In an age when so many yearn for the bright lights and seemingly fruitful future of a life in Tinseltown, few fail to understand the reality—a subject Amber Tamblyn knows best. The Emmy-nominated actress and best-selling author explores the lives and troubling ends of some of Hollywood's most intriguing leading ladies, some household names in their heyday and others more obscure, in her latest book of poetry, Dark Sparkler.
A casual interest in the tragic stories of actresses before her time led Tamblyn to pen Dark Sparkler. She explores over 30 compelling portraits, featuring the harrowing, all too familiar tales of Brittany Murphy, Marilyn Monroe, Sharon Tate and Jayne Mansfield. But it is the enigmatic charm of these ill-fated starlets paired with Tamblyn's own experiences of the demands placed on young women in the film industry, which reveals a truly thought-provoking collection. "I think I write best when I come from a place of anger, retribution or desire," says Tamblyn. "When I feel that someone does not have a voice."
Born and raised in Venice Beach, Ca. around "artistic, Bohemian-type" parents, Tamblyn remembers being exposed to art, culture and poetry at a very young age. She was discovered as an actress at just 11-years-old in an elementary school play, going on to star on General Hospital for seven years. From there she played teenaged roles in movies like The Ring and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, as well as television shows such as Joan of Arcadia and Two and a Half Men.
A working actress for over 20 years now, Tamblyn explains she has been writing for as long as she has been acting, something few people know about her. "I fell in love with poetry and writing through the friendship and works of Jack Hirschman, who is one of my father's best friends," Tamblyn recalls. "I love the immediacy of poetry; the way you feel when you read it and write it."
Tamblyn adds that while her style of writing can best be described as confessional poetry, the work is both about herself and women in general. And, she insists, it's quite playful. "I believe strongly that good writing, no matter how dark the subject matter, must sometimes come from a place of humor."
Inspired by the works of such poets and writers as Anne Sexton, Nick Flynn, Claudia Rankin, and of course Jack Hirschman, Tamblyn is well on her way to completing her fourth book of poetry and her first novel. As far as where acting fits in, she says "Acting always fits itself in. It has to; I love it so."
Tamblyn will appear at the Brazos Bookstore on Wednesday, April 20 for a reading of Dark Sparkler. Of what we have to look forward to, Tamblyn teases: "You can expect to find your inner investigator and become thoroughly obsessed with the voices and stories in this book."
Wednesday, April 20th at 7 p.m. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet St. 713-523-0701. brazosbookstore.com