those around her with the beautiful gift of knowledge and books. I remember really loving the film especially, and watching it whenever it was on TV with my older sister. I also remember really admiring whoever played the character Mathilda anyway, but that's about it really. Now, I'm not one to keep up with any of the actors and actresses that were a part of my childhood favorites. I don't actively go out of my way to do what some (like my sister) might do where they tend to use IMDB to search what other films someone was in because "they look familiar" and they may have been in other things I have watched.
However, this particular story is a little different and includes maybe a little too much backstory.
It was the summer of 2013. I was 16 years old and spending my days relaxing before my last year of high school would begin, and I was still actively using Tumblr, mostly as a way to keep up with people I know and to find new shows and what not to immerse myself in. I was introduced to something different from what I'm used to which blew up almost immediately on the website. It was a podcast series created by Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor called "Welcome To Night Vale." It had its own lore, weird plot, and every bit of creepy to make me love it a lot. My personal favorite aspect in the series, though, were the featured celebrity guests who played particular characters which ended up reintroducing me to those who were famous in my childhood. One of those guests in the series, who played the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home, was Mara Wilson. Many of you reading this may not really know who exactly she is. In fact, neither did I when the name was introduced in the series until Tumblr informed me very well, and trust me, the user base on the website does this kind of stuff all the time. Mara Wilson is best known for her role in "Mathilda" as a child actress, playing Mathilda herself and gave life to one of my favorite fictional characters.
After I lost track of "Welcome To Night Vale" because things started getting busy in my life, I went back to not really paying attention to any actor and actress in general. My mind was too focused on the content I found rather than the content creators which, looking back, was my loss because I definitely missed out on a lot of great inspiration for my own content and how I can continue making my work great.
Now it was the year 2016 in general, the year no one likes to really acknowledge. Even then, and today, I'm still using Tumblr but in different ways. I never really left that site to begin with, I just don't use it as much as I used to, but nevertheless there has always been posts about elections popping up in that year especially. One of the most popular types of posts were those with screenshots of tweets made by celebrities in regards to the election and what they had to say. There was a whole bundle of posts, issues, and names, but the one name that returned to me once again three years later was Mara Wilson.
While I am active on Tumblr, I'm also pretty active on Twitter and it sort of plays hand in hand. Because I was able to see quoted tweets on one website, it made me easily follow and see these tweets and future tweets for myself on another. While it was in the summer of 2016 I followed Mara Wilson's twitter, it was the best time to because of the active promotion of her novel "Where Am I Now? True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame." I wanted to get my hands on the book for so long and finally, my prayers were answered when I received the book as a Christmas present from one of my close friends.
Mara Wilson, I want to thank you.
I read your book in its entirety during this past holiday break, first on the plane ride to London, and then on the couch in my cousin's living room. I read a small portion on the plane and made no further progress at my cousin's house until the Christmas and touristy festivities were over and I finally had a moment to myself. The minute I started reading, it was really hard for me to put the book down. What exactly is it about this book that made me finish it in only a few hours? What made me keep turning the pages and wanting more? The answer is simple, really, what you covered in your book from your life and the experiences that you went through really struck a chord in me and made me really realize that I am not alone.
Of course, I'm not child actress, nor am I particularly famous so I can't relate to every experience, but I do consider myself to be a writer, and I also suffer from an infamous mental illness that really strains my thoughts in almost every aspect. Reading your informative words about mental illness in general, and gave me great comfort. For the first time in a long time, I felt pretty okay. I was able to find something that gave me comfort in the form of a book and it's been a pretty long time since that's happened. I love reading books, but most of the time I find great stories about things completely unrelated. Your book, however, had great stories and comfort. The combination plays really well and I can't stop thinking about it. So many lines and passages are underlined and annotated now with my favorite pen because of how much I found to be so great.
I'm glad I found your work now that I'm older and I'm really glad how you turned your passion of storytelling into something you love. You're not afraid to openly talk about mental illness and most things people wouldn't acknowledge in the first place. You helped me realize that it's okay to seek help in my efforts to try to make myself a better person. You gave me a spark to continue writing my own work and doing what I love.
Thank you, Mara Wilson, for being there for me as a child and even today.