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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stories of My Life



I have read very few biographies or autobiographies. Shame on me. They are a fabulous chance to see life from someone else's vantage point. To live their story.

Me: Stories of My Life by Katharine Hepburn was a story I enjoyed living for a short while. Her voice comes through loud and strong. I loved the conversational, rambling style.

My favorite aspect of her memoirs was the recounting of her childhood. I was fascinated by the attitude instilled by her parents. You can do it. Quit whining. Get on with life. Try harder. Never be the victim. You can see the results throughout the rest of her life.

And slowly my confidence returned. It was thrilling. And thrilling is what we can do with ourselves if we really try. My dignity returned. I stopped making excuses. And I began to try to look at myself as the leader of a group. Not a poor little thing who was trying her best and had been mistreated.

In the course of this book, Katharine talks candidly about her life, her relationships, her career, her strengths, her faults and her mistakes. She talks about the people she met along the way. I thought her memories of John Wayne were beautiful and touching.

Very observing. Very aware. Listens. Concentrates. Witty slant. Ready to laugh. To be laughed at. To answer. To stick his neck out. Funny. Outrageous. Spoiled. Self-indulgent. Tough. Full of charm. Knows it. Uses it. Disregards it. With an alarming accuracy. Not much gets past him...

...Self-made. Hard-working. Independent. Of the style of man who blazed the trails across our contry. Reached out into the unknown. People who were willing to live or die on their own independent judgement. Jack Ford, the man who first brought Wayne into the movies, was cut from the same block of wood. Fiercely independent. They seem to have no patience and no understanding of the more timid and dependent type of person. Pull your own freight. This is their slogan. Sometimes I don't think that they realize that their own load was attached to a very powerful engine. They don't need or want protection. Total personal responsibility. They dish it out. They take it. Life has dealt Wayne some severe blows. He can take them. He has shown it. He doesn't lack self-discipline. He dares to walk by himself. Run. Dance. Skip. Walk. Crawl through life. He has done it all. Don't pity me, please...

...Good simple long-lasting cotton. No synthetics. That's what you get when you get John Wayne. That's what I got. And as you can see--I liked it.

I think John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn were made from very similar molds. Incredible.

1 comment:

Nicola said...

I read this last year and really enjoyed it too. She was a remarkable woman and one of my all time favourite actresses.