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No one will ever know what 'In Cold Blood' took out of me. It scraped me right down to the marrow of my bones. It nearly killed me. I think, in a way, it did kill me.
Blood
Bones
Cold
Did
Down
Ever
I think
Know
Marrow
Me
Nearly
No-one
Out
Right
That isn't writing at all, it's typing.
Typing
Writing
I don't care what anybody says about me as long as it isn't true.
About
Anybody
Care
Long
Me
Says
True
I like to talk on TV about those things that aren't worth writing about.
About
Like
Talk
Things
Those
Tv
Worth
Writing
My major regret in life is that my childhood was unnecessarily lonely.
Childhood
Life
Lonely
Major
Regret
Unnecessarily
Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe.
Book
Breathe
Good
Hardly
How
I can
I think
Sometimes
Think
The quietness of his tone italicized the malice of his reply.
His
Malice
Quietness
Reply
Tone
Friendship is a pretty full-time occupation if you really are friendly with somebody. You can't have too many friends because then you're just not really friends.
Because
Friendly
Friends
Friendship
Full-time
Just
Many
Occupation
Pretty
Really
Somebody
Then
Too
You
I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.
Believe
I believe
More
Pencil
Scissors
Than
Love is a chain of love as nature is a chain of life.
Chain
Life
Love
Love is
Nature
All literature is gossip.
Gossip
Literature
Check the price
for your project
Fame is only good for one thing - they will cash your check in a small town.
Cash
Check
Fame
Good
One thing
Only
Small
Small town
Thing
Town
Will
Your
Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself.
Born
Does
Fine
Just
Knowing
Laws
Learn
Light
Music
Painting
Perspective
Rearrange
Rules
Shade
I was eleven, then I was sixteen. Though no honors came my way, those were the lovely years.
Came
Eleven
Honors
Lovely
Sixteen
Then
Those
Though
Way
Were
Years
A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That's why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet.
Conversation
Conversations
Dialogue
Due
Few
Good
Intelligent
Meet
Monologue
Scarcity
Seldom
Talkers
Two
Why
Writing stopped being fun when I discovered the difference between good writing and bad and, even more terrifying, the difference between it and true art. And after that, the whip came down.
After
Art
Bad
Being
Between
Came
Difference
Discovered
Down
Even
Fun
Good
Good writing
More
When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and the whip is intended for self-flagellation solely.
Also
Gift
God
Hands
He
Intended
Solely
Whip
You
To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music that words make.
About
Greatest
Greatest pleasure
Inner
Make
Me
Music
Pleasure
Words
Writing
I got this idea of doing a really serious big work-it would be precisely like a novel, with a single difference: Every word of it would be true from beginning to end.
Be true
Beginning
Big
Difference
Doing
End
Every
Got
Idea
Like
Novel
Precisely
Really
Serious
I can see every monster as they come in.
Come
Every
I can
Monster
See
Well, I'm about as tall as a shotgun, and just as noisy.
About
Just
Noisy
Shotgun
Tall
Well
Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.
Box
Chocolate
Eating
Entire
Go
Like
Venice
Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.
Back
Book
Child
Finishing
Just
Like
Out
Shot
Took
Yard
You
Love, having no geography, knows no boundaries.
Boundaries
Geography
Having
Knows
Love
No boundaries
It is the want to know the end that makes us believe in God, or witchcraft, believe, at least, in something.
Believe
End
God
Know
Least
Makes
Something
Us
Want
Witchcraft
Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act.
Act
Badly
Good
Life
Life is a
Moderately
Play
Third
Written
Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.
Failure
Flavor
Gives
Success
Any work of art that can be understood is the product of journalism.
Any
Art
Journalism
Product
Understood
Work
Thought is made in the mouth.
Made
Mouth
Thought
The rest, called literature, is a dossier of human imbecility for the guidance of future professors.
Future
Guidance
Human
Literature
Professors
Rest
In the theatre the audience wants to be surprised - but by things that they expect.
Audience
Expect
Surprised
Theatre
Things
Wants
To live happily with other people, ask of them only what they can give.
Ask
Give
Happily
Live
Only
Other
People
Them
Mother Teresa's detractors have accused her of overemphasizing Calcuttans' destitution and of coercing conversion from the defenseless. In the context of lost causes, Mother Teresa took on battles she knew she could win. Taken together, it seems to me, the criticisms of her work do not undermine or topple her overall achievement.
Accused
Achievement
Battles
Causes
Context
Conversion
Could
Criticisms
Her
Knew
Lost
Me
Mother
Mother teresa
Lepers were a common sight all over India and in every part of Calcutta, but extending help beyond dropping a coin or two into their rag-wrapped stumps was not. As a child I was convinced even touching a spot a leper had rubbed against would lead to infection.
Against
Beyond
Child
Coin
Common
Convinced
Dropping
Even
Every
Extending
Had
Help
India
Infection
The picture of Mother Teresa that I remember from my childhood is of a short, sari-wearing woman scurrying down a red gravel path between manicured lawns. She would have in tow one or two slower-footed, sari-clad young Indian nuns. We thought her a freak. Probably we'd picked up on unvoiced opinions of our Loreto nuns.
Between
Childhood
Down
Freak
Gravel
Her
I remember
Indian
Mother
Mother teresa
Nuns
One or two
Opinions
Our
Bengalis love to celebrate their language, their culture, their politics, their fierce attachment to a city that has been famously dying for more than a century. They resent with equal ferocity the reflex stereotyping that labels any civic dysfunction anywhere in the world 'another Calcutta.'
Another
Any
Anywhere
Attachment
Been
Celebrate
Century
City
Civic
Culture
Dying
Dysfunction
Equal
Fierce
There was no audience for my books. The Indians didn't regard me as an Indian and North Americans couldn't conceive of me of a North American writer, not being white and brought up on wheat germ. My fiction got lost.
American
American
Audience
Being
Books
Brought
Conceive
Fiction
Germ
Got
Indian
Indians
Lost
Me
I thought of America as Natalie Wood and Bob Wagner sprawled on the edge of a Hollywood swimming pool biting into the same red apple.
America
Apple
Biting
Bob
Edge
Hollywood
Natalie
Pool
Red
Same
Swimming
Swimming pool
Thought
Wagner
I never have my CNN off, it's on the whole day. I don't want to be out of range of television. I'm constantly bombarded by information - Somalia one second, Haiti the next - I need that constant pounding. I couldn't write without television. I need to have the world in my room.
Bombarded
Cnn
Constant
Constantly
Day
Haiti
Information
Need
Never
Next
Off
Out
Pounding
Range
I feel empowered to be a different kind of writer. The longer I stay here, the more light filters into my work. I feel very American. I belong.
American
Belong
Different
Different kind
Empowered
Feel
Filters
Here
I feel
Kind
Light
Longer
More
Stay
I don't feel the depression the people who are always looking back to the '50s, to 'Father Knows Best' feel. I can see the coming of another glorious era.
Always
Another
Back
Best
Coming
Depression
Era
Father
Feel
Glorious
I can
Knows
Looking
Looking back
I truly appreciate the special qualities that America and American national myths offer me.
America
American
Appreciate
Me
Myths
National
Offer
Qualities
Special
Truly
Through my fiction, I make mainstream readers see the new Americans as complex human beings, not as just 'The Other.'
American
Beings
Complex
Fiction
Human
Human beings
Just
Mainstream
Make
New
Other
Readers
See
Through
I had a 2-week courtship with a fellow student in the fiction workshop in Iowa and a 5-minute wedding in a lawyer's office above the coffee shop where we'd been having lunch that day. And so I sent a cable to my father saying, 'By the time you get this, Daddy, I'll already be Mrs. Blaise!'
Above
Been
By the time
Cable
Coffee
Courtship
Daddy
Day
Father
Fellow
Fiction
Get
Had
Having
I'm very moved by chaos theory, and that sense of energy. That quantum physics. We don't really, in Hindu tradition, have a father figure of a God. It's about cosmic energy, a little spark of which is inside every individual as the soul.
About
Chaos
Cosmic
Energy
Every
Father
Father figure
Figure
God
Hindu
Individual
Inside
Little
Moved
I had never walked on the street alone when I was growing up in Calcutta, up to age 20. I had never handled money. You know, there was always a couple of bodyguards behind me, who took care if I wanted... I needed pencils for school, I needed a notebook, they were the ones who were taking out the money. I was constantly guarded.
Age
Alone
Always
Behind
Bodyguards
Care
Constantly
Couple
Growing
Growing up
Guarded
Had
Handled
Know
In Hindu societies, especially overprotected patriarchal families like mine, daughters are not at all desirable. They are trouble. And a mother who, as mine did, has three daughters, no sons, is supposed to go and hang herself, kill herself, because it is such an unlucky kind of motherhood to have.
Because
Daughters
Desirable
Did
Families
Go
Hang
Herself
Hindu
Kind
Like
Mine
Mother
Motherhood
I have tried very hard as a novelist to say, 'Novels are about individuals and especially larger than life individuals.'
About
Hard
Individuals
Larger
Life
Novelist
Novels
Say
Than
Tried
Very
In India, there are real consequences to inattention; drivers who jeopardize pedestrians can be lynched on the spot.
Consequences
Drivers
India
Jeopardize
Pedestrian
Real
Spot
Who
My mother's rules had to do with feminine deportment, so I never played hard enough to break a toy or muddy my dress. My father's rules had to do with never shaming the family by even a hint of scandal, and not providing business rivals with an opportunity to kidnap me or throw acid in my face.
Acid
Break
Business
Dress
Enough
Even
Face
Family
Father
Feminine
Had
Hard
Hint
Me
Growing up in an old-fashioned Bengali Hindu family and going to a convent school run by stern Irish nuns, I was brought up to revere rules. Without rules, there was only anarchy.
Anarchy
Bengali
Brought
Convent
Family
Going
Growing
Growing up
Hindu
Irish
Nuns
Old-fashioned
Only
Revere
As a bookish child in Calcutta, I used to thrill to the adventures of bad girls whose pursuit of happiness swept them outside the bounds of social decency. Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Emma Bovary and Anna Karenina lived large in my imagination. The naughty girls of Hollywood films flirted and knew how to drive.
Adventures
Anna
Bad
Bad girls
Bounds
Child
Decency
Drive
Films
Girl
Happiness
Hollywood
How
Imagination
I have to put down roots where I decide to stay. It wasn't enough for me to be an expatriate Indian in Canada. If I can't feel that I can make social, political and emotional commitments to a place, I have to find another place.
Another
Canada
Commitments
Decide
Down
Emotional
Enough
Feel
Find
I can
Indian
Make
Me
Place
In traditional Hindu families like ours, men provided and women were provided for. My father was a patriarch and I a pliant daughter. The neighborhood I'd grown up in was homogeneously Hindu, Bengali-speaking, and middle-class. I didn't expect myself to ever disobey or disappoint my father by setting my own goals and taking charge of my future.
Charge
Daughter
Disappoint
Disobey
Ever
Expect
Families
Father
Future
Goals
Grown
Grown-up
Hindu
Like
I am a naturalized U.S. citizen, which means that, unlike native-born citizens, I had to prove to the U.S. government that I merited citizenship.
Am
Citizen
Citizens
Citizenship
Government
Had
I am
Means
Prove
Unlike
Which
The United States exists as a sovereign nation. 'America,' in contrast, exists as a myth of democracy and equal opportunity to live by, or as an ideal goal to reach.
America
Contrast
Democracy
Equal
Equal opportunity
Exists
Goal
Ideal
Live
Myth
Nation
Opportunity
Reach
Sovereign
I am an American, not an Asian-American. My rejection of hyphenation has been called race treachery, but it is really a demand that America deliver the promises of its dream to all its citizens equally.
Am
America
American
Asian-american
Been
Citizens
Deliver
Demand
Dream
Equally
Has-been
I am
Promises
Race
My first novel, 'The Tiger's Daughter,' embodies the loneliness I felt but could not acknowledge, even to myself, as I negotiated the no man's land between the country of my past and the continent of my present.
Acknowledge
Between
Continent
Could
Country
Daughter
Embodies
Even
Felt
First
Land
Loneliness
Man
Myself
I flew into a small airport surrounded by cornfields and pastures, ready to carry out the two commands my father had written out for me the night before I left Calcutta: Spend two years studying creative writing at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, then come back home and marry the bridegroom he selected for me from our caste and class.
Airport
Back
Before
Carry
Caste
Class
Come
Commands
Creative
Creative writing
Father
Flew
Had
He
In 50 years, the world has changed, especially for kids, but kids' needs haven't changed. They still need to feel safe, be close to their families, like their teachers, and have friends to play with.
Changed
Close
Families
Feel
Friends
Kids
Like
Need
Needs
Play
Safe
Still
Teachers
World
I haven't been very enthusiastic about the commercialization of children's literature. Kids should borrow books from the library and not necessarily be buying them.
About
Been
Books
Borrow
Buying
Children
Enthusiastic
Kids
Library
Literature
Necessarily
Should
Them
Very
Ramona was originally an accidental character I added to the Henry Huggins books because I noticed that none of the characters had siblings. I added Ramona as Beazus' pestering little sister.
Accidental
Added
Because
Books
Character
Characters
Had
Henry
Little
None
Noticed
Originally
Sibling
Sister
Over the years, I have been approached about making Ramona into a cartoon or movie, but I was afraid that no one could really capture the spunky character of Ramona.
About
Afraid
Been
Capture
Cartoon
Character
Could
Making
Movie
No-one
Over
Really
Years
I particularly enjoy cello music because our daughter plays the cello. I have listened to her practice for so many hours that I am familiar with the music written for that instrument. I am also fond of the popular music of the 1930s because my future husband and I danced to it so many Saturday nights when we were in college.
Also
Am
Because
Cello
College
Danced
Daughter
Enjoy
Familiar
Fond
Future
Her
Hours
Husband
Novels by British writers are among my favorites because our family has enjoyed travel in England and because they are written with an economy of words as if they were written with a pen instead of a computer. Penelope Fitzgerald is a favorite.
Among
Because
British
Computer
Economy
England
Enjoyed
Family
Favorite
Fitzgerald
Instead
Novels
Our
Pen
I like to read, walk, cook, and travel to cities. We live in the country, so we miss museums and the bustle of city life.
Cities
City
Cook
Country
Life
Like
Live
Miss
Museums
Read
Travel
Walk
I think adults sometimes don't think about how children are feeling about the adult problems.
About
Adult
Children
Feeling
How
I think
Problems
Sometimes
Think
I wrote books to entertain. I'm not trying to teach anything! If I suspected the author was trying to show me how to be a better behaved girl, I shut the book.
Anything
Author
Behaved
Better
Book
Books
Entertain
Girl
How
Me
Show
Shut
Suspected
Teach
I longed for funny stories about the sort of children who lived in my neighborhood.
About
Children
Funny
Lived
Neighborhood
Sort
Stories
Who
'Dear Mr. Henshaw' came about because two different boys from different parts of the country asked me to write a book about a boy whose parents were divorced, and so I wrote 'Dear Mr. Henshaw,' and it won the Newbery, and I was - it's been very popular.
About
Asked
Because
Been
Book
Boy
Came
Country
Dear
Different
Different parts
Divorced
Me
Mr
I'm just lucky. I do have very clear memories of childhood. I find that many people don't, but I'm just very fortunate that I have that kind of memory.
Childhood
Clear
Find
Fortunate
Just
Kind
Lucky
Many
Memories
Memory
People
Very
I don't think children themselves have changed that much. It's the world that has changed.
Changed
Children
Much
Themselves
Think
World
I know that when I was a children's librarian, that was about 1940, boys particularly asked where were the books about kids like us, and there weren't any at that time.
About
Any
Asked
Books
Boy
Children
Kids
Know
Librarian
Like
Particularly
Time
Us
Were
My mother always kept library books in the house, and one rainy Sunday afternoon - this was before television, and we didn't even have a radio - I picked up a book to look at the pictures and discovered I was reading and enjoying what I read.
Afternoon
Always
Before
Book
Books
Discovered
Enjoying
Even
House
Kept
Library
Look
Mother
Picked
I hope children will be happy with the books I've written, and go on to be readers all of their lives.
Be happy
Books
Children
Go
Happy
Hope
Lives
Readers
Will
Written
I think the best teachers had a real interest in the subject they were teaching and a love for children. Some of the teachers were just doing their job, but others had that little extra. They really cared about children and they wore pretty dresses.
About
Best
Cared
Children
Doing
Dresses
Extra
Had
I think
Interest
Job
Just
Little
Love
In my grammar school years back in the 1920s I used my ten-cents-a-week allowance for Saturday matinees of Douglas Fairbanks movies. All that swashbuckling and leaping about in the midst of the sails of ships!
About
Allowance
Back
Douglas
Grammar
Grammar school
Midst
Movies
Sails
Saturday
School
School years
Ships
Used
My favorite books are a constantly changing list, but one favorite has remained constant: the dictionary. Is the word I want to use spelled practice or practise? The dictionary knows. The dictionary also slows down my writing because it is such interesting reading that I am distracted.
Also
Am
Because
Books
Changing
Constant
Constantly
Dictionary
Distracted
Down
Favorite
I am
Interesting
Knows
When I was in the first grade I was afraid of the teacher and had a miserable time in the reading circle, a difficulty that was overcome by the loving patience of my second grade teacher. Even though I could read, I refused to do so.
Afraid
Circle
Could
Difficulty
Even
First
First grade
Grade
Had
Loving
Miserable
Overcome
Patience
Read
I write in longhand on yellow legal pads.
I write
Legal
Longhand
Pads
Write
Yellow
I didn't start out writing to give children hope, but I'm glad some of them found it.
Children
Found
Give
Glad
Hope
Out
Some
Start
Them
Writing
I had a bad time in school in the first grade. Because I had been a rather lonely child on a farm, but I was free and wild and to be shut up in a classroom - there were 40 children on those days in the classroom, and it was quite a shock.
Bad
Bad time
Because
Been
Child
Children
Classroom
Days
Farm
First
First grade
Free
Grade
Had
I have lovely memories of Los Angeles in the 1930s. I came down to live with my mother's cousin and they invited me to come and go to junior college for a year.
Angeles
Came
College
Come
Come and go
Cousin
Down
Go
I came
Invited
Junior
Junior college
Live
Los
I don't ever go on the Internet. I don't even know how it works.
Even
Ever
Go
How
Internet
Know
Works
I think the best teachers had a real interest in the subject they were teaching and a love for children.
Best
Children
Had
I think
Interest
Love
Real
Subject
Teachers
Teaching
Think
Were
I just wrote about childhood as I had known it.
About
Childhood
Had
Just
Known
Wrote
I rarely read children's books.
Books
Children
Rarely
Read
I wanted to be a ballerina. I changed my mind.
Ballerina
Changed
Mind
Wanted
I don't necessarily start with the beginning of the book. I just start with the part of the story that's most vivid in my imagination and work forward and backward from there.
Backward
Beginning
Book
Forward
Imagination
Just
Most
Necessarily
Part
Start
Story
Vivid
Work
I grew up before there were strict leash laws.
Before
Grew
Laws
Leash
Strict
Up
Were
I don't think children's inner feelings have changed. They still want a mother and father in the very same house; they want places to play.
Changed
Children
Father
Feelings
House
Inner
Inner feelings
Mother
Mother and father
Places
Play
Same
Still
Think
I was a very observant child. The boys in my books are based on boys in my neighborhood growing up.
Based
Books
Boy
Child
Growing
Growing up
Neighborhood
Observant
Up
Very
I was a librarian.
Librarian
I enjoy writing for third and fourth graders most of all.
Enjoy
Fourth
Most
Third
Writing
People are usually surprised to hear this, but I don't really read children's books.
Books
Children
Hear
People
Read
Really
Surprised
I read my books aloud before they were published.
Aloud
Before
Books
Published
Read
Were
With twins, reading aloud to them was the only chance I could get to sit down. I read them picture books until they were reading on their own.
Aloud
Books
Chance
Could
Down
Get
Only
Own
Picture
Picture books
Read
Reading
Sit
Them
I had a very wise mother. She always kept books that were my grade level in our house.
Always
Books
Grade
Had
House
Kept
Level
Mother
Our
She
Very
Were
Wise
One rainy Sunday when I was in the third grade, I picked up a book to look at the pictures and discovered that even though I did not want to, I was reading. I have been a reader ever since.
Been
Book
Did
Discovered
Even
Ever
Grade
Look
Picked
Pictures
Rainy
Reader
Reading
Since
Children should learn that reading is pleasure, not just something that teachers make you do in school.
Children
Just
Just something
Learn
Make
Pleasure
Reading
School
Should
Something
Teachers
You
Children want to do what grownups do.
Children
Grownups
Want
We didn't have television in those days, and many people didn't even have radios. My mother would read aloud to my father and me in the evening.
Aloud
Days
Even
Evening
Father
Many
Me
Mother
People
Read
Television
Those
Would
I feel sometimes that in children's books there are more and more grim problems, but I don't know that I want to burden third- and fourth-graders with them.
Books
Burden
Children
Feel
Grim
I feel
Know
More
More and more
Problems
Sometimes
Them
Third
Want
Quite often somebody will say, What year do your books take place? and the only answer I can give is, In childhood.
Answer
Books
Childhood
Give
I can
Often
Only
Place
Quite
Say
Somebody
Take
Will
Year
What interests me is what children go through while growing up.
Children
Go
Growing
Growing up
Interests
Me
Through
Up
While
Otis was inspired by a boy who sat across the aisle from me in sixth grade. He was a lively person. My best friend appears in assorted books in various disguises.
Across
Aisle
Appears
Best
Best friend
Books
Boy
Friend
Grade
He
Inspired
Lively
Me
Person
I was an only child; I didn't have a sister, or sisters.
Child
Only
Only child
Sister
Sisters
People are inclined to say that I am Ramona. I'm not sure that's true, but I did share some experiences with her.
Am
Did
Experiences
Her
I am
Inclined
People
Say
Share
Some
Sure
True
I was a great reader of fairy tales. I tried to read the entire fairy tale section of the library.
Entire
Fairy
Fairy tales
Great
I tried
Library
Read
Reader
Section
Tale
Tales
Tried
Writers are good at plucking out what they need here and there.
Good
Here
Need
Out
Writers
Education is my next big thing. When music and art were taken out of the schools, I went berserk!
Art
Big
Big thing
Education
Music
Next
Out
Schools
Taken
Thing
Were
Through books and photographs, I saw a world that was not my own - and I realized that there was another world. That's why I'm concerned about education, because it helps our children see other worlds.
About
Another
Because
Books
Children
Concerned
Education
Helps
My own
Other
Our
Own
Photographs
Realized
A lot of people have no access to beauty. When I was growing up, my mother had only a few pretty things to look at.
Access
Beauty
Few
Growing
Growing up
Had
Look
Lot
Mother
Only
People
Pretty
Pretty things
Things
When I moved to New York City in 1965, I wanted to be in theater. I was following my Ethel Barrymore dream. But I was too young to be Ethel.
City
Dream
Following
Moved
New
New york
New york city
Theater
Too
Wanted
York
Young
I had a hard-scrabble childhood with my parents. I have a lot of baggage. To come down to the footlights and accept the audience's affection inside a Broadway theater - that didn't come easily to me.
Accept
Affection
Audience
Baggage
Broadway
Childhood
Come
Down
Easily
Had
Inside
Lot
Me
Parents
I learned to accept the audience's happiness for me, which is one of the hardest things for me to learn.
Accept
Audience
Happiness
Hardest
Learn
Learned
Me
Things
Which
I'd never done a straight play before, never, and it was very hard work - really, really hard work. It was dense, really wordy, and I was determined to learn every word of it - not just skip over bits and pieces.
Before
Bits
Bits and pieces
Dense
Determined
Done
Every
Hard
Hard work
Just
Learn
Never
Over
Pieces
I already have a Tony for my Broadway concert in '73. It's one of the most precious things I've won.
Broadway
Concert
Most
Precious
Precious things
Things
Tony
Won
I mean, can I really create a full, three-dimensional character? I don't know anymore. I'm certainly going to try.
Anymore
Certainly
Character
Create
Full
Going
Know
Mean
Really
Try
I got so far away from what they told you in acting class: Do something different. Producers kept offering me the 'Sister Act' movie, but I said, 'My fans don't want to see me in a wimple.' I literally said, 'My fans don't want to see me in a wimple.'
Act
Acting
Acting class
Away
Class
Different
Fans
Far
Far away
Got
Kept
Literally
Me
Movie
As an actor, you're supposed to take jobs that will challenge you or force fans to see you in a different light. By the '90s, I wasn't really an actor anymore. I was someone who went on the road with these gigantic concerts.
Actor
Anymore
Challenge
Concerts
Different
Fans
Force
Gigantic
Jobs
Light
Really
Road
See
Someone
My husband calls it winging it - the way I just took what the studios gave me, didn't do my homework and avoided roles that would risk my image.
Avoided
Calls
Gave
Homework
Husband
Image
Just
Me
Risk
Roles
Studios
Took
Way
Would
I hope to keep entertaining in some way until I can't physically entertain any longer. It's what I was born to do, and I love this profession.
Any
Born
Entertain
Entertaining
Hope
I love
I was born
Keep
Longer
Love
Physically
Profession
Some
Until
I sometimes think I should go back to school to learn French and music, but who would have me?
Back
Back to school
French
Go
Learn
Me
Music
School
Should
Sometimes
Think
Who
Would
I celebrate everyone's religious holidays. if it's good enough for the righteous, it's good enough for the self-righteous, I always say.
Always
Celebrate
Enough
Everyone
Good
Holidays
Religious
Righteous
Say
Self-righteous
Group conformity scares the pants off me because it's so often a prelude to cruelty towards anyone who doesn't want to - or can't - join the Big Parade.
Anyone
Because
Big
Conformity
Cruelty
Group
Join
Me
Off
Often
Pants
Parade
Prelude
Scares
If I could be granted a wish, I'd shine in your eye like a jewel.
Could
Eye
Granted
If i could
Jewel
Like
Shine
Wish
Your
I wouldn't say I invented tacky, but I definitely brought it to its present high popularity.
Brought
Definitely
High
Invented
Popularity
Present
Say
Tacky
I bear no grudges. I have a mind that retains nothing.
Bear
Grudges
Mind
Nothing
I made a pact with myself a long time ago: Never watch anything stupider than you. It's helped me a lot.
Anything
Helped
Long
Long time
Long time ago
Lot
Made
Me
Myself
Never
Pact
Stupider
Than
Time
I never know how much of what I say is true.
How
How much
Know
Much
Never
Say
True
The worst part of success is to try finding someone who is happy for you.
Finding
Happy
Part
Someone
Success
Success is
Try
Who
Worst
You
Rap is poetry set to music. But to me it's like a jackhammer.
Like
Me
Music
Poetry
Rap
Set
If sex is such a natural phenomenon, how come there are so many books on how to do it?
Books
Come
How
Many
Natural
Phenomenon
Sex
Writing a book is not as tough as it is to haul thirty-five people around the country and sweat like a horse five nights a week.
Around
Book
Country
Five
Haul
Horse
Like
Nights
People
Sweat
Thirty-five
Tough
Week
Writing
My idea of superwoman is someone who scrubs her own floors.
Floors
Her
Idea
Own
Scrub
Someone
Who
I'm working my way toward divinity.
Divinity
Toward
Way
Working
I'd make a wonderful Lady Macbeth. I'll wear a pair of platform shoes or something.
Lady
Macbeth
Make
Pair
Platform
Shoes
Something
Wear
Wonderful
I try not to drink too much because when I'm drunk, I bite.
Because
Bite
Drink
Drunk
Much
Too
Too much
Try
I married a German. Every night I dress up as Poland and he invades me.
Dress
Dress-up
Every
Every night
German
He
Married
Me
Night
Poland
Up
I feel like a million tonight - but one at a time.
Feel
I feel
I feel like
Like
Million
Time
Tonight
I always try to balance the light with the heavy - a few tears of human spirit in with the sequins and the fringes.
Always
Balance
Few
Heavy
Human
Human spirit
Light
Spirit
Tears
Try
Cherish forever what makes you unique, 'cuz you're really a yawn if it goes.
Cherish
Cuz
Forever
Goes
Makes
Really
Unique
Yawn
You
After thirty, a body has a mind of its own.
After
Body
Mind
Own
Thirty
When it's three o'clock in New York, it's still 1938 in London.
London
New
New york
Still
Three
York
I'm not a fan - this is a personal preference - I'm not a fan of tour-de-force writing. I admire it, but it's not where my inclination is. I want to hide.
Admire
Fan
Hide
Inclination
Personal
Preference
Want
Where
Writing
I try to write fun - though difficult and challenging - things for actors to do, because I know if they're having fun, they're going to give it everything they got.
Actor
Because
Challenging
Difficult
Everything
Fun
Give
Going
Got
Having
Having fun
Know
Things
Though
I think my experience as an actor helps me to write anything. It certainly helped me to write 'August Osage County.' It helps me to write any play that I'm working on because I think one of the things I do well is write good roles for actors.
Actor
Actor
Any
Anything
August
Because
Certainly
County
Experience
Good
Helped
Helps
I think
Me
One of the things you hope you've done as a playwright is create roles that can sustain different interpretations.
Create
Different
Done
Hope
Interpretations
One of the things
Playwright
Roles
Sustain
Things
You
Some people do stage and film. Some people are film actors, and some people are stage actors. I'm quite sure that any of the actors who did the original production of 'August' could have done the film of 'August.' I don't think any of them were particularly surprised when they didn't wind up doing the film.
Actor
Any
August
Could
Did
Doing
Done
Film
Film actors
Original
Particularly
People
Production
Quite
'Killer Joe' was originally written in 1991 and first produced in '93 at the Next Theater's Lab - a 40 seat black box theater in Evanston, Illinois - back when I was getting started. I was just 25 and I had been acting for awhile, but it was my first play and the one that really got me noticed, especially by Steppenwolf.
Acting
Awhile
Back
Been
Black
Box
First
Getting
Getting started
Got
Had
Illinois
Joe
Just
I don't have a great face for camera.
Camera
Face
Great
I'm just a Chicago actor who's a playwright. Even with the success of 'August,' the people in town who come to our theater know me by sight, because they've seen me onstage so much.
Actor
August
Because
Chicago
Come
Even
Just
Know
Me
Much
Onstage
Our
People
Playwright
When I write a play, and we read it for the first time, the great fear is that everybody is going to say, 'You're a bum and you can't write. This stinks.' and throw the script in the garbage. The great hope is that they're all going to lift me up on their shoulders and carry me to the streets, singing, 'He's a genius, he's a genius!'
Bum
Carry
Everybody
Fear
First
First time
Garbage
Genius
Going
Great
Great hope
He
Hope
I write
I don't write plays for them to be turned into movies.
Movies
Plays
Them
Turned
Write
The way we tell our stories on stage is that we use spoken word to convey action, and in movies, we use visual images to convey action.
Action
Convey
Images
Movies
Our
Spoken
Spoken word
Stage
Stories
Tell
Use
Visual
Way
Word
The nature of the beast is that film is a director's medium. It's not a Tracy Letts play, it's a John Wells film. 'August: Osage County,' as a play, is done. Written. On the shelf. It'll be performed in its entirety for years.
August
Beast
County
Director
Done
Entirety
Film
John
Medium
Nature
Performed
Play
Shelf
Tracy
I like it when actors get an opportunity to chew into something. They love scenes with beginnings, middles, and ends - scenes that give an arc to their characters and allow audiences to get to know these people.
Actor
Allow
Arc
Audiences
Beginnings
Characters
Chew
Ends
Get
Give
Know
Like
Love
Opportunity
I don't believe moviegoers don't have patience. Screenwriters are told a scene can't be longer than three minutes, that you have to cut to the chase. Not true!
Believe
Chase
Cut
Longer
Minutes
Patience
Scene
Than
Three
True
You
When books and plays are made into movies, they frequently want to cut out the valleys and just show the peaks.
Books
Cut
Frequently
Just
Made
Movies
Out
Peaks
Plays
Show
Valleys
Want
'Killer Joe' provides a lot of red meat for the theater. Pam MacKinnon is the perfect director to shepherd a group of actors who share a certain bloodlust.
Actor
Certain
Director
Group
Joe
Killer
Lot
Meat
Pam
Perfect
Provides
Red
Red meat
Share
After the success of 'August,' there were people saying I should change my life. And maybe I should have bought a yacht and traveled the world instead of returning to Steppenwolf to act in and write plays. But I'm from the Midwest, and that's what we do: We go back to work.
Act
After
August
Back
Bought
Change
Go
Instead
Life
Maybe
Midwest
My life
People
Plays
It's not a natural translation, transition, to take something from stage to screen. Onstage your action is communicated through the spoken word primarily, and on screen it's communicated through pictures. So it's always been kind of unnatural to take something that lives on the stage and turn it into moving pictures.
Action
Always
Been
Kind
Lives
Moving
Natural
On-screen
Onstage
Pictures
Primarily
Screen
Something
Spoken
You don't work as hard to watch a movie. You work harder to watch a play, so what the audience puts into it is interesting.
Audience
Hard
Harder
Interesting
Movie
Play
Puts
Watch
Work
You
I grew up in a small town, in a small community, and I would not have had access to great plays when I was a kid were it not for the films of 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' and 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.'
Access
Afraid
Cat
Community
Films
Great
Grew
Had
Hot
Kid
Plays
Roof
Small
Small town
In theater, the playwright is the boss, period. The decisions will go through him or her. In movies, the writer is pretty far down on the list.
Boss
Decisions
Down
Far
Go
Her
Him
List
Movies
Period
Playwright
Pretty
Theater
Through
You can't just go in there and open your mouth until the cast and director feel comfortable with you.
Cast
Comfortable
Director
Feel
Go
Just
Mouth
Open
Until
You
Your
What I loved about the acting class was that you got to think all day long about a person that wasn't you, and figure out why they were sad and what they wanted, what they dreamed.
About
Acting
Acting class
All day
Class
Day
Dreamed
Figure
Got
Long
Loved
Out
Person
Sad
Then, when I was a senior in high school, I was kind of bereft and she put me in an acting class.
Acting
Acting class
Class
High
High school
Kind
Me
Put
School
Senior
She
Then
Then I went off to Southern Methodist University in Dallas. They had a really wonderful theatre department.
Dallas
Department
Had
Methodist
Off
Really
Southern
Theatre
Then
University
Wonderful
The next thing I wrote was in a writing class at night school. It was about a poor woman who worked at a dime store and who was all alone for Christmas in Laurel, Mississippi.
About
Alone
Christmas
Class
Dime
Laurel
Mississippi
Next
Next thing
Night
Poor
School
Store
Thing
The most glorious thing about working in the collaborative art is when you have somebody like Susan Kingsley or Kathy Bates who are better than your play.
About
Art
Better
Collaborative
Glorious
Like
Most
Play
Somebody
Susan
Than
Thing
Who
Working
The impetus behind going to graduate school was a year after graduating from college spent in Dallas working at the dog food factory and Bank America and not having met success in my chosen field, which at that point was being an actress.
Actress
After
America
Bank
Behind
Being
Chosen
College
Dallas
Dog
Dog food
Factory
Field
Food
That was always my inclination, to start on a new play before the other one gets done, because at least you'll have something to go back to if that play gets trashed.
Always
Back
Because
Before
Done
Gets
Go
Inclination
Least
New
Other
Play
Something
Start
Somehow I got to be one of five or six actors that the directors would use as guinea pigs at this directing colloquium, where people pay to listen to and watch the directors direct.
Actor
Direct
Directing
Directors
Five
Got
Guinea
Guinea pigs
Listen
Pay
People
Pigs
Six
Somehow
Some really good things kind of swing both ways and I like to see people that can swing really, really, really sad and horrible and terrible and really, really, really beautiful and funny.
Beautiful
Both
Both ways
Funny
Good
Good things
Horrible
Kind
Like
People
Really
Sad
See
Some
Plays are so much more special if they've never ever had a production, but I think you can really work on a play and make it better with each production.
Better
Each
Ever
Had
I think
Make
More
Much
Never
Play
Plays
Production
Really
Special
Part of that is that New York has proved to be too much fun for me to live and work; I love New York so much.
Fun
I love
Live
Love
Me
Much
New
New york
Part
Proved
Too
Too much
Work
York
My first few plays took place in the South and even The Lucky Spot was in the thirties but in Louisiana.
Even
Few
First
Louisiana
Lucky
Place
Plays
South
Spot
Thirties
Took
My fault now is making my plays too short.
Fault
Making
Now
Plays
Short
Too
It's really interesting that whenever you do something that is so out of character, like having an emotional outburst, that you don't get in trouble.
Character
Emotional
Get
Having
Interesting
Like
Out
Outburst
Really
Something
Trouble
Whenever
You
It's called Sisters of the Winter Madrigal. It was interesting for me to see it done after so many years; because I wrote it and I didn't realize what a rage I was in.
After
Because
Done
Interesting
Many
Me
Rage
Realize
See
Sisters
So many years
Winter
Wrote
Years
It was kind of enlightening to become a playwright.
Become
Enlightening
Kind
Playwright
In movement class, you had to lie on the floor and get your alignment in to pass the class.
Alignment
Class
Floor
Get
Had
Lie
Movement
Pass
You
Your
I'm very into the first production of the show.
First
Production
Show
Very
I was just restless with being in school; so I went out to Los Angeles.
Angeles
Being
Just
Los
Los angeles
Out
Restless
School
I tried to start a theatre in LA and failed miserably, but I was probably not meant to raise money.
Failed
I tried
La
Meant
Money
Raise
Start
Theatre
Tried
I love writing for the screen.
I love
Love
Screen
Writing
I just loved being divorced from my own wretchedness.
Being
Divorced
Just
Loved
My own
Own
I grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, really in suburbia, so my mother was in community theatre plays.
Community
Grew
Jackson
Mississippi
Mother
Plays
Really
Theatre
Up
I did write a couple of original screenplays, but I'd rather write plays.
Couple
Did
Original
Plays
Rather
Screenplays
Write
But here's the thing: what you do as a screenwriter is you sell your copyright. As a novelist, as a poet, as a playwright, you maintain your copyright.
Copyright
Here
Maintain
Novelist
Playwright
Poet
Screenwriter
Sell
Thing
You
Your
Those who have never known the deep intimacy and the intense companionship of mutual love have missed the best thing that life has to give.
Best
Companionship
Deep
Give
Intense
Intimacy
Known
Life
Love
Missed
Mutual
Never
Thing
Those
The man who can centre his thoughts and hopes upon something transcending self can find a certain peace in the ordinary troubles of life, which is impossible to the pure egoist.
Centre
Certain
Find
His
Hopes
Impossible
Life
Man
Ordinary
Peace
Pure
Self
Something
Thoughts
The pleasure of work is open to anyone who can develop some specialised skill, provided that he can get satisfaction from the exercise of his skill without demanding universal applause.
Anyone
Applause
Demanding
Develop
Exercise
Get
He
His
Open
Pleasure
Provided
Satisfaction
Skill
Some
Many people when they fall in love look for a little haven of refuge from the world, where they can be sure of being admired when they are not admirable, and praised when they are not praiseworthy.
Admirable
Admired
Being
Fall
Haven
Little
Look
Love
Many
People
Praised
Refuge
Sure
Where
Every philosophical problem, when it is subjected to the necessary analysis and justification, is found either to be not really philosophical at all, or else to be, in the sense in which we are using the word, logical.
Analysis
Either
Else
Every
Found
Justification
Logical
Necessary
Philosophical
Philosophical problem
Problem
Really
Sense
Subjected
Dogmatism and skepticism are both, in a sense, absolute philosophies; one is certain of knowing, the other of not knowing. What philosophy should dissipate is certainty, whether of knowledge or ignorance.
Absolute
Both
Certain
Certainty
Dissipate
Ignorance
Knowing
Knowledge
Not knowing
Other
Philosophies
Philosophy
Sense
Should
A truer image of the world, I think, is obtained by picturing things as entering into the stream of time from an eternal world outside, than from a view which regards time as the devouring tyrant of all that is.
Entering
Eternal
I think
Image
Obtained
Outside
Regards
Stream
Than
Things
Think
Time
Truer
Tyrant
With the introduction of agriculture mankind entered upon a long period of meanness, misery, and madness, from which they are only now being freed by the beneficent operation of the machine.
Agriculture
Being
Entered
Freed
Introduction
Long
Long period
Machine
Madness
Mankind
Meanness
Misery
Now
Only