Top 52 Quotes of Sam Shepard

You sometimes use the excuse, ‘I’m a writer, dammit, I can do anything I want,’ but that doesn’t work.

Sam Shepard

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

Sam Shepard

When you write a play, you work out like a musician on a piece of music. You find all the rhythms and the melody and the harmonies and take them as they come.

Sam Shepard

When I just sit around my house and work, I can work two, three hours, and then I go off and ride a horse or do something that I perceive to be a lot more fun.

Sam Shepard

To sit on a ranch horse that’s been broken in, it’s like getting in a Porsche.

Sam Shepard

To sing a song is quite different than to write a poem. I’m not and never will be a novelist, but to write a novel is not the same thing as writing a play. There is a difference in form, but essentially what you’re after is the same thing.

Sam Shepard

To me, a strong sense of self isn’t believing in a lot.

Sam Shepard

They say TV has a tendency to diminish actors, and I think that’s probably true in the long run – it wears on ’em like bad dental work – but Cheech doesn’t show any of the signs of being damaged that way. And as a man, he’s fantastic.

Sam Shepard

There’s no way to escape the fact that we’ve grown up in a violent culture, we just can’t get away from it, it’s part of our heritage. I think part of it is that we’ve always felt somewhat helpless in the face of this vast continent. Helplessness is answered in many ways, but one of them is violence.

Sam Shepard

There is this aura that the three-act play is the important one: it’s the one that you do to win the Pulitzer. Some part of you falls for that, and then after a while, you don’t fall for that.

Sam Shepard

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.

Sam Shepard

The funny thing about having all this so-called success is that behind it is a certain horrible emptiness.

Sam Shepard

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.

Sam Shepard

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.

Sam Shepard

People are starved for the truth, and when something comes along that even looks like the truth, people will latch onto it because everything’s so false.

Sam Shepard

On stage, you’re not limited at all because you’re free in language: language is the source of the imagination. You can travel farther in language than you can in any film.

Sam Shepard

Myth is a powerful medium because it talks to the emotions and not the head. It moves us into an area of mystery.

Sam Shepard

My old man tried to force on me a notion of what it was to be a ‘man.’ And it destroyed my dad.

Sam Shepard

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.

Sam Shepard

More than anything, falling in love causes a certain female thing in a man to manifest, oddly enough.

Sam Shepard

More than any other art form I know of in America, country music speaks of the true relationship between the American male and the American female… Terrible and impossible.

Sam Shepard

I’ve come to feel that if I can’t make something happen in under an hour and a half, it’s not going to happen in a compelling way in a three-hour play.

Sam Shepard

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.

Sam Shepard

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

Sam Shepard

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.

Sam Shepard

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.

Sam Shepard

I’m not in demand. I’m all washed up.

Sam Shepard

I’m not a big fan of anniversaries.

Sam Shepard

I’m extremely grateful that I found writing, but it doesn’t make it any more peaceful.

Sam Shepard

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.

Sam Shepard

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.

Sam Shepard

If you start trying to figure out yourself from the image everyone has of you, you run into a dead end.

Sam Shepard

I think without writing I would feel completely useless.

Sam Shepard

I stay away from heavy-handed stuff, the good guy and the bad guy. It just doesn’t interest me; all it does is create more fences between people, I think.

Sam Shepard

I know, as an actor, you have to negotiate, but I can’t handle the whole idea that art and commerce are synonymous. It drives me nuts.

Sam Shepard

I had two experiences with very close friends of mine who experienced aphasia, the loss of language. It shocked me.

Sam Shepard

I got to New York when I was eighteen. I was knocking around, trying to be an actor, writer, musician, whatever happened.

Sam Shepard

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.

Sam Shepard

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.

Sam Shepard

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.

Sam Shepard

I don’t attend costume parties.

Sam Shepard

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

Sam Shepard

I basically live out of my truck – I mean from place to place. I feel more at home in my truck than just about anywhere, which is a sad thing to say, but it’s true.

Sam Shepard

Hollywood is geared toward teenage idiocy.

Sam Shepard

Hats look exactly the same. There’s no difference between The Writing Hat and The Acting Hat.

Sam Shepard

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.

Sam Shepard

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.

Sam Shepard

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.

Sam Shepard

Careers don’t interest me. The only thing that interests me is continuing to be a poet on one level or another, whether acting or writing or directing.

Sam Shepard

All good writing comes out of aloneness.

Sam Shepard

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 wasn’t far enough.

Sam Shepard

A good actor always sets you straight. If you’ve written a false moment and thought it was probably pretty great, the actor’s gonna show you when he gets to that moment. They’re the great test of the validity of the material.

Sam Shepard