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Sam Shepard Quotes

Samuel Shepard Rogers

Sam Shepard quotes: the late actor’s words of wisdom.

“First you have to know what your destiny is. I’m saying that it exists. It exists, and it can become a duty to discover it. Or it can be shirked. But if you take it on as your duty, then it becomes a different thing from dismissing it altogether and just imagining that it’ll work itself out anyway. I mean, it will. But it’s more interesting to try to find it and know it.”

“When you hit a wall—of your own imagined limitations—just kick it in.”

“I’m a great believer in chaos. I don’t believe that you start with a formula and then you fulfill the formula. Chaos is a much better instigator, because we live in chaos; we don’t live in a rigorous form.”

“I hate endings. Just detest them. Beginnings are definitely the most exciting, middles are perplexing and endings are a disaster. The temptation towards resolution, towards wrapping up the package, seems to me a terrible trap. Why not be more honest with the moment? The most authentic endings are the ones which are already revolving towards another beginning. That’s genius.”

“That’s the thing about later. You don’t know what’s coming up. You don’t know how all the loose ends are going to gather together. Something for sure is going to happen but you don’t know what it is.”

“Look, you start out… I started out when I was 19, and you’re full of defenses. You have all of this stuff to prove. You have all of these shields in front of you. All your weapons are out. It’s like you’re going into battle. You can accomplish a certain amount that way. But then you get to a point where you say, ‘But there’s this whole other territory I’m leaving out.’ And that territory becomes more important as you grow older. You begin to see that you leave out so much when you go to battle with the shield and all the rest of it. You have to start including that other side or die a horrible death… with your shield stuck on the front of your face forever. You can’t grow that way. And I don’t think you can grow as a person that way, either. There just comes a point when you have to relinquish some of that and risk becoming more open to the vulnerable side.”

“The mind ain’t nothing without the old body tagging along to follow things through.”

“You can’t force a thing to grow. You can’t interfere with it. It’s all hidden. It’s all unseen. You just gotta wait till it pops up out of the ground.”

“Being surrounded by parasitic people who feed off of your work—well, I guess you’ve just got to accept it. And I suppose some parasites are okay, because they take things off of you. Avoid situations that are going to take pieces of you. And hide out.”

“When you’re looking for someone, you’re looking for some aspect of yourself, even if you don’t know it. What we’re searching for is what we lack.”

“Character is an essential tendency. It can be covered up, it can be messed with, it can be screwed around with, but it can’t be ultimately changed. It’s the structure of our bones, the blood that runs through our veins.”

“It’s very difficult to escape your background. You know, I don’t think it’s necessary to even try to escape it. More and more, I start to think that it’s necessary to see exactly what it is that you inherited on both ends of the stick: your timidity, your courage, your self-deceit, and your honesty—and all the rest of it.”

“Sometimes in someone’s gestures you can notice how a parent is somehow inhabiting that person without there being any awareness of that. Sometimes you can look at your hand and see your father.”

“The shock of violence brings something. I’m not suggesting violence is a way of catharsis. But an accidental confrontation can bring about an awakening. A man can believe himself to be in control of his emotions, yet in the flash of an eye he can lose it totally and be shocked into seeing what he’s really made of.”

“It’s interesting how you can be lost in an area like memory. Memory is very easy to get lost in. Some things can’t get lost, though, because they’re based on emotional memory, which is a different thing from just trying to remember the name of a person or some fact. But to remember where you were touched has more of a reverberation. It remembers itself to you.”

“Writing is a way of bringing things back together a little bit. If I can at least write something, I start to feel that I’m gathering out of that lostness something that has some kind of structure and form and something that, one hopes, can be translated to others. I don’t know if you can ever get totally found—I’ve met people who are convinced that they know what direction they’re going in, and they seem to be very together. But maybe they’re believing in a lie. A belief in a lie can be very powerful. And then again maybe some of it’s true. Who’s to say?”

“I feel like the writers that I’m drawn to, the writers that I really cling to, are the writers who seem to be writing out of a desperate act. It’s like their writing is part of a survival kit. Those are the writers that I just absolutely cherish and carry with me everywhere I go.”

“Being a writer is so great because you’re literally not dependent on anybody. With writing, you can do it anywhere, anytime you want. You don’t have to ask permission.”

“All good writing comes out of aloneness. You have to be very focused and fully occupied to write.”

“The great thing for me, now, is that writing has become more and more interesting. Not just as a craft but as a way into things that are not described. It’s a thing of discovering. That’s when writing is really working. You’re on the trail of something and you don’t quite know what it is.”

“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.”

“There are times when I can’t help thinking about the past. I know the present is the place to be. It’s always been the place to be. I know I’ve been recommended by very wise people to stay in the present as much as possible, but the past sometimes presents itself. The past doesn’t come as a whole. It always comes in parts.”

“In real life we don’t know what’s going to happen next. Being alive to the possibility of not knowing exactly how everything is going to happen next—if you can find places to have that happen, it can resonate with an experience of living.”

“There’s something healthy about going against the grain of the laziness of the body.”

“Love is the only disease that makes you feel better.”

“I’ll develop my own image. I’m an original man. A one and only.”

“I believe in my mask. The man I made up is me. I believe in my dance. And my destiny.”

“It’s just been one step at a time. I don’t deny that I’ve had some good luck. My dad had a lot of bad luck. I’ve had good luck. Luck is a part of it. But I don’t know exactly how that works.”

“I’m pretty much doing everything that I want to do.”

“I made it pretty well, I say. But I’ve also… oddly, I wasn’t even f*cking trying.”

“I’ve been my own man. Ain’t nothing richer than that.”

Cory Johnson: CEO of a business he has yet to launch. As seen on your mom’s phone. Scaled to 7-figures in seven seconds selling a course on selling courses. Kidding. Watch this.