Never enough spac

ktanner@thetribunenews.comApril 5, 2012 

This newspaper is just like my home — both have limited space and are always overstuffed. At home, there’s never enough room in my closet, junk drawer, dresser, kitchen cabinets, refrigerator or bookshelves, just to name a few.

I also run out of available time long before I run out of things with which to fill it, from cleaning out all of the above to myriad other chores one must do when one has a place to call home.

Likewise, as a journalist, there’s never time enough to attend and write about everything I want to cover. And even if I could go and then report, sigh, there’s not enough space in the paper for everything I could compose.

Even within a single story, there’s no room to spare. What Mrs. A said about a topic is just as important as Mr. C’s opinions and Dr. Q’s comments, but I have to pick and choose between them to make sure I have enough space for remarks from all sides of the debate.

Because this is Cambria, and it’s always a debate.

Covering special events can be almost as frustrating, even though they’re a lot more fun to cover. There are always things I want to write that I shouldn’t; they’ll never be published anyway because there’s simply not enough room.

For instance, the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival and Friends of Hearst Castle recently screened “Citizen Kane” at the Castle. Finally, after a 71-year blackout.

So many fascinating vignettes from that night wound up on the reportorial cutting-room floor, because they just didn’t fit in the story.

We need a shoehorn for words.

There was so much more to tell about the festivities themselves and all the behind-the-scenes geniuses who were being honored at the festival. Most were lively, quirky, very interesting and apparently much less self-involved than many celebs.

At one point, I stepped back to watch a charming couple who seemed especially captivated by the Castle’s aura of history and mystery, creativity and artistry. I asked where they were from and how they’d come to be part of the elite group on the hilltop that night.

“I was invited to be here,” the man said in a profound New Zealand accent.

Duh, Kathe! These two weren’t just lucky tourists who’d stumbled into a pricey, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend a special Castle event. Instead, the tall, handsome man with the shy smile and an individualistic tux was Sir Richard Taylor, the honored recipient of the film festival’s prestigious King Vidor award. The lovely lady was his wife-partner Tania Rodger.

They are the much-lauded, Oscar-winning masterminds behind the special effects, props, prosthetics, miniatures, makeup, costumes and weaponry in such blockbusters as “Avatar,” “The Adventures of TinTin,” “King Kong,” “Narnia” and the “Lord of the Rings” series.

We’re talking big-time, top-of-the-heap superstars in their fields.

And busy! Festival Director Wendy Eidson said later, “We honestly weren’t sure for a while that Richard Taylor would make it. He’s working on 12 movies at once!” She added, “It’s always a pleasure to honor nice people who are sincerely flattered to get the accolades and attention.”

Indeed. Throughout the evening, Richard and Tania didn’t appear to care much about being “seen.” They were far more interested in getting details about the Castle than they were in posing or posturing. In fact, they seemed a bit shy and reclusive.

Later, at the reception held around the indoor Roman Pool, Tania’s expression was especially thoughtful, even wistful. I quietly asked what had caught her fancy.

“I’m thinking of all the people who have been here, all the parties that have been held here” around the gilded pool, she whispered. She paused, then said, “If I listen carefully, I can almost hear them talking.”

Yes, I was impressed. In that short time, she and her husband had fully grasped the true magic of the Castle. The art and treasures help, of course. But it’s what happened there and to whom that makes the place so very special.

In that glittering evening overfilled with memories, my time with Richard and Tania was the highlight. If only I’d had more time then and more space now — but that’s the story of my life.

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