I'm a great fan of Reneé O'Connor and her work. I am a writer and for many years now, going back to the "Xena" days, I have considered her to be my "Muse." She has been a continuing inspiration to me, especially when slogging through the tough task of writing has come close to overwhelming me. (For the record, most of what I've written thus far is children's fiction, as yet unpublished. But I'm trying...)

It was through your site that I found out about Reneé's new project, "One Weekend A Month." (More on the movie below). When I saw the movie would be playing in San Francisco (near my East Bay home) at the Cine Accion festival, I knew I had to go check it out. It turned out to be an inspired decision: not only did I get to enjoy Reneé's latest work, I actually got to meet her after the program!

I wasn't really expecting Reneé to be there, so I was pretty knocked out when I saw her. It was all I could do to get up the courage to approach her. I was totally wigged out, and I'm sure I came across as a complete fool. I even forgot to introduce myself and tell her my name! But Reneé was wonderful. If there are any Reneé fans out there who have never met her, you can assure them that their admiration is not misplaced. She is just a dream. It is simply amazing that someone who is so accomplished, famous, intelligent and beautiful could also be so kind, friendly, approachable and gracious. Even after I left after a few words--naturally, I didn't want monopolize her time--and then came back with my camera, asking for a photo, she was pefectly accommodating. I still can't believe I now have a photo of myself standing right next to my Muse!

And if that weren't enough, the film was wonderful. Reneé's performance is first-rate. I've always found it tough to judge Reneé as an actress--it's hard to be objective when you're sitting there with cartoon balloon hearts floating over your head, like Charlie Brown when he sees the little red-haired girl--but I have to say that, in my critical eye, Reneé really shows what a gifted actress she is in "One Weekend A Month." She makes the plight of her character, Meg, very forceful and immediate for the audience. And it's hard to believe that she was working without a script; her dialogue was dead on. (I hope Reneé considers doing more writing on her upcoming projects. I think she's got the knack.) The supporting cast does a fine job, too, particularly the young lass who plays Meg's daughter.

What is really impressive is the daring it took to make a film like this--about a National Guard soldier being called up, and the ramifications of that--at this point in time. It's a bold film, one that brings the tragedy of the Iraq war down to a personal level. The politics of the movie seem pretty clearly against the war, but because it examines the individual dimension, and the hardship that goes along with being in the wrong situation at the wrong time, the story is accessible to everyone, no matter what your politics. Except for a few quibbles--mostly about choices in the presentation--Reneé, Mr. Escobar (the director) and the rest of the crew have a film to be proud of. I certainly recommend that everyone who has the chance to watch "One Weekend A Month" should do so, especially if you're a Reneé fan.

So that's my scoop on Reneé and last night's program. I am very grateful that I had the chance to go and see the film and meet Reneé. I just wish I hadn't been as nervous about approaching her! I'm embarrassed to imagine what she must have really thought of me, but she was so gracious and kind that you wouldn't know if she felt anything but perfect friendliness. I hope and pray that I get another chance sometime to see and talk to her again, so that I may show her that I'm not quite so foolish as I probably seemed last night--or, barring that, so I can at the very least bask in the glow of her radiance once more. (Maybe next time I can remember to properly introduce myself.) And I hope that I can get my books published, so that when people ask me about my inspiration, or who's this "Muse" I keep talking about, I can tell them all about Reneé and how wonderful she is.

So thanks again for your site and the good news it brought me. Be sure to tell everyone to check out "One Weekend A Month" if they can. And, if the opportunity arises, pass along to Reneé the heaps of praise she deserves.


Stephen Taylor
Lafayette, CA

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