Katharine Hepburn: I’m A Good Worker
“Oh, I can find ten or twenty people every day who are smarter and more talented than I am or could be, but I’ll work better than every last one of them. That’s why I’m still around.”
“What is inspiration, anyway? You’ve used that word an awful lot. I know you’re working off a list given to you by Tennessee [Williams], but I really dislike that word, because it’s taken on some sort of mystical meaning. Now if someone says they are ‘inspired,’ it means they’re tapped into something that the rest of us poor dopes can’t reach. It’s another sense, a special gift. All of that [Shirley] MacLaine bunk. It’s just attention for her, which is stupid, because she has talent, but also she has an apparent gift for bamboozle. I don’t think we’re limitless or supernatural. I think we’re here for a short time, and we need to get to work to make ourselves useful.
“I am, above all else, a good worker. I see what I want, and I go and I get it. Someone should be applauded for writing books and giving seminars about that subject. Show up! Mean what you say! Listen! Do what they tell you! The supernatural thing will be that you’re better after a little while of doing these things.
“Oh, I can find ten or twenty people every day who are smarter and more talented than I am or could be, but I’ll work better than every last one of them. That’s why I’m still around. I’m pretty sure you’re smarter than I am. Have read more. I’m not a Julie Harris or a Geraldine Page or a Meryl Streep. I’m not a hugely gifted actress. I work at it because I love it.
“If Tennessee were here now — if this whole assignment you speak of had happened as he wished, and he were behind you right now looking for approval — I’d smack him and tell him to stop feeling sorry for himself and get to work. He had the talent, but whether it was fear or drink or both, he could not work, and work would have saved him.”