For you in the West to..
For you in the West to hear the phrase 'All men are created equal' is to draw a yawn. For us, it's a miracle. We're starting out at rock bottom, man. But South Africa does have soul.
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In South Africa, success never presented the problems that it presents in New York. In New York, if you happen to be the flavor of the month, a lot of nonsense comes with it into your life.
I think all of my writing life led up to the writing of 'The Train Driver' because it deals with my own inherited blindness and guilt and all of what being a white South African in South Africa during those apartheid years meant.
All of my life had been spent in the shadow of apartheid. And when South Africa went through its extraordinary change in 1994, it was like having spent a lifetime in a boxing ring with an opponent and suddenly finding yourself in that boxing ring with nobody else and realising you've to take the gloves off and get out, and reinvent yourself.
For most of my writing life, I've refused to allow myself to believe that writing was a significant form of action. I always felt very uneasy about the fact that all I did was write in a situation as desperate as apartheid South Africa. Whether I was correct or not is a different issue.
Without white South Africa realizing what it had done - and on the basis of that realization having the courage to ask for forgiveness - there can really be no significant movement.
What I quickly discovered is that our so-called new South Africa has as much material for a story-teller as the old one. The landscape hasn't really changed. Who is in power now is different to who was in power then, but the squatter camps grow like cancer, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.
The reason I'm in San Diego is not because I want distance from South Africa but because I want proximity to the people I love. But I don't envy growing up in America. As ugly as aspects of it were, my biggest blessing was to be born a South African.
Nelson Mandela sat in a South African prison for 27 years. He was nonviolent. He negotiated his way out of jail. His honor and suffering of 27 years in a South African prison is really ultimately what brought about the freedom of South Africa. That is nonviolence.
A news organization has a much different responsibility. I might not be telling you the whole story. I might not be telling you a story in a manner that is properly sophisticated.
Our responsibility is to captivate you for however long we've asked for your attention. That said, there is tremendous drama to be gotten from the great, what you would say, heavy issues.
A revolutionary poem will not tell you who or when to kill, what and when to burn, or even how to theorize. It reminds you... where and when and how you are living and might live, it is a wick of desire.
You compose because you want to somehow summarize in some permanent form your most basic feelings about being alive, to set down... some sort of permanent statement about the way it feels to live now, today.
The rules are all in a sixty-four-page pamphlet by Aristotle called 'Poetics.' It was written almost three thousand years ago, but I promise you, if something is wrong with what you're writing, you've probably broken one of Aristotle's rules.
I'm not an impressionist, per se, but if you do any kind of comedy - and they ask you to do that, most of the time - there's some degree of appreciation, I think, involving somebody you like.
I can't complain that I've had a public all through my writing life, but people don't quite know what I've written. People don't read you too closely. Perhaps, after I've died, they'll look at my stuff, and read it through, and find there's more in it. That may be wrong, but that's what I comfort myself with.
'Steve Jobs' is my seventh movie. I believe, if you added them up, I don't think there is more than a total of 10 minutes that takes place in a person's home. They're all in offices, courtrooms, laboratories, things like that.
I started out as an actor, where you seek to understand yourself using the words of great writers and collaborating with other creative people. Then I slid into show business, where you seek only an audience's approval whether you deserve it or not.
When a movie is being rolled out, the studio publicists and all our individual publicists get together and come up with bullet points and talking points - 'Make sure you stay away from this,' and 'Don't say that quite that way, because that quote can be taken out of context,' and that kind of thing.
I remember during my lifetime I would meet women, and it was almost like God would say to me, 'Now, this woman here is not the one you are going to end up with, but she is going to be a lot like this woman; look at this woman, study this woman.' And when my wife showed up, He was like, 'You recognize her now?'
People don't understand this: if you want to have a really good shot at succeeding, there are doors you have to slam in people's faces and say, 'This is my priority, and you can't depend on me to help you.' I was never good at that.
A song in a musical works best when a character has to sing - when words won't do the trick anymore. The same idea applies to a long speech in a play or a movie or on television. You want to force the character out of a conversational pattern.