Sam Survives

“I don’t own a computer. I write longhand. In notebooks. It’s then typed up. Retyped until I feel I’ve got it.”     Sam Shepard

Broadway’s lights were dimmed last night in honor of Sam Shepard, actor, author of many stories and plays — a troubles troubadour of the soul who turned a difficult life into art through plays like Buried Child and Fool for Love. My fellow poetry lover and cherished KWD reader, Pat Carrigan, alerted me to a wonderful site for all things literary. It featured a tribute to Sam Shepard that shared some of his musings on writing. A few to ponder:

On voice: I’ve heard writers talk about ‘discovering a voice,’ but for me that wasn’t a problem. There were so many voices that I didn’t know where to start. It was splendid, really; I felt kind of like a weird stenographer. I don’t mean to make it sound like hallucination, but there were definitely things there, and I was just putting them down. I was fascinated by how they structured themselves, and it seemed like the natural place to do it was on a stage. A lot of the time when writers talk about their voice they’re talking about a narrative voice. For some reason my attempts at narrative turned out really weird. I didn’t have that kind of voice, but I had a lot of other ones, so I thought, Well, I’ll follow those. (from The Paris Review‘s The Art of Theater interview, 1997)

On his writing regimen: When something kicks in, I devote everything to it and write constantly until it’s finished. But to sit down every day and say, I’m going to write, come hell or high water—no, I could never do that. . . There are certain attitudes that shut everything down. It’s very easy, for example, to get a bad attitude from a movie. I mean you’re trapped in a trailer, people are pounding on the door, asking if you’re ready, and at the same time you’re trying to write. . . . Film locations are a great opportunity to write. I don’t work on plays while I’m shooting a movie, but I’ve done short stories and a couple of novels. (from The Paris Review‘s The Art of Theater interview, 1997)

On being a writer: I feel very lucky and privileged to be a writer. I feel lucky in the sense that I can branch out into prose and tell different kinds of stories and stuff. But being a writer is so great because you’re literally not dependent on anybody.

Bravo, Sam! He lives on in the hearts of those who love him and in his words. Write on!

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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