When you hit a wall – of your own imagined limitations – just kick it in.

— Sam Shepard

The most authentic Sam Shepard quotes that will inspire your inner self

It's funny, in a way the actor is a writer.

It's not like the two things are so separate as to be like apples and oranges. The writer and the actor are one.


I believe in my mask-- The man I made up is me I believe in my dance-- And my destiny


I feel like I've never had a home, you know? I feel related to the country, to this country, and yet I don't know exactly where I fit in... There's always this kind of nostalgia for a place, a place where you can reckon with yourself.


For me, playwriting is and has always been like making a chair.

Your concerns are balance, form, timing, lights, space, music. If you don't have these essentials, you might as well be writing a theoretical essay, not a play.


In real life we don't know what's going to happen next.

So how can you be that way on a stage? 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 onstage, it can resonate with an experience of living.


It's one of the great tragedies of our contemporary life in America, that families fall apart. Almost everybody has that in common.


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.


Everyone wants a piece of land. It's the only sure investment. It can never depreciate like a car or a washing machine. Land will double its value in ten years. In less than that. Land is going up every day.


Democracy's a very fragile thing. You have to take care of democracy. As soon as you stop being responsible to it and allow it to turn into scare tactics, it's no longer democracy, is it? It's something else. It may be an inch away from totalitarianism.


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.


She refers to her past as the time before she was "blown away.


We're being sold a brand new idea of patriotism.

It never occurred to me that patriotism had to be advertised. Patriotism is something you deeply felt. You didn't have to wear it on your lapel or show it in your window or on a bumper sticker. That kind of patriotism does not appeal to me at all.


About Sam Shepard

Quotes 68 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Playwright
Birthday October 16

I don't get offered leading parts. I suppose I've become a kind of character actor or sideman. I think it had to do with probably in the '90s, I refused so many leading roles that they gave up on me, or I just became unpopular, or I became old. All those reasons.


Film acting is really the trick of doing moments.

You rarely do a take that lasts more than 20 seconds. You really earn your spurs acting onstage. I needed to do that for myself. I would hate to say at the end of everything that I never did a stage play.


You can't make a living as a playwright. You can barely scrape by.


The words I overuse are all adverbs.


Sides are being divided now. It's very obvious. So if you're on the other side of the fence, you're suddenly anti-American. It's breeding fear of being on the wrong side.


My dad had a lot of bad luck. You could see his suffering, his terrible suffering, living a life that was disappointing and looking for another one.


People talk about the 1960s in a nostalgic way, but to me it was terrifying.

People were getting assassinated. There was Vietnam. There were race riots. It felt like everything was going to get blown up sky-high. It didn’t feel like flower power. It felt like Armageddon.


When you see the way things deteriorate before your very eyes.

Everything running down hill. It's kind of silly to even think about youth.


I got to New York when I was eighteen.

I was knocking around, trying to be an actor, writer, musician, whatever happened.


I'll develop my own image. I'm an original man. A one and only. I just need some help.


I think without writing I would feel completely useless.


I don't want to be a playwright, I want to be a rock and roll star.


After the falling out with my father, I worked on a couple of ranches - thoroughbred layup farms, actually - out toward Chino, California. That was fine for a little while, but I wanted to get out completely, and twenty miles away wasnt far enough.


Farm country -- you know, hay, horses, cattle.

It's the ideal situation for me. I like the physical endeavors that go with the farm -- cutting hay, cleaning out stalls, or building a barn. You go do that and then come back to the writing.


All that stuff about my father and my childhood is interesting up to a certain point, but I kind of capsized with the family drama a long time ago. Now I want to get away from that. Not that I won't return to it, but a certain element has been exhausted, and it feels like why regurgitate all this stuff?


I wanted to write a play about double nature .

.. one that wouldn't be symbolic or metaphorical or any of that stuff. I just wanted to give a taste of what it feels like to be two-sided. It's a real thing, double nature. I think we're split in a much more devastating way than psychology can ever reveal. It's not so cute. Not some little thing we can get over. It's something we've got to live with


There are places where writing is acting and acting is writing.

I'm not so interested in the divisions. I'm interested in the way things cross over.


I didn't go out of my way to get into this movie stuff. I think of myself as a writer.


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.


My first job was with the Burns Detective Agency.

They sent me over to the East River to guard coal barges during these god-awful hours like three to six in the morning. It wasn't a very difficult job -- all I had to do was make a round every fifteen minutes -- but it turned out to be a great environment for writing. I was completely alone in a little outhouse with an electric heater and a little desk.


Ideas emerge from plays, not the other way around.


In many of my plays, there was a kind of autobiographical character in the form of a son or young man. The purpose of it, of course, was to write about myself. That character was always the least fully realized. Eighteen years later, you realize, That's what he was about.


The California I knew, old rancho California, is gone.

It just doesn't exist, except maybe in little pockets. I lived on the edge of the Mojave Desert, an area that used to be farm country. There were all these fresh-produce stands with avocados and date palms. You could get a dozen artichokes for a buck or something. Totally wiped out now.


It's hard to explain why exactly, but I think that when I began writing plays, it was from an actor's point of view more than anything. I had the feeling that if you put yourself in the position of the actor on stage and write from that perspective, it would give you a certain advantage in terms of being inside of the play.


You can’t keep messing me around like this.

It’s been going on too long. I can’t take it anymore. I get sick every time you come around. Then I get sick when you leave. You’re like a disease to me.


I'm a writer. The more I act, the more resistance I have to it. If you accept work in a movie, you accept to be entrapped for a certain part of time, but you know you're getting out. I'm also earning enough to keep my horses, buying some time to write.


When you consider all the writers who never even had a machine.

Who would have given an eyeball for a good typewriter. Any typewriter. All the ones who wrote on a matchbook covers. Paper bags. Toilet paper. Who had their writing destroyed by their jailers. Who persisted beyond all odds.


I was shot in the wrist when I was a kid. Deliberately.


Being a writer is so great because you're literally not dependent on anybody.

Whereas, as an actor, you have to audition or wait for somebody else to make a decision about how to use you, with writing, you can do it anywhere, anytime you want. You don't have to ask permission.


[Rewriting is] a whole other art form; it's about craftsmanship.


The fantastic thing about the theatre is that it can make something be seen that's invisible, and that's where my interest in theatre is- that you can be watching this thing happening with actors and costumes and light and set and language, and even plot, and something emerges from beyond that, and that's the image part that I'm looking for, that sort of added dimension.


I like cars. I like travel. I like the idea of people breaking down and I'm the only one who can help them get on the road again. It would be like being a magician. Just open up the hood and cast your magic spell.


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 youre literally not dependent on anybody.


There's gonna be a general lack of toast in the neighborhood this morning.


Ive been so spoiled in the theater, writing plays where I can just do exactly what I want and nobody messes with me.


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.


This isn't champagne anymore. We went through the champagne a long time ago. This is serious stuff. The days of champagne are long gone.

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