PW: Why did you write Finding My Balance?
Mariel Hemingway: Writing a memoir at 40 years old—like my life is so bloody interesting—was stupid to me. But because yoga had changed my life, it was really [an exploration of] how I perceive my life through a yoga meditation practice. This is how I've taken my experiences—they're no better or worse than yours—and have tried to look at myself through the eyes of yoga.
PW: Were you nervous about writing a memoir?
MH: At first I was scared. I didn't want to commit to the idea that I was actually writing a book. [It was] pages of my journal, and I would Xerox copies at Kinko's, looking around to make sure nobody saw me. I was thinking, "Who do you think you are, Miss Hemingway, writing a book? What's up with that?" But as time went on, I got confident.
PW: Did you draw on any literary inspiration when you were writing?
MH: I would try and think of my grandfather. My husband kept saying, "He's really clear; he doesn't write a lot. Make sure you do that!" I tend to babble on. So I would try to clean up the words and not be too redundant.
PW: How do you think your memoir relates to the books your relatives have written?
MH: It's totally different. I'm not trying to say, "I'm a granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway." There's always been this strange interest in not only my family, but in me as a person, because of my family and because I'm not messed up. (If only they knew!) I've always wanted to write. I don't think I'm going to be some great writer, but I think it was important for me to do. Maybe it's why everybody in my family has given it a try. I think there's some sort of looming thing over our heads, and either you ignore it or you delve in to make the ghosts go away.
PW: You were a yoga practitioner long before it became fashionable. Is there any correlation to your writing this book now and the current trend?
MH: No. I'd wanted to do something involved with yoga for a long time, but I didn't want to do just a generic book about it. Yoga books are a dime a dozen. I'm not Rodney Yee, and I don't want to be. I thought, "How is there a way to tie it in?" I'm a very serious yogi. I wanted to show that. So you ride the trend. The time was right.
PW: You write that after reading The Old Man and the Sea for the first time as a child, you felt you understood your grandfather more than anybody else. What did you mean?
MH: [His books] were like folklore in my home, and he was like a mythical character. I connected the way anybody connects with my grandfather's work. It's very powerful and beautiful. I think it was more of a youthful, naïve and kind of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed reaction to how I felt when I read the book.
PW: At this point you've had experience with Hollywood, marriage, motherhood, meditation, yoga and writing. What's next?
MH: I'm about to direct A Moveable Feast, a movie based on my grandfather's book. Billy Bob Thornton is my producing partner and my husband [documentary filmmaker Steven Crisman] is also producing it. It gives me a whole other place to go. We'll be in pre-production by February. And I might do another book, who knows?