An Evening With Katharine Hepburn

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

While having a delightful conversation with my sister today, somehow the gloriously incorrigible Miss Hepburn tumbled into the chat. Now there is a woman of brazen ideas and staunch liberties (let’s ignore the rather ignoble 26 year affair with actor Spencer Tracy for purposes of creative entertainment and just pretend she was wholly awesome). I’d like to think that her and mom could be friends, were we to exist in an alternate universe. Perhaps they are, in the Great Mystery beyond. Who knows. It was the following quote of hers that my sister brought up that firmly stuck in my mind:

“If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.”

Brilliance. Complete and utter truth. Without going into an existential debate on what constitutes truth or reality, I think we can mostly agree that in a perfect universe, we should all be doing what interests us. Too often in the modern world, we are distracted by what we think or have convinced ourself of as having importance, more than what is actually important. None of the preceding is a grand illumination, it is the most basic principle that we as human beings inherently know, shuffle to the back of our minds and ignore while slogging through the doldrums and daily minutiae of things that are mostly irrelevant to our happiness, health and success.

Naturally, as soon as the conversation with my sister ended, I consulted the Google Oracle to dig up more of Miss Hepburn’s observations. What is interesting about quotes is that they are entirely contextual; being these perfect morsels snipped from more substantive conversations. Would these quotes be as dazzling were we to see the humanity behind them? Probably not. Part of me, the curious part, would like to see the angst in Hepburn’s eyes as she downed a drink and slurred her sorrows to me. But I digress.

“We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.”

To this I would have to agree with Miss Hepburn. It ties into the previous quote I feel, for exempting Acts of God or tragedies, what remains in each instance is that you cannot separate the individual from the cause or situation that they find themselves in. We always have a choice in life. To act or stall, to smile or frown. If it sounds basic, again, that’s because it is. There is no depth to plum with this sort of wisdom, though the process of enacting it can prove difficult based on the obstacles we ourselves create. As privileged free-world citizens who have the luxury of hemming and hawing on our priorities, of sitting on the couch and watching ‘Here Comes Honey Bo-Bo’ or finally getting off our arses and doing what is meaningful to us, what we have been afforded the good grace to do; sitting around and wallowing or being inutile seems an insult to life itself. Surely procrastination, self-doubt, and casting of the blame are always the easier paths to follow. Well, for a while. I think in the grey-tinged hours of our years that failure catches up with us and can become crushing in its weight. A life long lived or a life well lived. I know which path I am determined to take.

I’m starting to sound a bit preachy to myself, so I’ll wrap things up with a touch of sass:

“If you obey all of the rules, you miss all of the fun.”

I raise my glass (its after 6 pm now, don’t judge) to thee Miss Hepburn, for your timeless wit.
Time to sign off. Oh, I’ve made contact with my editor(s) – who I am extremely pleased with, more on that later – and I’ll leave the Dr. Philisms to the four-to-five syndicated time-slot for a while.

Ja Matah! (Pimsleur Japanese – you’re never to old to learn a new language, try it!)

P.S. And on another somewhat random note, last night was the anniversary of my Partner’s car crash and this came on:

Ellie Goulding: Anything Can Happen

The world has such beauty and pain – the two are opposite sides of the same relativity, I think, when you simply pay attention. See it all, drink everything in.