Sunday, June 30, 2013

Kate Hepburn on friends

"We are required, I think, to be polite and considerate of others: This is a sort of social compact we have with each other--and very few people honor it, I might add. I'll stay out of your way, smiling all the time, and you stay out of mine. If I stumble or my tire goes flat or I appear to be short of funds or food, I'll happily drop by and help out. But, for the most part, you stay over there and I'll stay over here. 

You'll learn as you live a bit longer that there are very few people who are really interested in who you are and what you're doing: That handful who do care and who do want to see you do well are treasures. Hold them very dear and very close to you. Forgive them almost anything. Be there for them. 

But most of life is solitary and hard--you work and you study and you fail and you do the damned things over and over again. And this is your responsibility. Most people, as I've said, are stupid and lazy and really only concerned with getting through the next couple of hours with silliness and stimulation and something to eat. Be polite. Look ahead. Ignore them. Do the work. Move forward." 

--Katharine Hepburn/Interview with James Grissom/1990/Photograph by Norman Parkinson, 1952/

Here's another excerpt from either the same or another interview Grissom did with Hepburn.  Evidently they're included in a book, which I now must find and obtain:

Turtle Bay
I'm so tired of the term victim. Everybody's a victim. I'm not talking about the tragedies of the world, in which people truly are victimized: I'm talking about everyday activities in which people enjoy crying out about their status as a victim. Everybody has been abused or betrayed or deliberately set out on a course of failure. This is such bullshit, I don't even know what to say. Our failures emanate from within us; my failures are my own damned fault. I can't look at a man or a woman or a studio or the mores of a certain time and say, Well, I was a victim of that person or that time. No, I might have allowed them to lead me to believe that I was unsuitable or unattractive or untalented. And I never let them, so I was never a victim. And this is not because I'm so smart--anyone can adopt this philosophy and do quite well in life. Refuse to be a victim. Learn from the unfortunate incident--failed audition; being fired; losing at love--and do something about it, and then succeed at the next go-round. I can't even turn on the television or look at a newsstand now without seeing the latest victim. I find people horribly boring, I must say. I think they must enjoy their acute ability to enjoy and promote their failure.


  1. So true - that is why I'm what I've termed "gregarious loner". I enjoy stimulating discussions, laughter and fun with a few close people, but most of the time I'd rather be in writing, reading or creating by myself. Nothing bores me more than people that just want to play video all games, eat junk food and watch the TV for hours in mindless entertainment until they go back to the job that they hate. Ms. Hepburn got it - few do.

    Thank you for sharing that, I'd not read it.

  2. I was so inspired by Katherine Hepburn's biography when I was young. I was also thrilled that someone else on this planet can be silly enough to over-zealously scrub their face with new egyptian face cloths and cause a rash!
    I am reminded of Lake Chargoggagoggmanchaugagoggchaubunagungamaugg in Massachusetts, the name means: 'you fish on your side, I'll fish on mine, and no one fishes in the middle' Of course, in hard times, this suggestion was ignored.
    Now, that I am older and living in the rural south, far away from the coastlines of my youth in New England, my first response was to think: how very New England she was and how very wise.
    Thank you, I needed this post to reconnect with my Yankee independent streak and stop trying to fit into a square hole. :-)

    1. CJ ~ Kate is one of my alltime beloved people. My favorite of her films is African Queen. The chemistry between those two stubborn forces of Nature makes me chuckle whenever it comes to mind. I'm a yankee transplant, too -- Midwest, but we have our streaks up that way, as well. Thanks for stopping by.

    2. BTW, if you spelled Lake Chargoggagoggmanchaugagoggchaubunagungamaugg from memory, I bow deeply to you. Really, really deeply!

  3. Thanks, Linda! It's a great quote.