Sam Shepard on...his family

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Our Production Dramaturg William Steinberger has pulled some key quotes from Sam Shepard. We will share Mr. Shepard's thoughts about his past, his family, and himself.

Sam Shepard on his family:

“Those Midwestern women from the forties suffered an incredible psychological assault, mainly by men who were disappointed in a way that they didn’t understand. While growing up I saw that assault over and over again, and not only in my own family. These were men who came back from the war, had to settle down, raise a family and send the kids to school—and they just couldn’t handle it. There was something outrageous about it. I still don’t know what it was—maybe living through those adventures in the war and then having to come back to suburbia. Anyway, the women took it on the nose, and it wasn’t like they said, ‘Hey Jack, you know, down the road, I’m leaving.’ They sat there and took it. I think there was a kind of heroism in those women. They were tough and selfless in a way. What they sacrificed at the hands of those maniacs . . .”  – The Paris Review, Spring 1997

“There is no escape from the family. And it almost seems like the whole willfulness of the sixties was to break away from the family, the family was no longer viable, no longer valid somehow in everybody’s mind. The “nuclear family” and all these coined phrases suddenly became meaningless. We were all independent, we were all free of that, we were somehow spinning out there in the world without any connection whatsoever, you know. Which is ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous to intellectually think that you can sever yourself, I mean even if you didn’t know who your mother and father were, if you never met them, you are still intimately, inevitably, and entirely connected to who brought you into the world – through a long, long chain, regardless of whether you know them face to face or not. You could be the most outcast orphan and yet you are still inevitably connected to this chain. I’m interested in the family’s biological connections and how those patterns of behavior are passed on. In a way it’s endless, there’s no real bottom to it.” – The Cambridge Companion to Sam Shepard



I have to agree that you may run but you can't hide from the
raw truth of family and where you sprung from!
Sam Shepard puts this in razor sharp focus and we see what
is revealed in his great writings, books and plays.
Human behavior is fascinating even in its darkest moments
or most compassionate.
I would like to hear more. I hope you can bring about or encourage a writers
series with more conversations from Sam Shepard.

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