We asked Minnie Driver about the meaning of life, her greatest fears and the loves of her life.
What is the meaning of life?
For some, it’s power, money, love, family. Maybe it’s a mixture. I don’t believe there’s some grail that will explain it all. It’s experiencing life as fully as you can.
What is the difference between right and wrong?
It can change. The only way of keeping track is to emotionally audit yourself. You have a good guidance system inside you.
Where is your happy place?
The ocean with my son. With my boyfriend nearby, though he’s more of an observer of the ocean.
Nature or nurture?
Nature is wild and free and nurture moulds that into another shape. So, nature.
Is it more important to be liked or respected?
Respect is inherent in liking someone. So to be liked.
If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be?
For bringing some creative light into the world. And being a good mother.
Who or what is your greatest love?
My son. He’s all the meaning and all the light.
When did you last lie?
Today. I told my boyfriend I was feeling all right, and I’m feeling really sad. But he’s a long way away, so maybe it’s OK?
Does the supernatural exist?
I think it does, there are just too many ghosts in my life for it not to. The idea that we would be the only thing in the universe that isn’t recyclable energetically seems absurd to me.
Are you fatalistic?
No. I think refusing to be conscious of your own evolution, or lack of it, can make you doomed to inhabit a familiar landscape if you don’t pay attention. You can seal your own doom, I think.
What is your greatest fear?
Something happening to my son.
Animals or babies?
Babies. I can stop them crying on aeroplanes – it’s my superpower.
What talent do you yearn for?
To play the piano at concert level. It would feel magical.
Do you like to be complimented?
Yes. I thrive on approbation. I love it. I can’t be complimented enough.
Do you have a high pain threshold?
Fuck yeah. I had a 10lb baby and 38 hours of labour, naturally, so yeah, I have a high pain threshold. I have a hard time when men stub their toes and can’t speak for 10 minutes.
What book do you recommend most to others?
Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith, about evolution and the nature of consciousness. It’s the most brilliant book.
Which lesson has been the hardest to learn?
That life is an ebb and flow and something else is happening while you’re distracted by the thing that’s not happening.
What food sums up happiness?
Fish and chips. I remember being tiny and my mum introducing me to vinegar, which felt immense.
What have you never understood?
Why we continue to savage, oppress and torture our fellow man. I do not understand how the awfulness doesn’t make people stop.
What is the one thing you want to know before you die?
I want to know in my bones that life didn’t have to look any different and that any notion of failure is specious and stupid. And that my son will be OK.
Are you scared of dying or what happens when you die?
I can’t bear the thought of leaving my kid. Having been left by my mother recently, the thought of him having to go through that is monstrous. But also necessary. So, I’m not scared.
Quinoa or Quavers?
Quavers. So much of my life is quinoa, but you’re really looking for a balance between the two.
Managing Expectations by Minnie Driver (£20, Manilla Press) is out now.
Image credits: Shutterstock. As told to Sophie Goddard.