Why I Write: Hillary Shepherd

I write because I have so many outrageous true stories to tell. I write because everyone in my immediate family but my way younger brother who doesn’t remember any of the crazy things that happened to me and our family has died, and no one is alive to verify my over the top seemingly made up tales. Nobody believes that when I was five I found an actual  baby in the woods and kept her for a full day before I was discovered. But I did. 

I write cause I did really cool things when I was a teenager in 1976  like repeatedly sneaking out of my ranch house on Long Island into Studio 54  at age 16 and dancing the night away with Andy Warhol and Halston and I still made it back in  time to my classes in high school with no tell tale signs but some residual glitter on my face. My sister who died tragically several years ago, is the only who can verify this story. 

I write because people no longer know how to listen. I am just tucking in to my true tale of how Harrison Ford and I had a brief and torrid affair when I was a 18 year old  sophomore. at USC and he was shooting Blade Runner with my best friend who became the biggest star in the world over night and their eyes glaze over and they clandestinely check their phone and then after a good three minutes into my story they say “wait , what… you went out with Hans Solo when you were. 18? .. I cut them off, I am too exhausted to retell the story. 

I write because when I was twelve my best friend Ellen lived in a giant mansion on the water with no one but her housekeeper Lucy watching us. Occasionally we were graced with a drop in by her glamorous mother and crazy older hippie sisters. One weekend, the sisters had a giant orgy during one of our sleep overs and we watched, equal parts spellbound and confused  from the top of the stairs. Luckily one wild child got hepatitis from a dirty needle and we got quarantined for 3 days til a doctor came over and gave us all huge shots in our butts. My mother watched in horror from behind a yellow taped off police barricade, powerless in her wood paneled station wagon, as I got to frolic in a giant mansion on the water with no grown ups but a bunch of in my mother’s words “long haired hippie youths taking the pot and needling the white horse ” and it was the best three days of my life. 

 I write because I got my first acting job from the mob, and my parents wouldn’t let me take the job because well, FRANK SINATRA did that and was owned by the mob for life and I was so pissed when they sent me off to college and I had to watch the  movie directed by a true legend  come out and become a classic movie still revered to this day.  I then had to thank my parents for saving my life as the girl who ended up getting  my part was stalked by a fan who saw her on the big screen  and almost stabbed her to death. I write because I have cleaned out every sock drawer in the house and my linen closet is perfectly folded and ironed and I  have color coded my water color pens and I have exhausted all distractions. I write because every time I go to a psychic they tell me- you are  a writer.  Writers write. I write because  my best friend of forty plus years looks at me with such disappointment when I don’t. 

I write because I want you to know me, I want you to know I had a crazy special life and you will laugh you will cry you will know my crazy Aunt  Belle who did strip teases at Passover, my talented chic grandmother who took me out of school to go flea marketing and travel to London when she just HAD  to have the caramel almond candy only found at Harrods, who created museum quality dollhouses with lit chandeliers and needle pointed rugs.  

I write so you know that my dad who was movie star handsome  was a self made man who worked in the mines when he was little and became a polo playing self made millionaire and I was given everything growing up because he wasn’t. That my grandfather, who could do amazing magic tricks like take out his teeth and make quarters spill from your ears,  was recognized everywhere we went as ‘Papa Matti the Great’ and was asked for his autograph by his , now I know , fake adoring fans who he payed to do this. How he lifted my mother’s side of the family out of extreme poverty during the depression and went on to build an empire with no high school education. I write because my sister Kathy was an angelic beauty who everyone she came into contact with loved and was obsessed with and I was a miserable ugly child  with one eyebrow a mustache and head gear but she told  me I was going to be a a beautiful model and actress one day. She loved and encouraged me when my emotionally abusive mother could not.  I write so her future grandchildren,  that she will never get to meet will know what a special creature she was. I write because I  have two daughters and two nieces and I want them to know our family, to know me as a woman not  just their crazy absent minded B movie actress mother and aunt and I don’t want to repeat myself and as a fifty eight year old cancer survivor I don’t want to delete my self. 

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Essays/Articles (all) Featured Fiction Finalist for Ernest Hemingway Flash Fiction Prize New Fiction
Sort by

“I’ll Have What She’s Having”

Fun fact: Nora Ephron and I share the same birthday. I first experienced Ms. Ephron with her film “Heartburn”
2019-10-04 23:47:26



Ambivalent best describes my opinion of whether artists have an obligation to address political
2018-01-22 10:40:03


“I’m Blue”

Caracas, Venezuela They fly around the city making their cawing sounds, behaving like nothing is
2019-10-18 20:10:41


“5 AM”

Jeremy says I’m a waste of weed because I can never pull anything into my lungs. Now
2019-10-14 23:49:29


“Aimee’s Alibi”

Aimee Semple McPherson was kidnapped from Ocean Park Beach near Santa Monica on May 18, 1926 by two men and a woman,
2019-10-11 23:51:11



Bobby and his girlfriend had been going out for four years. They were inseparable
2019-10-07 11:03:05



The boy’s favorite smell was the smell of leaves burning, that mossy, earthy smoke, even though you weren’t supposed
2019-10-02 09:37:12


“Symptoms and Remedies”

I try to interpret the signs of my own body, and think back to a medieval literature class I took in which we
2019-09-30 11:05:53



Coach unzips his blue tracksuit, zipper fizzling down the suede, as the wind carries the sound off the bluffs at the
2019-09-23 11:04:54


“We Need Stories”

I enjoy the tales we need to tell, the restless narratives that keep people from drinking bleach or
2019-09-20 23:44:43


About Hilary Shepard

Hilary Shepard is an actress writer musician and board game inventor best known for her role as the evil queen Divatox on The Power Rangers.