Sheila O'Malley was born in Boston, and grew up in Rhode Island. She got her Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting from the University of Rhode Island. After graduating, she lived in Chicago for 5 years, where she performed in such plays as Golden Boy, by Clifford Odets, Edna O'Brien's Virginia (playing Virginia Woolf), and an award-winning adaptation of James Agee's Death in the Family. Sheila also appeared in a regional production of Tracy Letts's Killer Joe, performed at The Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca, New York. She then moved to NYC, to get her Master's in Acting from the Actors Studio MFA program at the New School University. She is now at work on a one-woman show. Sheila blogs at Sheila Astray's Redheaded Ramblings.
Why do you blog? > I blog because, basically, I am a big-mouth, and I needed to create a public platform where I could shout about things which matter to me. Also, the writing impulse had to be satisfied.
What has been your best blogging experience? > When a piece I wrote, That PBS special, was posted in the Wall Street Journal's 'Best of the Web', on September 10, 2003. I am still getting letters about that piece.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > I had a freaky stalker who thought we had a deep personal relationship merely because he read me every day.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Have fun. Don't take yourself too seriously. Also - read other blogs. Know that you are not inventing the wheel.
What are you reading at the moment? > Re-reading Orwell's 1984.
Who are your cultural heroes? > James Joyce, Shakespeare, The Beatles.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Catch 22, by Joseph Heller.
What is your favourite poem? > 'The More Loving One' by Auden.
What is your favourite movie? > Running on Empty.
What is your favourite song? > At the moment? 'Fields of Joy' by Lenny Kravitz.
Who is your favourite composer? > Bach.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Almost every single one! My views are a constant work-in-process. The main one, so far, has been my feeling that war is always bad. I have changed my mind on that one in a major way.
Who are your political heroes? > John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Vaclav Havel.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Don't procrastinate anything. Do stuff immediately. Risk failure, risk disappointment - because life is fleeting and cruel.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > There are two: curiosity and a sense of humour.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Rigidity, close-mindedness.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > If I felt a family member was in danger, and only a lie would save them, I would lie like gangbusters. I would also lie if I thought the lie would get me a backstage pass to meet Eminem.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Yes. Against people who are wilfully shallow, who are unwilling to look at themselves, unwilling to inquire, who actively resist growth, who cannot change. Scott Peck calls these people People of the Lie.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Gambling.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > The correct question is what do I not worry about. The main thing I worry about is my family. Are they happy? Safe? Are they okay?
What would your ideal holiday be? > Two months in a little house on the west coast of Ireland.
What is your most treasured possession? > A teeny clear piece of beach glass given to me long ago by someone I once loved deeply.
What talent would you most like to have? > Snowboarding at an Olympic level of skill.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Joe DiMaggio, Carlton Fisk.
Which baseball team do you support? > Tragically, yet fatalistically, the Red Sox.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > Novels published. Tony-award winning one-woman show.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Marilyn Monroe, John Adams, Tennessee Williams.
What animal would you most like to be? > A dolphin. They, among animals, seem to have a true sense of fun.
[Previous profiles: Ophelia Benson (Nov 7); Chris Bertram (Sep 26); Alan Brain (Oct 10); Francois Brutsch (Dec 5); Jackie D (Oct 17); Harry Hatchet (Oct 24); Saddam Hussein (Nov 14); Oliver Kamm (Nov 21); Natalie Solent (Nov 28); Roger L. Simon (Oct 31); Michael J. Totten (Oct 3); Brian Weatherson (Dec 12). The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature.]