02 August 2017

Sam Shepard

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

A late night in the early 1990s, I cannot sleep and move into the sitting room, switch on the tv and find myself in the first act of True West, John Malkovich's whiny voice while he picks his nose. I sit mesmerised through the kicking and fighting until the kitchen has been destroyed and the typewriter flung across the stage.

Before that, I had fallen in love with the actor playing Chuck Yeager, possibly because of the way he wore that leather jacket and his laugh. Then there he was Walter Faber and so much more than the man I had imagined when we read the novel in school. And obviously, he wrote this monologue. I don't remember how often I watched Paris, Texas because he wrote it but I am glad I did.

And now he is dead and how can that be. Playwright, actor, musician, magician, eternal cowboy.

"I hate endings. Just detest them. Beginnings are definitely the most exciting, middles are perplexing and endings are a disaster."


  1. I heard that he died, but I had no idea who he was. Now I know. Paris, Texas is a great movie, and I am not a great one for American movies.

  2. Thanks for spotlighting some of Sam Shepard's works. Like Andrew, I've had my memory refreshed! I liked "Paris, Texas" a lot, and I'm sure I saw "True West" at some point too.

  3. I loved him in both Baby Boom and in Crimes of the Heart. Neither one stellar movies but his presence lent them a lazy gravitas, a sweet male beauty.

  4. I loved Paris, Texas because of him. You chose one of my favorite pictures of him. Thank you.

  5. Thank you for this, Sabine.

    From 1967 forward, with gratitude to Sam Shepard for his light and darkness and presence all these years.

    Holy Modal Rounders
    Rolling Thunder Logbook
    Buried Child
    The Right Stuff
    Paris, Texas
    Don't Come Knocking (with Jessica Lange)

    Patti Smith writing about Sam Shepard in Just Kids.

    And now this: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/my-buddy-sam-shepard

    "... Sam was a private man. I know something of such men. You have to let them dictate how things go, even to the end ..." (Patti Smith)

    Startled. ALS again.

    Found True West on YouTube and will watch it now.

    Paris, Texas.